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Kingstonian 1-1 Hastings United

Stuart McIntyre may have told K's Web that he does not feel like a lucky manager, but after his side scored a 93rd minute equaliser in a game which they had not had the better of by a long stretch, it is hard to believe that their struggling Sussex opponents feel any more fortunate right now.

After an opening flurry of pressure from K's in the first twenty minutes went unrewarded, the home side were outplayed for most of the rest of the game. That they were only 1-0 down by the closing seconds, through a Lee Carey strike that squirmed through Luke Garrard's hands, was mostly down to Hastings' poor finishing. Julian Sills, returning to the side after a spell on the bench, grabbed the late equaliser but the draw only served to mask another poor performance.

One thing K's have done consistently this year is start brightly and this game was no exception. Adolph Amoako had an early effort deflect wide off the post, Hastings 'keeper Lee Worgan charged out to deny Danny Morris after a superb Martyn Lee chip had set K's top scorer in on goal and then visiting skipper Sean Ray made a fine interception to stop Morris latching onto a fizzing low cross by Mazin Ahmad.

Kingstonian should have taken the lead on sixteen minutes. A short Ahmad corner was expertly chipped into the danger zone by Lee and a glancing Sills header was kept out by a combination of the post, Carey and Worgan. It rebounded to Tommy Moorhouse, who with the goal at his mercy side-footed wide from inside the six-yard box.

Ahmad teed up Stephen Broad who fired over from distance and then the ex-Chelsea midfielder came even closer four minutes later. A great chip by Moorhouse picked Broad out inside the box, he controlled it neatly and turned inside his marker before Worgan made an excellent parried save.

The only glimmer of hope for Hastings in this time was a Danny Ellis twenty-yarder that Garrard saved but K's failed to take advantage of their relentless pressure and the game swung in the opposite direction for more or less the rest of the game.

A splendid passing move saw Ellis cross for John Bradley, unmarked at the far post. K's escaped when Bradley miscontrolled the ball and it went wide, the first of a number of let-offs for the Surrey outfit. The next good chance fell to Sam Adams after Ahmad lost the ball in his own half, but he shot straight at Garrard and the goalkeeper made an impressive save.

Tim Olorunda was the next man to come close. Having got in behind the K's defence, Garrard blocked his angled shot. Olorunda got to the rebound and bundled it goalwards ahead of Danny Lavender, only for Asher Hudson to get back and scramble it off the line.

On balance the opening period had been about equal and it may have been fair had the two sides gone in level. The visitors took the lead six minutes before the interval though. A corner was cleared only as far Carey who cracked a low twenty-five yarder towards goal. Garrard probably saw it late due to the plethora of bodies still in the penalty box, but he nonetheless got to it and should have done better than to allow it to squirm past him.

Worgan made an impressive save on 52 minutes, from a curling Lee free kick, but would not make another save of note for some 41 minutes. Hastings looked by far the better side but failed to kill the game off.

A deep cross found Bradley unmarked at the far post but Garrard did well to save his header. Bradley came even closer a few minutes later but in truth should have scored. Olorunda bravely won a header and once again the K's backline was completely beaten. One-on-one, Bradley slotted the ball past Garrard and nearly everyone in the ground thought the ball was going in. Luckily for K's, it rebounded off the post and they remained in the game.

A Lodge shot was well blocked by Ray before the visitors had another trio of chances to seal all three points ten minutes from time. First, a long-range shot from Jimmy Elford was well saved by Garrard and then the K's defence was carved open once more only for substitute Ambrose Kamara to fire over from close range after a low cross. Olorunda had another go from distance but again Garrard was equal to it, pushing wide for a corner.

Hastings had let K's off the hook and in injury-time they were made to pay. A foul throw by Elford deep in his own half gave K's one last throw of the dice and they came up with a double six. Hudson's throw was knocked back to him by Lee and he picked out Sills, completely unmarked at the far post. Sills carefully directed his header past Worgan and the points were shared, much to the dismay of Hastings.

K's can bemoan the fact that it was an individual error that cost them their goal, but in truth Hastings had more good chances and it was only their own errors that meant more of them were not taken. Kingstonian's defence was once again breached far too often - it has not been helped by constant changes in personnel, with Sills and Hudson suffering injuries and Taylor and Symes suspensions this year, but Garrard is simply not getting the protection he needs from the back four. Free headers and one-on-ones have both been all too frequent occurrences for weeks now and today was no different.

K's did show a lot of fight at the end and for that they deserve credit, but it was not a performance that indicated any significant forthcoming improvement in form for McIntyre's side. K's may already be looking to next year now in their hope of being promoted from Ryman 1 South, and with all cup competitions a memory as well, it could be a long season at Kingsmeadow.

Saturday 11th November 2006
(Hastings United H)
Stuart McIntyre interview
[WMA file - 13:54 - 3,332Kb]

Sat 11th Nov 2006
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Division One South
Hastings United1
1Luke Garrard
2Asher Hudson
3Steve Symes
4Stephen BroadCautioned
5Danny Lavender
6Julian Sills
7Mazin Ahmad16
8Tommy Moorhouse
9Daniel Morris12
10Adolph Amoako
11Martyn Lee
12Tony Reid9
14Jon Coke
15Yinka Salaam
16Dean Lodge7
17Stephen Windegaard
Match Report By
Simon Grier