Thursday 01st September 2005

Nicholls runs Brickies ragged

Saturday 22nd
October 2005
Southern League
Division One East
Peter Pitts reports from Bourne Park
Sittingbourne 1 Spice 29 (pen)
Uxbridge 3 K Swift 1
S Lake 38
Nicholls 41

The game was preceded by a minutes silence in memory of Sittingbourne Football Club
president Jim Clarke who had passed away on Friday, writes Peter Pitts.
Two records fell after this match, Sittingbourne had been unbeaten in the league at home whilst Uxbridge hadn't won an away game.
One man was instrumental in this defeat and he also had a hand in all of the goals  including Sittingbourne's!, and that man was Mark Nichols. Nichols is making a habit of being a thorn in the Brickies side as he scored two goals against them the last time the teams met last April.
Sittingbourne's injury list mounts with Mark Lovell missing the game with a reoccurrence of his knee injury whilst Toby Ashmore, Dan Tanner and  Ben Edwards are also injured and Paul Ainsworth now joins them after  limping off in this game after 18 minutes.
Uxbridge made the perfect start as they caught Sittingbourne cold less than a minute into the game when Paul Feeley reacted first to a corner which he headed against the Sittingbourne bar only for Kevin Swift to head home the rebound. 

Uxbridge had a spring in their step after this success and their physical approach to the game was causing Sittingbourne plenty of problems.
The game was not easy for referee Mr Child to control and the experienced Nichols was trying all he could to sway the officials.
On 12 minutes Sittingbourne were unlucky not have been awarded a penalty as Jon Neal appeared to be pulled back in the penalty area but generally it was Uxbridge who were looking the more threatening and on 16 minutes Nichols had a good effort blocked then Kieran Marsh headed the ball off the goal line with Brickies goalkeeper Steve Williams stranded.

This was not to be one of Williams better games!
Paul Ainsworth had to be substituted and with his departure the Brickies looked a bit light on the defensive front.
On 24 minutes a Brickies free kick found Peter Davies who lobbed the ball forward to Spice but Spice's header lacked pace and Uxbridge goalkeeper Ray Francis easily gathered.
Uxbridge continued to have the better of the half and on 26 minutes again Williams missed the ball which fell to John Swift who fired over the bar when well placed. 

A minute later Bradley Spice raced into the Uxbridge area only to be bundled off the ball by Nichols and at first the referee waved play on but an Assistant flagged for the foul  and after a lengthy discussion a penalty was awarded which Spice dispatched himself.

Unfortunately for the Brickies this goal didn't really provide the spark needed and instead it was that man Nichols again who provided a free kick which was headed goal-wards but this time Williams was in the right place and tipped the ball over the bar.
Nichols was causing lots of problems with his dead ball kicks and on 38 minutes his corner was glanced into the Brickies goal at the near post by Stuart Lake for Uxbridge's second, although there was a suspicion that it might have been an own goal by Joe Dowley. 
Nichols was now running the show and with just four minutes to go to half time he made a mazy run on the left which ended in him shooting into the inside corner of the net and Uxbridge were three up.
The second half saw the Brickies at last having the better of the game. On 67 minutes Mitchell Sherwood found Neal whose header was deflected for a corner. Then Neal fed Browning but again the Uxbridge defence deflected the shot.
Sittingbourne pushed forward in the last quarter of the game and on 82 minutes Spice burst through but his excellent shot cannoned off the right hand post. Then Clint Gooding had a couple of good looking efforts which were blocked.
With two minutes to go a Brickies free kick found Marsh in the Uxbridge area, Marsh's resulting shot was dropped by Francis but  Neal just failed to get on the end of the rebound.
A disappointing result from the Brickies, especially on the back of their excellent Trophy victory last week. Sittingbourne now visit Great Wakering Rovers on Tuesday night where they will hope to get back to winning ways.

Sittingbourne: Williams, Spiller (Sherwood 61), Dowley, Ainsworth (Davies 18), Campbell, Marsh, Browning, Gooding, Neal, Spice, Styles (Taylor 61), Sub: S Lovell (GK)