Sittingbourne 2-4 Barton Rovers
and after half time.. and that's precisely when Barton Rovers scored their
first two goals.
In fact Barton's opening goal was the very last kick of the first half and it was scored by the Divisions leading scorer Paul Barnes, writes Peter Pitts.
Barnes went on to claim a brace of goals and for good measure set up
Barnes, however, wasn't the only star man for Barton as their keeper
Steve Graham also played well and by his good positioning managed to snuff
out a number of good efforts that the Brickies had.
The first chance of the match fell to Bradley Spice but Graham did well to
block the effort and then on 12 minutes Barnes signalled his intentions by
heading a Paul Whyte free kick just wide of Steve Williams goal.
Graham was again in action on 22 minutes when a break by Peter Taylor ended in his shot being saved at the near post. Just after this Alex O'Brian struck Clint
Gooding in the face, an incident that would have been an instant red with
some officials but in this case Mr Frank Meilack deemed a quick chat to both
players to be sufficient.
Graham was almost caught out when he was stranded way out of his goal but
Lee Browning's attempt to curl the ball into the goal was thwarted when the
Barton keeper managed to just get back in time and send the ball to safety.
Barton's Adam Cunnington decided to try and con the officials on 35 minutes
by diving in the area but was booked for his trouble.
Generally Sittingbourne were on top in these early stages but after the half hour
Barton came well into the game and on 37 minutes a 30 yard effort by Whyte
was well taken by Williams.
Two minutes later Spice robbed Tony McNally of the ball and found Taylor but Taylor's effort was blocked.
Barnes beat the Brickies off-side trap on 43 minutes but he shot wide. Just
as half time approached the ball was taken to the by line at the Brickies
end and with the defence nowhere to be seen Barnes on the far post headed
home to open the scoring.
Sittingbourne made a double substitution at the beginning of the second
half replacing Peter Taylor and Clint Gooding with Jon Neal and Ricky
Spiller but before either player could settle a Barnes cross was met on the
Brickies goal line by Ricky Case who stubbed the ball past Williams for
Three minutes later action man Barnes had another effort go just wide but then Barton were given a fright when on 52 minutes Kieran Marsh let fly one of his stinging long range drives that he is fast getting a name for and the ball curled past the diving Barton keeper from fully 30 yards to throw the Brickies a life line.
Then followed another Barnes shot just missing the target after he had
outran the Brickies defence and at the other end another 30 yard screamer
from Marsh but this time the shot was well saved by Graham.
Six minutes later following a period of sustained pressure Sittingbourne were level when the referee was struck by the ball to give Sittingbourne possession and
obligingly Alex O'Brian persisted in remonstrating with the referee after
being given two chances to shut up. His prolonged complaint led to
Sittingbourne being awarded a free kick which Spiller flighted beautifully
into the area where a Barton player headed the ball across his own goal line
and James Campbell was on hand to head it into the net.
Sittingbourne's jubilation lasted for nine minutes before a cross by O'Brian
was missed by the Brickies defence but not by Whyte who headed past Williams
to give Barton back the lead.
Sittingbourne came back through Marsh who had a shot deflected for a corner
and then James Gray just steered a great Marsh header away for a corner.
At the other end a poor back pass stranded Williams in the Brickies goal giving
a chance to O'Brian but he skewed his shot wide.
Barton put an end to any thought of another recovery when on 82 minutes
Barnes (who else) again outpaced the pedestrian Brickies defence and fired a
cracking shot past Williams.
This was a terrible result for Sittingbourne who are now just four points from
the relegation zone, the two teams at the bottom having both picked up
The Brickies will certainly need maximum points from their
next two home games - starting with Great Wakering Rovers on Tuesday night - if they are to stay clear of the drop positions.
Sittingbourne: Williams, Ashmore (Ainsworth 85), Dowley, Tanner,
Campbell, Marsh, Browning, Hockey, Taylor (Spiller 46), Spice, Gooding
(Neal 46). Subs: Belcher, Deveraux