Football: Chapple the kingmaker
BY CONRAD LEACH
Fr. William Taylor
William Taylor is a vicar in the London borough of Hackney and author of This Bright Field.
Sunday 16 May 1999
This is the non-League equivalent of the FA Cup final, which takes place next week between Newcastle and Manchester United, and if any superstitious Newcastle fans were watching they won't have enjoyed it, as Forest Green, in black and white, lost to the team in red. But this was a deserved victory for Kingstonian, whose manager Geoff Chapple in turn won this competition for the fourth time
Yet a game at Wembley wouldn't be complete without its own small tale of heartbreak and, in this case, it was the Gloucestershire side Forest Green and, in particular, Marc McGregor who will be left thinking what might have been. With 18 minutes gone, he made his way into the Kingstonian penalty box, felt his shirt tugged by Matt Crossley but refused to go to the floor. The referee, Alan Wilkie, played the advantage and McGregor saw his subsequent shot palmed away by Steve Farrelly. That, as it turned out, was Forest Green's best chance, but naturally both managers had opposing views on the incident, with Forest Green's Frank Gregan calling it "a blatant penalty" while Chapple felt there was no case to answer.
Kingstonian were favourites to win - mainly because they finished four places higher than Forest Green in the Conference - but they only marginally justified their status during the first half, as Forest Green sought to strike another blow for underdogs at Wembley with their own counter-attacking brand of football which so nearly paid dividends through McGregor.
Kingstonian responded with their own spell of pressure and, after 28 minutes, a cross by the man of the match Geoff Pitcher had to be pushed out from under his crossbar by Justin Shuttlewood, but Mustafa could only jab his shot wide. However Mustafa atoned for that miss in the best possible way by putting Kingstonian in the lead with only five minutes of the second half gone. Mark Harris hit a long ball deep into the Forest Green area that Shuttlewood failed to hold under pressure and, as the ball spilled out, the former Barnet right-back drove his shot into the net from 10 yards out.
Forest Green's response was muted as the goal seemed to sap all their remaining energy while Kingstonian thrived, leaving Chapple to enthuse afterwards: "It's a milestone for Kingstonian."
Gregan, a Newcastle fan, will be back to watch his other team next week, but didn't try to disguise his sadness at losing. "This is a real disappointment," he said, "sadly it didn't happen for us today."
Latest in Sport
- 1 Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta clashes with President Obama on LGBT equality: ‘Gay rights is really a non-issue’
- 2 Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
- 3 Mers outbreak: Manchester Royal Infirmary A&E closes over suspected cases
- 4 Jon Snow alive? New Game of Thrones toy line suggests he's not among the dead
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
The 9 charts that show the 'left-wing' policies of Jeremy Corbyn the public actually agrees with
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
What the Labour party could look like under Jeremy Corbyn
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: £20000 - £25000 per annum + c...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a number ...
£15000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want to work for an exci...