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Walton & Hersham 2-1 Kingstonian

Of all Kingstonian's pre-season friendlies, the trip to Walton & Hersham was always likely to be the most interesting. With the Swans having finished runners-up in Ryman 1 last year, K's were given the opportunity to test themselves against a team of the standard they need to be reaching in order to challenge for promotion. Ian McDonald's side gave a very good account of themselves and without a late blunder from trialist substitute goalkeeper Jon Ashworth would have walked away from Stompond Lane with a well-deserved draw.

Both sides made a slow start in wet conditions. The best early chance for K's fell to Mark Cioni after a Steve Sanders cross but his header was deflected wide for a corner. The strong Walton side gave little away and K's struggled to create chances though both sides were guilty of hitting too many unimaginative long balls in the early stages.

Poor marking saw Walton take the lead on nineteen minutes. A long free kick was headed back into the box and Gary Haylock quickly pounced to volley the ball straight past Chuck Martini from close range. Walton almost doubled their advantage a minute later but a sliding challenge from Ian Dickens deflected Haylock's effort over the bar.

It was not until the thirty-fourth minute that K's threatened to produce an equaliser. Some persistent work from Cioni on the left saw him beat two men and scramble the ball back to Damien Panter. He was unable to beat Nick Gindre though with his shot. Panter had another good chance just before the break but shot at a nice height for Gindre who again kept Walton ahead with a fine save.

Some half-time substitutions and a switch to a wing-back formation heralded an improvement in K's fortunes in the second half. The passing and interplay was vastly improved and Kingstonian began to take charge of the game, increasingly pressurising Gindre's goal.

Kenny Ojukwa headed a Brahim Eloumani free kick narrowly over. Tony Reid came close and then on the hour mark K's found the breakthrough. A teasing free-kick from Eloumani was handled in the penalty box by Neil Lampton, one of four ex-K's in the Walton side.

Mazin Ahmad stepped up and fired the spotkick low and hard past Gindre to give K's a deserved equaliser. Ahmad almost turned provider six minutes later with a free kick from the left but Gindre made an outstanding save from Reid's low cross.

K's introduced more substitutes midway through the half and rarely looked like scoring in the last twenty minutes but remained comfortable at the back - once again, Julian Sills played well and after coming off the bench Richard Taylor and Michael Brady put in good performances. In particular, a dramatic tackle from the latter denied Walton an excellent shooting chance near the end of the game.

Just minutes from the end Walton snatched the victory as Jon Ashworth misjudged a high long ball into his box. As it bounced back down behind him, a Swans striker was left with an open-goal but before he could tap the ball home the goalkeeper bought him down from behind. Fortunately for K's the referee showed leniency and declined to send him off but Lampton fired the spotkick home to secure a hard fought win for Walton.

Seven pre-season games have seen K's win five and lose two, although they will certainly feel they deserved a draw from today. Ian McDonald should have seen enough of most of the squad to now know what his strongest team will be. The side has showed creative flair coupled with solid defending. There are a couple of areas where the side will need to be improved but overall K's have to be happy with their pre-season and will be looking forward to the start of a new season.

Sat 13th Aug 2005
Stompond Lane
Not available
Walton & Hersham2
Ahmad (pen)
1Chuck Martini
2Steve Sanders
3Ian Dickens
4Scott Corbett
5Julian Sills
6Stuart Reeks
7Mazin Ahmad
8Bashiru Alimi
9Tony Reid
10Damian Pantner
11Mark Cioni
12Brahim Eloumani11
14Richard Taylor6
15Luke Purcell
16Michael Brady2
17Jon Ashwood1
18Kenny Ojukwa10
19Shane Franklin3
20Frazer Muscat
22Alan Hughes
Match Report By
Simon Grier