Division One East
|Peter Pitts reports from Bourne Park|
Sittingbourne climb over Harlow
This was a largely uninspiring game until injury time when both the Harlow Physio and Assistant Manager were booked by referee Mr Yeo after the Assistant had brought his attention to remarks from the bench.
The game was vital to both sides as Sittingbourne had gone seven games without a win and have suffered three home defeats in a row whilst Harlow have also had a poor run lately and are slipping towards the relegation zone.
Harlow though appeared the more desperate as time and time again they went through the player, a tactic that cost them four other bookings and resulted in Bradley Spice limping off to again join the long Sittingbourne injury list.
With Jon Neal, David Cory, Kieran Marsh and Paul Manning still missing through injury Steve Nolan experimented by putting Jamie Coyle up front to partner Bradley Spice, a pairing that will need more time to work.
Harlow's Captain Leon Lalite had the first shot of the game on 8 minutes when he cleverly made space but he fired his effort well over the bar.
That shot turned out to be the sum of Harlow's efforts during the game. However, Sittingbourne were fairing little better themselves in this half.
Jack Tanner is turning into something of a find and on 37 minutes his free kick was spilled by Harlow keeper Glenn Jackson but the defence cleared the danger.
The only other shot in the first half also fell to Sittingbourne when Adam Douglas found Coyle unmarked on the edge of the area but Coyle sliced his shot well wide.
The second half belonged almost entirely to Sittingbourne and on 55 minutes Coyle headed a far post corner narrowly over the Harlow bar.
Then Spice had a shot which Jackson did well to palm round the post. Two minutes later Clint Gooding found Spice but under Harlow pressure he lobbed the ball just over the bar.
Sittingbourne goalkeeper Kevin Fewell was having one of his easier games as Harlow were rarely in the Brickies half.
Spice was looking to be the most dangerous attacker for Sittingbourne as he again forced Jackson into palming the ball away. And from the resulting corner Gooding fired the ball well over.
Sittingbourne continued to attack and a Tanner free kick found Ainsworth in the area and he too fired over the bar.
On 68 minutes Spice found Browning on the edge of the Harlow area and the young Sittingbourne player crashed a shot across goal and just wide.
The vital goal eventually came with just 5 minutes of normal time to go when a superb Tanner cross found Browning lurking just outside the area and he made no mistake with a marvellous effort that curled into the inside of the left hand Harlow net.
Harlow at last came alive in this half and had two penalty shouts although from my position in the stand I could see nothing wrong, neither could the referee.
Sittingbourne then comfortably saw out the ten minutes of injury time added on by Mr Yeo but they had deservedly secured the points and now go above Harlow on goal difference.
Sittingbourne: Fewell, Hill, Dowley, Douglas, Campbell, Ainsworth, Tanner, Gooding, Coyle, Spice (Marshall 86), Browning, Subs not used: Ashmore, Nolan, Jacobs, Tucker