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Aveley 0-0 Kingstonian
Bird goes for early bath

K's season got off to a solid, if less-than-memorable start, after earning a hard-fought point at Aveley, despite playing for 70 minutes with 10 men. Despite both teams creating chances, both looked happy with a point by the end of a game defined by a red card to Kingstonian midfielder Tom Bird after a two footed tackle 20 minutes into the game.

As the game and season kicked off in torrential rain, Bird surprisingly started the game on the left wing, rather than his normal left back slot as Alan Dowson lined his side up in a 4-4-2 formation, with new boys Michael Gordon, Ian Selley and Jerome Maledon alongside Bird in the middle. Yet despite the promotion hopefuls visiting a side who only avoided relegation due to Rushden's (non-footballing) demise, it was the hosts who got the better start with Lee Perry and Ross Parmeter twice forcing Rob Tolfrey into sharp saves from good positions in the first five minutes. Despite the rain, both sides seemed eager to pass the ball around, aided by a greased playing surface.

The visitor's first chance of the game came through Bird after five minutes who climbed to head a Gordon cross but never got over the ball and it ballooned over. That chance served only as brief respite for the Ks, as Aveley continued to press. Ellis Remy three time went close, first seeing his acrobatic effort go straight at Tolfrey, then, after Ian Selley was booked, heading wide from the resulting free kick and finally, after the ball was knocked down to Remy in the box he could only stretch to hook it over the vacant goal.

Soon after Bobby Traynor's first effort of the season saw a good tip round the post from the host's keeper McCartney, came the game's defining moment in Bird's red card, after a reckless challenge on Donovan Wilson. Fortunately Wilson escaped unscathed but it forced Dowson into a change of shape with Allan Tait dropping back into the midfield, and Maledon switching to a wide position. Despite going down to 10, Kingston then embarked on their best period of the game, as they finally settled into the formation, with Traynor once again forced McCartney into a good near post save. The stand-in midfielder Tait then spent the rest of the half causing problems bundling the keeper into the net (given as a foul) prior to testing McCartney from deep before weaving through two defenders only to mis-hit his shot high and wide with the final chance before the half.

The second half began to the sun coming out to create a glorious August afternoon which did nothing to break the stalemate as the first 15 minutes of the half saw tight, chanceless exchanges. As the half wore on however, the fatigue caused by playing so long with 10 men, coupled with new-season rustiness began to tell for Kingstonian, as twice in quick succession Tolfrey palmed shots away from Reed and Bonnett-Johnson, on both occasions the rebound dropped to Aveley players, who through a mixture of a good block from Tommy Hutchinson and a poor miss from Perry, failed to score.

Midway through the second half, the visitors came close to scoring as the veteran Ian Selley's goalbound free-kick was palm away by the impressive McCartney for a corner. As weariness began to set in for Ks, Dowson sought to inject some impetuous by throwing on midfielders Clayton, MacLoed and Huckle, and yet despite this it was Aveley who ended the game piling on the pressure, with only some last-ditch defending from Hutchinson and Gary MacDonald keeping the scores level. After the host's final chance of the game from substitute Sherwin Stanley flew straight at Rob Tolfrey, the final opportunity arrived from a MacLoed cross onto the head of Sam Clayton, who, from a difficult angle could only flick his header wide.

For Kingstonian, the defensive trio of MacDonald, Hutchinson and Tolfrey looks set to once again be one of the best in the league, and whilst Bobby Traynor spent the majority of the second half isolated up front, a point with 10 men sets Dowson's side up nicely for the arrival of Horsham to Kingsmeadow on Monday night.

Sat 20th Aug 2011
Mill Field
Isthmian League Premier
1Rob Tolfrey
2Dean Hamlin
3Chris Page
4Tom Hutchinson
5Gary MacDonald
6Ian SelleyCautioned16
7Michael Gordon15
8Allan Tait14
9Bobby Traynor
10Jerome Maledon
11Tom BirdSent Off
12Paul Olima
14Jack MacLeod8
15Sam Clayton7
16Simon Huckle6
17Jake Whincup
Match Report By
Jamie Cutteridge