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Kingstonian 1-0 Northwood

Kingstonian produced arguably their best performance of the season to record a 1-0 victory over Northwood and move off the bottom of the Ryman Premier League. Captain Richard Taylor's 84th minute header ensured that K's got the three points they deserved after dominating the game and hitting the woodwork no less than three times.

The visitors started in a confident fashion with Danny Jordan shooting from long range, but it sailed comfortably over Barry Marchena's goal. Northwood soon found though that K's centre-back pairing of Taylor and on-loan debutant Ahmet Rifat were going to be hard to break down, and struggled to deal with some impressive attacking play from the K's.

On six minutes Liam Collins, playing off of lone striker Martyn Williams, sent in a teasing free kick from the right which visiting 'keeper Rob Bullivant did well to punch away from the onrushing Taylor. Collins, Giles Coke and Dave Timothy in particular were causing all sorts of problems for Northwood and by the middle of the first half K's were starting to turn attacking possession into genuine goalscoring chances.

On seventeen minutes Timothy beat two defenders cutting in from the left and caught sight of goal in the box. Rory Smith did very well to block his shot, but Mazin Ahmad picked up the pieces and teed up Collins, who fired narrowly over the bar.

A minute later Timothy got the better of Smith though and produced an excellent low cross from the byline. It came to Collins six yards out, but under pressure from Northwood captain Luke Evans the ball got caught under his boot and the visitors were able to clear their lines.

In the 22nd minute Danny Jordan headed wide to remind Kingstonian that Northwood still had the potential to be threatening, but by this point K's were well in command of the game. Some of the passing moves belied the home side's league position, such as in the 23rd minute when Collins and Ahmad linked up exsquisitely to find Williams. Evans again did well to deflect the K's forwards' strike wide for a corner.

Kingstonian also had a confidence to shoot from distance that has rarely been seen this season. On 27 minutes Timothy's 25-yarder went well wide, but four minutes later Williams produced a save from Bullivant after trying from a similar distance and Giles Coke came close a minute later.

On 35 minutes a perfectly placed chipped cross from Collins almost sent Timothy clear in the box, but under pressure from Stuart Reeks he was unable to bring the ball under control. Shortly afterwards a well timed through ball from Collins sent Giles Coke through on goal. His pace easily took him clear of the defence, although he was at a testing angle. He aimed for the top corner, and at full stretch Bullivant did extremely well to tip the ball wide for a corner.

K's kept up the pressure, as two minutes later Collins again linked up with Ahmad, and produced a low shot from twenty yards that didn't quite curl enough to be awkward for Bullivant. A minute later Williams shot from an angle outside the box, and this time the ball bounced awkardly in front of Bullivant at his near post and the Northwood stopper fumbled to concede another corner. Ahmad took it and Taylor rose highest, only for the captain's header to clear the crossbar by just three inches.

In the 39th minute Northwood won a corner for themselves, when Marchena was unable to keep Richard Morton's delected shot in play, but it was wasted and the home side were soon back on the attack. Williams came close to getting on the end of another superb cross from Collins, who once again was relishing his free role.

On 44 minutes Giles Coke teed up Williams. The striker fired in a powerful shot from an acute angle, but Bullivant got down well to block. In stoppage time Collins created yet another chance, producing a pinpoint cross from the right which Giles Coke surged onto. His looping header lobbed Bullivant but agonisingly rebounded off the crossbar and Reeks hacked it clear to send a relieved Northwood side in level.

The visitors made two changes at half-time, which did somewhat stem the tide of K's dominance, but the home side still looked more likely to score. After a quiet start to the half, on 55 minutes another surging run from Timothy saw him denied by a good tackle on the edge of the box by Evans. Collins was first to the loose ball though and shot from the left-hand corner of the penalty box, although the ball curled comfortbaly into Bullivant's arms.

A K's mistake always looked like Northwood's most probable method of scoring, and on 57 minutes they had a chance courtesy of a poor throw by Marchena. It fell to Danny Yeoman with plenty of space and he surged forward to find substitute Kevin Chakaodza in the box, but Taylor read the move well and blocked for a corner.

Dean Clark took the corner which swung in viciously towards the near post, but Marchena spotted the danger and made a good low save. Kingstonian were still happy to try their luck from long range, and on 59 minutes Timothy skinned Evans and produced a save from Bullivant after another 25-yarder.

Three minutes later though Williams limped off after a nasty collision with Smith. Reggie Savage replaced him, which provided even more attacking pace for K's, although Williams' ability to hold the ball up would be missed.

Midway through the half Martyn Lee and Timothy both missed the target from long range, as the home side became more aware that time was running out and their goalscoring problems looked like haunting them once more. On 70 minutes K's frustrations were multiplied when an audacious 25 yard curling chip from Collins left Bullivant stranded but hit the post to deny K's playmaker what would have been a truly memorable goal.

Four minutes later Kingstonian hit the woodwork once more, when a Lee's free kick from no less than 35 yards brushed Bullivant's post. This left the home fans with a feeling that for all of K's dominance, perhaps it was not to be their day. On 78 minutes Manager Scott Steele replaced Jon Coke with Australian Frazer Muscat.

Giles Coke shot wide from just outside the box, and then on 81 minutes disaster almost struck for Kingstonian. Marchena dropped a seemingly regulation cross at the feet of Chakaodze. A complete melee ensued in the Kingstonian goalmouth, and eventually Taylor made a decisive clearance for a corner.

An 84 minutes Ahmad was felled just inside the Northwood half. Muscat took the free kick which caught a deflection and looped into the box. Savage attacked the ball and it landed on the head of the unmarked Taylor. The captain did well to get lots of power onto his header, which went low to Bullivant's left to finally break the deadlock and give Kingstonian a lead that they certainly deserved.

Thanks to play stopping for Williams' injury, K's knew they would still have at least ten minutes to hang on to their lead. On 86 minutes the superb debutant Rihat, who was named Triumph Trophies Man of the Match, lost the ball to Jordan but made a superb recovery to win the ball back before Northwood's striker could get a shot in.

A minute later Steele brought himself into the fray to replace Timothy. On 89 minutes Yeoman beat Taylor and surged into the box, but Rihat blocked his shot. A minute later K's had a chance to seal the match when Collins played Savage in, but from a tight angle and on his wrong foot the former Walton striker pulled his shot wide.

Northwood's last effort was a 30 yard effort from Clark that went well wide, and after what seemed like an age of stoppage time the final whistle went to give Kinsgtonian their second win of the season. It was a highly impressive performance from K's - Rifat made a big difference to the defence which for the most part looked solid and Collins continued to revel in his free role being at the heart of much of K's attacking play. Timothy produced his best performance of the season, and Lee looked good on his return from injury. The losses of strikers Greg Ball and Elliot Onochie are certainly a blow to Kingstonian, but there was much evidence from this game that better times could be around the corner at Kingsmeadow.

Mon 4th Oct 2004
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
1Barry Marchena
2Jonathan Coke17
3Dean Souyana
4Richard Taylor
5Ahmet Rifat
6Giles Coke
7Liam Collins
8Mazin Ahmad
9Martyn Williams12
10Martyn Lee
11Dave Timothy14
12Reggie Savage9
14Scott Steele11
15Matt Bradford
16Bashiru Alimi
17Frazer Muscat2
Match Report By
Simon Grier