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Northwood 2-0 Kingstonian

The traditional Boxing Day derby saw Kingstonian travel to not-so-traditional derby opponents Northwood. In fact, it was not a derby and it was not Boxing Day either. With the home side on the edge of the relegation zone and K's hanging on to the last spot for a potential Conference South place next season, the points were at a premium in this league fixture.

Scott Smith and Scott Steele returned from injury for K's, whilst Didier Moundi came into the side at right back and Grant Payne returned up front. Maidenhead fielded former Chelsea striker Mark Nicholls and were captained by seasoned Conference player Christian Metcalfe.

As with a number of recent games, Kingstonian opened brightly and exerted some early pressure, albeit without any strikes of note for home goalkeeper Rob Bullivant to be worried about.

The most frenetic moment early on game came when a Scott Smith cross took a deflection on its way in to the box and looped high up into the air. Chris Bangura challenged Bullivant as the ball came down and got the better of him, though with Payne bracing himself for an attempt on goal, Bullivant managed to get a desperate hand to the ball, and with a kind bounce, away to safety.

Things increasingly tightened for K's as Northwood chased and harried at every opportunity. Northwood were, however, themselves afforded time as they sought a foothold in the game.

Chris Elsegood called Lance Key into action with a strike that was comfortably saved by the 'keeper, whilst Mark Nicholls' movement was opening up wide spaces in the final third of the field.

Indeed the two combined for the opening goal of the game in the twentieth minute. Elsegood played Nicholls through down the right channel, and the striker struck low across Key to give his side the lead and a fragile Kingstonian side problems.

A nervous moment followed when a deflected ball broke in the direction of Key's goal, requiring the goalkeeper to scramble to make the save.

Only seven minutes had passed since the first goal and Northwood were able to double their advantage. Brian Fitzgerald broke into space and was able to skip past the last challenge before calmly slotting the ball past the advancing Key.

As often happens in situations such as this game, the second half had a completely different feel to it. Northwood seemed content to defend their work whilst Kingstonian came out like a side with purpose.

An early corner was delivered deep and picked up by Bashiru Alimi, who, with the help of Scott Steele was able to poke the ball through to Chris Bangura, though the strike flew across and well wide of goal.

In a game littered with poor crosses for K's, substitute Anthony Savage produced a perfect curling ball to elude the defence as Bangura came flying through. The striker was unable to get enough pace and angle to his strike and so Bullivant was able to save.

With a quarter of an hour remaining, Alimi by cynically felled in the box by Christian Metcalfe. The penalty was awarded and Metcalfe punished with a booking. After seemingly every other player had had his say, Stafford Browne was able to eventually step up to take his spot kick. Sending Bullivant the wrong way, the assumption of a converted kick was soon rescinded as the ball inched past the upright.

One final flurry almost saw Grant Payne rewarded for an outstanding second half performance when he swivelled on the edge of the box to strike fiercely across goal, only to be denied by an excellent one handed save by Bullivant.

Overall a very disappointing result for K's against a side new to the division who have been struggling to move out of the lower placings. The first half saw Northwood work harder for the ball and then use it better too. A marked improvement in the Kingstonian second half performance still failed to yield anything - a converted penalty and something may have been salvaged from the game. Yet the damage had already been done.

Sat 27th Dec 2003
Northwood Park
Isthmian League Premier
1Lance Key
2Didier Moundi16
3Scott Smith
4Matt Elverson
5Max Hustwick
6Liam CollinsCautioned
7Scott Steele15
8Chris Nurse
9Grant Payne
10Chris Bangura
11Bashiru AlimiCautioned
12Jermaine Hinds
14Dave Timothy
15Anthony Savage7
16Stafford Browne2
17Adrian Jones
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi