Sittingbourne 1 Harlow Town 1

Monday 23rd January 2006
Sittingbourne's captain James Campbell was missing for this one because of a one match suspension so Paul Ainsworth took his place, writes Peter Pitts.

The game heralded the debut for Sittingbourne's new song "The Brickies, that's my team".However, it wasn't inspirational enough conjure up a victory against an xperienced looking Harlow team that seemed to spend the whole of the second half whinging at the stand in referee Mr Raval  after match referee Mr Brifitt had to cry off at half time through illness.

It must be said that Mr Raval did an excellent job considering the provocation.

Jon Neal had the first shot of the game after six minutes when he sent a shot narrowly over.

Harlow's Austin Berkeley then had an effort well saved by Steve Williams in the Brickies goal.

Two minutes later Lee Browning set up a great chance for Kieran Marsh which Harlow's keeper Jamie Riley did well to turn round a post.

Harlow then had a good period of pressure and hit the woodwork and forced Williams to turn a cross / shot over the bar.

Mark Lovell replaced Neal on 37 minutes to have his first run out since October following injury.

Marsh again had a good chance following a Bradley Spice / Joe Dowley move but he tried to place his shot to the left of Riley but the Harlow keeper was equal to it and brilliantly grabbed the ball.

Harlow then had Austin Berkely stretchered off after apparently falling awkwardly.

Harlow too were having good chances and on 29 minutes Williams pushed out a corner kick and the rebound was blasted over the bar.

Sittingbourne's third good chance of the half came on 41 minutes this time it fell to Browning who attempted to lob Riley but the Harlow keeper made an easy catch.

With the end of the half approaching Harlow took the lead against the run of play through a glancing header from Tobi Ositola from a Kenny Davis cross.

Referee Mr Briffitt was unable to come out for the second half and Brickies committee member Andrew Bolton was drafted in to run the line whilst senior assistant Mr Raval took over in the middle.

Harlow started the second half strongly and on 59 minutes Sammy Winston had a lobbed shot go just wide, Williams watched a first time shot fly over his bar and a Neil Moore cross led to a Kenny Davis header go wide. 

A Bradley Spice free kick for Sittingbourne was well held by Riley but generally Harlow were causing the more problems and on 72 minutes a shot was cleared off the Brickies line. 

Harlow were now getting frustrated and began their whinging.

A shot by Gary Wraight was blocked by Williams on 72 minutes but four minutes later Harlow's frustrations got worse as a good run by Joe Dowling ended with a pass to Marsh. Marsh let loose one of his trademark thunderbolt shots which cannoned off a defender straight to Spice who fired home to put Sittingbourne level.

Harlow fought back and a free kick by Leon Lalite dipped viciously and Williams was forced to punch the ball over the bar. Harlow had a great chance to retake the lead on 79 minutes but Charles Craig headed wide from right in front of the goal.

With just two minutes left a Lovell header missed the target by a whisker and at the other end Winston shook off the Brickies defence and seemed certain to score but Williams just got a boot to the ball and sent it wide.

Harlow had had more chances than Sittingbourne in this second period and probably felt that they should have won but the real goal scoring chances were about even.

Harlow's  frustrations boiled over after the final whistle and there was almost an ugly incident between the two sets of players and some supporters but good stewarding nipped the trouble in the bud. 
Sittingbourne: Williams, Ashmore, Dowley, Tanner, Ainsworth (Spiller 75), Marsh,  Browning, Hockey (Knowles 61), Neal (Lovell 37), Spice, Sherwood.
Subs: Taylor, Gooding