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Leatherhead 0-0 Kingstonian

Before Kingstonian's opening Ryman 1 fixture, a trip to Leatherhead, former K's supremo Chris Kelly (now marketing manager of Leatherhead) allegedly predicted that K's are "on their way to becoming a park side." If that is the case, however, then it offers a very poor reflection on his own side after the two teams were evenly matched in opening their respective campaigns with a tight goalless draw at Fetcham Grove.

Midfielder Scott Bennetts made his K's debut having signed from Metropolitan Police earlier in the week, while Chuck Martini, Michael Brady, Brahim Eloumani and Damian Panter all appeared in hooped shirts for the first time in a competitive game. Julian Sills and Scott Corbett made welcome returns to the club while just four of last year's squad started, including skipper Bashiru Alimi.

Martyn Lee was involved early on threatening Leatherhead with two free kicks. The first was headed wide by Stuart Reeks while with the second he shot - narrowly over the bar. The Tanners were not going to let K's settle down easily though and a long range Jamie Beer effort did not clear Martini's crossbar by far.

Leatherhead's Tommy Dunn, like Martini a former Sutton United goalkeeper, made a good block on eleven minutes from a low Tony Reid shot. K's next chance was skilfully created by Panter after linking up well with Lee but in what was to be a recurring theme for the game his finish failed to match the standards of the build-up.

The prolific Marc Charles-Smith was always likely to be Leatherhead's biggest dangerman but K's were aware of the threat and rarely gave him much freedom. On twenty-six minutes he found himself with a good shooting chance but before he knew it Brady had robbed him with a superb sliding tackle.

Steve Sargeant for Leatherhead and Panter and Reid for K's all tried their luck from distance but failed to hit the target and when Dunn saved from Lee near the end of the half the sides were destined to go in level.

Just after the break Dunn was called into action again, saving a Lee volley. The Tanners began to assert a degree of authority on the game though in the early part of the second half, with Sargeant testing Martini with a volley and then being part of an impressive move with Dave Stevens than culminated in Paul Wetherall firing over. On the hour mark a counter-attack produced their best opportunity of the game as Charles-Smith rounded Martini only to see Reeks charge back clear his effort off the line. At the resulting corner Lee Doherty's header hit the crossbar although Martini probably had the goal covered.

Corbett came close from twenty yards but it was shortly afterwards that K's had their best chance of the game. The hard-working Reid produced a strong run down the left and picked out Lee with an accurate low cross but the midfielder could not keep his half-volley down. Next Alimi pumped a dangerous cross into to box but Bennetts could not quite reach it at the far post.

The final few minutes were rather quiet and the game finished in a goalless draw that neither side would be too unhappy with. Leatherhead only just missed out on the playoffs last year so a point at Fetcham Grove is no mean feat for K's. Fans will expect more from the forthcoming home games though, with K's desperate to break the astonishing streak of not having won a competitive match at Kingsmeadow for ten months.

Reid held the ball up well and was generally a handful for Leatherhead. The defence was strong with Reeks having arguably his best ever game for K's and the rest of the back four plus goalkeeper Martini all looking solid. It is no secret though that K's major problem is a lack of firepower up front - however, there is clearly a good backbone to the side and with the addition of a goalscoring striker there is a good chance that K's will be at the sharp end of Ryman 1 come the end of the season.

Sat 20th Aug 2005
Fetcham Grove
Isthmian League Division One
1Chuck Martini
2Michael BradyCautioned
3Brahim Eloumani
4Scott Corbett
5Julian Sills
6Stuart Reeks
7Scott Bennetts
8Bashiru AlimiCautioned
9Tony Reid
10Damian Panter16
11Martyn LeeCautioned
12Dayo Ositola
14Richard Taylor
15Ian Dickens
16Mark Rhodes10
17Jon Ashwood
Match Report By
Simon Grier