Sittingbourne’s excellent unbeaten league record for this season was finally halted by old rivals Faversham, who themselves hadn’t won a single home point before this game. And it was ended by one of their own. Matt Bourne went to school in Sittingbourne, he played for years for his home town club, and he scored plenty of goals for Sittingbourne in his time, despite being a central defender.
Not only did he get the only goal of this game for Faversham, but he was also a key figure in the home side’s determined defensive effort to keep out a Sittingbourne side who dominated the match without really cutting out enough chances.
That’s twice this season that Sittingbourne have had to play twice in 48 hours, and the second game of the two has been the only two league matches in which they’ve failed to score. Coincidence? Possibly. But this did seem to come very soon after a hectic 2-2 draw at Thamesmead on Sunday afternoon when Sittingbourne had to work their socks off to earn a point.
Sittingbourne made just one change from Sunday’s team, George Blake earning his first league start in midfield, Gil Carvalho dropping out and Tom Loynes switching to a wide right position for the first time since he rejoined the club.
Virtually all the game’s chances on goal were packed into the first half-hour, ex-Brickie favourite Simon Overland soon showing his value to Faversham with a fine diving save to keep out an accurate low drive from Chris Elliott.
Top scorer Bola Dawodu also had a decent shot well saved and flicked another chance just wide as Sittingbourne stretched Faversham with some impressive attacking football. Not that it was one-way traffic with Daren Hawkes having to make a couple of good saves as well as coming out quickly to save at the feet of Faversham skipper Mark Lovell – another ex-Sittingbourne favourite.
When Hawkes saved well again after a quick break from end to end by Faversham it gave the home side the first of three successive corners, the final one earning them the only goal of the match.
Lex Allan headed one of Danny Walder’s pinpoint accurate corners off the line but from the next one, Bourne got his head to it first in a crowded six-yard box to divert the ball home.
Sittingbourne responded by playing all the football that was on show, Faversham replying with huge route one thumps down the slope and using the wind behind them. It wasn’t pretty but it worked for them and with Walder’s dead-ball skills anything like a free-kick or corner was going to spell danger.
With the driving wind behind them in the second half, I thought Sittingbourne would prove too good for the home side. But Faversham defended well, especially Bourne and Dan Carrington, and Overland didn’t really have to make another difficult save in the rest of the game.
For all Kane Phillip’s trickery out wide and Loynes’ clever play on the other side, Sittingbourne just didn’t create enough and when they did force corners or free-kicks, they were very rarely first to the second ball.
Towards the end even the one-way traffic towards the Faversham goal petered out a bit, and Lovell almost got a second only for Ben Gorham to get back and head clear after Hawkes had raced out of his area to head his clearance.
Funnily enough, there was a similar injury time chance at the other end after Overland had also had to come out to head clear, but sub David Smith snatched at his shot and the big keeper was easily back in place to save.
One point out of six was hardly the reward Sittingbourne were hoping for from admittedly two tough-looking away games in quick succession, but a good side doesn’t become a bad one overnight and they still hold a top six position.
There’s plenty of thrills and spills – and almost certainly more disappointments – to come before we get a real chance to decide how good this revamped but promising Sittingbourne team really are.
Ken Medwyn's photographs follow
Matt Bourne 30 mins
Referee: Jamaal Horne
Assistants: Notis Liappis , Christopher Price
Chris Elliott, Ollie Brown (David Smith, 67 min),
Ben Gorham (C),
Kane Phillip (Gil Carvalho, 72 min), George Blake (Tyrone Guthrie, 55 min), Kane Rowland,
Subs not used: David Adekoya, Harry Brooks.
Danny Walder (Yellow card),
Subs not used: Sam Lawford, Luke
Griffiths, David Blaikie, Kyron Lightfoot.
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