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Burgess Hill 1-3 Kingstonian

'...Homer's got the biggest one of all...'K's travelled away to Burgess Hill to face a side who have yet to win a game in the league, languishing in 22nd place with just two points. After a good start to the season, this should have been a comfortable fixture for the visitors, but these occasions always provide for potential banana skins.

Changes for Kingstonian saw Richard Taylor return from injury to fill in at left back and a recovered Bashiru Alimi filled relegated Michael Brady to the bench. Up front, Kenny Ojukwa started alongside Damien Panter, chosen ahead of Paul Vines.

Kingstonian started brightly and pressed forward from the off. The first chance came in the second minute, when Ojukwa had a go from the edge of the box, but the shot was well high. The pressure continued and for once, it was the boys in the hoops' turn to grab an early goal, rather than concede one. After just eight minutes, Richard Taylor stepped up to deliver one of his masterful long throws into the box. The ball was headed out, but only as far as Martyn Lee, who controlled it, looked up, and then coolly blasted into the top right corner past a helpless Pat Gannon.

Burgess Hill were not to be demoralised by conceding early, and immediately began to press forward and threaten Martini's net. Ten minutes in, a low cross at the edge of the box went behind Sills and Reeks, and was picked up by Hillian Neil Watts, whose shot forced another fine save from the unflappable Chuck Martini.

Back at the other end, K's took a quick free kick to Panter. Panter took the ball out to the left before driving a cross to Ojukwa, who was only denied a chance on goal by an excellent challenge from Matten. K's continued to dominate and on the quarter of an hour mark, a charging Ojukwa was brought down on the edge of the box. Mazin Ahmad came close with the resulting free kick which curved round the wall before pelting the cross bar.

Minutes later another Richard Taylor long throw set up Panter who shot straight at the keeper from close range, who was able to block it out for a corner. Ahmad took the corner, and Panter came close again, this time with a header that glanced across the face of goal. Another corner led to K's next near miss when a long ball from Ahmad was crossed back in by Taylor, where a climbing Sills headed over the bar.

Goalmouth action

There was the occasional break in Kingstonian's dominance, and 25 minutes in, Burgess Hill were awarded a free kick just outside the box. Danny Byrne stepped up but provided no work for Martini, as his curving all drifted over the bar. K's continued to dominate the remainder of the first half, but to little avail. The only real chance came in the 39th minute. An Ahmad corner was cleared away by a desperate Gannon, but only as far as Panter, who played it back out. Ahmad's second cross was met by Ojukwa, who once again but the ball just over.

However, as K's fans know only too well, first half stoppage time is always a dangerous period of any match, and today was no different. A quick break from the Hillians lead to a cross which was poked past Martini. As is fitting on these occasions, it was Jean-Serge Musungu who delivered the blow to his old club, leaving K's to go in at half time level in a match they could, and probably should, have already put to bed.

The second half started slowly, with neither side seeming to want to advance on the seemingly contented one all draw. After ten minutes or so, K's began to press forward again, but not really in earnest. A couple of lacklustre corners provided little for the fans to applaud. On the 61st minute Lee's corner was headed wide by Sills. Shortly after, Paul Vines was brought on to replace the struggling Panter, who had been plagued with injury recurrences all match.

It is an often quoted fact that football is a game of two halves. And it is. But today, the second half was really a half of two halves. The first having been slow and uneventful, the second showed renewed drive and commitment from the K's. The first product of this renewed vigour came when Vines was played into space from midfield. Left with a one on one with the keeper, Vines looked certain to score, but he miscued his shot and the ball flew well over the goal.

The turning point for the match came on the 73rd minute when Ojukwa and Vines again broke through Burgess Hill's defensive lines, this time with Ojukwa playing the ball. Ojukwa pressed into the box but as he moved to turn past Gannon, he was caught by the keeper's flailing arms and tripped. Ojukwa, to his credit, stayed on his feet, but there was no angle to shoot. As he crossed the ball, the referee blew up and pointed at the spot, making Vines' tap in to the open goal not stand. After Gannon was cautioned, Ahmad stepped up to the spot and sent the keeper the wrong way. As against Molesey, Ahmad coolly converted the spot kick won by the pace and commitment of Ojukwa.

Eat dust, goalkeeper

K's spent the rest of the second half pushing forward, but it wasn't until a minute from time that Ojukwa finally got the goal he should have had many times over already. A Richard Taylor free kick allowed Ojukwa to break through the defence, where he picked up the ball on the left side of the box. Demonstrating his skills, Ojukwa controlled the ball before turning to strike across the face of Gannon into the bottom right corner of the net. A richly deserved goal sealed the three points for the K's.

Victory over Burgess Hill puts K's on a league winning streak of three matches, which is, remarkably, the best winning streak the club has had in a league in three years. It is an old piece of footballing wisdom that too many cup games can make your league form suffer. It seems the adage is applying to K's, with two cup eliminations providing for another league victory.

Sat 17th Sep 2005
Leylands Park
Isthmian League Division One
Burgess Hill1
Lee, Ahmad (pen), Ojukwa
1Chuck Martini
2Scott Bennetts
3Richard Taylor
4Scott Corbett
5Julian Sills
6Stuart Reeks
7Mazin Ahmad
8Bashiru Alimi
9Kenny Ojukwa
10Damian Panter16
11Martyn Lee
12Michael Brady
14Ian Dickens
15Mark Rhodes
16Paul Vines10
17Jon Ashwood
Match Report By
Kevin O'Connor