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Kingstonian 2-2 Dover Athletic

Dover were the visitors to Kingsmeadow for a much anticipated meeting of former Nationwide Conference rivals. On paper Kingstonian held the pre-match edge, with a three month unbeaten run in the league and a head to head record boasting just a single defeat in eleven games against The Whites.

K's were however without the presence of Richard Martin, who excelled in his three month spell with the club. The young goalkeeper, recalled by Brighton, was on the bench as the Seagulls travelled to Coventry's new ground.

Jonty Venter came in for his debut and was called into action as early as the second minute, making a fine save to tip over an Anthony Hogg free kick. Club captain Julian Sills returned at the back after missing the midweek Surrey Cup tie, whilst Steve Potterill joined him to make a back three alongside Richard Taylor, who recovered from a midweek knock.

Another player returning to the starting line up, James Rose, made his presence felt at the other end, heading just wide of the target with veteran goalkeeper Paul Hyde rooted to his spot. Hyde was on his toes when coming for a Taylor long throw, though failed to gather, laving Rose to play the ball across the box for Sills. His volleyed effort was however straight at the goalkeeper and he gathered without much difficulty.

James Rose tussles with Craig Cloke
Photo: Tom Dulat

Sills was of at the heart of the action back in his own box, clearing away a dangerous James Rodgers cross for a corner which was subsequently headed wide.

Kingstonian's best opening came just after the half hour mark from the creative force of Martyn Lee, who cut inside from the right channel before sliding a through-ball into the path of Tony Reid, opposed by Hyde rushing off his line. The duelling pair slid in, and whilst it was the striker who got his boot to the ball first, Hyde managed to just about get enough of his body in way to block.

The half's decisive moment came with seven minutes remaining until the interval. A Craig Cloke long throw - certainly long enough to challenge the hooped offerings of Taylor - caused problems as Julian Sills jumped to clear, inadvertently flicking the ball over the despairing Venter for what was, despite Craig Wilkins' pressure, an own goal.

Sills almost grabbed an instant equaliser at the other end, getting his head on to the end of a Paul Wetherall free kick. Hyde was however well positioned to make a decent stop.

Ian McDonald's half time changes signalled his intent, bringing on fans favourites Kenny Ojukwa and Mazin Ahmad. It was Scott Corbett, however, who had the early bustle of the second period, with a couple of quick-fire strikes going over.

Julian Sills again found himself in an advanced position, and having played James Rose in, the striker unleashed a low drive that Hyde turned around past his near post.

The visitors had a couple of good chances, firstly when James Rogers saw long range effort creep just wide across goal, and then when Craig Wilkins fired an effort over, but the more consistent pressure was now building at the other end.

After a mazy Mazin Ahmad run had been abruptly curtailed in the middle, Martyn Lee delivered a free kick that was helped on by James Rose for Kenny Ojukwa to sneak in and deftly lift the ball over Hyde from six yards as the goalkeeper threw himself at the striker's feet in vain.

Salute King Kenny
Photo: Tom Dulat

K's were visibly lifted by the goal as they further upped their game, and it wasn't long before a second followed, albeit in rather messy circumstances.

Sills headed against the post from a Taylor throw before Craig Cloke seemingly blocked the follow-up effort with his arm. As a melee developed, Cloke ended on the ground and almost inevitably handled again as his opponents went for the final touch, which did eventually see the ball blasted into the back of the net. The penalty had already been awarded by this stage.

As Cloke lay injured on the floor, the referee considered his options and ultimately chose a booking to be sufficient for the defender. Following a lengthy delay it was Ahmad who stepped up to take the kick, sending Hyde the wrong way and the crowd into raptures.

With just over twenty minutes remaining, Dover responded well to the turnaround and mounted a spell of pressure which eventually led to an equaliser from Shane Hamshare. The source, unsurprisingly, was a Cloke long throw which the defence failed to clear, leaving the midfielder space to strike past Venter into the bottom corner.

Venter had a moment of concern in the final minutes when his short kick was returned even shorter by Steve Potterill. Substitute Micheal Smissen came out of the challenge with Venter with the ball, and with the goalkeeper lying stricken, an open goal beckoning, albeit at a widening angle. The angle, combined with the fast covering huge frame of Richard Taylor, was seemingly enough to put the Dover player off as his shot could only find the side netting.

One final effort saw Tommy Tyne rise to head goalwards, but Venter was comfortably behind it to ensure the game ended level.

Despite the game not being of the highest quality, it was an intriguing affair nonetheless. The visitors had the better opening and ending, but Kingstonian crucially grabbed a couple of goals whilst on top to ensure that their fine record holds against The Whites, who they will visit in little over a month's time for the return fixture.

Sat 4th Feb 2006
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Division One
Ojukwa, Ahmad (pen)
Dover Athletic2
1Jonty Venter
2Paul Wetherall17
3Steve Symes
4Scott CorbettCautioned
5Julian Sills
6Richard Taylor
7Steve Potterill
8Bashiru Alimi
9James Rose
10Tony Reid12
11Martyn Lee
12Kenny Ojukwa10
14Michael Brady
15Jon Coke
16Stuart Booth
17Mazin Ahmad2
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi