We’ve said by January, by the New Year, we need to be in a position where we can, get, achieve a play-off position. I still think we can achieve that, says Sittingbourne assistant manager Tony Cornwell

Sunday 17th December 2017

SITTINGBOURNE assistant manager Tony Cornwell says he wants his side to keep in and around the play-off picture in the New Year.

The Brickies made title-chasing Cray Wanderers look a poor side for 80 minutes at Hayes Lane last Wednesday and went into the 90th minute with a 2-1 lead, but somehow threw that away and lost to an heartbreaking 3-2 defeat.  John Coker’s red-card in the 73rd minute was the turning point.

Sittingbourne travelled to sixth-placed Greenwich Borough yesterday and were thrashed 5-1, after capitulating in the second half and conceding four goals in the final 26 minutes.

The Brickies have slipped down a place into ninth in the Bostik South with 36 points from 23 games and are now six points adrift of Greenwich Borough, who occupy the final play-off berth.

Next up for Sittingbourne is a home game against league leaders Lewes next Saturday.

Lewes are now one point clear of second-placed Cray Wanderers following their surprise 2-0 defeat at Ramsgate yesterday.

“This league, there isn’t going to be a team, I feel, that’s going to fly away with it because they’re all capable on their day of being one another,” said Cornwell.

“I put us in the same group.  We’re capable of beating any team in this league and I don’t think there’s a flyer out there.

“Lewes have got off to a great start but they’ve drawn quite a few games, certainly in the last four or five games.  They’re not dominating and winning games anymore.

“Cray are probably the form team at the moment. For me Cray and Lewes have probably been the best footballing sides that we’ve played, along with Greenwich.”

Losing to two of the serious promotion challengers during the past week has dented Sittingbourne’s hopes of gatecrashing the play-off party at the end of the season.

“We’ve said by January, by the New Year, we need to be in a position where we can, get, achieve a play-off position.  I still think even through we’ve got difficult games coming up, I still feel we can achieve that,” said Cornwell.

“If we can be in and around the play-offs in the top eight or top nine with not too big a gap between the third and fourth placed teams, there’s a long way to go yet.

“We probably need to maybe make one or two changes but we’ve got the basis of a very good squad that we’ve brought in pretty much from scratch and to be fair maybe we’ve over-achieved early on with the fact that we’ve brought quite a nucleus of new players all together and they’ve gelled reasonably well.

“There are downsides in any season and at the moment we’re on a little bit of a downer now so we’ve got to show the character now to respond to make sure we push back up again.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Mobolaji Dawodu, who needed eight stitches in hospital to a head wound sustained at Cray Wanderers, is expected to return in a fortnight.

Sittingbourne travel to second-from-bottom strugglers Ashford United on Boxing Day, Tuesday 26 December (13:00).

Ashford have picked up only 12 points from their 23 league outings but should avoid suffering relegation at the end of the season due to  being one relegation spot, which is occupied by woeful Shoreham, who have an embarrassing four points from their 22 outings. 

“Ashford are signing players, left, right and centre but they’re struggling to make sure they stay in the league,” said Cornwell.

“There’s no given game in this, no given game. It doesn’t matter what position they’re in the league, you know you’re in for a match and if you don’t get eight or nine of your players performing well, then you’ll struggle against any team, no matter what position they are.”

Visit Sittingbourne’s website: www.sittingbournefc.co.uk

Sittingbourne  v  Lewes
Bostik South Division
Saturday 23rd December 2017
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Woodstock Park, Broadoak Road, Sittingbourne, Kent ME9 8AG