Praise Sittingbourne’s players for never giving up, and – again – getting a very late goal, this time to rescue a point.
They’re still second in the league, they’re now unbeaten in the last eight league and cup games, and their resilience and never-say-die determination will take them a long way this season.
They were far from at their best in this game, but there were two teams out there and Chipstead handled them well and were able to slow the game down and defend deeply once they’d taken a precious early lead.
That set piece goal was the first conceded by Sittingbourne in seven games, but they’ve now got to put that run behind them and get on with things from here. Cray Wanderers and Merstham at home in the next two games will test them to the full on that.
There were two changes in the team that won 4-0 at Shoreham the previous Saturday, new signing Salvyn Kisitu coming in and ‘Lawson’ Okimeji returning in midfield, with popular duo the ever-present Chris Webber and Ollie Brown missing.
Storm Brian was never quite the factor it had threatened to be, but it may have been the cause of Sittingbourne defenders failing to clear a seventh minute Chipstead corner. All they did was flick it across goal and defender Martin was on hand at the far post to smash it in.
Sittingbourne responded positively and Tom Loynes had a good effort tipped over the bar, and Bola Dawodu and John Coker just failed to convert chances while Ben Gorham headed over. The best chance of the half came right at the end of it when Dawodu timed his run beautifully to meet Loynes’ cross but could only volley it too high.
But the approach work sometimes failed through poor passing, and it all got a bit too frantic too soon, as Chipstead did well to nullify what’s traditionally a great Sittingbourne strength of attacking down the wings.
Sittingbourne started the second half strongly, with Dawodu just wide, Gil Carvalho having a good opening blocked and Kane Rowland heading just over the bar.
The only time Sittingbourne have lost in the league this season was at Faversham, where they conceded a first half goal and then couldn’t find room or space to get the ball behind an ever deeper defence and create chances in that way.
Chipstead were playing the same tactics and it looked like working as the second half went on, particularly in a couple of rare attacks when Twum’s shot was deflected just wide and Bell brought out a good diving save by Daren Hawkes.
As always, Sittingbourne’s attacking substitutions threatened to shake things up and Chipstead must have known they were going to have to pull out all the stops to keep their slender lead as time ticked on and it all got pretty fraught.
Full-back Chris Elliott’s set pieces – long throws and left-footed free-kicks and corners – created continual mayhem in the six-yard box and Sittingbourne finally equalised from one of them.
It was a minute into added time when Dawodu’s header was cleared off the line, Carvalho got the ball back in and Rowland side-footed it over the line from a couple of yards out. It was the young striker’s third successive Saturday on the scoresheet.
The rejuvenated Sittingbourne crowd roared them forward in search of a late winner, but it ended messily with another melee in front of goal ending in a minor fracas. Skipper Gorham was singled out from Sittingbourne for his role in it, and having been harshly booked earlier, he got his second yellow card and was sent off.
Funny that Sittingbourne’s only other red card this season was also in injury time and also against Chipstead, Brown getting sent off there in the opening match of the season.
As mentioned earlier, Sittingbourne now face fourth-placed Cray and in-form Merstham at home in the next seven days – what an opportunity to recover from the disappointment of dropping two points in this game.
Photographs by Ken Medwyn
7 mins: Chipstead Jordan Martin
90 mins: Sittingbourne Kane Rowland
Referee: Micheal marsh
Assistants: Kirsty Dowle, Richard Joss
Salvyn Kisitu (David Smith 77 mins)
Jide Okemeji (Tyrone Guthrie 63 mins)
Ben Gorham (Red)
John Coker (Yellow)
Miles Cornwell (Kane Philip 63 mins)
Substitutes not used: Lex Alan, Harry Brooks
Jordan Martin (Yellow)
Matthew Males (Keanu Williams 52 mins)
Sam Bell (yellow)
Alan Tait (Robert Smith 84 mins)
Substitutes not used: Saidu Khan, Erivaldo Felix, Tony Stone
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...