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Kingstonian 1-1 Thurrock

A new season brings with it so many opportunities. Nobody is under pressure, nobody is struggling and everybody is of the view that this might just be their year. This was the case for those at Kingsmeadow on the opening day, and a good start did nothing to dissuade those watching.

The eleven who began the season were pretty much as expected. Billy Mead replaced the injured Bashiru Alimi, whilst Grant Payne and Stafford Browne were paired together up front for the first time in a competitive match since their time at Aldershot. And it took just twelve minutes for the first goal of the season to arrive.

An overhead hooked clearance from Craig Lewington wasn't collected by the Purfleet Thurrock defence and Browne was on it in a flash. His first touch took him to the edge of the area, his second leaving Paul Gothard in goal no chance.

The debutant really should have doubled his goal tally just a couple of minutes later. Another through ball from Lewington - this time intended - saw Browne race clear of the defence, but Gothard stood up well and saved the ball with his legs.

The John Smith's Stand

Thurrock are certainly a physical side, and they started to show this as they tried to get back into the game. They also have some good players though, and they started to put the K's goal under pressure as half-time approached. A ball up the left to Kris Lee saw the striker turn and fire a left-footed shot just over.

A few moments later Jeran Meah strode forward from left-back and struck from twenty-five yards. Lance Key managed to get a finger-tip to the ball and turn it onto the post. Thankfully for K's the ball rebounded out rather than in.

Gothard came to Thurrock's rescue a couple of minutes later when a cross from Liam Collins eluded Grant Payne but struck a defender, bouncing goalwards. The goalkeeper flung himself across goal and just managed to turn the ball around the post for a corner.

Yet just a minute later the scores were level. K's corner came to nothing, and Thurrock immediately went down the other end. A ball was played down the left for Tresor Kandol and he headed for the K's penalty area. Max Hustwick went over to challenge, both players fell to the ground and referee Mr Steve Creighton pointed to the spot. Kandol picked himself up to fire the penalty straight, and as Key dived to the side the score become one-one at the interval.


Five minutes into the second half saw Browne go close to regaining the lead for his side. Payne played him in with his back to goal just outside the area, he turned and fired a right-footed shot inches wide. Yet if anything it was the visitors who began the half the brightest.

A cross from the left by Lee struck Mead at the far post and dropped just in front of goal. Kandol connected but could only fire his shot into Hustwick, sending the ball bouncing wide. Key smothered a header from Lee just after as the K's defence looked for a breather.

The best chance of the half for the home side was made and missed by Grant Payne. He received the ball on the left from Collins and cut inside two defenders superbly. With the goal in his sights he went for the spectacular, attempting to curl the ball just inside the top corner. It was a poor shot, especially after the superb play to get in the position, and Gothard watched the ball fly high and wide.

Into the final few minutes and a scare for K's. A long punt from Gothard was cleared by Scott Smith, but the ball struck Cliff Akurang and bounced towards the area. Akurang raced onto the ball and took it into the area, Key came out to challenge and the striker fell to the ground. The referee turned down the vociferous appeals for a penalty and when the ball went out of play a few moments later a yellow card was presented to Akurang.

The match ended a couple of minutes later, with neither side particularly displeased with a point. K's started well, and competed against what is a difficult side to play. The front two showed their undoubted potential, and the rest of the side showed that they shouldn't be forgotten. Just a point to start off with, but a fully deserved one.

Sat 16th Aug 2003
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
1Lance Key
2Stephen Broad16
3Scott Smith
4Matt Elverson
5Max Hustwick
6Mark Beard
7Craig Lewington
8Billy Mead15
9Grant Payne
10Stafford Browne
11Liam Collins14
12Mark Jones
13Trevor Jones
14Chris Nurse11
15Rhod Davis8
16Phil Wingfield2
Match Report By
Gary Ekins