That’s three times now this season that Sittingbourne have let in two late goals to draw matches from winning positions.
But make no mistake this was a tremendous effort by Sittingbourne to be two-up going into the last quarter-of-an-hour and a draw at a team as
strong as Lewes is a result to be proud of.
The Sussex side, definite play-off contenders even though they’re only 10th after a poor start to the season, are in a rich vein of form and haven’t lost for nine matches.
Mind you, Sittingbourne, who finished the day ninth in the table, aren’t far behind with their record as they’ve only lost once in their last eight games.
So two in-form teams battling it out for supremacy in the weak Sussex sunshine in front of a crowd of nearly 500.
And a draw was probably the right result with a point the very least Sittingbourne deserved for a spirited, organised and gritty display.
They made just one change from the team that beat East Grinstead with a last minute goal the previous week, captain Jono Richardson returning
after a work course kept him out as Dan Tanner stepped down.And it was Richardson who played a key part in the opening goal with just two minutes played. Sittingbourne had ended the previous game with a goal from a long throw by Sam Welch and they started this game with another one. Richardson headed on Welch’s throw, Anthony O’Connor controlled it and laid it off for Joe Loft to left-foot home from the edge of the area.
Even before that, Sittingbourne had been given a scare by one of their former players, Stephen Okoh, who went on a fine run for Lewes before
dragging his shot wide. But that turned out to be his best moment in what was a familiarly inconsistent display by him.
Lewes played a lot of nice football but the Sittingbourne defence stood so firm that goalkeeper Simon Overland had little to do for the rest of
the first half.
In fact it was the Brickies who went closest to scoring in this half when Dan Rumbol volleyed over from a good position after Tom Carlse crossed to the far post.
Lewes definitely stepped up the pressure after the interval but Sittingbourne still held them well and looked very dangerous on the
counter-attack, especially through the extra pace they threw at it.
And 1-0 to them became 2-0 on 75 minutes. Carlse did brilliantly out on the left, keeping the ball in play, beating a defender on the outside and racing in along the byline before cutting it back for Jordan Gallacher. He sidestepped a covering defender and stabbed his first goal for six weeks into the far corner.
Sittingbourne celebrated like mad, but Lewes got one back within minutes when Smith went down in the area under Rumbol’s challenge, and with the packed crowd behind the goal baying for a penalty the referee obliged. It looked a soft one to me, but then again if it had been up the other end I too would have wanted a penalty. Anyway it was given and although Overland dived the right way he couldn’t keep out Dixon’s well-placed kick.
The momentum was with Lewes now and they maintained their unbeaten run by equalising four minutes later, a long free-kick by goalkeeper Winterton going behind the defence for Smith to get there first and head home from close range.
Sittingbourne weren’t done, though, and fought back with great passion, sub Connor Wilkins going closest in injury time after a superb dribble
wrong-footed the defence only to drag his shot wide.
A great effort by Sittingbourne and a result that shows how much good work manager Nick Davis has done in preparing and inspiring his team this season.
Two tough games coming up against teams above them in the league will take them beyond the halfway mark of the season and give a very good idea of what their expectations really are for the rest of it.
Ken Medwyn's photographs are here CLICK HERE
Jack Dixon 79 mins (Pen)
Jonte Smith 84 mins
Joe Loft 3 mins
Jordan Gallacher 76 mins
Referee: Matthew Lee
Assistants: Lukasz Sipior
Jono Richardson (C)
Anthony O'Connor (Connor Wilkins 80 mins)
Ricky Gundry (Yellow) (Jake Embery 60 mins)
Jordan Gallacher (Tom Brunt 85 mins)
Subs not used: Dan Tanner, Josh Wisson
Lloyd Harrington (Yellow)
Stacey Freeman (C) (Yellow)
Stephen Okoh (Callum Kealy 83 mins)
Ronnie Conlon (Arinse Uade 74 mins)
Subs not used: Gus Sow, Jack Whitmore,
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