Thursday 29th September 2005

Brickies enjoy home comforts

Sittingbourne manager Steve Lovell wants his side to maintain their unbeaten home league record for the visit of Southern League Division One East leaders Boreham Wood on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Hertfordshire side - who were knocked out of the FA Cup by Welling United last weekend - lead the table with 21 points from 8 games and are three points clear of Kent side Chatham Town, who moved into second place following their workmanlike 1-0 victory over local rivals Dartford in midweek.

And last weekend Lovell's side defeated the Darts by the same score, which according to most fans present, was a very good game of football.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Lovell said: "It was a good game and it could have gone either way.

"There were two teams playing really good football.  I think it was the best game the fans have seen at Sittingbourne for a while.

"We were pleased to win it and we had a couple more chances to win it more easily but at this stage of the season we are pleased to keep the run going."

But that run ended with a 4-2 defeat at Waltham Forest on Tuesday night.  Lovell's side were 4-0 down before late goals from Ricky Spiller and Mark Lovell, following a change in formation, made the scoreline less embarrassing.

Lovell, however, was without centre halves James Campbell (who needed six stitches in his head), Dan Tanner (ankle) and midfielder Lee Browning (work) for the game against the Stags.  Tanner, however, is unlikely to feature against the league leaders.

Reflecting on the game, his side's 3rd defeat from their opening nine games, Lovell said: "I thought they were very good.  In the first half we didn't play well at all but in the second half we had a go."

Forest were 2-0 up so Lovell changed formation to 3-4-4 but fell 4-0 behind after 72 minutes but two late goals gave the Brickies hope of stealing a point, according to the Welshman.

"I started with a 4-4-2 formation but they went 2-0 up so I thought we might as well lose 6-0 or try to get back into the game," he said.

"So I made three subs, put four up front and played 3-3-4.  We created a lot of chances, scored two goals and could have had a couple more.

"Although we didn't deserve to get a draw out of it, we could have done if we had taken our chances."

Lovell won't adopt such gung-ho tactics on home soil against the league leaders, but he will be talking to Wings boss Adrian Pennock to get some feedback on his opponents.

"I won't play 3-3-4 against Boreham Wood," hinted Lovell, whose side sit in eleventh place with 14 points from nine games. 

"I don't know much about them but I know Welling played them last week and I will be speaking to Adie Pennock to get as much information on them as I can.

"We are unbeaten at home and haven't conceded a goal yet (at Bourne Park in the league) but can that be a kick in the teeth by saying that?"

With injury doubts to two of his players, Lovell will be trying to find a system where he can accommodate the rest of the members in his squad.

Lovell revealed he is looking to add two or three new players to his squad - but is happy with the mentality of the players at his disposal.

"We are going to games with a positive approach looking to win them, but in previous times they thought they were lucky to get a draw," he said.

"The physiological side of things is positive but if we can keep this going we can maintain our league position and enhance it by winning a few more games.

"I'm looking to add two or three players to the squad - all over the pitch. 

"I'm always on the lookout as we've had a lot of injuries in the last couple of weeks so it will be nice to get cover for those who are injured."

His son, Mark, whose scored nine goals so far this season, has been affected with the possible ban hanging over his head, following his sending off at Erith & Belvedere in a pre-season friendly back in August.

The Brickies boss added: "We've got an appeal against the ban on Monday and hopefully we can get that turned around, or the amount of time of the ban cut drastically.

"We've got a good case and hopefully get it turned round.

"Mark is like myself - he likes justice.  If Mark realised he thought he deserved to be sent-off he would have been the first to hold his hand up and say sorry - I shouldn't have done that.

"As I live with him he is like a bear with a sore head because he knows he shouldn't have been sent off in the first place and it's something we'll address on Monday."

Sittingbourne v Boreham Wood
Southern League Division One East
Saturday 1st October 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Bourne Park, Central Park, Eurolink, Church Road, Sittingbourne