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Division One East
|Peter Pitts reports from Maidstone Road|
Mullins performs heroics in derby draw
Sittingbourne just edged the possession in this local derby but Chatham Town could have stole the points but for two great saves by the newly signed Pat Mullins playing in the absence through work commitments of Kevin Fewell.
Ex Chatham player Jon Neal had to watch from the sidelines as he is still out through injury whilst Michael Smissen, who was a great favourite last term at Bourne Park during his loan period from Dover Athletic, came on for Chatham for the last seven minutes of the match.
Sittingbourne started well and on 12 minutes a Dean Hill free kick was latched onto by Bradley Spice but his shot struck the left hand post.
Sittingbourne continued to have the better of the first half with Kieran Marsh firing over and another ex Chatham player, Joe Dowley, having an effort headed away.
Chatham's first threat at the Sittingbourne goal came on 37 minutes when Darren Adams blasted over.
Sittingbourne started the second half on top and on 56 minutes James Campbell stabbed the ball over the bar from five yards.
Mullins had had a quiet start to the second half but on 61 minutes he performed miracles by tipping over Danny Larkin's near post header following a corner.
Lee Browning for Sittingbourne then had a good run which was abruptly stopped by what looked like a blatant push in the back in the area but the referee saw nothing.
Then a defence splitting pass from Joe Dowley found Spice in the area, Spice turned and shot but Chatham goalkeeper Louis Green did well to deflect the effort for a corner.
Browning had another chance on 80 minutes but his header from a Jamie Coyle cross was weak and went wide.
Sittingbourne then had a great chance when a Spice cross picked out the unmarked Adam Douglas just to the right of the goal but he blasted the ball wide.
Chatham then had two good efforts in four minutes the first of which saw strong Adams play allowing Danny Larkin to steal through the Brickies defence but with the goal at his mercy he blasted the ball wide.
Then on 86 minutes a free kick found Adams just inside the area but again Mullins performed
heroics to tip his bicycle kick round a post.
In the end both sides probably deserved a share of the points.
Sittingbourne boss Steve Nolan admitted his side should have come away with more than a point. Speaking to www.kentishfootball.co.uk editor Stephen McCartney two nights after the game, he said: "If you said before hand we would take a point we would be happy with that.
"I thought we did enough in the first half to win the game. We should have been in the lead as we had eight corners and they didn't have one. Disappointed we didn't make that pressure count by scoring goals."
Nolan, however, is looking for maximum points when Leighton Town visit Bourne Park on Saturday. After taking over from Mark Beeney at the end of November, Sittingbourne won once, and drew twice in his opening seven games in charge. But he has turned that around by collecting eight points - two wins and a draw - in his last four league games.
He said: "You look at our last two games at home we've won and we've drawn two away. I am pleased with that and looking to take that forward against Leighton Town on Saturday."
Nolan, however, has no suspensions to deal with but Paul Manning, who was due back on Saturday, is still suffering with his groin injury but Jon Neale could be back on Saturday as he bids to recover from an ankle injury.
Chatham Town: Green, Binks, D larkin, A Larkin, Bourne, Best, Brook (Amadi 79), Reinelt, Bileness (Skelton 65), Adams, Collins (Smissen 83), Subs: Bayle, Hunt
Sittingbourne: Mullins, Coyle, Dowley, Gooding, Campbell, Hill, Ashmore (Douglas 74), Marsh, Cory (Tanner 83), Spice, Browning,