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Kingstonian 0-3 Whyteleafe

With Kingstonian giving a debut to new signing Chris Sharpling, fans were in an expectant mood before Monday evening's home fixture against Whyteleafe. However, long before the final whistle, many of the same fans were heading for home after witnessing a leaden performance by the K's.

After just three minutes of the game Stuart Reeks handled an innocuous looking cross, gifting the visitors an early penalty. Sean Rivers stepped up to bury the ball into the back of the net, sending Luke Garrard the wrong way in the process.

Debutant Sharpling found use for his pace early in the game, chasing the long balls that became characteristic of Kingstonian's evening. But Carl Emberson in the Whyteleafe goal was always first to the ball. After one such effort, Emberson released play down the left wing. Whyteleafe were unlucky not to double their score, as a quick cross failed to find the unmarked strikers head by a very narrow margin.

Kingstonian worked the ball back into their opponents half, whereby Sharpling was felled outside the box by a clumsy challenge. From the resulting free-kick Neil Lampton curled the ball towards the far post, only for another Kingstonian head to deflect the ball wide of the goal and out for a goal kick.

Just a minute later, Kingstonian won a corner. Martyn Lee swung the ball into the middle of the goalmouth and Emberson came to collect. However the goalkeeper fell unchallenged in the box, dropping the ball at the same time. Fortune favoured Whyteleafe, with the ball falling closest to a defender, who was able to clear comfortably to safety.

As Whyteleafe began to press forwards, Wes Goggin went in for a loose ball, but connected with the player instead and found himself in the referee's book. However, Kingstonian did benefit from a poor offside call from the linesman, after a well timed run was incorrectly judged offside. Whyteleafe can feel a little unlucky that they did not have a one-on-one with Garrard.

With the first half turning into a tedious sequence of long balls and misplaced passes, the game was crying out for some creativity. However it was Whyteleafe, not Kingstonian, who found inspiration. Another break down the left wing and a low cross found Danny Platel, who turned and shot into the defenders legs. The ball ricocheted back to Platel, who found himself with the time to place his shot away from the defender on the line and into the netting.

By this time Kingstonian looked devoid of ideas, and heads began to drop. Another wave of Whyteleafe attack saw Garrard having to back-pedal to tip a deep shot from the right wing over his crossbar. Whyteleafe drilled in the corner, and Danny Arkwright was on hand to glance the header past a static defence. It was a well taken goal, but lacking any significant challenge.

Kingstonian appeared for the second half very early indeed, making a couple of substitutions. Neil Lampton was replaced by Simon Huckle, and Stuart Reeks by Glenn Boosey. For the early stages Kingstonian looked a different team, closing the opposition down, challenging fifty-fifty balls and generally making life a bit more difficult for Whyteleafe. In particular Bobby Traynor deserves mention for showing some grit. On three separate occasions he chased down lost causes, won the ball, and was able to deliver crosses into the box. However Kingstonian failed to convert this early pressure into anything more meaningful.

Whyteleafe continued to do the basics well, passing in the middle of the park, making runs, and putting Kingstonian under pressure. A free-kick was bent over the wall but also narrowly over the crossbar, whilst Whyteleafe also had a far post header saved by Garrard.

Kingstonian's best chance of the game came as Huckle drove a low cross from the right wing into the centre of the goal. The lively Bobby Traynor cut across his marker and flicked the ball towards the goal, but his shot struck the outside of the post and went out for a goal kick.

Whyteleafe played some fluent football, but having gone one-nil down so early in the game Kingstonian never gave themselves a chance. Time after time they lost possession when under no real pressure, either hitting the ball aimlessly upfield, or passing sloppily to their opponents. Overall this was an extremely lacklustre performance by the K's, and one that they will be desperate to put behind them as soon as possible.

Monday 26th February 2007
(Whyteleafe H)
Alan Dowson interview
[WMA file - 5:26 - 1,312Kb]

Mon 26th Feb 2007
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Division One South
1Luke Garrard
2Stuart Reeks16
3Richard Taylor
4Julian Sills
5Wayne FinnieCautioned
6Tommy Moorhouse
7Martyn Lee12
8Wes GogginCautioned
9Bobby Traynor
10Chris Sharpling
11Neil Lampton14
12Lee Riddell7
14Simon Huckle11
15Scott Corbett
16Glenn Boosey2
17Stephen Windegaard
Match Report By
Darren Bell