It’s easy to imagine what was said in the Guernsey dressing room before the game.
These Sittingbourne boys have been up since before dawn, hung around at Gatwick for a flight that was delayed for three hours, eaten at the wrong times and probably the wrong food, and arrived with less than an hour to prepare for the game. Whatever you do, get stuck into them straightaway while they’re still travel-weary and recovering…
And that’s exactly what they did. One-up early on, Guernsey were able to sit on their lead and catch their visitors twice on the break in the second half as Sittingbourne pushed for an equaliser.
Even though they’d lost six on the trot going into this game Guernsey are a decent side who still fancy making the play-offs and it’s no wonder they’ve got the second best home record in this division.
Sittingbourne tried hard enough and had most of the play in the second half but it’s always a tough task getting anything from a trip to Guernsey, even if the journey’s gone more smoothly than this one.
It was the third time out of four that Sittingbourne have endured frustrating delays at Gatwick just getting to the Channel Islands and this time it was a three-hour hold-up because of fog and backlogs of take-offs.
Kick-off was put back 75 minutes but that only just allowed the match to be squeezed in before the players were hassled straight out of the ground afterwards to get to the airport for the last flight of the day back to Gatwick. It was, travel-wise, a mess.
Sittingbourne brought back Hicham Akhazzan, but just like in his last game, at Faversham, he limped off injured in the first half, new signing Billy Parkinson replacing him.
Guernsey started at a furious pace with Adam Molloy forced to dive full-length to his right to save in the first minute and then Allen, leading scorer throughout the league, rattling the bar from fully 30 yards soon after.But he wasn’t to be denied and gave Guernsey the lead with just eight minutes played, expertly finishing off a clever move from right to left that opened up the Sittingbourne defence.
Molloy was in terrific form to deny Guernsey further goals, making two tremendous first half saves, while the home side also missed a couple of other good chances.
But it was a pretty open end-to-end game and Sittingbourne got forward too, creating chances for Miles Cornwell and the lively Tom Carlse, and Steven Ita always a threat to the home defence with his neat footwork and dribbling skills.
Guernsey looked like they were prepared to sit on the lead their sparkling start had earned them, and Sittingbourne pushed them back straight from half-time.
Carlse hit the bar in the 47th minute from Tom Brunt’s excellent pass, and Ita earned just a corner after a brilliant run took him into the heart of Guernsey’s penalty area.
Just as I’d written in my notebook ‘Sittingbourne applying great pressure’ Guernsey broke out to score a killer second in the 65th minute. Molloy again did well to save at Legg’s feet as he broke clear, but the ball ballooned up and sub Black reacted quickest to head home.
There were further chances for Carlse, who shot into the side-netting from a great position, and the hard-working Jack Steventon, while the Guernsey keeper made his best save of the afternoon from a Conrad Lee pile-driver.
But just like last season on this ground, when Guernsey got late goals for a 3-0 win that made it seem a bigger victory than it actually was, they got a third in the 82nd minute. The excellent Allen avoided being caught offside by retreating into his own half, picking up the ball and winning a foot-race half the length of the pitch to expertly stroke home his second goal of the match.
Almost certainly, the team that deserved to win actually won, and Guernsey, a very welcoming and well-organised club, obviously have plenty of tiring journeys themselves in the opposite direction every other week.
But it still seems a pretty tough call for an away side to come away from their ground with anything – Sittingbourne haven’t managed it yet, anyway.
Though at least it was nice to read that a Guernsey fan tweeted that Sittingbourne had bought the best supporters seen this season with them.
That’s an important consolation.
GUERNSEY 3 (1)
Allen 9 & 82 mins, Black 65 mins
SITTINGBOURNE 0 (0)
Mr Paul Howard
Mr Manny Nktiah
Mr Peter Georgiou
Team info to follow soon
Team info to follow soon
The weather was miserable and so too, I’m afraid, was the Sittingbourne...
It’s hard to disagree with the fan on Facebook who said...
That’s better, Sittingbourne, a very fair draw and another chance...
Sittingbourne succumbed to their second defeat in succession caused by a goal in...
Throughout a fantastic October which left Sittingbourne boss Nick Davis hot...