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Kingstonian 0-1 Staines Town
McDonald Serves Up The Win

Kingstonian suffered their third consecutive defeat, losing 1-0 in a scrappy encounter against promotion contenders Staines Town. A game that had been largely lifeless was settled by Jon McDonald's 65th minute deflected volley, although not before both sides had missed injury time penalties. Kingstonian made four changes from the side eliminated from the FA Trophy last week, with Mark Zawadski, Steven Sanders, Richard Taylor and Scott Steele all returning to action.

The home side started the brighter of the two, with Paul Ellis having to make an early goal line clearance after an Ahmet Rifat header was deflected towards the far post following a Steele corner. He only cleared as far as Giles Coke though and the midfielder tested goalkeeper Matt Lovett with a tricky low shot.

On six minutes Kingstonian had another good chance. Mazin Ahmad beat McDonald down the right. He put in an awkward crossed shot which Lovett could only palm out. Staines captain Matt Flitter, one of three ex-K's playing for the Swans, did well to stop James Rose getting in a shot from the follow-up, although he could only scramble the ball out to Phil Ruggles. Ruggles' shot from the edge of the area was at a comfortable height for Lovett though, and the chance went begging.

The game was a physical one marred by a number of challenges that were certainly a touch reckless, and referee Bruce Ayers never really took the requisite action to control the game. The first such tackle was by Elliot Onochie, another ex-K's man, which left goalkeeper Zawadski on the floor in the fourteenth minute.

Kingstonian continued to look the more likely side to score, and on seventeen minutes McDonald's foul on Ahmad allowed Steele a free kick in a dangerous position on the right. The player-boss' inswinging set piece was very poorly dealt with by the Swans, and the ball fell to the feet of Ahmet Rifat just six yards out. Rifat was unmarked, but seemed to be unaware of how much time he had - he slightly rushed his shot, and Lovett made a tremendous reaction save with his right foot.

Giles Coke became the second man lucky to avoid a yellow card when he went in late on Craig Maskell. On 22 minutes Onochie had a long range drive deflected wide, leading to a corner. Maskell took it and it swung across over Zawadski's head, but Rifat on the far post calmly cleared. K's went straight up the other end, and Martyn Lee fired a low shot across Lovett that only just missed the far post.

In the 27th minute Ruggles did well to rob Maskell on the by-line. He squared to Coke, who had a good sight of goal in the penalty area, but the ball got caught under his feet and he was unable to get a shot in. The Swans went on the counter-attack, although Onochie's long distance shot gave Zawadski a comfortable save. The game then went very quiet until just before half time, as both sides stifled each other's creativity.

In first half stoppage time K's were lucky not to go a goal behind. First Maskell whipped the ball into an unmarked Gavin Tomlin, but he volleyed straight at Zawadski from close range. The K's stopper parried the ball into the air and then punched clear at the second attempt, but Maskell soon fired another low cross into the box. Onochie stretched for it at the far post with the goal at his mercy, but was unable to get a satisfactory contact on the ball and it went wide.

The start of the second half was not much more entertaining than the end of the first, as the only real action before the hour mark was a Maskell free kick that Zawadski comfortably saved. Steele brought Ruggles off, replacing him with striker Dave Ocquaye, making his first appearance of the season.

Just after the hour mark K's almost scored thanks to a rare defensive lapse by the Swans. Taylor's long throw was left by both Flitter and Lovett, allowing Rose to sneak into the gap and shoot from a tight angle. Lovett atoned for his error by getting down to make an excellent block, and Staines cleared their lines.

Three minutes later the visitors took the lead. A free kick on the right fell to Jon McDonald on the left-hand corner of the penalty box. His volley caught a deflection as it went through the posse of players in front of Zawadski and beat the K's keeper to put the visitors a goal to the good.

A minute after the restart Rose found Ahmad in space on the right. He teed up Lee, but the midfielder could not keep his twenty-yard effort under the crossbar. The manager replaced himself with left-winger Dave Timothy. This improved the balance of the side, and two minutes later K's came close to an equaliser. Ocquaye played the ball through to Coke, whose shot from fifteen yards took a deflection off Flitter. Lovett did well to react to the situation though, staying on his feet and tipping the ball over the bar to maintain Staines' lead.

Kingstonian had a fair shout for a penalty two minutes later as Lee played the ball behind the defence for Ocquaye, who appeared to be held back by Samuel Kola Okikiolu. However referee Ayers decided it was a fair challenge and allowed the game to continue. Four minutes later Ayers again incurred the wrath of the home supporters, signalling a goal kick instead of a corner after Lee's free kick was deflected wide by a defender.

Ahmed Tchankou replaced Rose as K's looked for an equaliser. Just a minute after being brought on the substitute had a glorious chance after Coke's through ball sent him one on one with the 'keeper. The angle was tricky, but Tchankou should have at least forced a save from Lovett - instead, the Staines keeper was relieved to see the shot fly over the crossbar.

Staines were looking to extend their advantage, and in the 80th minute a Maskell free kick created chaos in the home sides penalty box. Michael Webb got a shot in from around the penalty spot, but Zawadski made a good save to keep K's in the game. The next ten minutes were rather quiet, but just as fans were starting to leave Kingsmeadow, the game burst back into life during stoppage time.

Staines appeared to seal the game when Taylor's trip on Tomlin gave them a penalty. This triggered a fracas involving twenty-one players, with Lovett the only man not involved. When Ayers eventually regained control of the situation he booked Coke and Webb. Gavin Tomlin stepped up to finish K's off, but his penalty was at a nice height for Zawadski and he parried the ball clear.

Kingstonian went on the attack immediately afterwards. Ocquaye flicked the ball through for Coke, who Webb tripped from behind in the penalty area. To the disgust of Kingstonian the referee signalled for a free kick. However after much protest from both the players and the terraces he agreed to consult his linesman, who corrected the error and confirmed that K's would have the chance to save the match from twelve yards out.

With the two most likely candidates, Ruggles and Steele, off the pitch, Mazin Ahmad stepped up to try and salvage a point. He did little wrong, hitting his penalty low, close to the corner and with a fair amount of power. Lovett however got down to make an inspirational save, tipping the ball around the post. The subsequent corner amounted to nothing and soon the final whistle signalled the end of a very frustrating day for Kingstonian.

Until the frantic finale the game was not an entertaining one, certainly in comparison with some of the recent goalfests K's have been involved in. It was a scrappy affair, and as such it was rather fitting that a deflected goal sealed it. Kingstonian can count themselves unfortunate, but the team has played much better this season than they did today.

Sat 13th Nov 2004
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Staines Town1
1Mark Zawadski
2James Rose16
3Steven Sanders
4Richard Taylor
5Ahmet Rifat
6Giles CokeCautioned
7Daniel CollyerCautioned
8Mazin Ahmad
9Phil Ruggles15
10Martyn Lee
11Scott Steele12
12Dave Timothy11
14Jonathan Coke
15David Ocquaye9
16Ahmed Tchankou2
17Alan Hughes
Match Report By
Simon Grier