Sittingbourne 0 Uxbridge 3
Someone at Sittingbourne Football Club must have broken a mirror recently going by the bad luck that beset them in this game, writes Peter Pitts.
They had two shots cannon off the woodwork, although some of the Brickies supporters directly behind the goal swore that the first effort actually hit the metal stanchion inside the net before bouncing down, they had a shot kicked off the line, Uxbridge keeper John Peacock made some great blocks and on at least three occasions the ball bounced off defenders in the Uxbridge box just missing onrushing Sittingbourne players.
However, as the old adage goes you make your own luck and Uxbridge played the ball more intelligently than the Brickies by trying to play on the ground, albeit not an easy thing to do on a pitch that cut up alarmingly by the end of the game.
Sittingbourne's suicidal long high ball game never got going and in the first half especially never gave the strikers a chance with Bradley Spice looking strangely subdued.
To cap it all the loss of two influential midfielders in Lee Browning (injured) and Kieran Marsh (unavailable) was always going to be a problem against a team that are better under the astute management of George Talbot than their current position suggests.
After a lively start by both teams Sittingbourne looked to have taken the lead when on 16 minutes Jon Neal's shot rattled the goal net and bounced down but the officials felt the ball hadn't crossed the line and the referee waved play on.
Sittingbourne shouts for a "goal" had hardly died down when at the other end Uxbridge won a free kick. Up stepped Mark Nicholls, an experienced campaigner who in the last three games between these two sides has inflicted so much misery on Sittingbourne and once again he proved to be a thorn in their side as he hit a perfect free kick just to the right of Sittingbourne's stand in keeper Rob Hudson and into the net.
On 28 minutes Mitchell Sherwood made space for himself and from 20 yards out he struck a great shot which Peacock saw at the last minute but managed to tip onto the crossbar.
Six minutes later Uxbridge were two up when they won a corner which was flighted across the Brickies area where a defender obligingly ducked and the ball ended up with the unmarked Kevin Swift who headed it home.
The final nail in the coffin came a minute before half time when another defensive mistake saw the ball given away to an Uxbridge player whose cross found Mark Gill in acres of space who had an easy tap in for Uxbridge's third.
The second half didn't start promisingly for the Brickies either when on 49 minutes Lee Tunnell's curling shot bounced off the top of the Sittingbourne cross bar. They could however, have pulled a goal back on 59 minutes if Neal's glancing header had had a bit more meat on it but instead the glance was barely perceptible and the ball sailed just wide.
A minute later Tristan Knowles swapped passes with Bradley Spice and finished the move with a shot that was cleared off the Uxbridge line by Mark Weedon.
Sittingbourne were having better possession and substitute Ricky Spiller had a great chance on 67 minutes but he was too deliberate with his shot giving Peacock time to turn the ball round for a corner. From the corner another substitute Dan Tanner headed the ball well over the Uxbridge bar.
On 77 minutes Nicholls raced away but a terrific last ditch challenge by Tanner cleared the ball.
The game was now end to end and a minute later Mark Lovell, Sittingbourne's final substitute to come on, set up a chance for Spice but the angle was tight and Peacock easily held the shot. Back up the other end again and Hudson was forced to block Adrian Dinham's shot with his legs.
On 84 minutes Lovell won his duel with Stuart Bamford and sent in a good shot which Peacock could only palm out to Spice but Spice's return shot hit the keeper and bounced over for a corner. From the corner Tanner headed over.
Peacock again blocked a Spice shot but by then the cause was well and truly lost.
Sittingbourne will now be looking over their shoulders as they find themselves just four places and six points from a possible relegation place. Oh what their relatively young side would give for a more mature hand such as Uxbridge's Nicholls who could marshal things on the pitch!
Sittingbourne: Hudson, Ashmore (Tanner 61), Dowley, Campbell, Ainsworth, Gooding (Spiller 56), Knowles, Hockey, Neal, Spice, Sherwood (M Lovell 65), Sub: Taylor