Tony Rickson previews Sittingbourne v Hastings United

Written by Tony Rickson on 12th January 2018

Having finally put an end to their losing run on Tuesday night, Sittingbourne return to Woodstock on Saturday in a much more confident frame of mind.

Opponents Hastings United are just two points above them in the Bostik South Leage table and have an indifferent away league record this season, having won just three times in 13 games.

Sittingbourne will feel so much better about themselves after comfortably demolishing Guernsey 4-0 on Tuesday evening with top scorer Kane Rowland grabbing two of the goals.

It ended a run of seven straight defeats, and also put to bed a long run of home matches without a victory that stretched back to October.

And just one more statistic – it was a very welcome first clean sheet in

17 league and cup games.

Having soared to second place in the league earlier in the season, Sittingbourne have been nowhere near as bad as their record suggests over the last couple of months.

And they’ve had to put up with players missing through suspensions, work commitments, injuries and an operation, as well as facing a particularly tough run of fixtures.

There’s still no Tommy Loynes after his hernia operation, but Dan Parkinson made an excellent first performance of the season in midfield against Guernsey and debut-making Rhys Bartlett made an assured start out on the left.

In defence Chris Webber switched from full-back to centre-half following the loss of skipper Ben Gorham, while another positional change at the other end of the field saw Rowland return to the main striker role Miles Cornwell had been occupying.

Rowland looks born to score goals at times, and he’s now got eight in the last 12 matches even though most of the time he’s been on the losing side.

Hastings were last in action a week ago when they led Greenwich Borough

2-1 at home only to end up losing 5-2.

Incidentally that was Greenwich’s first game after parting company with manager Gary Alexander, and one of the three players put in as temporary managers of the team was ex-Sittingbourne left-back Tom Carlse. The trio have since stepped down again with the appointment of Paul Barnes as the new manager.

Sittingbourne and Hastings have had some good close matches over the years but it was the Sussex side who won when the teams last met, going home with a 4-2 victory last January.

Hastings finished fifth last season and got into the play-offs but were knocked out by Dorking Wanderers, who went on to win promotion.

Tony Rickson

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