Well, that was a good few days for Sittingbourne. A much-enjoyed midweek League Cup win over Ramsgate followed by this hard-earned exciting but narrow victory thanks to a late Miles Cornwell winner.
Beaten only twice in ten league and cup games this season, Sittingbourne climbed into the top ten of Ryman South with this win, as well as preserving their unbeaten home record. They attacked well all game and a lot of the credit for that goes to their teenage central midfield partnership of Josh Wisson and Jack Steventon – when did Sittingbourne ever before give that sort of responsibility to two such young players?
On a blustery afternoon, Sittingbourne started positively and Dan Tanner headed wide, Cornwell shot over and Tom Brunt – full of form this season after being relieved of what might have been a burden of captaincy – mistimed a low shot wide.
Horsham, whose defensive frailties brought them into this game with the worst record for goals conceded of any team in the division, looked decent going forward and a well-worked move set up Carney to put them ahead in the 26th minute with an accurate finish that gave keeper Ben Bridle-Card no chance.
Sittingbourne’s response was immediate. Within a minute they were back on level terms as Cornwell set up Stefan Wright, whose powerful low drive went in through the keeper’s legs. Amazingly it became three goals in four minutes as Wright returned the compliment in the 30th minute, taking his time to find Cornwell with his cross, the striker scoring brilliantly with an acrobatic first-time volley into the corner.
A typically ‘involved’ 30 minutes for action man Wright – scored a goal, made a goal, got yellow carded and got fouled so that an opposition player was yellow-carded. And a 50-yard sprint across the pitch to cuddle manager Nick Davis in celebration of his first goal of the season. He’s got his faults but lack of commitment isn’t one of them!
Cornwell headed just wide from a Conrad Lee cross that would have beenan even more spectacular goal than the one he’d just got and the half ended with a superb save by Bridle-Card to turn over Dunn’s piledriver.
There were chances galore throughout the second half, the majority of them for Sittingbourne, but Horsham were never out of this game either.
For Sittingbourne, Wisson had a shot deflected wide, inspirational skipper Jono Richardson had a volley cleared off the line, and Cornwell’s close range shot was blocked over the bar after a great run by the impressive Jordan Gallagher, on his home debut upfront.
Horsham equalised on 77 minutes when Dodd’s corner from the right evaded everyone grouped in the middle of the goal and went straight in at the far post.
Two points dropped would have been a big disappointment for Sittingbourne given their energetic performance and they won it four minutes later when Horsham failed to clear Lee’s corner, Steventon poked the loose ball forward and Cornwell pounced to score his seventh goal of what’s been a very productive season.
Horsham were reduced to ten men in injury time when Dodd was sent off for his second yellow card, and – unlike in a couple of games early in the season – Sittingbourne held out under late pressure to secure anenjoyable victory.
Sittingbourne: Cornwell, 31, 82
Horsham: Carney, 27
Mr C Farrell
Mr J Killen
Mr D Ritchie
Stefan Wright (Yellow)
Josh Wisson (Rabiu 75 mins)
Tom Carlse (Ita 79 mins)
Alex Duncan (Lawley 67 mins)
Anthony Nwachukwu (McDevitt 81 mins)
Scott Kirkwood (Yellow) (Harris 60 mins)
Terry Dodd (Red)
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