Kingstonian v Posh FA Cup 1st Rd 14 Nov 1992
Venue: Kingsmeadow, Kingston Upon Thames
Score: Kingstonian 1 v Peterborough Utd 1
Referee: Peter Foakes.
This FA Cup match was ripe for an upset.
The tiny stadium, an eerie atmosphere, the miserable weather, a rent-a-quote manager, the presence of BBC Match of the Day cameras – it all suggested a carefully placed banana skin.
For 20 odd minutes they trailed to a side of little obvious quality, Kingstonian from the mighty Diadora League Premier Division had merely accepted the gift.
Thankfully, the home side reciprocated and in all honesty that was only fair.
On the balance of play and chances created Posh certainly didn’t deserve to lose. But such is the nature of the king of all knockout competitions that wouldn’t have mattered to those queuing up for a giggle at the Posh’s expense.
In that respect Posh lived on the edge for failing to stamp the authority their superior status suggests they possess.
And if a golden last minute opportunity had not been wasted Posh would have been headline fodder for shock hungry tabloids.
There are five divisions between these two sides, but Posh looked unhappy from the start in the unaccustomed role of hot favourite.
As a First Division outfit they are by definition more talented, better organised and classier. It seemed they wanted to prove this by adopting a more measured approach.
Whether through choice or not, Posh failed from the outset to deliver the ball quickly enough up front. In return the forwards played like strangers and the midfield were often second to the knock downs.
The different approach may have been deliberately attempted to counter a five man defence and two towering centre backs. If it was it didn’t work, but thankfully Kingstonian were pretty toothless underdogs.
Their ‘lippy’ manager Chris Kelly had boasted of his side’s quality football for most of the week – despite the closeness to the shock of the round the suspicion remains something of a smoke screen.
Sure they possess a sweeper in Ade Cowler who can orchestrate four of five passing movements, but usually they were sideways followed by an aimless ball up front.
Tricky midfielder David Harlow was always their major threat and his shot followed quickly by a Tony Philliskirk response adequately summed up the opening half an hour.
It was generally dire stuff with both goalkeepers largely unemployed until Posh full back Darren Bradshaw conceded a 43rd minute free kick with an innocuous looking challenge.
Up stepped Andy Parr to sling over a cross from the left wing and down stooped centre half Andy Russell to divert the ball past goalkeeper Ian Bennett.
The shock was immense. Kingstonian players indulged in a ridiculous ‘dying fly’ goal celebration and Posh fans became involved in a minor skirmish – there had seemed little danger of a football match breaking out.
But Posh improved after the interval and once Bennett and Lee Howarth had blocked a clear run through the defence by Liam Barham they assumed some sort of control.
Marcus Ebdon whistled a couple of shots narrowly wide; from eight yards and Worrell Sterling forced a finger-tip save from Adrian Blake that was appreciated by everyone except the referee who awarded a goal kick.
But revenge was swift when Ronnie Robinson took advantage of a quickly taken 65th minute free kick to fire a skidding 30 yarder at goal.
A combination of greasy top and careless hands from goalkeeper Blake plopped the ball obligingly at Tony Adcock’s feet.
The relied from the travellers was visible as it was in the final minute when poor Posh ball control and a swift exchange of passes let Parr through on goal.
He chipped Bennett, but also the bar. Rank outsiders usually only get one chance – that will probably have been it.
In the replay it’s difficult to believe Sterling, or perhaps a speedy Dominic Iorfa, won’t flash past a painfully slow left back and that Cowler will be forced to show he can tackle rather than back head the ball relentlessly to the goalkeeper.
Posh are capable of much better – a little better would probably be enough.
The Posh: Ian Bennett, Darren Bradshaw (sub Noel Luke), Ronnie Robinson, Mick Halsall, Lee Howarth, Steve Welsh, Worrell Sterling, Gary Cooper, Tony Adcock, Tony Philliskirk and Marcus Ebdon (sub Dominic Iorfa).
Kingstonian: Adrian Blake, John Finch, Adie Cowler, Darren Broderick, Andy Russell, David Kempton, David Harlow, Andy Parr, Liam Barham (sub Paul Sheldrick), Francis Vines and Richard Cherry (sub Rod Brathwaite).
Goal scorers: The Posh – Tony Adcock 65 mins. Kingstonian – Andy Russell 43 mins.