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Sittingbourne 0-4 Kingstonian

Lodge follows up his shot to roll in the opening goal

With Alan Dowson unquestionably improving his squad over the summer, K's went into the new season a genuine sense of optimism. With Sittingbourne's team having been raided by cash-splashing Ashford Town, many K's fans were confident in predicting an away win. The 4-0 scoreline put the result firmly into dream territory however, being the visitors' best start to a season since 1996.

K's were a threat from both set pieces and open play - and despite a couple of early scares, once Dean Lodge had put K's ahead on 35 minutes the result never seemed in doubt.

Debutant Tony Bedeau had a header deflected wide early on and from the following corner K's came even closer, as Tom Bradbrook cleared a Max Hustwick header off the line.

K's had plenty of possession and showed attacking endeavour but early on were being frustrated by Sittingbourne's offside trap. Few meaningful chances were created and in fact it was the home side who twice came close to taking a lead. First, Richard Brady split open a flat-footed K's defence only for Bradbrook to slice the ball wide. On the half hour mark, Luke Garrard had to make a spectacular fingertip save, just as Usain Bolt was storming to a world record time in the Olympic 100m.

Rob French clears as Bobby Traynor chases down
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

K's eventually began to take control of the match. They might have had a penalty, but Jamie Beer's claims were turned down after he tangled with Hicham Achazzam when trying to convert a Dean Lodge cross from close range.

K's would take the lead three minutes later though. The excellent Carl Wilson-Dennis played Lodge in behind the Brickies' defence and although Rob French got down to save in a one-on-one situation, he could only parry and Lodge tapped the rebound into the empty net.

Dean Lodge strikes on goal
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

K's nearly doubled their advantage in first-half injury time. Bobby Traynor's volley from 25 yards caught a slight deflection and it required an impressive effort from French to leap up and tip the ball over the bar.

Bobby Traynor strikes from the edge of the box
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

French did not manage to repeat the feat though when Traynor tried from similar distance after the break. This time, the goalkeeper got a hand to the volley but could not do enough to keep it out of the net. The finish rounded off a superb K's counter-attack, with Tommy Williams clearing a dangerous Sittingbourne cross and Jamie Beer finding Traynor with an excellent diagonal long ball.

Traynor's next effort finds the back of the net
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Some noteworthy things may have happened in the next ten or fifteen minutes. However, neither myself nor the rest of the K's Web team knew what they were, as we were too busy avoiding being attacked and abused by Sittingbourne fans. Meanwhile, at least one of the stewards was too busy criticising the referee to bother taking note of noteworthy events off the pitch. When the stewards had made the terraces safe again by directing the already drunk offenders into the bar (certainly an interesting crowd control technique) we were able to resume the strange activity of watching a game of football in peace. It didn't take long for Hustwick to cheer K's fans up again, powerfully heading home a Nick Rundell corner to put K's 3-0 to the good.

Elie Kayembe kept Garrard on his toes by forcing him to fingertip wide after a good run but K's were in full control of the game and added a fourth five minutes from time. Phil Williams showed impressive pace in charging down the left on the break and calmly rolled the ball across the box for Traynor to tap in for his brace.

Phil Williams delivers a low cross
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Bobby Traynor pokes in his second goal
Photo: Chris Hatton - Kingstonian FC

Alan Dowson's biggest problem remains team selection, with nobody having a bad game and plenty of others in the squad being desperate to break into the team. Meanwhile, Sittingbourne should be enquiring as to where the first game of the season went so wrong for them - both on and off the pitch.

Sat 16th Aug 2008
Central Park
Isthmian League Division One South
Lodge, Traynor (2), Hustwick
1Luke Garrard
2Jamie Beer
3Nick Rundell
4Adam Thompson
5Max Hustwick
6Jean-Serge Musungu
7Tony Bedeau
8Tommy Williams14
9Bobby Traynor
10Carl Wilson-Denis16
11Dean Lodge15
12Wayne Finnie
14Jason Turley8
15Phil Williams11
16Jon Neal10
17Luke Naughton
Match Report By
Simon Grier