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Kingstonian 1-0 Merstham

Kingstonian survived their hardest match of the season against the surprise package of the division so far.

Facing Merstham, promoted from the CCL and controversial winners of last season's Surrey Senior Cup, for the first time in a competitive game and with Ks' free-scoring record continuing the previous Saturday with a 5-2 win - this was a walk in the park waiting to happen but it became a stumble in the meadow instead. A win is a win however.

Once again route one football, the same style that prevailed at Walton Casuals, won out when Carl Wilson-Denis latched onto a long cross-pitch ball from Dean Lodge and kicking acrobatically on the right towards the goal past a defender and beat Ian Chatfield, an ever-present in last season's promotion push, in the middle of the net. 26 minutes on the clock and that was as good as it got for the home fans.

Many times Luke Garrard was tested and a few occasions he could watch the ball being kicked wide or high when it would have been easier to score. But then that does not do justice that the defenders worked well together and the strikers worked well and it was a rare day that Lodge was unable to impose himself and harry, except once in a while.

The tenor of the game was set early on when attacking the Kingston Road end the influential David Smith came up the right before crossing into striker Kevin Locke. Missing his head the ball found the right foot of man of the match Michael Morgan who volleyed the ball into the gardens beyond.

In only the fourth minute Smith followed this up with another cross only for Adam Thompson to concede the first corner.

In the 10th minute Jon Coke was judged to have handled the ball by the referee Colin Lymer as he fell over and in the free kick Mark Simmons saw the ball hit the post before rebounding out. 10 minutes gone and only another 80 more to go. Three minutes later Max Hustwick tussled with Locke who managed to find Simmons again but this time Simmons could only find empty space above the crossbar. Once again Smith beat the midfield, this time Lodge, and crossed in on the right only for the ball to land on the top of the net.

Finally in the 17th minute the home side and league leaders finally launched an attack. From midfield Tommy Williams who found NJ Lampton pinpoint out on the right and his cross went across the goal very wide and out.

NJ Lampton in action
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Normal service resumed with Hassan Nyang teasing the defence before being blocked by Thompson with Simon Huckle coming for the tackle. Williams responded with a 40-yard free kick straight to Chatfield.

Simon Huckle in action
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

However this was soon followed up by Lodge's hoof up field to Wilson-Denis and the goal in the 26th minute. Four minutes later a pass back by Hustwick left Garrard exposed and a late challenge saw Smith unable to capitalise as he shot wide.

The half finally ended honours even with first Bobby Traynor crossing in and Wilson-Denis failing to control his strike. Then Locke shot just wide after Hustwick was unable to sweep up a loose ball. Then in the dying minutes Lampton headed over from Lodge. Injury time saw Garrard gather Matt Francis' low shot.

The second half started better as Lodge's shot goal-wards was saved by Chatfield. Then Lodge found his shot hit a defender out from Williams' corner. Traynor then shot just over the top. Continuing this pressure Lampton won another loose ball and Traynor shot wide onto the near post. Thompson then stretched for another ball but shot wide.

Bobby Traynor in action
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

In spite of a series of substitutions, including Wilson-Denis being replaced for Jon Neal, the home side continued to press and Neal saw his shot hit the near side netting and then Traynor shot wide in the 81st minute.

Two more substitutions continued to make the game scrappy as Jean-Serge Msungu and Julien Thompson replaced Huckle and Lodge.

Julien Thompson in action
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

The game ended with Williams unable to pick up Traynor's pass from Lampton and Simmons shooting well over the bar with Garrard untroubled.

It was hard to watch with Kingstonian unable to be their normal expansiveness but in the end a win is a win and the league table shows Kingstonian at the top with a six-point advantage at the end of October and a far superior goal advantage. Saturday sees yet another home match, this time against Chipstead, one of the teams beginning with C vying for the bottom spot.

Sat 25th Oct 2008
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Division One South
1Luke Garrard
2Jon Coke
3Jamie Beer
4Adam ThompsonCautioned
5Max Hustwick
6Simon Huckle15
7Neil Lampton
8Tommy Williams
9Bobby Traynor
10Carl Wilson-Denis12
11Dean Lodge14
12Jon Neal10
14Julien Thompson11
15Jean-Serge Musungu6
16Phil Williams
17Luke Naughton
Match Report By