If Sittingbourne’s players were getting ratings out of 10 for this performance, then every one of them would have got at least an 8.
This stunning win was a great reward for teamwork, with each player not only doing their job, but tackling bravely, running hard and – simply – playing for each other.
The normal reliable suspects like Jono Richardson and Simon Overland put in their usual stints, but it was others like the outstanding Sam Welch, Conrad Lee and Jordan Gallacher who all put in possibly their best performances of the season.
Well done to all the Sittingbourne players, and well done to them for serenading their loyal singing supporters at the end.
Any win over a competent and successful team like Hythe has to be enjoyed, but this one even more so as it was so emphatic – and some revenge for that 5-0 FA Cup replay hiding Hythe were so happy to give them less than three months ago.
Victory leaves Sittingbourne just four points off a play-off place but the trick is to cash in on it. When they beat Ramsgate by the same score earlier this season, and midway through last season as well, they followed it by losing the next few games.
The same attitude and commitment showed here needs to be maintained, for this was the standard Sittingbourne have now set themselves for the rest of the season.
They made two changes from the team that won at Godalming in the previous game, Tom Brunt and the injured Dan Parkinson dropping out and new signing Anthony O’Connor and Gallacher coming in.
But there were positional changes as well, with Lee moving into the central midfield role vacated by Stefan Wright’s suspension and making an excellent contribution.
Sittingbourne started positively against a Hythe team who have done very well against them in recent years, and took the lead on 18 minutes with a terrific goal, built up at a high tempo. Steven Ita played in Gallacher and he cut his cross back for ex-Folkestone striker O’Connor to finish calmly to make it a debut to remember.
Hythe came back strongly but for all the probing of Alfie May, who looks to be on the brink of a deserved career in League football, they couldn’t find a way through Sittingbourne’s determined defence.
And the Brickies made it 2-0 just before half-time when Welch, enjoying himself against his old club, was fouled just outside the area. Lee lined up the free-kick and hit it perfectly over the wall and inside the near post for a terrific first goal of the season.
Hythe made a double substitution at half-time, looking determined to get something back from the game in pursuit of a play-off place, but it was Sittingbourne who scored again at the start of the second half.
Welch cut in from the right, dummied his marker and picked out Ricky Gundry in the box to control and score from 12 yards out.
Overland made a couple of good saves but no way were Sittingbourne in a mood to let a three-goal lead slip, and Hythe’s day was summed up when May hit a shot that flew straight out of the ground.
And Sittingbourne rounded off a performance to remember with a fourth goal, teenager Jake Embery scoring for the second successive Saturday, this time just four minutes after coming on. Fellow young sub Josh Wisson set him up with a terrific through pass and Embery, who looks like he’s loving his football at the moment, simply crashed his left-foot drive through the keeper.
What a glorious finish to the game and another scalp of a top team for Sittingbourne to follow wins over Greenwich Borough and Corinthian Casuals. Happy days.
Ken Medwyn's photographs are here CLICK HERE
Match day Programme is here CLICK HERE
Match Day programme, Best viewed in Google Chrome
Anthony O'Connor 19 mins
Conrad Lee 43 mins
Ricky Gundry 47 mins
Jake Embery 83 mins
Referee: Mr Anthony Pope
Assistants: Mr Scott Rudd, Mr Wally James
Tom Carlse (Tom Brunt 70 mins)
Jono Richardson (C)
Steven Ita (Josh Wisson 67 mins)
Anthony O'Connor (Jake Embery 80- mins)
Subs not used: Dan Tanner, Hicham Akhazzan
Liam King (Sam Adams 46 mins)
Frankie Sawyer (Alex Mulrooney 67 mins)
Matt Newman (Kenny Pogue 46 mins)
Subs not used Josh Burchell, Chris Saunders
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