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Dartford 1-0 Kingstonian

Kingstonian have not played in the same league as any Essex teams since the season before last, but that doesn't seem to prevent the perennial away trips to the north side of the estuary. Last year saw two cup appearances away to Essex sides but this year's first foray over the Dartford crossing was, confusingly, to play that very team.

Away matches in that part of the country have yielded little for K's fans to celebrate, and Saturday's game was no exception. A mixed performance from the boys in the hoops combined with a strong display from the Darts, and at least a moderate amount of questionable refereeing decisions led to a disappointing 1-0 defeat.

Left out for the K's for injury and illness respectively were Steve Symes and Martyn Lee. Aliy Kyezu was left on the bench in favour of Jon Coke, who had a strong game in the holding role. Tony Reid started just behind the striking pair of Danny Morris and James Rose, while at the back, somewhat counter-intuitively, Scott Smith slotted in at right back with Paul Wetherall on the left.

Less than a minute into the match the Darts were awarded a penalty for an alleged Julian Sills tug on Dave Martin. Brendan Cass stepped up for the Darts but his effort was weak and predictable, and Luke Garrard dived early to pluck off the shot.

The early boost spurred on Dartford, though, and they had the best of the opening exchanges. The first real chance from open play came after 15 minutes when Brendan Cass broke through the K's defence to blast one at the top left corner. Fortunately for Kingstonian, Garrard pulled off a stunning save to tip the ball over the bar.

K's only had two noteworthy chances from the first half. Both were off the head of Rose with one saved and the other missing the target. K's had periods of pressure though, but without really producing in the final third; a good half a dozen corners produced little to shout about.

Garrard continued to perform well and pulled off a couple more convincing saves. He was unlucky not to keep a clean sheet, when in the dying minutes of the first half, Dave Martin beat two defenders to cross over the keeper's head, where a completely unmarked Jay May headed in to give the Darts their eventual winner.

In the early part of the first half K's looked eager to get back in to the game. Early chances from corners produced a couple of solid efforts. Just a minute after the break, Sills headed down to Richard Taylor and but for a defender in the way, the two centre backs could have linked up to produce the equaliser. Moments later another corner fell eventually to Sills again, this time at his feet, and his low effort forced Kevin Hudson's best save of the match.

Hudson saves from Sills

Kingstonian continued to badger the Dartford defence and produced a couple more chances. Scott Corbett almost converted with a well taken free kick and Tony Reid hit over the bar from a long cross. Dean Lodge had the best chance when a well placed cross landed right on his head, but he was unable to steer the ball past the keeper and in the end it was an easy save for Hudson.

K's had at least two half decent penalty shouts in quick succession midway through the half. A well crossed ball from Reid found Lodge in the box. His shot was deflected and the ensuing goal line melee produced a brace of strong handball shouts. Neither was given.

Dartford had a goal disallowed for a blatant push on Garrard, who otherwise managed to command his area well and produced a good second half performance.

Overall, the game was a mixed bag for Kingstonian. There were strong performances from Garrard and Coke, but inconsistency and, at times, sloppiness elsewhere. Defensively, K's performed well against a side with a goal difference of +6, but if they are to finish at the sharp end of the league, something needs to be done about the team's ability to push forward and perform in the final third. And it needs to be done quickly.

Saturday 26th August 2006
(Dartford A)
Stuart McIntyre interview
[WMA file - 8:01 - 1,928Kb]

Sat 26th Aug 2006
Thurrock Hotel (Thurrock FC)
Isthmian League Division One South
1Luke Garrard
2Scott Smith
3Paul Wetherall
4Scott CorbettCautioned
5Julian Sills
6Richard Taylor
7Dean Lodge
8Jon Coke
9James Rose16
10Daniel Morris14
11Tony Reid
12Asher Hudson
14Wes Harrison10
15Aliy Kyezu
16Pablo Jenkins9
17Stephen Windegaard
Match Report By
Kevin O'Connor