Division One East
|Peter Pitts reports from
|Douglas 20 (pen), Neal 45
Nolan wins his first game in front of Brickies faithful
Steve Nolan's first home game in charge proved to be eventful
and had an undercurrent of bad feeling between the sides almost from the off.
There were tough tackles from both sides and at times the game threatened to boil over but this made exciting watching for the 183 spectators!
Sittingbourne were without the injured Bradley Spice and Paul Manning whilst Shane Campbell was unavailable. Back from injury came James Campbell and David Cory, although Cory started on the bench.
Sittingbourne began confidently and on 17 minutes Jamie Coyle found John Neal who touched the ball to Dave Hassett whose pile driver flew just over the Maldon bar.
Three minutes later Maldon Town keeper Glen Johnson found himself in no mans land and Hassett fired in a goal-bound shot. However, up popped Maldon Town veteran and captain Nicky Smith who for a brief moment thought that he was the keeper and palmed the ball wide of the goal.
Referee Mr Links had no option but to award Sittingbourne a penalty and red card the Maldon player.
Kieran Marsh's kick was saved by Johnson but the alert assistant spotted the goalie well off his line so the kick had to be taken again.
This time Adam Douglas had a go and fired the ball wide of Johnson and into the net to put
the Brickies a goal up.
The ten men of Maldon came back strongly - too strongly at times - and Craig Huttley hit a free kick just wide.
Right on half time Jamie Coyle received the ball in the Maldon box and he headed it out to Neal who crashed it back into the net and the Brickies were two up.
The second half was 13 minutes old when the referee pulled up with a hamstring problem . After some consultation in which the Maldon Town secretary refused to sanction another official to be brought in from the crowd to run the line the referee and his assistant Mr Carter swapped roles and the game continued after a 13 minute delay.
Cynics might suggest that the secretary was trying to get the match abandoned!
Maldon were still battling away for all their worth but Sittingbourne had a golden opportunity to improve their goal difference when on 76 minutes Hassett dummied to allow the ball to fall to Neal but with an empty net beckoning the Brickies leading scorer fired wide.
A minute later Sittingbourne got a wake up call as Maldon's Dean Parratt hit the cross bar from a free kick.
The game almost boiled over and Judd Coe for Maldon Town and James Campbell and David Cory for Sittingbourne found their way into Mr Carter's book.
Deep into injury time a Coyle 30 yard special thundered against a Maldon post but by then the game was won and the Brickies now leapfrog Maldon in the league table.
Sittingbourne: Fewell, Coyle, Hill, Douglas, J Campbell, Ainsworth, Browning, Marsh, Neal, Hassett (Cory 101 mins!), Dowley, Subs: Tanner, Ashmore, Mullin
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