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|Southern League Division One East||Peter Pitts reports from Mill Field|
Sittingbourne go over the Hill
This was a display of sheer determination by the Brickies as they turned a 2-1 half time deficit into a magnificent 5-3 victory.
The win takes them off the bottom of the league and that two of the goals seemed to be gifted to them by Aveley's debutant goalkeeper Graham Hill takes nothing away from the victory as Aveley's third goal was decidedly dicey when Kevin Fewell looked to have had the ball knocked out of his hands by Jon Whittaker, so the margin could have been bigger.
The game was notable for a never say die performance from Jon Neal who was just magnificent and thoroughly deserved his first hat-trick for the club.
Sittingbourne hit the woodwork as early as the 3rd minute when Jamie Coyle hit the bar with his cross and Adam Douglas sent his header from the rebound narrowly over.
Aveley responded and on 15 minutes they too hit the woodwork when a long pass split the Brickies defence and Luke Bauckham thundered a powerful shot against the cross bar.
Aveley were looking a good side and they were especially effective in midfield where they were consistently getting to the ball first.
However, Neal was giving hope to the Brickies cause and a particular piece of persistence paid off when he won a corner and from the kick Paul Manning headed narrowly over.
The Brickies almost went one better on 27 minutes when a cross deceived Hill and bounced off a post, the ball was cleared up-field to Nathan Elder and with the Brickies defence nowhere to be seen Bauckham thundered in a great header which gave Fewell no chance and Aveley were a goal up.
Sittingbourne drew deservedly level on 34 minutes and again it was Neal's persistence which won the day when he latched onto an Adam Douglas throw and although he was falling as he shot the ball arched round Hill and into the goal.
This gave hope to the Brickies and their travelling following, who easily out shouted the sparse home supporters, however, with just four minutes to go to half time the usually solid Paul Ainsworth attempted a suicidal back-pass to Fewell but the ball was far too short and Nathan Elder nipped in to plant the ball into the corner of the net.
As the teams lined up for the second half the Aveley captain Whitaker was heard to say " come on lads the jobs not done yet", and how prophetic these words were to become.
There have been some great goals in the Brickies matches this season and on 55 minutes Sittingbourne scored one of them when Paul Manning sent in a 30 yard screamer which beat Hill all ends up to bring the Brickies level.
This goal seemed to galvanise Sittingbourne and it was fully 20 minutes of the half before Aveley mounted a serious attack.
Aveley made two substitutions on 68 minutes and luckily for the Brickies the switch had exactly the opposite effect to that intended when a minute later Bradley Spice neatly headed the ball back to Neal who crashed it straight back into the Aveley goal to put Sittingbourne ahead for the first time in the game.
Aveley responded and Fewell did well to turn a snap shot round the post, however, from the corner Fewell seemed to have gathered the ball when Whittaker came barging in and knocked the ball into the net.
However, the goal stood and a sense of injustice soon turned into euphoria when on 80 minutes a weak looking shot from Neal was allowed to slip through his hands by Hill and the ball trickled into the net to put the Brickies once again into the lead.
With a minute to go Bradley Spice put the result beyond doubt when he sent in an innocuous looking looping shot but Hill seemed rooted to the spot and could only palm the ball backwards into the net.
Aveley almost snatched a goal back a minute later but Lee Browning cleared Bauckham's shot off the line and the Brickies had secured their second league win of the season.
Sittingbourne: Fewell, Coyle, Hill, Douglas (Browning 79 mins), Ainsworth, Taylor, Gooding (J Campbell 88 mins), Marsh, Cory (Spice 59 mins), Neal, Manning, Subs not used Guiver, Beeney.
Beeney pleased, but wants team to tighten up
SITTINGBOURNE manager Mark Beeney admitted he was pleased with the victory, but insisted the whole team needs to tighten up - having shipped 18 goals in the first nine league games, writes Stephen McCartney.
Sittingbourne climbed off the bottom of the Southern League Division One East table thanks to their 5-3 win at Aveley on Wednesday night.
Beeney admitted: "It was a scrappy game. However, it was a good result and the way we are performing to get a win is a good result and a good performance.
"We finally had a little bit of luck go our way with our two goals, but again a dodgy referee decision cost us a goal but luckily it didn't effect the outcome of the game.
"Basically, it's pleasing to score five goals but still concerning we've conceded three.
"Once again it's disappointing we've not got a game on Saturday due to our FA Cup exit having to wait ten days to play serious opposition."
Sittingbourne are without a game on Saturday, having exited the FA Cup at an early stage, but the team will put in a lot of work on the training ground, to tighten up at the back, ahead of their FA Trophy Preliminary round home date against Leighton Town - a side they have already beaten 4-1 - next Saturday, 9th October.
Beeney added: "We've just got to put in a lot of work on the training ground to work on defending throughout the team."