19th November 1999
On a bitterly cold night the Brickies went into this match against a strong Margate side with some trepidation. The main defensive back line and the influential Damien Hodge and Robert Owen were all still missing through injury and we all thought that James Creed would be the busiest man on the pitch, especially as early on the season Margate had run out comfortable 3-0 winners in a pre - season friendly.
In truth Margate had the most chances but for long periods in the match the Brickies held their own, especially in mid field.
The start of the match was ominous as after just 4 minutes Gene Clout cleared the ball from the Brickie goal line following a Margate corner. Sittingbourne then seemed to settle down and hold their own. Margate threatened again after 18 minutes when following a corner James Creed had to palm away a shot which was then lofted away from the danger area.
Five minutes later the Gate took the lead when an unlucky Ben Chell headed a cross wide of his own keeper. This was a bitter blow for the Brickies as they hadn't looked in too much trouble, but neither had they really threatened Margate's keeper Lee Turner and it now seemed an even more uphill struggle to come back to level terms.
The Brickies were playing a lot more defensive game than of late having learnt from the recent games when their goal against tally was starting to mount.
Lindon Guscott and Tyrone King were the two main strikers for the Brickies but they found it hard work against the experienced Margate defence. Guscott tried hard and won a string of free kicks but none of these looked like ending in a goal.
Margate had another chance in the 27th minute but Graham Porter 's shot from just 10 yards was palmed and then kicked away by Creed.
Sittingbourne's Mark Miller was as tireless as ever and he set up a chance for Ben Chell in the 37th minute but his ferocious 30 yard shot sailed wide of the left hand post.
The first half ended with Gene Clout shooting over after receiving the ball from a free kick just outside the Margate area.
The second half began as the first had finished with very little between the teams, however after 11 minutes of the half a Mark Greatorex cross found Paul Sykes, he slipped the ball to Phil Collins who fired past Creed for Margate's second.
Straight after Margate's goal the brickies were unlucky not to pull a goal back as a header hit the Margate post and the ball was scrambled away.
Margate had two efforts in the next three minutes, firstly an uncharacteristic Gene Clout error let in Collins but this time James Creed pulled off a great block. Immediatley after this the ball broke to Mark Munday but his weak shot went straight to Creed.
The last twenty minutes was very much a midfield battle as the Brickies lacked any real threat and Margate seemed content with their two goals.
The last chance of note fell to Mark Miller whose header from a Stuart Harrison free kick lacked any power and was easily caught by Lee Turner.
Margate ended worthy winners but this was a fair display by the weakened Brickie team.
Report by Peter Pitts
Sub used *
Referee: Mr Neil Perkin
Assistants: Mr A Robinson
Mr J D'Arcy
Conditions: Cold, Clear