If 5-3 sounds a bit of a crazy result then that’s because it was. There was some poor defending, some poor weather and some poor refereeing, but on the other hand some of the finishing was excellent. Especially by the two Number 11s, who got five goals between them.
This was a third defeat for Sittingbourne by Walton Casuals this season, and it’s still not obvious why they’ve got such a hold over them.
True, they were the better side in the first half but Sittingbourne turned the tables after half-time and it was nearly all one-way traffic in their favour.
But having said that, Walton got three of their goals during that period though in my humble opinion, and I don’t often criticise referees who have a hard enough job anyway, I reckon two of them directly followed the referee getting decisions wrong.
The most worrying aspect of Odunaike’s hat-trick for the home side was that he got in behind the Sittingbourne defence all three times to get his goals.
Perhaps it was me, but I felt the game had a slight end-of-season feel to it, with players not doing the right things quite as consistently as they should do.
It began in a blustery wind and ended in squally rain, but it was good entertaining stuff with plenty of goal chances, all played out in front of only a few fans on the Merstham ground that Walton share miles away from their home. Last away game it was more than 800 watching Sittingbourne, this time it was 740 less … Sittingbourne made just one change from the team that beat Peacehaven in their previous game, an enforced one with Michael Hurcomb starting up front in place of the injured Jordan Wells.
Steven Ita gave Sittingbourne an early lead with an excellent free-kick from 25 yards, driven beyond the wall into the far corner, but Walton hit back almost immediately.
They attacked along the byline and when the ball was pulled back, skipper Day’s shot took a slight deflection off Scott Whibley’s attempted block and into the goal.
Walton were pressing hard for possession and it paid off on 33 minutes when Odunaike got behind the defence for the first time, anticipating Whibley’s headed back pass to neatly lob the advancing Adam Molloy.
At the other end when Tom Carlse also pounced on a headed back pass that fell short, a desperate defensive clearance bounced off him and agonisingly over the bar.
Sittingbourne played well as an attacking force in the second half, constantly taking the game to Walton, and going close on several occasions.
But they were undone on 73 minutes when Jack Steventon definitely looked as if he was fouled in a challenge by Walton’s Omar Folkes, who had a spell at Sittingbourne a couple of seasons ago. He went on and whipped the ball in behind the central defenders and Odunaike did the rest, while the challenge which seemed to miss the ball and catch Steventon saw him hobble out of the rest of the game.
Back came Sittingbourne and it was soon 3-2 as Ita cleverly chipped a free-kick in and Carlse read it well to head home.
The goals were flooding in and Walton scored again two minutes later with Odunaike again timing his run perfectly to get in behind and beat Molloy in a one-on-one.
But this goal came on the break direct from a Walton goal-kick which for all the world looked as if it should have been a corner awarded to Sittingbourne.
Neither side concentrated much on defence in the dying minutes and after hat-trick man Odunaike hit the bar, Walton still added another deep into injury time when Nicholson comfortably stroked home a 20-yard free-kick.
Still Sittingbourne weren’t done and Ita ended what he’d started, scoring the final goal of a weird game in the seventh minute of added time with a beautiful left-footer into the far corner from outside the box.
It deserved more than to be just a consolation footnote in this game but it does make him Sittingbourne’s leading scorer this season – impressive for a player who didn’t join the club until November.
WALTON CASUALS 5 (2)
Day 21 mins, Bamba 34, 74 & 81 mins, Nicholson 90 mins
SITTINGBOURNE 3 (1)
Ita 17 & 90 mins, Carlse 79 mins
Mr Craig Pullen
Mr Micheal Smith
Mr Luis Nunes
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