Boxing Day. What better time to get out in the fresh air and enjoy watching other people run off their Christmas excesses?
Few will have forgotten Sittingbourne’s first match after Christmas last year, which turned out to be a stunning 4-0 win over old rivals Ramsgate in front of a bumper Woodstock crowd.
But that was a bit of a bolt out of the blue as it was the first time since 2009 that Sittingbourne had won the next game straight after Christmas.
Four of those years they were up against Faversham Town, who provide the opposition this Monday on their own Salters Lane pitch.
Although Sittingbourne drew a couple of those holiday derby matches, they only scored once in all four games during a spell where they found Faversham particularly hard to beat.
A run of six years without a win over their nearest rivals was ended spectacularly, though, when Sittingbourne beat Faversham 2-1 near the end of last season.
It was a crucial win, too, as Faversham were piling towards a play-off place at the time and that win – sparked by a tremendous Hicham Akhazzan goal – knocked them sideways.
Faversham recovered to finish last season fifth – a whole 13 places above Sittingbourne – but they got knocked out in the play-offs.
Surprisingly, this season they’ve failed so far to mount a serious challenge to clinch a play-off place again, and they’re 11 points behind 10th placed Sittingbourne in the table though with games in hand.
Faversham also lost their top scorer, Dean Grant, when he joined Hythe Town this week as a replacement for Football League-bound Alfie May.
They lost their latest game, 1-0 at Hastings on Tuesday night, despite playing against 10 men for more than half the match.
Mind you, Sittingbourne also lost their latest game 1-0 despite ending up playing against 10 men last Saturday after Chipstead’s captain was sent off.
Only trouble was Sittingbourne, who have had a very good disciplinary record under Nick Davis’s management, were down to just nine after defenders Sam Welch and Danny Rumbol were sent off.
Worryingly for Sittingbourne it was their second match in a row without scoring after a great run of nine games with just one defeat had lifted them to the brink of the play-off places.
Chipstead did a job on Sittingbourne, and after all the red card controversies and discussions about whether the game should have been played at all because of fog, they deserved their victory.
Davis has been delighted with his players during their recent excellent run but let it be known he considered this Sittingbourne performance was unacceptable.
He’ll be looking for a big reaction on Boxing Day in what promises to be another derby to remember.
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