Inspired by a wonder goal from the evergreen Hicham Akhazzan, Sittingbourne scored a memorable and long overdue win over close rivals Faversham Town.
It was a vital game for Faversham as even a point would have taken them into a play-off place with just two games left to play this season.
But they were beaten by a spirited second half performance by Sittingbourne, making up for the disappointment of losing at home three days earlier to another Kent club chasing a play-off spot, Hythe Town.
And it ended an incredible long run of failure for Sittingbourne as it was the first time in six years since Faversham came up from the Kent League that they’ve actually beaten them.
Sittingbourne made three changes from the team that lost to Hythe, AdamAllen, Stefan Wright and fit-again Akhazzan returning at the expense of captain Tom Brunt, Dan Hughes and Tom Carlse.
Akhazzan was given a run-out in the No 10 position he played in years ago, while Wright, who was being raring to regain a starting position in the team, injected lots of energy into the side.
It was an end-to-end first half but few real chances for either team, just like in the game between these two at Salters Lane early this year which Faversham eventually shaded 1-0.
Akhazzan, who is just a few short of the milestone of 100 goals for Sittingbourne, hit a couple of shots narrowly wide, and Miles Cornwell headed his only chance too close to the keeper.
At the other end, goalkeeper Adam Molloy made a couple of decent saves and the defensive duo Jono Richardson and George Crimmen coped well with anything Faversham could muster.
Sittingbourne broke the deadlock early in the second half when Faversham’s keeper dropped a corner under pressure and the alert Bill Parkinson scored his first goal since joining the club last month.
One became two a couple of minutes later with an extraordinary goal by Akhazzan, who thumped a shot from fully 45 yards that deceived the stranded keeper and bounced into the goal.
It was his first goal in two months and it was his first full game back from a hamstring injury he first suffered in the League Cup semi-final defeat by Faversham last month.
After top scorer Steven Ita saw his effort ruled out for offside, Faversham, their play-off hopes fading, tried to rally and hit a couple of shots narrowly wide, as well as testing Molloy.
But they pulled one back on 77 minutes, Stanford winning the race with Molloy to a through ball to poke the ball in.
It wasn’t enough, though, and Sittingbourne held out for their firstwin this season over a team from the top six of the league.
Manager Nick Davis said: “It was very much a deserved win, and arguably the goal of the season from Hich, who was brilliant on the night. George Crimmen and especially Jono Richardson were excellent in the heart of defence and dealt with the barrage of long throws and corners into the box. Adam Allen and Jack Steventon were immense in the centre of midfield and Stef Wright’s energy was frightening.”
Thanks to Kentish Football for match details.
SITTINGBOURNE 2 (0)
Parkinson 54 mins, Akhazzan 56 mins
FAVERSHAM TOWN 1 (0)
Stanford 78 mins
Mr L Brennan
Mr J Blower
Mr Z Jacquqrt
Stefan Wright (Hurcomb 90 mins)
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