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Kingstonian 1-0 Fulham

Kingstonian's encouraging start to pre-season continued with a victory over a Fulham XI. The 1-0 triumph was K's fourth win in five games and a second consecutive clean sheet. The Cottagers' side, comprising a mix of first team squad players and youngsters, were tidy and well organised but rarely produced much to trouble Chuck Martini and could find no answer to a memorable Mazin Ahmad goal.

K's again chose to line up in a 4-4-2 formation. Mark Ciori, Steve Sanders and Stuart Reeks were the men chosen alongside Julian Sills at the back this time as Ian McDonald continued to search for his best defensive line-up. The most notable names on the Fulham teamsheet included Elvis Hammond and Liam Rosenior among six others listed on their website as being in the first team squad.

It took just two minutes for K's to threaten the side of Premiership hopefuls when Mark Watson came close, heading a deep Ciori cross wide. Thereafter there were few chances for some twenty minutes though as a combination of solid defending and overzealous linesmen combined to snuffle any attacks and neither K's nor Fulham could find a good final ball.

On twenty-five minutes it appeared that the visitors had taken the lead. The pace of Rosenior saw him get the better of first Ciori and then Reeks. His low cross was tapped home from close range by Chris James but the flag was up and the scores remained level. A minute later Tony Reid latched onto a sloppy back pass and fired narrowly over as the game began to open up.

Kingstonian took the lead just before the half-hour mark in spectacular fashion. Ahmad beat three men with a fine run before firing an inch-perfect strike into the bottom corner from at least twenty-five yards. In 38 Premiership games against sides packed with international stars it is doubtful that Fulham will concede a better goal all season.

Their best spell came in the period shortly before half-time. The pace of Hammond proved difficult for K's and on forty minutes he beat Reeks to force a save from Martini. Five minutes later he again had an opportunity when Martini could only get his fingertips to a cross. Off-balance at the far post however, he was unable to direct his half-volley goalwards. Deep into injury time Martini was a mere spectator as James' vicious long-range drive slammed into the post. K's held on though and after the break came out looking much more solid again.

Sills has been superb throughout pre-season and was a continual thorn in Fulham's side as they failed to find a breakthrough in a drab second half. He made two superb blocks from James and Rosenior and kept Martini's workload mostly limited to dealing with crosses. One exception was on 63 minutes when Martini made an excellent near-post block from Rosenior but then a minute later Sanders came close for K's after a slick one-two with Ahmad.

Ahmad caused Fulham more problems on 67 minutes when he beat two men cutting in from the right and forced Mark Davidson into a reaction save from his near post shot. The rebound did not quite sit up for Watson and Fulham scrambled the ball away.

Ahmad was the instigator of most of K's attacking play and he won a number of free kicks as Fulham struggled to deal with his high-tempo dribbling. Liam Fontaine picked up a booking for a particularly cynical trip from behind as Ahmad led a counter attack. The Cottagers defence always looked comfortable defending Kingstonian set pieces though with Fontaine impressive in the air.

Both sides introduced numerous substitutes towards the end and the chances once more dried up. K's lead rarely looked threatened and eventually the final whistle blew to give them a confidence-boosting victory. The sides were evenly matched throughout the night and Chris Coleman might well have left Kingsmeadow wondering which of the two teams is being groomed for Premiership football.

Sills and Ahmad were the stars of the Kingstonian show but the whole side played well together. Ahmad looked delighted as he collected his well-earned Man of the Match award from Kingston Mayor Yogan Yoganathan. With three more friendlies to go McDonald still has time to finalise the eleven that will start at Leatherhead - and if this form can be continued then K's should hit the ground running when the League campaign begins on August 20.

Wed 3rd Aug 2005
Kingsmeadow Stadium
1Chuck Martini
2Steve Sanders
3Marc Cioni
4Scott Corbett
5Julian Sills
6Stuart Reeks
7Mazin Ahmad
8Bashiru Alimi
9Tony Reid
10Mark Watson
11Martyn Lee
12Richard Taylor3
13Alan Hughes
14Kenny Ojukwa10
15Ian Dickens4
16Luke Purcell
17Mark Rhodes8
18Frazer Muscat7
19Jon Coke
20Paul Wiltshire
21Ben Yiadom
22James Reeves
23Jon Ashwood1
Match Report By
Simon Grier