Division One East
|Peter Pitts reports from Mayesbrook Park
|Barking & East Ham Utd
|Spice 64 (pen)
Encouraging display by Brickies
PROBABLY because they have already clinched a play off place Barking and East Ham United put out an understrength team, a draw then is probably a disappointing result for Sittingbourne.
However, there were plenty of positives to be taken from the game with an excellent performances from Charlie Belcher whilst David Cory and Jon Neal had their best games since
coming back from injury.
The Sittingbourne players wore black armbands in respect for Folkestone player Paul Sykes who sadly passed away whilst playing mid week football and as a further mark of respect there was a minutes silence before the game broken only by the poignant ringing of a nearby church bell.
Sittingbourne were without Dean Hill, Ryan Peters, Peter Taylor, Adam Douglas, Ricky Spiller all unavailable and Joe Dowley who is suspended.
The Essex side started well in front of their highest home crowd of the season and on 13 minutes a first time cross from Terry Everett was sliced wide of the Brickies goal by Anthony Reid.
Three minutes later came the first of a number of good chances for the Brickies as David Cory's blocked shot came straight out to the unmarked Clint Gooding but his attempt to place the shot was well seen by Barking keeper Daniel Wylie and he easily held the effort.
The game was now very even and on 25 minutes a Barking free kick found Ryan Doyle who headed straight at Brickies keeper Kevin Fewell.
Sittingbourne had another golden opportunity to score on 36 minutes when Lee Browning was clean through but his shot was poor and Wylie blocked the effort.
Six minutes later a Browning / Cory move set up a chance for Kieran Marsh but just as he was about to shoot the ball was whipped away by a Barking defender.
If these had been good chances then two minutes from the half time break Gooding made the miss of the match when he struck the underside of the crossbar from some three yards out and the ball bounced away to safety but as the half time whistle blew Sittingbourne were well on
Sittingbourne had the first chance of the second half through Jon Neal when on 47 minutes he struck a tame shot which Wylie gathered with ease.
A minute later a long Barking cross ball found Nick Savidge who crossed powerfully infield where Ryan Quincy was on hand to power a first time shot which gave Fewell no chance and Barking were ahead.
Sittingbourne had a chance to even things up almost straight away when a Spice free kick was whipped across goal but none of the Brickies players could get a toe on the ball.
On 56 minutes Gooding must have realised it wasn't going to be his day when an excellent Browning run ended in a cross to him but from a position right in front of the goal the ball ran through Gooding's legs and the chance was gone.
It was all Sittingbourne now and the busy Charlie Belcher found Gooding who set up a chance for Marsh but the effort sailed over the bar.
The Brickies continued coming forward and a first time Browning effort went just wide.
A goal for the Brickies just had to come and on 64 minutes a pass found Neal in the Barking area and just as he was about to race goalwards Jay Deveraux pulled the Sittingbourne man back and referee Mr Venamore awarded a penalty.
Spice expertly beat Wylie from the spot to pull the Brickies deservedly level.
Neal was causing the Barking defence all sorts of problems and a minute after the goal he sent an acutely angled shot over the bar, then he set up Marsh for a shot but the effort was weak and easily gathered by Wylie.
Barking then came back into the match and a Savidge cross was just missed by the Barking forwards Barking then brought on first team regulars Morgan and Ritchie and this seemed to give them a boost. However, it was still the Brickies who were having the chances and on 83 minutes a Spice shot was safely gathered by Wylie.
With two minutes to go a Gooding throw found Jon Neal whose cracking shot was expertly turned round a post by Wylie.
Then right on time Barking almost snatched an undeserved win but Ritchies vicious shot was blocked by Fewell.
Some encouraging play from the Brickies who could and probably should have taken many more of their gilt edged chances just a shame that there is no time for shooting practice before the game against Fisher Athletic on Tuesday!
Sittingbourne: Fewell, Coyle, Belcher, Ainsworth (Hodge 84), Campbell, Gooding, Cory, Marsh, Neal, Spice, Browning, Sub: Ashmore