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Merstham 2-0 Kingstonian

Two second half goals saw Kingstonian record only their second away defeat of the season as they came up against the woodwork and the hands of Ian Chatsfield.

The Merstham skipper and keeper kept out regular shots from the Ks and saw his area peppered with chances before watching the home side record an unlikely 2-0 win from a free kick and then a corner in the 66th and 78th minutes.

Kevin Lucke gave early warning that the league newcomers, who are now firmly in the mix for a promotion push, would be as hard to overcome as they were in October when rounded Jon Coke and shot goal-wards in the 5th minute. Fortunately his endeavour did not match his boots and it was an easy gather for Luke Garrard.

This was the highlight of the scrappy first 10 minutes before Carl Wilson-Denis finally showed his presence when he picked up a ball from Tommy Williams and shot straight at goal. Chatsfield was left stranded but the ball crashed straight into Dean Gunner a few yards from the line and rebounded away. Matt Francis was grateful and ran the ball up the left before tamely shooting to Garrard.

Bobby Traynor then found himself denied by Chatsfield as the keeper stretched to his left to follow the low shot. Minutes later Nick Rundell was denied - this time by Gunner who headed the ball backwards and out for a corner.

Bobby Traynor in action
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Next it was Williams to be denied. Liam Collins passed in from the left from a corner and Williams shot the ball strongly from 25 yards out to the goal. Chatsfield somehow found enough strength to push the ball away and not be carried into the back of the net with it instead.

Tommy Williams in action
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Merstham tried to hit back with Lucke shooting high over the goal and then a mix up in the back four let Francis a chance but his shot was blocked in the 28th minute.

However the half was still with the visitors and on the edge of the D Williams found himself with a free kick. His looping shot was snatched out of the air by Chatsfield. He was soon back in action as he tipped over a Simon Huckle shot a minute later.

Simon Huckle in action
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

And that was it for the first half with only a 38th minute shot from Mark Simmonds being tipped away by Garrard and shepherded away. Early chances by Merstham in the second half found Garrard again under pressure. First he was put under pressure by Kwobena Agyei, unfairly, within minutes of the restart which gave Garrard the free kick. Then a minute later on the right a throw in found James Hancock who passed back out to Gunner. His lob landed on the top of the net.

Once again the visitors were having to find their feet and it was not until the 57th minute when Williams gave the team their first real chance. His shot off Wilson-Denis' pass went wide and high.

With the game meandering, both sides threw in their first substitutions. Jamie Beer was the first to go with Phil Williams coming on just after the hour and then three minutes later David Smith came on for Michael Morgan. Whether this had any immediate effect is debatable but a minute later Huckle conceded a free kick going for a high ball, which referee Carl Brook saw as unfair.

Mark Simmonds then took the kick which Boulter was on hand to find the way through the defence and score. Ks reacted immediately from the restart and Wilson-Denis crossed in for Tommy Williams, only for the ball to go wide again.

Next it was Phil to miss with a shot over the bar. And with the game looking like a blank afternoon for the strike force, it was defender Thompson, only just back from injury who was the next to exit. Agyei's heavy challenge left Thompson on the floor clutching his back before he had to be supported to the changing room limping. Rob Sheridan came on.

Phil Williams in action
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Within minutes it got even worse when Gunner headed down from the left from Simmonds' corner and Garrard was beaten again. Traynor was then taken off with Craig Mullen bought on. And the change almost showed a result at once.

Tommy Williams teed off another corner, on the left, and it went through a crowded defence and out the other end where Mullen was lurking. He could only shoot into the wrong side of the netting from less than 10 yards out. The goal kick went up field and Tommy Williams kicked the ball back into attack. Chatsfield then took the ball bravely from the ground just in front of Wilson-Denis, who had got round the back of the defence.

The last five minutes saw both sides shooting wide or over or both. Wilson-Denis was denied by Chatsfield in the last minutes and Sheridan shot wide from a speculative 40 yards out. In injury time Mullen swivelled and shot, only to see the ball well saved by Chatsfield as Wilson Denis came in to pick up any keeping error.

Ks shot and shot but it was Chatsfield who stood firm with a keeping display that rarely graces this level of football. On other occasions the league leaders would have seen another win and while Merstham are a useful team on chances the score line does not reflect the passage of play. The difference was the goalkeeper and that they took two of their few chances and scored, both from set pieces.

Sat 28th Feb 2009
Moatside Stadium
Isthmian League Division One South
1Luke Garrard
2Jon Coke
3Nick Rundell
4Adam Thompson14
5Wayne Finnie
6Simon Huckle
7Jamie Beer16
8Tommy Williams
9Bobby Traynor15
10Carl Wilson-Denis
11Liam Collins
12Clement James
14Rob Sheridan4
15Craig Mullen9
16Phil Williams7
17Luke Naughton
Match Report By
Michael Underwood