Sittingbourne 3-1 Fleet
Dr Martens League Eastern Division
Saturday 6 September 2003
By Peter Pitts www.sittingbournefc.co.uk
Sittingbourne gained their first league win of the season against Fleet Town who are yet to gain a point.
Sittingbourne were without Clint Gooding (holiday), whilst Fleet Town were without their influential centre back John Murphy.
The Brickies had most of the early play without being able to find the killer touch, the closest they came to scoring in this early period came on fifteen minutes when Bradley Spice drove the ball across an open goal but no one was on hand to make the final touch.
Six minutes later though, Sittingbourne's superiority finally told when tricky play by Joe Dowley on the left saw him find Kieran Marsh just inside the penalty area and Marsh, although falling down, managed to curl the ball into the right hand corner of the Fleet Town goal to open the scoring.
Sittingbourne continued to press and Jamie Coyle saw a twenty-five yard short go narrowly over the crossbar, and then a Darren Smith corner found Taylor at the far post who laid the ball off to Marsh but he shot just wide.
The half continued with the Brickes well on the top but despite efforts from Spice and Neal there were no more scoring in this half.
Fleet Town hadn't had a shot in the first half and the second half didn't start well for them either, as in the 49th minute their goalkeeper Steve May punched away a free kick, but only as far as Jon Neal who headed the ball across goal straight to Ben Taylor who headed the ball into the net for Sittingbourne's second goal.
Five minutes later Sittingbourne extended their lead to 3-0 when Spice was brought down inside the Fleet penalty area. Spice converted the penalty himself.
Spice then crashed the ball across the Fleet area and the onrushing, Neal, missed the ball before Tom Berry fired a free kick wide.
Fleet Town still hadn't created a meaningful shot to trouble Kevin Fewell in the Brickies goal and Fleet's manager Mick Catlin decided that drastic measures were required and made all three permitted substitutions in one swoop.
Two minutes later his changes paid off as substitute Barry Parker had a shot cleared off the line by Berry but the ball went straight to Sean Hale who fired home.
Then came a controversial incident as Paul Davies broke away towards the Fleet goal and keeper May came rushing out of his goal area to try to reach the ball before Davies. The two men went up together for the ball but the assistant referee jugged May had handled and the referee had no option but to send the goalkeeper off as he was the last man. Ben Tiller took over in goal and despite efforts by Davies, Coyle, Marsh and Taylor there was no further scoring.
A good display by the Brickies who could have scored more goals had they taken their chances.
Sittingbourne: Fewell, Coyle (Browning 88), Dowley, S Davies, Campbell, Taylior (C), Berry, Marsh, Neal, Smithy, Spice (P Davies 63) .
Subs not used: Nichol, Hidson, Beeney