Division One East
|Peter Pitts reports from Bourne Park|
|Great Wakering Rovers||1||Read 90|
Sittingbourne secure Southern League status
SITTINGBOURNE are now all but safe from relegation after this narrow victory whilst Great Wakering must fight it out with Erith & Belvedere to see who will join Tilbury in being relegated from the league.
Great Wakering must now be sick of Sittingbourne as they have still to register a victory over them in three outings this season.
The match was played with a certain amount of nervousness meaning that it wasn't particularly good to watch.
However, the Brickies managed to gain their first victory in nine games much to the delight of the excellent Sittingbourne supporters who must surely be the most vocal in the division along with Dartford.
Both sides should be credited though for the good spirit that the match was played in meaning that Mr Meilack could keep his cards in his pocket.
Sittingbourne had four new players on view, Steve Lovell having just beaten last Thursday's transfer deadline, and all performed creditably although it was clear that one or two of them lack match fitness.
Best of the new bunch was Ryan Peters who had been with Steve Lovell at Hastings and Peters scored a spectacular goal deep into second half injury time which clinched all three points for the Brickies.
The game was some 20 minutes late in kicking off because the referee's car broke down and he had to be rescued by his wife!
Great Wakering had the first attack when on 11 minutes Joe Ilett found himself with a chance in the Brickies area but Kevin Fewell, who had his best game for a long time, made a good save and tipped the ball away, James Campbell eventually clearing the ball.
Great Wakering were having more of the game in these early stages and a corner for the Essex side ended up with Mark Hampshire firing just wide.
Sittingbourne got into the game after twenty minutes when Jon Neal found Bradley Spice and Spice's rasping cross was just missed by the onrushing Lee Browning.
Five minutes later a defence splitting through ball found Spice who passed inside to Kieran Marsh and Marsh picked his spot beautifully to put the Brickies a goal up.
Great Wakering came back well and Hampshire shot wide, then Rovers had another chance, this time from a corner but Fewell made a good catch from the header.
Rovers continued to have chances but their finishing was woeful.
Sittingbourne came back into the game in the last five minutes and Charlie Belcher's shot from some 25 yards out was deflected for a corner. From the corner Paul Ainsworth headed narrowly wide.
Two minutes later Rovers goalkeeper James Marrable snatched the ball at the second attempt after Adam Holmes had headed a Marsh cross back to him.
The second half began with Marsh blasting over from a good position. At the other end Fewell performed miracles by palming Dan Trenkle's header onto a post.
Nether side could claim ascendancy and Neal had a shot from a tight angle that bounced off Marrable.
Sittingbourne then had their best moments of the match. David Cory back headed the ball to Spice whose shot was deflected into the side netting. From the corner Ainsworth's shot was
cleared off the Rovers goal line.
Greatt Wakering, sensing that the game was slipping away from them, won a couple of corners but Sittingbourne were having the better of the game.
On 86 minutes Peter Taylor found Clint Gooding in the Rovers area and Gooding appeared to be pushed over. However, Mr Meilack thought differently and no penalty was given.
Rovers were now pushing forward in numbers, leaving gaps at the back, Spice took advantage of this in the first minute of injury time by running clear but he fired across goal. In the 4th minute of injury time Rovers conceded a free kick some 30 yards outside their area. Up stepped Ryan Peters to take the kick and his stinging drive was too hot for Marrable to handle and the ball slipped into the net for the Brickies second.
A minute later Rovers pulled a consolation goal back but by then the game was won by the Brickies. They now have some difficult games coming up but this victory will have given them some much needed confidence.
Sittingbourne: Fewell, Coyle, Spiller (Taylor), Ainsworth, Campbell, Belcher (Gooding), Peters, Marsh, Neal (Cory), Spice, Browning, Subs: Douglas, Friend