Tony Rickson previews Whyteleafe v Sittingbourne

Written by Tony Rickson on 29th December 2017

Sittingbourne go for their first double of the season since twice beating Herne Bay when they travel to Whyteleafe on Saturday.

The teams met in early September at Woodstock and both were unbeaten in the league before that match.

Whyteleafe took an early lead but Sittingbourne equalised in the second half through Kane Rowland after a great run by Kane Phillip, and then won it with a spectacular goal by Tom Loynes.

He must have been 35 yards out and wide on the wing when he launched a brilliant shot on the run and over the Whyteleafe keeper and into the far corner.

Loynes has been missing from action since undergoing a hernia repair operation earlier this month, while defender John Coker will also be out of the game at Whyteleafe as he completes a three-match suspension.

That win back in September put Sittingbourne up to second in Bostik League South and demonstrated the confident form they were in for the first months of the season.

It’s all gone a bit pear-shaped since then, but opponents Whyteleafe have also suffered a nightmare run.

They would have gone top if they’d won at Sittingbourne but as it is they’ve faded badly after a good start to the season and are now in the bottom half of the league table.

They went 13 games without a win, a run that ended on Boxing Day when they hit back in the second half to beat Chipstead 2-1 with Scott Day scoring both goals within five minutes of coming on as a substitute.

Even during that poor run of results they had some good performances, though, drawing with high-riding Lewes, Greenwich Borough and Carshalton on their own Surrey ground.

While Whyteleafe were winning their Boxing Day derby with Chipstead, Sittingbourne were going down 3-1 at Ashford United.

Chris Webber got a tremendous first league goal for Sittingbourne, but Ashford scored two very well-taken goals themselves, with the other coming from a penalty.

The match will end the year for Sittingbourne, and what a year it’s been. They had an honourable finish to last season and then lost virtually the whole team to Herne Bay in the summer. A swift rebuilding job produced a team good enough to make an early season bid for a promotion place, and although they’ve slipped backwards in the last couple of months, it’s been quite a feat to still be in there among the league’s top ten teams.

Tony Rickson

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