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Heybridge Swifts 3-0 Kingstonian

K's visited a sunny Heybridge knowing that nothing less than a win would do at a venue where they last lost a Ryman Premier League fixture in 1996.

Manager Scott Steele named himself in the starting eleven for the first time in two months, whilst joining him were new signings Stuart Reeks and returning New Zealand international Scott Smith. Bashiru Alimi returned following suspension whilst the notable absentee in the team was Giles Coke, moving up into the Football League with Mansfield Town.

Kingstonian settled into a neat passing game quickly and looked particularly useful down the left side occupied by Martyn Lee. The first effort of the game came with Phil Ruggles glancing a Steele free kick past the target, and minutes later Ruggles saw his speculative effort fly past the upright after receiving a cross-field ball from Lee.

Slowly but surely the K's rearguard were introduced to the Heybridge front pairing of Cliff Akurang and Carl Griffiths that was to torment them for much of the afternoon.

Akurang took too long on his first opportunity in the box when receiving a square ball in the box and was duly dispossessed, but took advantage of a defensive slip to break through on goal in the twentieth minute. His strike across goal beat a full stretched Andy Iga but came back off the post to be cleared off the line by Steve Sanders.

Akurang almost broke down the left channel again, but was well held up by K's skipper Rob Paris before sneaking a ball across to Carl Griffiths. The former Leyton Orient man, presented with a clean site of goal, however, drove his shot wide of the target.

Griffiths called Iga into action to parry his next effort over the bar, and whilst the majority of good possession with the K's, it was their hosts who were carving out the openings.

The attacking balance did shift back to the other end, and a jinking run by Steele created an opportunity for Marvell, though he failed to make a clean connection with his shot which landed harmlessly wide.

Bashiru Alimi, playing in central midfield position for the first time this season, found himself on the right from where he delivered a deep cross for Ruggles at the far post. The striker, sandwiched and under pressure, could only head over.

Akurang almost made the most of a through-ball down the right, but was denied by a good Andy Iga block as the goalkeeper came rushing off his line to keep the scores level going in to the interval.

The Swifts reappeared with the initiative for the second half, adding the neat interplay shown by Kingstonian in the first half along with their own attacking threat. And it took barely five minutes for the opening goal to arrive. Paul Abbott rode his way past the challenges on the edge of the box before feeding Akurang who made no mistake with his finish.

The former Thurrock man, as with previous encounters, proved himself a real threat and almost doubled his tally minutes later when finding a shooting opportunity in the middle of the box. Drilling his effort down the middle, Iga was able to get down and parry away to safety.

The decisive moment in the game came midway through the half with Akurang in close pursuit of an inviting ball and defender Steve Sanders. A possible push on Sanders, combined with a possible breakdown in communication between Sanders and the advancing Andy Iga, saw defender a goalkeeper collide. With Iga floored, Akurang took aim and saw his shot strike the arm of Sanders in the box.

Referee Colin Overall pointed to the spot and dismissed Sanders to further compound Kingstonian worries. Carl Griffiths stepped up and showed why he is the league's leading goalscorer with a fine penalty to effectively seal the result.

There was little further action in the game until the final minutes when Heybridge added a third through substitute Daniel Barber, converting a Dwayne Edwards cross from close range.

K's substitute Dave Timothy almost grabbed what would have been a fine goal in consolation, after mazy run, but saw his effort loop just past the post.

A disappointing result from a game that seemed evenly poised at half time. The game was drifting away before the penalty incident as it was, and the second half saw the K's team pose almost no goalmouth threat. Something of a concern given that only one goal has been scored in the last six outings now.

Sat 19th Mar 2005
Scraley Road
Isthmian League Premier
Heybridge Swifts3
1Andy Iga
2Steven SandersSent Off
3Martyn Lee
4Richard Taylor
5Robert Paris
6Scott Smith
7Stuart Reeks
8Bashiru Alimi
9Phil Ruggles
10Scott Steele12
11Dale Marvell15
12Dave TimothyCautioned10
14Ian Dickens
15Kenny Ojukwa11
16Jean-Serge Musungu
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi