That’s Sittingbourne’s fourth and final exit from this season’s cup competitions – and all before the end of October.
This time it was the Ryman League Cup for the Alan Turvey Trophy, and the draw did them no favours.
Away to a Tonbridge side who play a division higher, haven’t lost a home league game this season, and deciding to take the competition seriously by fielding a full first team.
I thought Sittingbourne did really well, holding them to 1-0 for more than 90 minutes, and attacking well though without carving out too many goal chances.
Former Chatham midfielder Joe Loft came in for his full debut, and Dan Tanner got a chance in central defence with Danny Rumbol rested, while Hicham Akhazzan was restored at the last minute in place of Josh Wisson.
In an even first half, Tonbridge went close when the experienced Elder headed wide, and Simon Overland made a good save from Whitnell’s header, while at the other end Loft got on the end of a very good Sittingbourne move only to see his shot blocked at the last second.
Sittingbourne, healthily cheered on by supporters who might have been fewer in number but were a lot noisier than the home fans all night, were again indebted to Overland for an excellent save in the 49th minute.
But when he made another instinctive block a minute later, the ball fell kindly for Phipp to ram it home and give Tonbridge the lead.
With a penalty shoot-out beckoning if Sittingbourne could find an equaliser, they hit back well and again it was Loft who got on the end of the best chance, only to clear the bar when Jordan Gallacher’s cross reached him.
Tonbridge wrapped it up deep into injury time with a penalty by Allen after a foul by sub Jack Steventon, back in action after a three-game suspension.
It’s off to Guernsey for Sittingbourne on Saturday – a place they’ve never won at. But it’s a golden opportunity this time as the Channel Islanders are struggling this season and Sittingbourne have enough about them at present to make the long journey worthwhile.
Ken Medwyns photographs are here CLICK HERE
Tom Phipp (50 mins)
Luke Allen (pen 90 mins)
Referee: Mr Zach Ellis. Assistants: Mr Jaz Guzman, Mr Orville Bentley.
Tom Brunt (Sam Welch, 84 min),
Dan Tanner (Jack Steventon, 81 min),
Hicham Akhazzan (Jake Embrey, 75 min),
Sub not used: Danny Rumbol.
Anthony Di Bernardo,
James Folkes (Liam Smith, 45 min),
Cameron Milham (Yellow card),
Tom Phipp (Nick Wheeler, 67 min),
Damien Scannell (Luke Allen, 25 min).
Subs not used: Callum Adonis-Taylor, Tommy Chapman.
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