Sittingbourne’s unbeaten league record had to go sometime, and it was washed away in the drizzly rain of Whyteleafe.
First of all, the home team were never 4-1 better than a Sittingbourne team who dominated much of this game, but the home side’s finishing was
clinical and they got the right breaks at the right time.
Sittingbourne had a habit last season of inconsistency, following a good performance with a bad one, and it’s the teams who grind out the results week after week who find success.
As I say this wasn’t a bad performance, but it sure was a disappointing result, giving Whyteleafe a huge boost before their much-anticipated FA
Cup clash with Welling next Saturday.
Sittingbourne made only one change from the team that drew well at Hastings in midweek, Tom Carlse in for Hicham Akhazzan, but included young striker Jordan Gallacher from Leatherhead, and he scored as a second half substitute.
The visitors started well with Jono Richardson, always a mighty threat at attacking set pieces, getting one to his feet this time in only the fourth minute, but he volleyed narrowly wide.
Whyteleafe got the lift of an early goal – the first time they’ve taken the lead in a league or cup game this season – and it obviously gave them a huge boost. Clayton’s free-kick from just outside the area took a slight deflection off the wall to take it past the diving Ben Bridle-Card.
Sittingbourne responded well, with Ola Rabiu’s pace taking him into great positions, and Richardson having a header deflected over the bar by the keeper from another corner.
Their attacking threat was somewhat nullified by an assistant referee, who three times controversially flagged as illegal the long throws which have been such a threat this season. Sittingbourne argued unsuccessfully that Steventon’s front foot cutting the line was perfectly all right, but to no avail.
Whyteleafe got a crucial second goal just before half-time when
Steventon was robbed in his own half and Clayton went on to score an excellent goal.
The first goal in the second half was going to be crucial – 2-1 and you fancied Sittingbourne getting something from the game, whereas 3-0 would
mean game over.
In fact, it was neither as Whyteleafe got it, and still Sittingbourne battled from three-down as if it wasn’t all over at all. Good for them for their resilience, the best thing to come out of this game probably.
Whyteleafe had a ‘goal’ ruled out for offside and also hit the inside of the post but it was mainly Sittingbourne pouring forward, their attacks often thwarted by a succession of fouls resulting in free-kicks which came to nothing.
The home side got their third goal on 74 minutes, counter-attacking as Sittingbourne stretched themselves going forward, Parker comfortably finishing a good move.
Still it was Sittingbourne looking to get something from a game that was now surely behind them, and new boy Gallacher seemed to be definitely fouled as he closed in on goal, but the officials saw nothing wrong. A red card for the defender would have been mandatory, too .. Soon after, Gallacher did score, back-heading into the far corner after Richardson had headed on a Steventon long throw that wasn’t judged illegal this time.
But Sittingbourne were caught out in injury time as they continued to throw players forward, Whyteleafe sub Mensah getting through from the halfway line to score neatly and round off the home side’s win.
Whyteleafe (2) 4 Clayton (10 mins, 44 mins, Parker 74 mins, Mensah 90+1 mins)
Sittingbourne (0) 1, Gallacher (82 mins)
Referee: Mr Matthew Goldsmith.
Assistants: Mr Leigh Judd, Mr Matthew Pollington.
Stefan Wright (Jake Embery, 84 min),
Connor Wilkins (Jordan Gallacher, 55 min),
Conrad Lee (Hicham Akhazzan, 74 min).
Subs not used: Mark Chiverton, Danny Rumbol.
Jake Downs (Yellow card),
Daryl Coleman (Ryan Fowler, 78 min),
Bentley Graham (Yellow card),
Roscoe DSane (Andrew Mensah, 67 min),
Dereece Thompson (Scott Johnston, 67 min, Yellow card).
Subs not used: Dylan Ramazani, Will Price.
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