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Chelmsford City 3-2 Kingstonian

The final away trip of the season saw Kingstonian return to Billericay's New Lodge ground to face a resurgent Chelmsford City under the stewardship of Craig Edwards.

With manager Ian McDonald assessing the playing staff with an eye towards next season, all five substitutes from the previous outing against Cheshunt - Richard Taylor, Bernard Asante, Kenny Ojukwa, Stuart Reeks and Ian Dickens - returned to the starting lineup.

The Chelmsford team included highly rated goalkeeper Paul Nicholls and the manager's son -Craig Edwards Jnr. A notable absentee from an exciting game at Kingsmeadow earlier in the season was hat-trick hero Gary Ansell, who found himself on the bench.

The hosts had the first sight of goal when Alex Fiddes saw his low drive blocked by a crowd of players in the box, but the early danger came at the other end came from the improving Kingstonian set piece routines. With Martyn Lee the supplier from a succession of corners, the home side were clearly uncomfortable in the aerial battle - an area in which the K's have not been renowned over the years.

When the ball did reach the deck, it was the advanced Richard Taylor who tried his luck. Opposition defender Richard Thomas was the one fortune favoured, however, as the ball struck his arm as he turned to block the shot.

Despite a pretty open game, chances were limited in the first period - until Julian Edwards embarked upon a fine piece of individual play in the 27th minute. Receiving the ball in the left channel, the striker flicked the ball over Stuart Reeks before striking a fine half-volley across goal and into the top corner of the net for a spectacular opening goal.

Minutes later and the travelling K's support thought they had an equaliser when Kenny Ojukwa challenged Nicholls coming off his line to gather in the air. Given the current interpretation of the rules, a free kick against Ojukwa was always the likely outcome.

Kingstonian came out for the second half with a vigour and zip about their play. Captain Bashiru Alimi threaded a diagonal pass through to Tony Reid in behind the defence, though the striker failed to take advantage of the angle and fired straight at Paul Nicholls.

The breakthrough came in the 52nd minute when Jon Coke played a short ball in from the right to Bernard Asante, who let the ball run across his man before turning in to an opening in the centre. Nicholls was quick off his line and managed to block the shot with his legs, but Tony Reid was on hand to blast the ball home for his second goal in K's colours.

Nicholls sustained a knock as Reid bulldozed through him for the goal, and his head may well have still been spinning when, just before the hour mark, another Martyn Lee corner came swinging his way. Kenny Ojukwa was again the challenger, this time rising to cleanly head the ball down for Asante to volley home from a few yards out.

And whilst Kingstonian were on the up, they too were showing frailties in dealing with set pieces. With a quarter of an hour remaining, a corner from the right sailed past Hughes to Craig Edwards Jnr at the far post to knock the ball over the line to level the scores.

The game could have gone either way in the closing stages, though it took until the final minutes for a last flurry of drama.

A tight call saw K's penalised for being offside from a goal kick, signalling the halfway line arrival of set piece expert Nicholls. The goalkeeper drove a dangerous free kick deep into the box where a combination of Edwards Jnr and substitute Simon Clarke made sufficient contact to direct the ball past the despairing dive of Hughes for what would prove the winner.

The game, seemingly over, however, still had a final tale to tell as Kingstonian surged forward one final time. Referee Artis was once more at the centre of controversy when he denied Kingstonian a penalty following a clear handball in the area by Shayne Mangodza, but K's almost gained a similar result from a deep free kick out on the right.

Martyn Lee's delivery caused chaos as it sailed across goal and struck the angle of the goal. A now definitely dazed Nicholls looked to the skies as the ball dropped back down onto his head before rolling away to the side. Reid retrieved the ball, but by this time his route to goal was blocked - much like the fortunes of his side.

Sat 23rd Apr 2005
New Lodge (Billericay Town FC)
Isthmian League Premier
Chelmsford City3
Reid, Asante
1Alan Hughes
2Ian Dickens
3Martyn LeeCautioned
4Richard TaylorCautioned14
5Bernard Asante16
6Jonathan Coke
7Stuart Reeks
8Bashiru Alimi
9Kenny OjukwaCautioned17
10Tony Reid
11Dave Timothy
12Steven Sanders
14Robert Paris4
15Steven Guaje-Velandia
16Mazin Ahmad5
17Jean-Serge Musungu9
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi