Wednesday 14th September 2005

My son is innocent, insists Lovell


Sittingbourne are appealing against striker Mark Lovell's sending off during the first half of their pre-season friendly at Kentish Observer League side Erith & Belvedere last month, writes Stephen McCartney.

The date for their appeal has been set for the 3rd October, and Steve Lovell, the players father, and manager of the Southern League club wants justice to prevail.

Referee Mr M Kempster sent Mark Lovell - whose now scored six goals this season - and Deres' midfielder Steve White off from the field of play following a 36th minute "mini-brawl".

"I don't think he was justified in getting sent off in the first place and that's why we are appealing," the Brickies manager said in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk

"The report said Mark went in with an aggressive manner and I was there and that was not the case.

"The two Erith & Belvedere players were much more aggressive and Mark didn't do a thing, and he was a victim of being sent off when he shouldn't have been."

Lovell, senior, however, hopes justice will prevail, and added: "I think he was a victim of doing nothing.  I am all for justice and I've always been fair towards people and if Mark warranted to be sent off, I would have said he deserved it."

Back on the pitch, the Brickies face Essex side twice in the space of four days at Mayesbrook Park - in the Southern League on Saturday and in the first round of the Errea Cup on Tuesday night.

"Last year they finished in the top six and when we went up there I felt they were a good side, but they've had an indifferent start but I'm not concerned about them.

"It's how we approach the game and continue our building progress for the rest of the season," said Lovell.  

When Ryman League sides Tonbridge Angels and Dover Athletic played their League Cup ties earlier this month, they both fielded weakened sides, but Lovell admitted he hasn't made up his mind, which players will take to the field on Tuesday night.

"It all depends what happens Saturday," he said.  "I want to play my best side I can.  I am not blessed with a big squad like Tonbridge or Dover but if I can (play a weakened side) and injuries prevent me from playing a decent side, then I will.

"I don't know what I will do until Saturday's game is out of the way because you don't know what that game will bring."

Sittingbourne have moved on from their embarrassing 4-2 home defeat at the hands of lower league side Chessington & Hook United in the preliminary round of the FA Cup - and will entertain Kent rivals Dartford at Bourne Park on Saturday, 24th September, to fill in the void left in the fixture calendar, following both club's early cup exits.

Speaking about their cup defeat, Lovell said: "Too many boys had bad games all in one time and if we played like we've done in the last four league games, against Chessington, then there wouldn't be any worry.

"But we didn't and we paid the price and we can't do anything about it.  We have to look forward and not back.

"It's a blow, but we had an off day.  I've forgotten about it, hopefully we'll learn from this."

The Brickies are sitting in tenth place in the Southern League Division One East table with 8 points, and travel to a Barking & East Ham United side that are just two places below them with one point less.

"The last three league games have been very good as the main thing is we've kept clean sheets and defended very well and have looked like scoring and we just have to keep it going," said Lovell.

"It's a long hard season, not a bad start and one that we can build on."

Looking ahead to the clash with Dartford, the Welshman added: "It's nice we've had it brought forward, they've had a good start to the season and hopefully it will be a good game and hopefully we'll continue our good form."

Barking & East Ham United v Sittingbourne
Southern League Division One East
Saturday 17th September 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Mayesbrook Park, Lodge Avenue, Dagenham, Essex