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Kingstonian 2-0 Metropolitan Police

With both clubs chasing promotion, three points from this fixture could make the difference for the rest of the season, for either side. With the visitors the only side to have kept a clean sheet against the K's since October, the onus was always on the boys in hoops to make sure that was not to be repeated. It was definitely a match where they needed to score first. But neither the memory of the trip to Imber court nor K's disappointing home form weighed on the minds of the players and by the time the ninety minutes were up, the three points were well deserved.

Stuart Booth replaced an injured Charley Side in the only change from the starting 11 who drew with Horsham. New signings Danny Ward and the returning Geoff Pitcher both made their debuts from the bench.

The first half was a fairly slow affair and a repeat lock-out looked on the cards. Neither side were able to make any ground early on, with Met Police showing the kind of play which has them running as the fourth best defensive side in the league. Kenny Ojukwa made the first of the running ten minutes in, playing the ball down the side of the box. Unable to keep it in he bounced it off a defender, which the keeper miraculously held on the line to prevent a corner.

Bashiru Alimi gets stuck in
Photo: Neil Harvey

Momentum began to get going with James Rose heading wide and a Bashiru Alimi free kick punched away. Met Police looked most likely to break the stalemate half an hour in when a corner presented two great opportunities. The ball was headed away by a Sills, but only to the edge of the box where it fell cleanly for the police. The first shot was blocked but it again fell nicely, this time for Met defender Paul Barrowcliff. Alan Hughes got down well and made a timely save to keep the match level.

The first half fizzled out much as it had begun and the teams went in level at the break. The second half opened with little more promise until a double substitution ten minutes in changed the complexion of the game. Paul Wetherall and Stuart Booth were replaced by new signings Ward and Pitcher respectively (below).

Danny Ward and Geoff Pitcher enjoying themselves
Photo: Neil Harvey

The substitutions had an immediate effect, with Pitcher and Ojukwa linking up well in attack. The Met defence held out though, and in the end it fell to set pieces for them to be undone. It looked like the first would come just after the hour mark when a Pitcher free kick from the edge of the area found Sills, but the header was flicked wide.

Less than two minutes later and Sills was able to make amends. Pitcher played the ball in from a free kick on the edge of the park, and the captain made no mistakes heading past former K Stuart MacKenzie for his seventh of the season.

K's continued to pressure after the goal, with Met Police never really looking like getting back into the game. The defence was still strong at both ends, leaving most of the play in the middle third. Five minutes from time, K's got the reward they deserved with a second set piece goal.

As Pitcher got ready to take the free kick, Ian McDonald got ready to make a sub, with Ojukwa to be replaced by Tony Reid. Pitcher crossed the ball low and it looked like it would be an easy take for MacKenzie. As if inspired by his imminent substitution, Ojukwa made his last touch of the ball count as he headed from right in front of the keeper's hands to double the advantage and seal the three points for the home side.

In this promotion six pointer, there are few K's fans who could have anything to complain about at full time. The return of former K's legend Geoff Pitcher was exciting enough in itself, even before he provided the two balls into the box which were to swing the match. Danny Ward also made a solid, if unspectacular debut. All in all, Kingstonian demonstrated that they are a strong side playing with promotion form. With only 7 league games left, the fans will be hoping it will stay that way.

Sat 25th Mar 2006
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Division One
Sills, Ojukwa
Metropolitan Police0
1Alan Hughes
2Steve Potterill
3Jon Coke
4Scott CorbettCautioned
5Julian Sills
6Richard Taylor
7Paul Wetherall15
8Bashiru Alimi
9James Rose
10Stuart Booth12
11Kenny Ojukwa14
12Danny Ward10
14Tony Reid11
15Geoff Pitcher7
16Steve Symes
17Jonty Venter
Match Report By
Kevin O'Connor