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Kingstonian 0-0 Banstead Athletic

It is no secret that this Kingstonian side finds goalscoring difficult but if further evidence was required, then this performance was the perfect example of K's offensive woes. In a very similar fashion to the Corinthian Casuals game, K's created the best part of nothing for an hour and an attacking flurry towards the end came too late and produced only immense frustration as the match petered out into Kingstonian's third goalless draw of the season.

The opposition, Banstead Athletic, are struggling in the league having had last year's side ripped apart over the summer. Most notably, their influential centre-back pairing both departed to Kingsmeadow - with Julian Sills joining K's and Wayne Finnie heading for AFC Wimbledon - but despite this, K's were unable to break them down and in fact threatened to concede with alarming regularity.

The only change to the side which scraped into the next round of the FA Trophy last week saw debutant Paul Wetherall replace suspended Martyn Lee. In the first half particularly, K's were crying out for Lee's creativity as too many moves failed in the final third and it was the A's who had more goalscoring opportunities.

An early Simon Huckle header was comfortably saved by Chuck Martini but it wasn't until the tenth minute that either side had a clear goalscoring opportunity. It fell to K's when Stuart Reeks, playing at left-back, crossed from deep to the far post but Mazin Ahmad volleyed tamely wide. A minute later Ahmad hit the target with a free kick but goalkeeper Andrew Parkinson had an easy save at the near post.

A Kwabena Agyei header was easily gathered by Martini, who seemed to be handling the inclement weather far more comfortably than his opposite number Parkinson. When Bashiru Alimi got to the by-line on twenty-one minutes, his near post shot was not held by the Banstead stopper and Barry Langford did well to scramble the ball clear.

On a normal day, Daniel Amsbury's excellent through-ball might have teed up Simon Mitchell for a goalscoring chance but it skidded through on the wet surface and Martini charged out to get to the ball before him. Agyei came close again just after the half-hour mark, with Martini getting down well to push his header onto the post and Sills clearing the danger. Another Agyei header five minutes later again showed K's to be exposed at the back but luckily for the home side it went wide.

Banstead's best chance of the game came shortly before the break when a Jon Coke backpass fell well short of Martini. Mitchell ran onto it and from a fairly tight angle slotted the ball past Martini only to see it run the wrong side of the near post. K's went into the interval lucky not to be losing and reflecting that they would need to perform better in the second half. That they did, but they were nonetheless unable to find the net despite putting a good deal of pressure on Parkinson.

On fifty-one minutes he parried Ahmad's twenty-yarder out to Kenny Ojukwa. Surrounded by A's defenders, Ojukwa scrambled it out to Reeks. The versatile defender crossed for Tony Reid who did well to get in front of Martin Beard but could only head wide.

K's best chance of the game came on the hour mark when a splendid Ahmad corner cleared Parkinson and left Sills, who had timed his run to perfection, with a free header and a half-open goal at the far post. Frustratingly for the home side, his close-range effort clipped the post on the way wide of the goal and Banstead were let off.

Parkinson very well a minute later when a thirty-five yard daisy-cutting free kick from Ahmad caught a nasty deflection off Langford but he reacted quickly to keep his sheet clean. K's were looking much the better side by now but Banstead still offered an occasional threat and when Mitchell headed a cross high into the air, Martini was relieved to see Huckle's overhead go harmlessly wide.

Reid was replaced by Tommy Cass but K's still failed to break through. An Ahmad corner was met by an off-balance Sills who had his header easily saved while at the other end Agyei set up Mitchell on the counter-attack but the impressive Martini was equal to his effort.

Ten minutes from time, K's finally had the ball in the net but the goal was quite correctly not allowed to stand. An Ahmad cross deflected high into the air off Langford and then chaos ensued in the six-yard box. Parkinson got under the ball only for Cass, Ojukwa and Richard Taylor to all bundle it into the net, along with him, in a manner that might have impressed Sir Clive Woodward or even Vince McMahon more than it did the referee. A free kick to Banstead was the inevitable outcome.

Ojukwa floated a thirty-yard chip narrowly over as K's increased the pressure. A fine ball from Scott Corbett saw Cass get to the by-line and Parkinson parried his low cross to stop it finding Ojukwa. He was nonetheless a touch fortuitous that nobody in a hooped shirt pounced on it and instead it was scythed away to Reeks who failed to hit the target from the edge of the box.

Three minutes from time, Parkinson punched a relatively harmless Taylor cross straight to Ahmad but Beard managed to block his twelve yard drive and Parkinson recovered well to stop the ball going for a corner. A minute later, K's did win themselves a corner and Ahmad tried to repeat his heroic equaliser against Aveley. Sadly for K's his ambitious corner swung perfectly, but landed on top of the crossbar and bounced out of play.

Huckle and Ojukwa had last minute efforts from twenty yards miss the target before the referee blew the final whistle after a surprisingly short period of injury time. Once again, Kingstonian had failed to win against a side well below them in the league table and Ian McDonald has to find a way for them to unlock opposition teams without simply relying on moments of inspiration from Ahmad or Ojukwa.

None of K's attacking players will be especially happy with their performance and at the back too many chances were given away as well. Martini and Reeks probably came out of the game with the most credit but unless things improve soon then K's are heading for nothing better than a mid-table finish - which would be a massive waste of the talent in the squad.

Mon 24th Oct 2005
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Division One
Banstead Athletic0
1Chuck Martini
2Jonathan Coke
3Richard Taylor
4Scott Corbett
5Julian Sills
6Stuart Reeks
7Mazin Ahmad
8Bashiru Alimi
9Kenny Ojukwa
10Tony Reid14
11Paul Wetherall
12Ian Dickens
14Tommy Cass10
15Ryan Adams
16Wayne Noad
17Paul Brady
Match Report By
Simon Grier