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Cray Wanderers 1-1 Kingstonian

Luke Garrard pulled off a series of stunning saves to keep Kingstonian firmly in the promotion hunt.

Although the team remain just outside the last play-off place only on goal difference - Garrard's repeated saves denied opponents Cray Wanderers what would have been the winning goal in the last 15 minutes, after Dean Lodge spiced up the game with a superb solo equaliser minutes into the second half. With pressure building on defences Kingstonian were also able create chances.

Trailing at half time to a header from Ryan Mason, K's manager Alan Dowson replaced the ever-busy Danny Summers with Steve Goddard and this proved the fillip to score.

Latching on to a pass by Tommy Williams out from the midfield, Lodge broke free of the defence and outflanked the keeper who did his best to bring him down. Stumbling but keeping on his feet, and thereby letting the keeper off what would have been a red card, Lodge then shot low from the right into the back of the net by the near post from 20 yards.

Dean Lodge strikes
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

The first half had all been the home side, who were looking to extend their 26-match unbeaten run, but as the half went on so the game began to slow right down.

Ross Lover registered the first chance of the match when he picked up a short chip on the right and shot across the goal in the eighth minute. A minute later Michael Power's header went over after ex-K's Colin Luckett crossed.

Within the minute the visitors finally got onto the shots-on-goal sheet when Summers headed over from a Simon Huckle free kick.

Garrard then produced the first of his saves when he kept out Jamie Wood's 25-yard shot in the 16th minute. Lewis Wood was quick on the follow-up and this time Garrard got his feet to the ball to deny.

In the 23rd minute Jon Coke released Lodge on the right and as he looked set to start a long run up the flank, he miss-hit the ball and it went away from him.

Again Jamie Lewis forced another save from Garrard, this time with his fingertips. From the resulting corner, with the ball seeming going out of defence, Lover swung the ball back out to Mason, whose header forced its way past Garrard this time through a packed area.

And with that Cray looked like they were happy and sat back on the lead, producing the odd wayward pass. Kingstonian were unable to do much better.

A 34th minute free kick was an exception. Clipping the edge of the wall, Glen Knight was forced to dive to Lodge's feet as Lodge charged in. Then minutes later Traynor was unable to make up the ground after Mark Willy's back pass to his keeper.

Dean Lodge in action
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Again Knight was forced to save to feet, when Lodge's header bounced awkwardly for Summers. But the last action of the half belonged to Cray and Lover, whose weak shot was easily saved by Garrard diving to his own right in the 43rd minute.

With Goddard now on for Summers, K's began the second half galvanised. Wayne Finnie took the first chance in the 47th minute but then came Lodge's goal in the 48th minute. And if that was not enough minutes later Lodge then nearly doubled the score when he picked up a ball from Traynor. Once again the diving keeper tried to bring him down, and once again Lodge refused to be bought down, stumbling but holding his feet. Unfortunately this time his shot went wide.

If Lodge had fallen either time then referee Ashley Slaughter would have had no hesitation in showing the red card to Knight as both times he was last man in defence.

Back came the home side and Luckett chipped a ball over from his free kick but this carried on over the bar in the 56th minute. Two minutes later Finnie was denied when his shot was gathered by Knight as Traynor was coming in to gather any mistake. A corner from Williams found Finnie's header who gave it to Traynor, before Williams bought it straight back to Finnie.

Tommy Williams in action
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Cray launched an immediate counter-attack and winning a throw in, Lover nearly finished it off but his shot went over the bar. Five minutes later though he was guilty of the squandering of the one of the easiest chances of the match. He picked up the ball from NJ Lampton, who failed to control the ball with no pressure on him at all, in front of his own goal. Lover then went over the bar again.

Then came another of Garrard's super saves. He stopped the ball from Power and with the rebounding ball Lewis Wood shot over the bar from 10 yards out. Poor control by Traynor and a shot by Williams kept Knight at the other end attentive.

With time starting to run out Garrard then made his best saves of the game. Power unlocked the K's defence with a pass to Lewis Wood and with the crowd awaiting a certain goal Garrard stopped a point blank shot, pushing it around the post.

Minutes later after Coke was dispossessed Garrard then made a double save in a crowded area.

The final chance of the game then went to Huckle who picked up a ball from Coke after Lodge regained the ball.

Neil Lampton in action
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Although the long trek across south London to Bromley proved winless, promotion pushing Kingstonian are only out of the play-offs by dint of their poorer goal difference. This run they must continue, especially as they next travel to Kent, and Chatham, where wins this season have been hard to come by. This is very possible and then they have the luxury of three home games to finish the regular season with - all very winnable on their form.

Sunday 30th March 2008
(Cray Wanderers A)
Alan Dowson interview
[WMA file - 3:57 - 948Kb]

Sun 30th Mar 2008
Hayes Lane (Bromley FC)
Isthmian League Division One South
Cray Wanderers1
1Luke Garrard
2Jason TurleyCautioned
3Jon Coke
4Simon Huckle
5Wayne Finnie
6Jamie BeerCautioned
7Tommy Williams
8Neil Lampton
9Dean Lodge
10Bobby Traynor
11Danny Summers12
12Steve Goddard11
14David Suchy
15Rob Sheridan
16Mark Watkins
17Luke Naughton
Match Report By
Michael Underwood