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Lymington NM 2-4 Kingstonian

An impressive FA Trophy run may have done much to paper over the cracks of Kingstonian's poor league form but with the club sliding closer and closer to the lower reaches in recent weeks, it was imperative that their two month streak without a league win was broken. The streak was broken, with a 4-2 win over Lymington & New Milton that was marked by some of the best attacking play that K's have scored in some time.

Fawcett's Field

K's planned to name an unchanged side from that which drew against Ramsgate in midweek but these plans were scuppered in the warm-up. Steve Symes, who has impressed so much at left-back recently, picked up an injury and was replaced by Wayne Noad. He came in at right-back with Jon Coke switching to the left.

It was the home side that actually started the brighter of the two, giving K's a major early scare. James Stokoe hit a powerful low drive from outside the penalty area which goalkeeper Richard Martin tipped onto the inside of the post. The ball spun clear for a corner but a minute later Stokoe had K's on the back foot again, heading narrowly wide after a cross from his captain Darren Powell.

Kingstonian have regularly played well this season but so often lacked the sparks of magic which turn territory and possession into goals. Today those sparks were in abundance though and saw the side take the lead against the run of play on twelve minutes. Mazin Ahmad fooled the defence with a pair of stepovers and knocked the ball across to Bashiru Alimi. The midfielder, rarely known for his long range shooting, fired the ball low and hard from twenty-five yards and saw it swerve away from the despairing dive of goalkeeper Mark Watson and nestle in the bottom corner.

The strike gave K's some confidence and they began to put their hosts under more pressure. A James Rose header into the box caused Adam Lang to slip and then handle the ball on the ground. Neither the referee nor the linesman saw the incident though. K's were almost made to regret this immediately but Lee Chudy blazed over after a corner and James Rowe missed the target from distance.

Rowe had been teed up by Peter "PeeWee" Smith, a talented young left-sided player who has attracted the interest of AFC Bournemouth. Smith was by a long way Lymington's best player and proved to be the root of most of Kingstonian's problems throughout the day. On thirty-six minutes he came close when he fired a shot across the face of Martin's goal and then three minutes later he orchestrated the equaliser. A superb run cutting infield could not be stopped by anybody in a hooped shirt and he played Chudy in on goal. The striker made no mistake, beating Martin comfortably.

Kingstonian showed fantastic character though by striking straight back. A cynical foul on Ahmad by Lang gave K's a free kick on the right flank. Ahmad aimed the set piece towards the far post where Richard Taylor headed into the danger area and James Rose poked the ball home on the volley from close range - his third goal in as many games since returning to Kingsmeadow.

Taylor heads as Rose prepares to pounce

The strike sent K's into the interval 2-1 up but perhaps someone left the half-time oranges at home because when they emerged they suffered their worst spell of the game. Watson made a good save from Ahmad early on but the Linnets soon began to take full control of the game. Smith continued to look like a threat every time he got the ball but when Lymington's equaliser came it was from an entirely different source.

Lang fired in a cross from the left that left Martin in no-mans land; the ball swung away from him and Kevin James was able to let the ball bounce before heading the ball into the half-open net. It was a soft way to concede a goal and K's were lucky a minute later not to go 3-2 down. Powell, who twice scored with his head when Lymington knocked K's out of the League Cup, saw a header from a corner cleared off the line.

The pressure was relieved for K's though, in somewhat unusual circumstances, by the referee. After an off-the-ball incident between Lang and Julian Sills, he wasted many minutes trying and failing to establish what had happened behind his back. By the time he had sent both players from the field to clean blood from their faces, dealt with arguments from both teams and both benches, fussed over the legality of a Taylor throw-in and instructed team captains Sills and Powell to calm their troops down, a good five minutes had passed with no play. Lymington seemed to lose the momentum they had gained and K's had time to regroup.

The Linnets, most of whose supporters chose to sing for AFC Wimbledon rather than their own team, had another good chance which Martin foiled by bravely rushing off his line before they fell onto the back foot. K's regained the lead for the third time when Ahmad played a clever one-two with Reid and got to the by-line. He pulled the ball back to Ojukwa, who without getting much power on his shot, managed to squeeze the ball through Watson's legs from eight yards out to the delight of the travelling fans.

As Watson, Lang and Smith all lay in despair on the goal-line, Lymington seemed broken in body and spirit but to their credit they fought back immediately and were unlucky not to equalise once more. A free kick was pumped into the box and was headed to James who blasted a volley goalwards from close range. Martin, who had been at fault for the second goal, redeemed himself spectacularly by getting down to make a remarkable reaction save with his legs.

K's went down the other end and finished the match off. Ahmad beat Lang with a series of moves possibly stolen from Strictly Coming Dancing and fired a low cross into the box. It caught a deflection which took it past Watson and Reid got there to head into the unguarded net from two yards out. The goal gave Ahmad his third assist of the game and Reid his fifth goal in nine games.

The victory was a big one for K's and did much to ease the ugly threat of yet another relegation. As Sutton and Walton have proven recently, this sort of league position in December does not necessarily mean that the team are out of the hunt for promotion, although it will now be extremely difficult. If they can maintain this sort of attacking form and cut out the mistakes at the back though, they will be formidable opposition for anyone in the Ryman League.

Sat 10th Dec 2005
Fawcett's Field
Isthmian League Division One
Lymington NM2
Alimi, Rose, Ojukwa, Reid
1Richard Martin
2Jonathan Coke
3Richard Taylor
4Scott Corbett
5Julian Sills
6Mazin Ahmad
7Wayne Noad
8Bashiru Alimi
9Tony Reid
10James Rose
11Kenny OjukwaCautioned
12Paul Wetherall
14Ryan Adams
15Michael Brady
17Mark Torcaso
Match Report By
Simon Grier