Concerns as to whether or not this match would actually take place were abated as the two teams took to the skiddiest field of play we're likely to see this season. Kingstonian named a full strength side and were obviously not underestimating the Hertfordshire team who are currently riding high in the Ryman League.
It took a while for the teams to get used to the atrocious conditions, both teams looking to get forward but finding it hard to control their passing in the slick in some areas, boggy in others, state of the pitch. Of the early play, the number 8 had a good run on the right with another on the left, whilst for the K's, David Leworthy failed to control a ball coming over his shoulder which would have put him through on goal. Leworthy soon made amends though as he flicked a ball on into Eddie's path, but he just failed to connect.
K's seemed to adjust to the conditions quicker than The Saints. Eddie went on a run which looked promising until play was pulled back for a challenge made on him. From the free-kick, Luckett delivered a great cross to Crossley who connected well but his header was put out for a corner. From this, Luckett again found Crossley, via an Akuamoah flick on at the near post, but this time he had more trouble controlling his header and it cleared the bar. In these tricky conditions Patterson was running the midfiled and Luckett was also putting in good challenges on the left.
More K's pressure came when Pitcher touched to Patterson who sent Eddie on a run down the left. The ball eventually trickled out for a corner which Pitcher took. His delivery caused problems in the six yard box as the 'keeper fumbled the collection, but a free-kick was awarded. Paul Newell in the home goal wasn't the only one having trouble gripping the ball though. At the other end, Farrelly came out for a cross and fumbled awfully and stayed on the ground for some time. Expecting the ref to stop play he did not get up too quickly so when the ball was hooked into the mixer, the resulting looping header looked certain to provide an opener for The Saints. However, the lanky 'keeper ran back and caught the ball just before the line. It was uncertain whether or not he had carried the ball over the line. Indeed, the referee had to confer with his linesman who decided that the score should stay at 0-0 for the time being.
This seemed to spur the home team on, and Peter Risley saw his shot go off for a corner, whilst Rob Haworth couldn't quite direct his header from one of the many dangerous crosses goalward. K's replied strongly though. Patterson and Akuamoah combined well in the left of midfield. A good K's chance occurred when Leworthy went running towards the goal with real determination. He shook off a clumsy challenge but the keeper stopped his shot, and though the ball spilled to Eddie, he could only watch as his shot was stopped by a covering defender, meaning the teams went in at half time on level terms.
Geoff Chapple obviously had something to say at half time, as the visitors appeared to come out as a different team. As the rain stopped for a while K's began to show that they are the team one league above. A dangerous Colin Luckett cross saw Rattray unlucky not to connect, Pitcher following up could not provide a good enough shot.
A typical Gary Patterson challenge was not received too well by his opponent who retaliated rather harshly on the K's midfielder. Quicker than you could say "Disciplinary Problem" another fifteen man brawl had broken out including Pitcher, who missed out in last week's . The referee, confused about where this angst had come from, decided to blow his whistle repeatedly and gave free-kick to the hoops.
Gary Patterson then showed that he can also take on players and beat the number 8. However, Patterson wasn't allowed to escape and was fouled quite badly however much of a meal Patterson made out of it. The offender received a booking, and K's were give a free-kick on the left. Pitcher delivered this and again found Crossley. His header hit the bar, but the unlikely goal poaching instincts of Simon Stewart saw the defender strike the ball home from about a yard to put Kingston one goal up.
St. Albans best form of attack was to change sports and instead play head tennis in the Kingstonian penalty area. When they got back to football they received a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area which Farrelly did well to punch clear. But K's were still looking the better team at this point. From another Luckett corner, both Harris and Stewart went close, and shortly after Patterson nutmegged Tom Meredith and delivered a great ball to Rattray who was surely fouled. The ball however landed in the path of Mustafa, but his shot was blocked. K's continued to pile on the pressure and their supporters were beginning to argue over whether or not it was possible to draw Manchester City in the next round. A spell of four corners couldn't produce the two-goal cushion though and this was to prove costly.
St. Albans won a corner after a Justin Gentle shot went to the left of the upright. From the resulting corner a scramble ensued and eventually the ball was knocked into the net by Mark Keen, again from close range. This goal was very much against the run of play, and as if that wasn't bad enough, it began to rain again. To make matters worse Leworthy received a caution for kicking the ball away.
Holligan came on for the tiring striker but K's first had to deal with a great amount of pressure put on them by The Saints who were obviously looking to win the game. A spell of pressure on the K's goal made most K's fans, and players, query how much more the referee wanted to play. At this time it was all going the home team's way. Although Holligan needed little time to show his renowned skills, he needed more time than this to provide a winner, and K's were thankful to hear the referee's whistle, knowing that they were still in the FA Cup for another three days at least.
Report from kingstonian.net