Division One East
|Peter Pitts reports from Honeycroft|
Disappointing season comes to an end
disappointing season ended in a 3-1 defeat to a useful looking Uxbridge side
that have already clinched a place in the Play-offs.
However, the large travelling contingent of Brickies fans, that helped give Uxbridge their second highest Southern League gate, ensured that there was something of a carnival atmosphere for the first ever visit of the Brickies to Uxbridge's well appointed "Honeycroft" ground.
Sittingbourne took an early lead when a Ricky Spiller free kick was powerfully headed home at the far post by Paul Ainsworth.
Despite this goal Uxbridge were having more of the forward play and their forward line, including the vastly experienced Mark Nicholls, were looking lively and threatening whilst the Brickies two of Jon Neal and Bradley Spice often looked isolated.
Not helping the situation for the Brickies was that James Campbell had to limp off on 27 minutes and although the replacement, Joe Dowley, is more than capable of playing well the worry was that Campbell's height would be missed.
Uxbridge came back strongly from the goal and straight from the restart Stuart Lake had a shot deflected for a corner .
Uxbridge could have equalised on 16 minutes but for a magnificent block from Sittingbourne man of the match Kevin Fewell as Lee Tunnell burst through the Brickies defence. Then a long through ball to Nicholls was crashed across the Brickies goal with Fewell stranded.
Fewell was in action again on 28 minutes when a snap shot by Lake was palmed around for a corner. Another Fewell block on 32 minutes, this time from Jamie Cleary saved the Brickies again and then from the corner Tunnell shot over.
For all the Uxbridge pressure it was the Brickies who almost snatched a second when another Spiller free kick to the far post found Jamie Coyle but this time the header went just wide.
The half ended with two more efforts from Uxbridge as Cleary hit the side netting and Lake fired over.
There was the feeling that if Uxbridge got an early goal in the second half more would follow and sure enough after just 45 seconds Uxbridge equalised when Nicholls weaved his way through the Brickies defence and chipped a great shot past Fewell.
At the other end Lee Browning decided to try and emulate Nicholls and he made a good run as he took the ball to the line but the Uxbridge defence scrambled the ball clear.
Fewell though was the busier keeper and another Lake snap shot was well held .
Uxbridge took the lead on 54 minutes when a misplaced pass by Ainsworth found an Uxbridge player who picked out the dangerous Nicholls and the Uxbridge man turned and fired past Fewell.
Sittingbourne then began battling back well. Kieran Marsh forced a save from Uxbridge keeper Ray Francis on 57 minutes and two minutes later a Neal cross found an unmarked Spice but the shot went straight to Francis, then a Coyle header from a throw went just wide.
But Uxbridge were still looking dangerous themselves and on 64 minutes a cross found Nicholls but his great shot was matched by an equally great save from Fewell.
Uxbridge's third goal came five minutes later when they won a corner and the far post ball eluded everyone but Lake who fired past Fewell.
Sittingbourne didn't lie down and came back into the game in the last quarter. On 73 minutes Ryan Peters fired wide from a free kick just outside the Uxbridge box, then Peter Taylor fired wide.
Four minutes later a Coyle / Ashmore / Belcher move set up a chance for Neal but his shot was parried by Francis. A minute later another Brickies free kick was easily held by Francis but time ran out for the Brickies and in the end Uxbridge were worthy winners.
Sittingbourne: Fewell, Coyle, Belcher, Ainsworth, Campbell (Dowley 27), Gooding, Spiller, Marsh, Neal, Spice (Taylor 74), Browning (Ashmore), Sub: Hill