Sittingbourne’s international career has yet to take off after failing again to bring anything home from the annual trip to Guernsey.
And that was disappointing, as Guernsey were a different proposition to the three previous years they’d been there and were short of players because of injuries and seemed short of confidence after a string of poor results.
Sittingbourne will point to a controversial 63rd minute decision when they were awarded a penalty and then had it taken away as the key moment in their defeat.
But to be honest it wasn’t that great a performance, although there are huge mitigating factors in that for any bunch of players facing the 14-hour round trip required to play a match in the Channel Islands.
This time there were no flight delays but it’s still an early start, a long day, and lots of hanging around – arriving at a ground two-and-a-half hours before kick-off is hardly an ideal preparation.
Without the injured Hicham Akhazzan and Josh Wisson, Sittingbourne recalled Danny Rumbol, Sam Welch and Ricky Gundry into the team that lost well in defeat at Tonbridge in the week in the League Cup.
Guernsey, with only two wins behind them all season, and with a teenage goalkeeper in for their injured experienced first choice, made plenty of mistakes in what turned out to be quite a sloppy first half. They seemingly got caught between playing it out from the back and hitting it long and conceded possession in dangerous areas.
But Sittingbourne, who started slowly but then began to build some momentum in the middle of the half, couldn’t quite take advantage of the half-chances on offer.
By far the closest they came was when Tom Carlse got in a powerful header from a Gundry cross in the 35th minute but it hit the inside of the post and rolled across the goal before being scrambled clear.
At the other end, Simon Overland made a couple of impressive early saves and then Guernsey hit the bar twice in 10 minutes, once just shaving the top of it but the second time full on after Overland had advanced from his line and McGrath lobbed him.
Just when it looked as if the half would finish goalless and both managers could have a chance to re-programme their players, Guernsey took the lead a minute into added time. A clever diagonal pass split the defence for Rihoy to comfortably score with a first time shot.
The lead did wonders for Guernsey’s confidence and in the second half they cut out the mistakes and defended much better as Sittingbourne began to wind up some pressure.
They looked certain to equalise on 63 minutes when the assistant referee signalled a penalty for a foul on Carlse and the referee seemed to point to the spot.
Most of the Guernsey team, not to mention the 670-odd home fans in a crowd of 677, complained bitterly and the referee eventually consulted his assistant and reversed the decision.
It had been one of those challenges that outside the area would have been a free-kick nine times out of ten. Carlse dummied to go one way, then turned to go the other, and collided with a defender who had stood his ground.
If the referee deemed Carlse had dived, which the crowd decided was the case and booed him for the rest of the game, then presumably he was wrong not to show him a yellow card for simulation. It was all very strange.
For quite a lot of possession, Sittingbourne didn’t create too much after that with Guernsey happy to break out occasionally.
And with Overland limping badly after a 57th minute injury, they got a second – their second goal of the match in time added on – when sub De La Mere was nicely set up, Sittingbourne manager Nick Davis adamant a foul had been missed in the build-up.
At least Sittingbourne kept going though it wasn’t too much consolation when they finally scored, in the fifth minute of added time, Steven Ita, always their most dangerous attacking threat, striking a low shot from outside the area which was deflected past his own wrong-footed keeper by a defender.
So back home via the return flight to Gatwick after a third successive defeat on Guernsey. A day out to remember, but not really for footballing reasons on this occasion.
Ken Medwyn's photographs are here CLICK HERE
Thomas Dodds 45 mins
Tom De La Mare 90 mins
Steven Ita 90 mins
Referee: Lewis Sandoe
Assistants: Peter Georgiou, Damien Mirzadeh
Dave Rumbol (yellow) (Dan Tanner 86 mins)
Jono Richardson (C)
Joe Loft (Yellow) (Jack Steventon 79 mins)
Jordan Gallacher (Tom Brunt 75 mins)
Sub not used: Nick Davis
Jamie Dodd (C)
Matt Loaring (Glyn Dyer 89 mins)
Kyle Smith (Tom De La Mare 72 mins)
Marc McGrath (Jacob Fallaize 83 mins)
Sub not used: Jordan Kelly
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