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Kingstonian 2-0 Southend United

The second game of the pre-season campaign saw a youthful Southend side provide the opposition at Kingsmeadow. The K's side had a somewhat different look to it than what may have been anticipated, Trevor Jones - last season's reserve team manager - starting in goal. The wing-back system employed left Max Hustwick, Scott Smith and Liam Garman in the middle of the defence, whilst Mark Beard captained the side from a central midfield role - one which he occupied whilst in his second spell with the opponents from the Essex coast.

The visitors started off brightly, and Michael Kightly - rated as the outstanding prospect in the Shrimpers' lineup - broke through the K's rearguard before delicately lifting the ball over the outcoming Trevor Jones, only for the covering Liam Collins to intercept before the ball could reach its intended destination.

The next wave came no more than a minute later, when a tide of Southend shirts flooded past their men and a goal looked almost inevitable. However, in attempting to round Jones, Anthony Clarke's touch was too heavy and the ball ran off the field well wide of the target.

At some stage after this, almost unnoticed, Phil Wingfield left the field injured and was replaced by rolling sub Josh Francois - a product of the old academy.

Craig Lewington almost put Liam Collins in for K's first attack on the Southend goal, but visiting 'keeper Nick Moran just beat the winger to the ball. Billy Mead then tested Moran after a snap-shot following a stray defensive header. The 'keeper, having initially spilled the shot, gathered at the second attempt.

Lewi on the ball

Midway through the half, and Kightly set off on a mazy run down the left channel bearing down on Jones' goal. The veteran 'keeper did well to get there to collect at Kightly's feet before an attempt could be released on goal.

At the other end Josh Francois picked up a ball over the top, powering past marker Jamie Grey, before knocking the ball into the back of the net. Referee Graham Horwood had however called up a foul and so Francois would be denied.

Minutes later, and with half time approaching, Francois was involved again when he set up Craig Lewington on the edge of the box. Having surged between two opponents, Lewington was met by the onrushing Moran. The ball spilled out of the collision and fell to Francois who smashed home inside the near post for his first senior goal for the club.

Lewington and Moran meet

The second period saw a number of changes take place, and it was Kingstonian who opened the brighter of the two sides. Stafford Browne had his first strike when he lashed the ball across goal and followed with an attempted lob that cleared the bar. Rod Davis, making his Ryman League debut following a move from Combined Counties champions Withdean, powered through the Southend defence and crossed from the by-line, with the awaiting Francois only to be foiled by some sharp defending.

With ten minutes remaining, substitute Chris Nurse - another from the academy - whipped in a low cross from the left, which was spilled back into the danger zone by a nervous looking Southend goalkeeper, saved only by Jordan Keilie's clearance.

Down the other flank, and Liam Collins crossed for Stafford Browne. The frontman turned before firing in a shot into the back of the net to double the lead. Browne almost added another when, after picking up a long ball, he released a ferocious effort that rattled the frame of goal as it bounced back off the post to relative safety.

Another goal for Browne

A tricky task against some talented young professionals at a league side, the signs looked ominous in the opening moments of the game, but a Kingstonian side lacking a number of regulars showed commitment and an edge over their opponents as the game wore on.

Thu 24th Jul 2003
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Francois, Browne
Southend United0
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi