Well, I don’t think I’ve seen a match of two halves quite as contrasting as this.
Sittingbourne dominated the first half and Bury Town the second. Trouble is, Sittingbourne didn’t convert their chances when they were so
much on top, and that’s why they went out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle.
They truly outplayed Bury for 45 minutes and it wasn’t until after the break that you could see what a good side the Suffolk team was, and why
they’re second in Ryman League North and haven’t lost an away game this season.
Sittingbourne made two changes from the team that lost at East Grinstead the previous Saturday with fit-again Simon Overland returning in goal for Ben Bridle-Card, who has switched to Faversham, and Jordan Gallacher back from suspension and replacing Hicham Akhazzan.
In front of their biggest home crowd since August, Sittingbourne stormed into the game and Dan Rumbol thumped a sixth minute header against the bar from Conrad Lee’s corner and then twice went close to scoring when the next corner swung in.
With Stefan Wright energetically bursting forward from midfield, Sittingbourne pressed on and after Gallacher put a good chance wide,
Miles Cornwell missed a great opportunity when he got clear only to drive his shot against the foot of the post.
A spate of corners, some good attacking moves, and the woodwork struck twice all in the first 15 minutes. How Sittingbourne would go on to
regret not turning their superiority into goals – though without being clever after the event, you somehow sensed that even at the time.
Extraordinarily, Bury took the lead midway through the first half from what was their first attack. And it wasn’t even an attack – just a long
throw, even longer than Jack Steventon can do it – into the box and headed on by a giant centre-half for Canfer to score easily at the far post.
Back came Sittingbourne, undeterred, and Wright headed into the keeper’s arms from a good position, Gallacher forced the keeper into agood save, and Jono Richardson had his close range shot blocked following yet another dangerous corner into the box.
Surely, the second half would produce more of the same and Sittingbourne would eventually get the equaliser they clearly deserved, at the very least.
But that couldn’t have been further from the truth as Bury put an iron grip on the game right from the start of the second half, with Overland
straightaway called on to make two excellent diving saves when all the first half he’d been a virtual spectator.
In what was only a rare Sittingbourne attack, Cornwell had a good chance to pull it back but he tried to put too much power into his shot and it soared over the bar.
Bury had some good players but their domination was all about forcing set pieces – corners, free-kicks and especially throw-ins which they’d fire into the six-yard from miles out.But it was a free-kick that gave them their second clinching goal, and though it was almost right out by the corner flag, Barber sent it
immaculately straight in to the far top corner.
Worse followed for Sittingbourne with their first red card of the season – harshly shown to Steventon for what looked an honest, though conceivably mistimed, challenge.
The referee had previously shown leniency to Bury players for blocking a keeper’s quick clearance and kicking the ball away after the whistle had gone, but showed none at all here for a teenager committing his first foul of the game after 80 minutes.
That’s both major cup competitions Sittingbourne have gone out of now at the first attempt, having been drawn rather unluckily against more than decent teams both times.
Their season has gone a bit awry in the last couple of weeks, but they have to take consolation from the way they played in the first half and must have scared the living daylights out of their opponents before ending up with nothing to show for it.
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Canfer 23 mins
Barber 79 mins
Referee: Neil West (Leigh on Sea)
Assistants: Lee Markwick (Stanford Le Hope)
Micheal Scott (Stanford Le Hope)
Tom Brunt (Hicham Akhazzan 77 mins)
Jono Richardson (C)
Jack Steventon (Red Card)
Ricky Gundry (Josh Wisson 66 mins)
Tom Carlse (Steven Ita 69 mins)
Subs not used:
Tom Debenham (Phil Weavers 62 mins Yellow)
Remi Garrett Yellow, (Nick Ingram 85 mins)
Bradlkey Barber (C)
Sub not used
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