Enfield Town 1 Sittingbourne 1

Sunday 26th March 2006

Two closely matched sides fought out a 1-1 draw at Goldsdown Road but probably neither would have been happy as Enfield Town are trying to consolidate their promotion position whilst Sittingbourne are trying to ease their relegation fears, in fact despite this excellent point the Brickies still find themselves back in the bottom six as results elsewhere went against them, writes Peter Pitts.

Sittingbourne's squad up was minus Dan Tanner who has left the club to join Ashford Town after failing to gain a regular start.

Rob Hudson retained his place in goal with Steve Williams, who is still trying to shake off a back injury, on the subs bench ..... at least that was the plan but after a competent half hour Hudson damaged his shoulder when falling awkwardly after being fouled in the area and Williams replaced him.

A number of Sittingbourne supporters had made the trip and they together with the usual sizeable home crowd gave the game a good atmosphere that isn't always the case in this league.

Enfield Town made a strong start and it was soon evident that they are a physical side, barging Hudson out of the way to put the ball in the net, but referee Mr Fay correctly awarded a free kick to the Bourne.

In fact it was Sittingbourne in the shape of Jon Neil who had a golden opportunity to take the lead when on 11 minutes he had a free header but the effort lacked power and was cleared for a corner. From the corner Kieran Marsh fired agonisingly just over the bar.

Eight minutes later a Bradley Spice free kick just outside the Enfield Town area bounced off the defensive wall to Marsh who this time sent his shot way over the bar.

Enfield Town had plenty of possession in the early period of the half but the Brickies defence were breaking up the attacks on the edge of the area meaning that they were causing few problems to Hudson, that is until 27 minutes when a good run by Kevin Stephens ended in a shot straight at the 16 year old keeper which he held well.

That was to be Hudson's last action in the game as he was unable to continue and Williams, probably reluctantly! took his place.

Sittingbourne weathered this early storm and were playing some good football.

However, on 36 minutes only a sensational tip over by the invalid Williams from a scintillating glancing header by Stephens prevented Enfield Town from taking the lead.

Williams was called into action again on 41 minutes this timing palming the ball away, but only as far as Bryan Hammatt who then fired in a curling shot which bounced off the Brickies bar.

Four minutes later a Spice rasping cross was deflected onto his own bar by the outstretched foot of Paul Campbell.

Sittingbourne's injury woes continued at half time when James Campbell was unable to come out for the second half and Danny Lawson took his place, Lawson himself has only just returned after a long injury lay off. Kieran Marsh too had to have treatment after his hand had been trampled on.

Enfield Town started the second half in exactly the same way that they had started the first, on the attack. This time they were more successful and in the 53rd minute a cross field ball to Niall Ritchie seemed to be innocuous but Ritchie then struck a sweet shot that would have given even a fully fit Williams no chance and the ball flew into the net.

Enfield Town had their tails up and a free kick by Steve Velandia from just outside the Brickies area sailed over the bar.

The North Londoners then seemed to pause for breath allowing Sittingbourne to make ground and a Spice pass along the left hand touch line found Joe Dowley almost on the by line, his cross eluded the home defenders and found the lurking Mark Lovell who headed past keeper Mark Cousins to bring the Brickies deservedly level.

Sittingbourne's defence were doing a superb job in protecting Williams and although Town stepped up a gear after the Brickies equaliser they were being denied clear cut opportunities with efforts from Smith, Matt Necus, Campbell and Hammatt all going wide.

At the other end a Marsh corner was cleared, but only as far as Gooding who fired over.

Enfield Town were unable to mount a last gasp challenge and the remaining minutes were played out in sedate fashion and at the end a draw was a fair reflection of the play.

Sittingbourne: Hudson (Williams 29), Ashmore, Dowley, Ainsworth, Campbell (Lawson 46), Marsh, Knowles, Gooding, Lovell, Spice, Neal. Subs: Spiller, Taylor, Sherwood