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Kingstonian 2-0 Hastings United

Kingstonian moved up to fifth place in the league table after a resilient two nil victory against play-off rivals Hastings United. The game was an effective six pointer with Ks on 63 points before the kick-off having played 37 games and Hastings on 60 points off the same number of matches.

The game was played in extremely windy conditions. A strong, blustery wind blew all night towards the Kingston Road End of the ground. The team kicking that way had a particular advantage, as James Rose almost inadvertently proved on 14 minutes. There had been a foul; the referee returned the ball to Rose who sportingly hoofed it towards the Hastings keeper Chris May, but the ball got high in the swirling wind and forced May to make an excellent diving save to divert it past the post!

Accordingly Kingstonian, kicking with the favour of the wind in the first half, really needed to secure a lead by half-time but for much of the first 45 minutes, it looked as if they would have no luck against a combative Hastings team. The best chances were coming from Geoff Pitcher with his wonderful set pieces, assisted by the wind and causing havoc in the Hastings defence. The first was held by May on 5 minutes; the second on 30 minutes skimmed through the defence and just missed the far post by a whisker; the third should have led to a goal on 34 minutes after Rose flicked on to Corbett who nodded on to Ojukwa, but the K's striker could only head over rather than under the bar.

In this first period, Hastings, resplendent in their amber tops, mainly concentrated on breaking down the wings, being hemmed in by the force of the wind. They had an early chance with a free kick just in front of the goal, but Eldridge's set piece cannoned off the Kingstonian wall to safety. When they got forward, they found Alan Hughes justifying his place ahead of Venter. He did especially well on 35 minutes to rush off his line and force Eldridge to fire into the side netting when the Hastings' player looked more like scoring than missing.

K's luck changed on the stroke of half time. Kenny Ojukwa sprinted onto a through ball and into the box. Hastings' captain Sean Ray challenged him for the ball, seemingly hauling him back. Ojukwa went sprawling but initially the referee seemed uninterested until he noticed the linesman flagging for a foul. After a consultation with his assistant, the referee returned to the box and sent the influential Ray off on the basis he had been the last man. After a great deal of commotion, James Rose stepped up and calmly converted the crucial penalty to the relief of the home fans.

Back of the net

Ks started the second half with two substitutions, Paul Wetherall coming on for Steve Potterill and Stuart Booth for Danny Ward. Hastings started well with 10 men, pressurising Ks with a free-kick which Wetherall cleared. The game started to become increasing fractious as Hastings got more frustrated, presumably disagreeing with the referee's decision to send off Ray and give a penalty in such an important game.

'I have the power'

Ks moved further into the lead on 56 minutes with a well taken goal. Richard Taylor's long throw was head back by Ojukwa and Scott Corbett finished with some style to double the lead.

The second goal effectively finished the game off, although Hastings continued to press with the benefit of the wind at their backs. There was an alarm shortly after K's second goal where Hughes did not secure a difficult free kick, but the follow up by Asante was blocked out. Hughes was generally solid, especially in coming for crosses and catching. As Hastings did their best to pressurise Ks, the home side got forward on a few occasions, the best chance coming when Alimi fired wide after a combination of Reid (replacing Geoff Pitcher with about quarter of an hour to go) and Booth had worked well.

The game came to an end with a final attack by Hastings, but Hughes imposed himself and it came to naught. This was a very important win for Kingstonian, and with six games to go, they have put themselves in a promising position.

Mon 27th Mar 2006
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Division One
Rose (pen), Corbett
Hastings United0
1Alan Hughes
2Steve Potterill12
3Jon Coke
4Scott Corbett
5Julian Sills
6Richard Taylor
7Geoff Pitcher14
8Bashiru Alimi
9James Rose
10Danny Ward15
11Kenny Ojukwa
12Paul Wetherall2
14Tony Reid7
15Stuart Booth10
16Michael Brady
17Jonty Venter
Match Report By
Jonathan Burt