Photographs by Ken Medwyn CLICK HERE
The score doesn’t lie and, of course, this was an FA Cup hammering for Sittingbourne in their Preliminary Round Replay.
And yet for 45 minutes there was nothing between these two teams and a repeat of Saturday’s draw looked a strong possibility. Not that it could have been a draw as extra time, and penalties, would have eventually sorted out a winner.
And the game did swing – in my opinion – on a hugely controversial decision by the referee in the 55th minute when Sittingbourne were a goal down and battling to get back into it.
A good move down the left ended with Tom Carlse trying to go round a Hythe defender in the penalty area but when his run was blocked and he went to ground the referee penalised him and booked him for simulation.
It looked harsh in the extreme, such a tight call, and almost immediately after an incident at the other end when Hythe’s jack-in-the-box Alfie May had theatrically tumbled past a challenge by Brickies captain Jono Richardson and instead of getting a booking was rewarded with a free-kick.
If the decision had gone Carlse’s way and a penalty had been awarded who knows what would have happened, but as it was the last half-hour was a nightmare for Sittingbourne as Hythe rubbed it by hitting four goals past unfortunate 17-year-old stand-in keeper Adam Wallace.
Of course, Sittingbourne’s big opportunity in this tie was on Saturday at Woodstock when Hythe were reduced to 10 men after just six minutes as goalkeeper Joe Mant was sent off for handling outside his area.
But they couldn’t break down a determined Hythe defence and they had the same problem in this game, despite, I thought, playing better attacking football in the first half.
They’d made two changes from Saturday, Josh Wisson coming in to give an assured performance in midfield in his first game back after a broken arm, and Tom Brunt returning at right-back. Dropped down to sub were Jack Steventon and Hicham Akhazzan.
Using the full width of the pitch, they got good early crosses in from Carlse and Steven Ita, after one terrific run, but couldn’t turn them into goal chances.
Miles Cornwell shot wide as Sittingbourne won lots of loose balls and big challenges, while at the other end Wallace got down well to fist away a shot from May.
Sittingbourne forced a 45th minute corner which Wisson hit beyond far post and Hythe raced the ball up the other end for Adams, who’d played as a stand-in goalkeeper for 84 minutes on Saturday, to drill it in low from 25 yards. It’s not the first time this season that Sittingbourne have conceded straight from an attacking corner.
They’ve gone behind in every game this season but each time have fought back to draw, but this time there was no such recovery.
Despite Sittingbourne’s failed penalty appeal, Hythe were undoubtedly on top for much of the second half and once Webster had got their second on 61 minutes they began to turn it on.
Adams scored twice in three minutes to complete his hat-trick, though for one he looked well offside, and Pogue deflected a huge clearance from his own keeper past a by now demoralised Wallace to add the fifth.
It was Sittingbourne’s first defeat of the season but they’re clearly shipping too many goals at present and two games in 48 hours over the Bank Holiday weekend will be a tough ask for a team who will need to recover their confidence from this hefty setback.
HYTHE TOWN 5 (1)
Adams 45, 72, 75 mins, Webster 62 mins, Pogue 90 mins
SITTINGBOURNE 0 (0)
REFEREE: Mr Rick Bloy
ASSISTANTS: Mr Joe Stokes, Mr Danny Roberts
Jono Richardson( C)
Josh Wisson (Steventon 65 mins)
Remell Davis (Wilkins 81 mins)
Steven Ita (Akhazzan 71 mins)
Craig Cloke (C)
Frankie Sawyer (Pogue 66 mins)
Alfie May (Wilson 81 mins)
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