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Croydon Athletic 1-2 Kingstonian

Boss Alan Dowson ended a long Tuesday with double cause for celebration with the fireworks around Croydon finally tailing off into the stillness of a cold autumn night.

At five o'clock that morning he was present to see his wife give birth to daughter Jessica.

Seventeen hours later he led the players back across the pitch to the contingent of K's fans after a hard-fought win in the nine minutes of a game that saw Kingstonian shake off recent reversals.

First Dean Lodge found the back of the net, as the game seemed to be slipping away to another defeat, and then six minutes later in the 87th minute Bobby Traynor slotted away his fifth goal of the month, from the penalty spot.

Simon Sobihy made a strong run on the right in the 81st minute, with Kingstonian pressing for a point as they had throughout the second half. He passed to Traynor who then found Lodge. His right foot shot low and beyond the keeper Danny Firkins and the near post.

Then Danny Waldren bought down Traynor after a long build up by the forwards and midfield seemed to be going nowhere. Traynor left the keeper no chance, while Waldren picked up a yellow card from attentive referee Stephen Child.

While recent games have seen lifeless first halves, this was not the case with an opening goal after only 16 minutes from one of Dowson's former protegees, Reggie Savage at Walton and Hersham, and then a double sending-off in the last few minutes.

And for the referee this was not the only red card brandished this evening after he chased down Waldren and showed him a straight red for foul language as the two teams headed for the dressing rooms after the final whistle was blown.

The game had started well with a chance by Traynor in only the first minute but this went wide to the right of the goal.

However Jordan Kiffin soon responded with a swivel that was saved by Luke Garrard. His kick out eventually found NJ Lampton, whose shot on goal was cleared off the line by the head of skipper Ryan Palmer and the keeper was well beaten. Lodge followed this up in the 11th minute with a pass to Traynor, who then found Carl Gibbs, starting instead of an absent Saheed Sankoh. His shot was then pounced upon by Traynor again but somehow the defence held tight and it was only a corner - duly wasted.

Savage then went against the balance of play that the visitors enjoyed slightly. His 12-yard headed goal coming from a deep cross on the right by defender Michael Harney in the 16th minute. Then five minutes later the two combined, with Savage's header just going wide.

Gareth Graham was then denied a spectacular 30-yard shot just before the half-hour when his looping ball barely cleared the cross bar.

While the first half belonged to the Rams, Kingstonian were not without chances. Both Traynor and Lodge failed to find the back of the net within five minutes of the 30 minutes. Then Lampton was denied by a great save from the keeper after Liam Cockerill had taken a good free-kick in the 34th minute.

Two minutes later Gibbs was denied a goal from a low left shot after the keeper saved well and as the referee blew for offside.

Then came the two red cards. With the referee blowing for a foul on a Kingstonian player on the halfway, in front of the main stand, new signing Jamie Beer marked his debut with an unnecessary lunge on Graham. Graham reacted by stepping on Beer and got a straight red card. Beer followed seconds later.

Kingstonian manager Dowson tried to relieve early pressure on the team by replacing Cockerill, feeling a recurrence of his hamstring injury, with David Shin.

Twice then Kiffin came close. Garrard stopped a low left-footed shot and then found Traynor. His shot went wide and then Garrard was forced to smother another Kiffin ball from 25 yards.

Kingstonian then upped their game with Croydon beginning to hold on for a narrow win. In the 65th minute Lodge swivelled on his right foot and lobbed the ball over a packed defence. Two minutes later Traynor saw his right shot go inches wide from 20 yards after a short run.

Dean Lodge causing the hosts problems
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Lampton crossed from the right to Lodge, in the 77th minute, but the keeper plucked his header out of the air. Gibbs followed up with a low pass to Sobihy but his shot cleared the far upright by seven yards.

Two minutes later Sobihy eventually found the right cross with Lodge scoring from Sobihy's pass to Traynor. Traynor then made sure he was game on for October's golden boot with the spot kick in the 86th minute.

Players celebrate the winner with the fans
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

But it could have been two for the striker, after Shin's cross from the right was six feet to far forward.

Still Kingstonian pressed with Aaron Goode threading a shot through a packed defence but not the keeper in the 88th minute. Then Lodge failed to score after a good pass from Shin.

And with the match over as the home side trudged off Waldren was sent off as the victors returned to the cheering away fans to acknowledge their support.

While Kingstonian played not much in style from their Chatham game three days earlier, this time they converted two of their chances and won. It brings a closure to the wobbles of October nicely and now they face a trip to the bracing sea air at Eastbourne.

Tuesday 30th October 2007
(Croydon Athletic A)
Alan Dowson interview
[WMA file - 5:21 - 1,290Kb]

Tue 30th Oct 2007
Isthmian League Division One South
Croydon Athletic1
Lodge, Traynor (pen)
1Luke Garrard
2Jon CokeCautioned12
3Liam Cockerill14
4Simon SobihyCautioned
5Aaron Goode
6Gavin Cartwright
7Neil Lampton
8Jamie BeerSent Off
9Bobby Traynor
10Carl Gibbs16
11Dean Lodge
12Danny Summers2
14David Shin3
15Wes Goggin
16Nick Rundell10
17Luke Naughton
Match Report By
Michael Underwood