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Kingstonian 3-3 Tooting & Mitcham

Kingstonian treated their largest attendance of the season to a cracking 3-3 draw against local rivals Tooting & Mitcham. Despite the freezing conditions, four hundred and forty four fans were delighted to see a wealth of attacking, open football.

Kingstonian kicked off the first half, attacking towards the Athletics Ground. A lively opening saw the K's win a free kick conveniently just yards from the corner of Tooting's penalty box. Neil Lampton struck the free-kick towards the far post, but despite two Kingstonian heads rushing to poke the ball home, the ball curled beyond their reach into the back of the net, leaving the Tooting goalkeeper Dave King stranded.

Tooting nearly levelled the game just moments later, former Kingstonian striker Ronnie Green striking a powerful low shot from the edge of the box. Luke Garrard saved the initial shot, but the ball bounced out to Paul Vines, who found himself tackled by Richard Taylor, before he could tee up a shot. And Garrard nearly gifted Tooting a goal as he miskicked the ball straight to the feet of an attacker. Fortunately for Kingstonian, the Tooting striker was unable to control this unexpected gift, the ball going out for a Kingstonian goal-kick.

After 14 minutes, Tooting managed to level the scores. Ben Abbey found himself in space inside the box, and fired home a forceful volley which squeezed between Garrard and the near post. Following the kick-off, Kingstonian won a throw near the Tooting penalty area. This time Bobby Traynor had the chance to restore the K's lead, but unlike Abbey's strike, Traynor's volley flew over the crossbar.

As Tooting worked the ball back inside Kingstonian's half, Ronnie Green found himself with an unexpected chance to put the visitors in the lead. As he latched onto a defence splitting pass, using his pace to sail past the defenders, he spotted Garrard off his line. With the goalkeeper stranded in no mans land, he tried to chip the ball over Garrard, who backpeddled furiously, and was able to reach the ball in time to make a clearance.

This time it was Kingstonian's chance to turn defence into attack. Neil Lampton picked the ball up just outside the penalty box, and ran past his marker. As he continued over the half-way line, the Tooting defence continued to back off, giving Lampton the opportunity to run the ball at them. As he neared the Tooting box, Lampton spotted Saheed Sankoh in space. He threaded the ball past a defender to the on-loan striker, who duly buried the ball into the top left hand corner, leaving Dave King no chance to save the shot.

Back of the net

After 34 minutes Alan Dowson was forced into a change, as Richard Taylor picked up a knock and was replaced by David Shin. However Tooting took advantage of the decreasing numbers in Kingstonian's defence, Ronnie Green finding himself with the space to tee up a shot from the edge of the box. His low drive across the goalmouth beat the outstretched figure of Garrard to make the game two-all.

As half-time approached Tooting had the opportunity to get their noses in front more than once. First, after a shot from outside the box, Garrard spilled the catch at the feet of a defender, but was able to tip the follow up past the post for a Tooting corner. Then Paul Vines, running onto another through ball, spotted Garrard off his line. This time the lob sailed wide of the posts, and so the sides went into half-time with the score level.

After the break, both sides pushed forwards looking for the win. Ben Abbey had an excellent opportunity to put Tooting ahead, running through the last line of defence with just Garrard to beat. But the Kingstonian stopper dived bravely at Abbey's feet to deny Tooting a third.

Meanwhile Martyn Lee's pinpoint corner found Sankoh unmarked inside the box. His headed beat the stranded King, but was blocked on the line by a defender and cleared.

The second half was a scrappier affair than the first, as play was broken up by injuries and substitutions, leaving Kingstonian without a recognised centre-back. More of the game was played out in the centre of the pitch, making it a less end-to-end affair. However there were still opportunities for both sides to claim victory.

Goalmouth action

Wes Goggin chased down a lost cause, putting the defender under pressure, and losing the ball. Goggin looked up and saw Martyn Lee making an angled run towards the goal from the right. His pass dropped to the feet of Lee, but the shot clipped the outstretched leg of a defender and spun safely into the hands of the Tooting goalkeeper.

King catches

Garrard then had to keep Kingstonian in the game. Tooting worked the ball up the left wing, and pumped a deep cross into the box. The resulting header fired the ball low and towards the near post, but Garrard was equal to the effort, tipping it wide for a corner. However, on 81 minutes Tooting edged in front, after Paul Vines finished off a Tooting break with a tidy finish to beat Garrard.

As the minutes began to tick down, Kingstonian looked to be finished. However Bobby Traynor chased down a long ball over the Tooting defence, and waited an age for the ball to settle before smashing his volley past King for a last minute equaliser, to the delight of the K's fans behind the goal.

Whilst Alan Dowson must be delighted that his side showed a level of effort that was so dearly missing the previous week against Fleet Town, he must be concerned by the injuries to Kingstonian's defence, and the number of opportunities Tooting had to equalise. However it must also be remembered that this is a Tooting side pushing for promotion, whilst Kingstonian never looked outclassed by the side eight league places above them.

Saturday 24th March 2007
(Tooting & Mitcham United H)
Alan Dowson interview
[WMA file - 4:59 - 1,201Kb]

Sat 24th Mar 2007
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Division One South
Lampton, Sankoh, Traynor
Tooting & Mitcham3
1Luke Garrard
2Scott Corbett
3Jon Coke
4Wayne Finnie14
5Richard Taylor16
6Simon HuckleCautioned
7Neil Lampton12
8Wes Goggin
9Bobby Traynor
10Saheed Sankoh
11Martyn Lee
12Danny Summers7
14Nick Rundell4
15Glenn Boosey
16David Shin5
17Stephen Windegaard
Match Report By
Darren Bell