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Hendon 1-0 Kingstonian

Never a happy hunting ground in recent years, the loyal followers of Kingstonian visited a Claremont Road that brought back unhappy memories from the game-that-almost-wasn't last season.

The K's side was little changed from the previous outing, with Richard Taylor returning from suspension at the back and Bernard Asante given his first outing since rejoining from Fleet Town. Hendon lined up without the recently departed influential figure of Mark Nicholls, but welcomed back another player proven to be a thorn in the K's armoury in Eugene Ofori.

Barely seconds into the game, Giles Coke's stunning 30-yard half-volley almost gave K's the perfect start, only to be denied by the crossbar and also arguably the fingertips of Dave King. The goalkeeper certainly did deny Martyn Lee from the ensuing corner.

Dale Marvell and Phil Ruggles were working the channels well, but with the wind behind them, Scott Steele's side were also trying to force their way through the middle. Skipper Rob Paris tested King's handling with a long-range drive, but chances on goal were at a premium.

A pacy break by Eugene Ofori almost caught the K's defence out, bar a good recovery tackle by Steve Sanders. And whilst James Parker saw his header fly wide of the target, it was Ofori again who was the real danger as he latched on to a long ball by Dean Coppard to beat Richard Taylor for pace. The giant centre back, in combination with advancing goalkeeper Andy Iga, was however able to do enough to put Ofori off - his strike rolling just wide of the target when a goal seemed almost certain.

The final minutes of the half saw both sides fashion chances. Giles Coke was just beaten to an inviting near post Martyn Lee corner by King before the following corner saw Phil Ruggles' glancing header flash across goal.

Further danger was created by a corner, but this time at the other end. Eugene Ofori, barely six yards out, must have thought he had opened his account only to be denied by an excellent reflex save by Iga, gathering in the ball at the second attempt to send the sides level in to the interval.

The first ten minutes of the second half saw Iga called into action on a more regular basis. Danny Julienne tried his luck from distance and John Frendo was twice denied by the goalkeeper. What was to follow in the 53rd minute was as unfortunate as it was bizarre.

Dave Hunt's mis-hit cross, via a deflection from referee Gary Young, found its was to Ross Pickett who sized up a strike on goal. The rest was almost scripted, as his mis-hit strike looped up and over the desperate Iga into the top corner of the net.

The game tightened following the goal as Hendon sought to hold firm. Dave Timothy saw his opportunist strike well saved at the near post by King, whilst Picket once again got a shot wrong - this time it blazed over.

In the dying stages of the match, Martyn Lee embarked upon a mazy run through the home rearguard before being cynically hacked down by Steve McGrath, whilst King was able to beat substitute Jean-Serge Musungu to the ball as the pair chased down a Phil Ruggles flick.

A game that could have been so different given the events in the opening minute and leading up to the Hendon goal. The way the match developed was typical in a season when on so many occasions K's could have been better rewarded by the final outcome.

Sat 12th Mar 2005
Claremont Road
Isthmian League Premier
1Andy Iga
2Steven Sanders
3Dave Timothy
4Richard Taylor
5Robert Paris
6Giles CokeCautioned
7Bernard Asante15
8Ian Dickens14
9Phil Ruggles
10Martyn Lee
11Dale Marvell16
12Jonathan Coke
14Steven Guaje-Velandia8
15Kenny Ojukwa7
16Jean-Serge Musungu11
17Scott Steele
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi