Sittingbourne 2 Great Wakering Rovers 1

Wednesday 11th January 2006
Sittingbourne bounced back after their disappointing result against Barton
Rovers against Great Wakering -  who have have yet to win at Bourne Park in three visits, writes Peter Pitts.

But this was a very close game which could have gone either way. The game only
went ahead because of good work by the groundsman as the pitch had been a
quagmire in the morning and if any further rain had come then the game would
have been called off.
These are two very evenly matched sides and this provided exciting end to
end football which could have produced more goals.

Sittingbourne's Bradley Spice  missed a penalty whilst Great Wakering had a shot bounce off the post straight to the grateful arms of Sittingbourne keeper Steve Williams.

Both sides had early chances, Sittingbourne's came on seven  minutes when a Jon Neal run ended in a pass to  Kieran Marsh whose shot cannoned off a defender for a corner and four minutes later at the other end Danny Pitts had a shot fly over the Sittingbourne bar.

Sittingbourne took the lead on 17 minutes with a magnificent headed goal from Bradley Spice following a  cross by Mitchell Sherwood who had his best game for the club to date.

On 31 minutes a good run by Pitts was halted in the Brickies area then in the style of this game the ball went straight down the other end and Lee Browning sent in a shot straight at visiting keeper Ashley Harrison.

However, the Essex visitors equalised on 36 minutes when the ball was floated into the
Brickies area,  Williams seemed to have it covered but James Campbell thought differently and nudged a Great Wakering player in the back and Mr Basten awarded a penalty which was despatched with aplomb by Steve Butterworth.

Butterworth was in action again on 39 minutes when  his pile-driver was brilliantly caught by the diving Williams.

Sittingbourne's first chance of the new half came on 50 minutes when good work by Neal won the ball and he set up a chance for Browning which flew narrowly wide.

Five minutes later Sittingbourne had a chance to take the lead when Spice was brought down. Spice took the penalty himself but Harrison made a tremendous diving save. 

Harrison was in action again this time to gather a well taken Marsh free kick.

There was a hectic spell of action on 65 minutes beginning with a Browning shot rebounding out to Sherwood whose shot was also blocked. This time the ball cannoned off a defender to Spice and his shot was palmed out by Harrison, but the ball wentstraight to Campbell who had his shot blocked.

The pace didn't let up and the ball was punted upfield, a Brickies defender slipped letting
in Neil Raymond whose shot was brilliantly saved by Williams.

On 67 minutes a Greatt Wakering free kick found its way through the Brickies wall only to be kicked away by Campbell to Joel Ettiene-Clarke whose shot was comfortably held by Williams.

On 74 minutes another Browning shot went across goal but a minute later a right side cross from Toby Ashmore was neatly stroked home by Neal to put the Brickies ahead.

Great Wakering were unlucky on 87 minutes when Iain O'Connell's shot bounced off the right hand Brickies post and ended up in Williams hands.

Sittingbourne had two more efforts before the final whistle. On 88 minutes a Browning shot was blocked then right on time Spice fired narrowly wide.

Lots of positives from this game. Neal is now regaining his old sharpness. Mitchell Sherwood had an excellent game as did a number of others and it was good to see striker Mark Lovell named as a substitute - even though he didn't get a run out this time.

Sittingbourne: Williams, Ashmore, Dowley, Tanner, Campbell, Marsh, Browning,
Hockey, Neal, Spice, Sherwood. Subs not used: Taylor, Ainsworth, M Lovell,
Gooding, Spiller