Sittingbourne 4-0 Guernsey - It's been a tough time for us but we were pleasing on the eye tonight, says Sittingbourne boss Nick Davis

Tuesday 09th January 2018
Sittingbourne 4 – 0 Guernsey
Location Woodstock Park, Broadoak Road, Sittingbourne, Kent ME9 8AG
Kickoff 09/01/2018 19:45

Bostik South Division
Tuesday 9 January 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Woodstock Park

SITTINGBOURNE manager Nick Davis described this as a complete performance after thrashing Guernsey 4-0 at Woodstock Park.

The Brickies went into only their second home game since 25 November on a run of seven straight defeats, while Tony Vance’s side arrived in Kent on a run of five games without a win and in 20th place in the Bostik South table with 27 points from their 26 league outings.

One of the four floodlight towers switched off at half-past six before being brought back to life by a couple of Sittingbourne officials aided by a magical toolbox, but a corner of the pitch was plunged back into darkness when the same pylon failed again just 16 minutes before the scheduled kick-off.

Referee Isaac Seale was happy to start the game at 19:53 and full lighting was restored at 20:11.

“It was dark in there, it took a little while to come on didn’t it,” said Davis.

“The ref said he was happy to play, they were happy to play. They’ve already come over once (the original game in December was frozen off), it would’ve cost them a lot of money to come over again so I’m glad it come on.”

Sittingbourne got off to a flying start by taking the lead inside the opening 12 minutes, courtesy of a headed own goal from Guernsey striker Dominic Heaume.

Sittingbourne doubled their lead through Miles Cornwell’s sixth goal of the season, before striker Kane Rowland scored twice in each half to take his goalscoring tally to 17 for the season as Sittingbourne impressed.

“Delighted really, obviously we had a bad run of it, we had a tough run of games, eight of our last 10 were away from home.  We had that game against Lewes when we conceded in the 88th minute so I’m delighted to be back at home, delighted we’re here and nice to start scoring and win a game of football,” said Davis.

“It was always going to be difficult for them, to come away midweek.  Dominic Heaume is a very good player for them so they’ve got players back so it was a real potential banana skin here depending what side Guernsey turns up with. They’re a tough side regardless of if they’re away from home or home.

“Dan Parkinson came in and was absolutely different class.  I thought in there for us today, composure on the ball made a big difference to our midfield.”

Sittingbourne created their first opening in the ninth minute when central midfielder Dan Parkinson played a diagonal pass to Salvyn Kisitu, a right-back who liked to get forward to exploit the space left in behind Guernsey’s left wing-back Harry Tobin and he cut into the box from the touchline and his cross was palmed away by visiting keeper Callum Stanton, high to his right.

Sittingbourne opened the scoring with 11 minutes and 44 seconds on the clock.

Debutant Rhys Bartlett swung in their first corner of the game, from the right, towards the far post and Heaume planted a header into the top left-hand corner from six-yards for an own-goal.

Although Davis claimed John Coker had scored it, Heaume dropped to his knees and took an age to get up and walk to the halfway line and scratched his head a couple of times before the game restarted.

“It was a good start, the young lad Rhys Bartlett, who we got from Maidstone, who they think very highly off, he’s only 17 and he gives us a nice bit of balance on the left-hand side that we’ve missed and he got an assist. Great start, exactly what we needed,” said Davis.

Flying Sittingbourne doubled their lead with their next chance, timed at 16 minutes and 20 seconds.

Striker Mobolaji Dawodu was a real threat with his pace and skill and he found himself inside the Guernsey half in a central position and played a sublime through ball along the deck to put Cornwell through on goal and he slotted his right-footed shot across the keeper into the bottom left-hand corner.

David said: “I’ve just said to Bola he was outstanding! How he’s not scored a hat-trick today, I don’t know but he’s done everything else.  Miles got the bit between his teeth, that’s the old Miles Cornwell there, a great goal.”

Sittingbourne played with a triangle up front with Dawodu behind Rowland with Cornwell on the right and the trio linked up superbly well against Guernsey’s back three and two wing-backs.

Stanton, who is on loan from Premier League side AFC Bournemouth, denied Sittingbourne a third goal in the 20th minute.

Dawodu drove at Guernsey’s high back three before playing a lovely diagonal to put Cornwell through on goal but his right-footed drive was pushed towards safety by the keeper, flying to his right.

Davis explained: “We were getting a lot of joy down that side, that was the plan.  I said to them it’s all about game management.  Identify potential weaknesses, if you’re getting in somewhere keep doing it.  If something is working, keep doing it and that was the plan to keep going down their left-hand side, our right-hand side and we got a lot of joy down there.”

Fit-again Parkinson floated the ball out to Kisitu, who played in a low cross for the right to Parkinson, who lofted the ball towards the far post for Dawodu to steer his header past the post from six-yards.

Davis said: “Salvyn done well.  There was a lot of room down there.  If we can add more to our attacking play with full-backs joining in, which we had a lot last year, not so much this year, it gives us another string to our bow.

“There was a great move, when he crossed to Bola, the free header that Bola missed.  It was a great move, a fantastic move.  He should’ve scored that but he’s done everything today so I can’t be too critical.”

Guernsey created an opening in the 26th minute when Harry Tobin whipped in a deep cross for striker Paris Pereira to ghost in unmarked at the far post to hit his first time angled drive flashing across the keeper and past the far post from just inside the box.

Guernsey then enjoyed a good spell before Sittingbourne raced into a 3-0 lead with 35 minutes and 28 seconds on the clock.

Full credit to referee Searle for playing an advantage after Ben Davisson was taken out after he swept the ball out to Kisitu, who whipped in a cross from the right for Rowland, who controlled the ball inside the box, cut inside his marker to rifle his shot into the top right-hand corner from eight-yards.

“A bit of a poachers goal in and around the box, great finish! He was under pressure from the defender,” added Davis.

“Three-nil going in at half-time, we’ve not been in that situation many times this season, so it was a decent team talk.”

Alex Le Prevost, who played in the heart of their three-man defence, placed his right-footed free-kick towards the bottom right-hand corner from 35-yards, which was held low down by Harry Brooks in the Sittingbourne goal in the 38th minute.

“We restricted them today.  A good all-round stellar performance and people done their jobs as they should’ve done and we restricted them to that and that’s pleasing to keep a clean-sheet.”

Former Norwich City Under 23 captain John Coker was excellent at the heart of defence, alongside makeshift centre half Chris Webber.

Davis said: “Webber went into centre half today. John Coker, I’ve not seen a better centre half in the league than John Coker!  How good was he tonight? He’s been like it all season!

“We missed him when he was suspended for those three games, he’s probably cost us the Cray game, for me he’s a class above.  We’ve got him on a nice contract and made him skipper,  I can’t speak more highly of him really, I think he’s different class.”

Guernsey captain Craig Young played the ball into Jamie Dodd and his driven shot was blocked by Coker at the near post and Young’s right-footed drive from 35-yards dipped just over the Sittingbourne crossbar.

When asked what he told his players, comfortably leading 3-0 at the break, Davis said: “We said they’re going to have moments in the game and they’re going to come at us and we’ve got to make sure that we start again and make sure we win the second half. We’ve got to do the not so nice things, you’ve got to win your battles and we did that.” 

Guernsey squandered a headed chance just 184 seconds into the second half.

Young floated a free-kick into the Sittingbourne box and Heaume glanced his free header past the post from 10-yards, before Charlton Gauvain drove his right-footed drive straight down Brooks throat from 35-yards.

Davis added: “They did come at us a little bit, they had a free header and we had a wake-up call.   I then think we’ve scored relatively quite soon after that, which put the game to bed.”

Sittingbourne completed their scoring with their fourth goal after five minutes and 15 seconds into the half.

Parkinson passed to Cornwell, who dinked the ball through for Rowland, who chipped the ball over the keeper to find the bottom far corner, beating the man on the line.

“It’s probably his hardest chance of the night, what a finish, one-on-one, he could’ve had six tonight, I think.  Kane Rowland was desperate for his hat-trick,” added Davis.

The fourth goal killed the game as a contest but Sittingbourne created more chances to rattle in more goals with good football in the final 25 minutes.

Brooks launched a big kick forward, substitute Tyrone Guthrie flicked the ball on for Cornwell to hold the ball up inside the box before laying the ball back for Guthrie to hit a first time shot from 25-yards, which was held by Stanton.

With Guernsey left wide open after pushing men forward, Dawodu darted forward before hitting a long-range shot just past the foot of the left-hand post.

Sittingbourne wasted a glorious chance to increase their lead in the 71st minute.

Guthrie controlled the ball superbly in midfield, swept a long diagonal ball out to Kisitu on the right and his dink put Rowland through on goal.  He decided not to shoot on the angle and centred for Dawodu, but Stanton dived to his right to parry and substitute David Smith clipped the near post with a left-footed rebound from a tight angle.

Davis said: “Kane’s on-on-one, squared it, Bola should’ve scored, whole goal, the keeper’s made a great save – or is it a bad miss?

“Dave Smith’s come on, he could’ve had a hat-trick as well so we were creating the chances. They were playing a high line. I’m losing count of all of the chances to be honest.”

Smith burst forward from the half-way line and ignored Rowland on the outside and cut into the penalty box and Stanton’s left leg prevented Smith from burying the ball into the back of the net.

Davis added: “He burst though, they were very high and we were getting joy. He’s got a little bit of pace and he was desperate to score. It’s a shame he didn’t really.”

Cornwell was then played in on goal and Stanton made another fine save to his right before catching a chipped shot coming in from outside the box from left-back Chris Elliott.

Guernsey kept going, but Sittingbourne wasted a couple more chances inside the final five minutes.

Cornwell worked the right channel and whipped in a cross and a poor back-header from substitute defender Simon Gealle played in Dawodu, who dragged his angled drive across the keeper and past the far post.

Guernsey were restricted to long-range efforts on goal.  Young drilled a low right-footed free-kick towards goal from 30-yards, which was comfortably held by Brooks.

Guthrie put Rowland through on goal with a long ball from inside the Sittingbourne box but Rowland dragged his shot past the far post with only the keeper to beat with the last kick of a very good game for Sittingbourne.

“It’s a shame Rowland didn’t get his hat-trick because he deserved it,” said Davis.

“That’s 17 goals that he’s got this season. I’m absolutely delighted for him. I wanted a 20 goal man and I’ve certainly got one with him.”

Sittingbourne were flirting with the play-offs before the middle of December but seven defeats ensured they slipped down the league table and tonight’s win has them in 12th place in the Bostik South table with 39 points from 28 games, 14 points adrift of the play-off zone.

“It’s been a tough time for us,” admitted Davis, whose side host ninth-placed Hastings United on Saturday.

“I’m pleased that we’re at home. The fixture list has been so unkind to us.

“What’s pleasing is we’ve won the game comfortably. It was a complete performance in my opinion.  I think we’ve defended well, we moved the ball, we passed the ball well. We were pleasing on the eye tonight and we scored some more goals. The most pleasing thing is we’ve kept a clean sheet.”

Sittingbourne: Harry Brooks, Salvyn Kisitu, Chris Elliott, Dan Parkinson (Tyrone Guthrie 63), Chris Webber, John Coker, Miles Cornwell, Ben Davisson (Jide Okimeji 90), Kane Rowland, Mobolaji Dawodu, Rhys Bartlett (David Smith 63).
Subs: Lex Allan, Jordan Carey

Goals: Dominic Heaume 12 (own goal), Miles Cornwell 17, Kane Rowland 36, 51

Booked: Tyrone Guthrie 77

Guernsey: Callum Stanton, Keanu Marsh, Harry Tobin (Simon Geall 64), Alex Le Prevost, Jamie Dodd, Frank Tobin, Charlton Gauvain, Ben Coulter (Angus MacKay 63), Dominic Heaume, Paris Pereira, Craig Young.
Subs: Jordan Kelly, Thomas Dodds

Booked: Simon Geall 86, Callum Stanton 86

Sent off: Steve Sharman 77 (coach)

Attendance: 93
Referee: Mr Isaac Searle (Dover)
Assistants: Mr Glen Childs (Canterbury) & Ms Kirsty Dowle (Canterbury)

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