Thinking of the wins at Ramsgate and Whyteleafe, scoring six at Peacehaven, as well as the draws at Dorking and Met Police, there have been some excellent away performances by Sittingbourne this season.
This wasn’t one of them, but they still did more than enough to comfortably beat near neighbours Chatham.
The ball spent more time in Chatham’s six-yard box, from many Sittingbourne corners or numerous Jack Steventon long throws, than almost anywhere else on the field.
But still Sittingbourne couldn’t build on the lead Hicham Akhazzan’s early penalty gave them, an advantage that lasted just two minutes before the home side levelled in a rare attack.
With nearly 400 fans taking advantage of Chatham’s generous free entry – at least they made pots of money on refreshments – it was Sittingbourne’s noisy fans who created all the atmosphere off the field.
Sittingbourne made two changes from the team that enjoyed their first win over a top six side all season, the 2-1 victory over Faversham on Tuesday night. Tom Brunt and Tom Carlse returned as full-backs with Bill Parkinson and Conrad Lee stepping down.
On a ground where they inevitably do well, Sittingbourne started strongly and when Akhazzan swung the ball into the Chatham area in the 15th minute, and as the photograph shows a defender clearly handled it away.
Akhazzan, still living on the glory of his remarkable 45-yard goal at Faversham on Tuesday night, took the penalty himself, tucking it neatly away to draw level with Steven Ita as the team’s top scorer with just one game left to play.
Chatham equalised almost straightaway. Stefan Wright looked like he was fouled in the build-up but when the ball was pulled back from the right flank, Osei scored with an excellent first time shot from just outside the area.
Ita and Wright both shot wide as Sittingbourne pressed to regain the lead, and in one attack, Miles Cornwell, Akhazzan and Ita all had goalbound shots blocked by desperate defending.
A corner count of 6-1 in Sittingbourne’s favour told its own story of the first half but for all the times they got the ball close to goal they couldn’t quite force a second goal.
It was a similar story in the second half with Akhazzan cleverly making space for himself only to twice miss the target, Cornwell going round the keeper but forced too wide to get the ball in, and Akhazzan going clear in injury time only to try to unselfishly set up others with a low cross rather than going for goal himself.
But the most obvious chance of all was when Carlse was tripped as he raced into the area, the referee declining to award Sittingbourne a second penalty of the afternoon.
At the other end the defence again did well though Adam Molloy had to make a couple of very good saves, once diving to his right and the other with his knees as a Chatham forward burst clear.
A final points tally for the season of 50-plus is a decent enough return but that’s a bit like Sittingbourne’s overall performance this season – not bad, but you sense perhaps it should have been even better.
CHATHAM TOWN 1 (1)
SITTINGBOURNE 1 (1)
Mr Jack Packman
Mr Isaac Searle
Mr Ivan Gelov
Tom Brunt (C)
Stefan Wright (Hughes 73 mins)
Miles Cornwell (Hurcomb 84 mins)
Steven Ita (Lee 77 mins)
Reece Butler (Ibrahim 73 mins)
Ricky Gundry (Obasa 87 mins)
Khari Oreogun (Loft 73 mins)
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