[personalise the site]   [search the site]

Welcome to K's Web - home of the Kingstonian archives
The official club website can be found at


Kingstonian 2-3 Bishop's Stortford
Hats off to Morison

Five years ago the thought of Kingstonian being underdogs in a cup match against Bishop's Stortford would have seemed most improbable. On this day in 1999, Kingstonian beat Welling United to go top of the Conference, not having to worry about entry to the FA Trophy, which they would eventually go on to win, until round two. The Hertfordshire outfit meanwhile were eliminated in round one at the hands of Gravesend, leaving them with just the First Division of the Ryman League to worry about.

Times change however and with Stortford sitting comfortably mid-table in Conference South and K's struggling in the Ryman Premier, there could be little doubt about who the favourites were for this FA Trophy tie. Nonetheless, Kingstonian fought bravely and at times played some excellent football before narrowly succumbing to the Blues in a very exciting encounter at Kingsmeadow.

The side once again contained changes of both formation and personnel, this time Scott Steele choosing a wing-back formation. Both full-backs were dropped to the bench and with Richard Taylor unavailable the new look defence comprised Marien Ifura, Jon Coke and stand-in skipper Ahmet Rifat. Mazin Ahmad and a fit-again Dean Lodge took on wing-back roles while James Rose came back in to the strikeforce with the manager dropping himself to the bench. The other change saw young Alan Hughes making his debut in goal, presumably at the request of Basingstoke Town regarding Mark Zawadski.

The visitors looked to assert their authority straight from the kick-off, with both Alex Martin and Steve Morison firing narrowly wide in the opening couple of minutes. Stortford looked well organised and some of their players were showing good technical ability. In the fifth minute though, they were stunned when they fell behind to an excellently crafted Kingstonian goal.

Phil Ruggles picked the ball up just beyond the half-way line, shrugged off the challenges of the Stortford midfield and then slotted the ball in behind the defence. Giles Coke surged through the gap and reached the ball just before outrushing goalkeeper Rob Elliot, knocking it past him to put the home side a goal to the good.

Two minutes later and Hughes, already the fourth goalkeeper K's have used this season, showed his worth making a splendid reaction save from a Ben Lewis volley after Martin's corner. Shortly afterwards Rob Gillman missed with an ambitious overhead, but the visitors kept up the pressure and were rewarded in the tenth minute.

Morison caught Martyn Lee in possession in his own half, and the defence had no time to react to the situation, which left Morison one-on-one with Hughes and the Stortford striker slid the ball past the debutant goalkeeper to level the scores.

Kingstonian sought to restore their lead straight away and came very close to doing so. Lee's long-range shot was blocked but it fell to Ahmad. He took the ball to the by-line and squared across the face of the goal. Lodge could not quite get the required contact on the ball from six yards out, but the ball went through to Rose, and he beat Elliot from a tight angle. Unfortunately for the home side Anthony Fenton slid back to clear the ball off the line. Even then Stortford were not safe though, as it somehow cannoned off Ruggles' head onto the crossbar before eventually being hacked to safety.

In the seventeenth minute K's hit the woodwork once more. Ahmad teed up Lee on the right, and his deep cross saw Rose create enough space behind Lewis to head low towards goal. Elliot was beaten by the header, and very relieved to see Lewis clear the ball after it hit the inside of the post. Before he could catch his breath though one of his defenders slipped allowing Ruggles to put in a cross which Rose was just inches from steering home.

A minute later Lodge beat Anthony Allman down the left, got to the byline and Elliot did well to pluck his cross out of the air. This spelt the end though for a period of Kingstonian pressure, and the Conference South outfit began to assert their authority on the game.

A poor goal kick from Hughes went straight to Morison, but Jon Coke made a well-timed sliding tackle to deny him a shooting chance. Three minutes later Coke again denied Morison when the striker was in a good position, but this time the ball ran loose to Martin who fired wide from long range.

Rose headed an Ahmad corner narrowly wide, but the ball was soon up the other end and a powerful volley from Lewis, also following a corner, was deflected narrowly over. The next corner cleared Hughes, but thankfully for Kingstonian no blue-shirted player could get a touch and the ball curled out for a goal kick.

Steve Parmenter whistled a thirty-yard drive narrowly over the bar, and then Hughes made his second excellent save of the game, tipping a fierce drive from Martin around the near post. On 43 minutes Ruggles tried his luck from distance, but it dribbled weakly through to Elliot. A minute later Gillman narrowly headed Martin's cross over the bar for the Blues.

As the half time whistle approached, Kingstonian could have snatched a goal. A superb long chip from Ifura was chested down in the box by Ruggles, but Alex Riches recovered to clear the ball from under his nose before the former Leatherhead and Worthing striker could get his shot in.

The second half began with a hint of controversy. A long goal kick from Hughes was flicked on by Rose for Ruggles to run onto. Elliot dashed out and claimed the ball before Ruggles could get to it, then the two collided and squared up to each other with Rose and Fenton becoming involved in the fracas before referee Chris Williams could calm things down.

Four minutes into the second half Lee came close to replicating his strike at Cheshunt last week, but Elliot produced an athletic save after Giles Coke had teed the midfielder up for a twenty-five yard drive. Ruggles also tested the goalkeeper from long-range with a shot curling away from Elliot, though not quite doing enough to find the top corner.

On 59 minutes though the visitors scored, slightly against the run of play. Parmenter whipped a free kick across from the right, and Morison got to the ball first to poke it past Hughes from close range. A minute later an Ahmad free kick gave K's a chance, but it fell awkwardly to Giles Coke, and without room to swing his boot at it he could only side-foot his volley wide.

Then, as has happened too often this season, Kingstonian multiplied the problems of conceding a goal by conceding another shortly afterwards. Martin crossed deep from the left, Ifura missed it and Morison completed his hat-trick by beating Hughes with a low header right in the bottom corner of the net.

Steven Sanders replaced Jon Coke, and then on 67 minutes K's were back in the game. A rather aimless long ball from Ifura was miscontrolled by Lewis, making his debut after signing from the club formerly known as Ford United. Ruggles picked the ball up, sidestepped Fenton and teed up a fantastic twenty-five yard drive that curled around Elliot and reduced the Stortford lead to 3-2.

Kingstonian pushed forward for an equaliser, with Steele bringing Liam Garman on for his first appearance of the season after a long-term injury layoff in Ifura's place. Having scored three goals at the right end Morison almost scored one at the wrong end, stooping under a Lee free kick and only directing it slightly beyond Elliot's far post for a corner.

Stortford were looking to seal the game though, and Hughes did well to rush out and prevent them from doing so when Parmenter tackled Giles Coke and played Morison in on goal in the seventy-eighth minute. Shortly afterwards Tim Langer shot wide and Martin narrowly cleared the crossbar with a delicate chip, as Kingstonian replaced the tired Lodge with big striker Ahmed Tchankou.

K's had too often resorted to route one in the second half, but in the 87th minute it nearly came off for them. Rose flicked Hughes' goal kick onto Ruggles and he had a sight of goal in the penalty box. Unfortunately he was a tight angle and on his wrong foot, and despite lashing his drive with enough power to worry both the goalkeeper and the fans behind the goal, it crashed into the advertising hoardings three feet wide of the near post.

That would prove to be the home side's last throw of the dice. Stortford should have scored a fourth in injury time as K's pushed forward, but substitute Paul Hakim slipped over when presented with a glorious half-open goal by Morison, and Hughes was able to recover. The referee soon blew time on Kingstonian's FA Trophy hopes, and it was the Hertfordshire side who were celebrating their passage to the second round.

It was, like so many of Kingstonian's recent games, very open and very entertaining. However, while it could have gone either way and K's were certainly capable of victory and victims of some bad luck, Bishop's Stortford were on balance slightly the better side and it would be unfair to suggest that their victory was not a deserved one. Nonetheless, K's bravely gave them a tough game, and there were a number of good performances.

Phil Ruggles had probably his best game since joining K's, not only scoring an excellent goal and crafting one for Giles Coke, but holding the ball up well especially in the first half. Ahmad and Lodge adapted well to their unfamiliar roles, while Hughes had a decent debut and could not be faulted on the goals. He communicated well with his defence, although his distribution was hit and miss. K's defending still needs to improve though; the side has conceded thirty goals in the last ten games, and until this improves victories will be hard to come by.

Sat 6th Nov 2004
Kingsmeadow Stadium
FA Trophy 1st round
Coke G, Ruggles
Bishop's Stortford3
1Alan Hughes
2Marien Ifura14
3Dean Lodge17
4Jonathan Coke15
5Ahmet Rifat
6Giles Coke
7Daniel Collyer
8Mazin Ahmad
9Phil Ruggles
10Martyn Lee
11James Rose
12Scott Steele
14Liam Garman2
15Steven Sanders4
16Frazer Muscat
17Ahmed Tchankou3
Match Report By
Simon Grier