|www.yourcounty.co.uk - The Kent Website - Supporting Kentish Football
|Southern League Division One East
|Peter Pitts reports from Bourne Park
|Coyle 4, Campbell 53
|Mullins 31, O'Connor 36, Chennells 45
Brickies already fragile confidence takes another knock
once again lost a game when arguably they had played the better football.
They got off to the best possible start when on 4 minutes Berkhamsted's goalkeeper Sam Mazurek failed to hold the ball under challenge from Ben Taylor and Jamie Coyle was on hand to fire the ball into the net.
Sittingbourne then went on to take charge of the game and the lively Jon Neal and David Cory were causing all sorts of problems.
On 21 minutes from a free kick Neal just beat Mazurek to the ball but he sent his shot agonisingly wide. Then Cory broke through only to see his goal bound shot blocked by the keeper, then 8 minutes later Neal found Cory whose shot but it hit a Berkhamsted defender and deflected for a corner.
Berkhamsted had a rare run at the Brickies goal on 23 minutes when Terry O'Connor forced a save from Kevin Fewell.
I had just written in my note book, "a good 30 minutes for the Brickies" when explicably on 31 minutes the defence was found wanting when the ball was allowed to run right across the Brickies goal and landed at the feet of Andy Mullins who although almost at the by-line managed to strike a sweet shot into the Brickies net.
The Brickies already fragile confidence took a knock and just 4 minutes later Berkhamsted won a corner which the Brickies failed to clear, instead the ball fell to Terry O'Connor lurking on the edge of the penalty area and he struck a great first time shot which whistled through a ruck of players straight into the net.
It should be said at this point that Paul Ainsworth had sustained a back injury earlier on and this was clearly affecting his movement, this may partly be the cause of the defensive frailties that surfaced.
The Brickies then conceded a killer goal right on half time where the defence, that was so solid last term, failed to clear a seemingly tame cross but they failed and the ball landed to an unmarked Michael Chennells who had the easiest of jobs in firing home.
Sittingbourne nearly snatched a goal back in the dying minutes of first half injury time when Paul Manning set up a chance for Neal but his shot was deflected by a Berkhamsted defender.
Just like the first half Sittingbourne had a good start to the second when on 53 minutes a Brickies free kick into a packed Berkhamsted area fell to Taylor whose shot rebounded off a defender but only as far as James Campbell, who had replaced the struggling Ainsworth at half time, to fire home.
Five minutes later Cory broke away but a defender did well to push him wide and his shot curled to the right of the goal.
Berkhamsted's Chennells then had a shot well saved by Fewell, but the Brickies were again looking the better side with the lively Cory leading the way having a shot blocked and another well saved.
Despite this ascendancy a quick Bekhamsted break on 80 minutes saw the ball go to an unmarked Leon Hibbert just 5 yards from the Brickies goal but his first time shot looped over the bar for the miss of the day.
Bradley Spice replaced Adam Douglas with 8 minutes to go and he immediately became a threat and nearly scored an equaliser with a bullet header which Mazurek did well to tip over the bar.
Right on time Cory was fouled just outside the area but Marsh's free kick was headed wide and the sands of time had run out again for Sittingbourne.
Sittingbourne: Fewell, Coyle, Hill, Douglas (Spice 87 mins), Ainsworth (J Campbell 46 mins), Taylor, Gooding, Marsh, Cory, Neal, Manning, Subs: Browning, Guiver.