Sittingbourne put on fitting tribute for Natalie
Brickies roared on by vocal, passionate fans
Sittingbourne 1-0 Salisbury City
Dr Martens League Eastern Division
Saturday 24 April 2004
by Peter Pitts - www.sittingbournefc.co.uk
Sittingbourne's final home game of the season was preceded by a minutes silence for Michael Smissen's sister Natalie who died at the tender age of 21.
Sittingbourne put on a performance that was a fitting tribute to Natalie as they went at Salisbury from the off and produced a marvellous display to claim their 6th win out of the last 7 games.
Back in January Salisbury City had easily defeated the Brickies in Wiltshire, but if they expected this game to be as easy then they were sadly disappointed as Sittingbourne bossed the game from the off.
They were so dominant in the first half that Kevin Fewell was a spectator for most of it.
Sittingbourne's hard working style upset Salisbury and they were constantly guilty of giving the ball away. The hard working Jon Neal and Michael Smissen were causing all sorts of problems and on 18 minutes Smissen had a good shot go just wide.
Two minutes later Paul Manning was fouled just outside the Salisbury area and he and Jamie Coyle lined up to take the kick.
Manning dummied that he was going to take it but instead Jamie Coyle struck a sweet shot that went through the wall and past Salisbury keeper Aaron Hedges to nestle in the corner of the net and give the Brickies a thoroughly deserved lead.
It doesn't seem so long ago that the Brickies couldn't do anything right at a dead ball kick but they now seem to be adapt at scoring from them.
Instead of the expected push from City it was Sittingbourne who continued to press and on 35 minutes a Smissen cross found Marsh who curled his shot just wide.
Despite the poor pitch Sittingbourne were managing to play some good football with Tom Berry particularly industrious seemingly covering every inch of the pitch.
Salisbury made two substitutions at half time and for a time they came into the game. On 48 minutes Adam Wallace had a good chance from a corner but he skewed his header wide.
The Brickies continued pressing and on 58 minutes Paul Manning put in a peach of a pass to Jon Neal who passed inside to Berry but Berry's shot went just wide.
Salisbury's best chance of the game came on 65 minutes and again fell to Wallace but this time he hooked his shot wide.
More good work by Berry set up a a chance for Manning who also shot wide, then right on time a marvellous ball from Marsh found David Cory who found himself in a 1 to 1 with Hedges but the Salisbury keeper did well and blocked the shot.
A feature of the last few games, both home and away is the marvellous support given to the team by the "Red Army" and they didn't let the Brickies down as they out-shouted the large Salisbury contingent and gave the team fantastic encouragement throughout the game.
Team : Fewell, Taylor, Hill, Berry, Ainsworth, Campbell (Marsh 23 mins), Coyle, Douglas, Neal ( Cory 80 mins), Smissen, Manning. Subs not used: Gooding, Beeney.