Brickies highest finish since returning to Eastern Division
Sittingbourne finish on a high note winning seven out of their last eight games
Bashley 0-1 Sittingbourne
Saturday 1 May 2004
Dr Martens League Eastern Division
by Peter Pitts www.sittingbournefc.co.uk
In their final game of the season Sittingbourne defeated Bashley 1-0 and by virtue of the victory leap-frogged the New Forest side to finish in 10th place, their highest finish since returning to the Eastern Division.
The first half was evenly matched, although Bashley started brightly with Richard Gillespie hitting the post after just 5 minutes. Gillespie had another snap shot which went wide and then Danny Gibson forced a good save from Brickies keeper Kevin Fewell.
Sittingbourne soon got into the match and a Paul Manning free kick gave Bashley goalkeeper Jason Harvell a problem when he failed to collect but the ball was finally cleared.
A fluent Bashley move on 26 minutes ended in a Mark Lisk cross headed just over by Danny Gibbons and at the other end Harvell again failed to clear a Manning free kick, the ball fell to Jamie Coyle but his shot sailed over the bar.
Bashley had a shot cleared off the line by Dean Hill at the beginning of the second half and shots by Stuart Cannie and Gillespie were competently handled by Fewell, but then Sittingbourne shook of their apathy and on 65 minutes Adam Douglas set up a chance for Michael Smissen but the keeper made a fine diving save.
Five minutes later the Brickies took the lead as Michael Smissen glanced Kieran Marsh's corner just inside the near post.
Two minutes later there was almost a repeat of the goal but this time Harvell blocked
Smissen was in the thick of the action and on 74 minutes a Tom Berry / Jon Neal move ended in the ball being cleared of the Bashley goal-line following a spectacular Bicycle kick by the young Brickie forward.
Sittingbourne were now well on top and on 78 minutes Smissen had a chance to double the lead and at the same time claim the crown of leading goal-scorer as the referee awarded a penalty after Dave Wakefield had handled in the area, but Smissen's effort went straight to the keeper who made an easy save.
David Cory joined the fray from the substitutes bench and made a couple of good runs and in the process setting up a chance for Manning, but his shot was blocked, then a couple of chances for himself, the first blazed wide from a good position and the next comfortably saved by the keeper.
Time ran out for the Bash and Sittingbourne had clinched their 7th win out of their last 8 games to end the season on a high note, and once again the vocal support from the marvellous Brickies supporters made it seem as though Sittingbourne were the home team.
Sittingbourne: Fewell, Taylor, Hill, Berry, Ainsworth, Coyle, Marsh, Douglas (Gooding 89 mins), Neal (Cory 77 mins), Smissen, Manning, Subs not used: Campbell, Beeney.
WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK PETER PITTS FOR SENDING US SITTINGBOURNE'S MATCH REPORTS THROUGHOUT THE SEASON.
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