Thursday 01st September 2005

Brickies suffer from bad breaks

Saturday 26th
November 2005
FA Trophy
Third Qualifying Round
Peter Pitts reports from Bourne Park
Sittingbourne 1 Spice 8
Cambridge City 3 Booth 18,85
Simpson 87

Sittingbourne matched Cambridge City, a team two leagues and 53 places above
them in the football pyramid for 85 minutes but a contentious "non decision"
when the referee failed to award a free kick to the home side  when Bradley Spice seemed to be blatantly pushed off the ball  by a City defender led directly to the Conference South side breaking away and scoring their second goal of the match, writes Peter Pitts.

This goal was followed by the clincher just two minutes later when the flat footed Brickies defence were caught out and Robbie Simpson scored with ease.

Sittingbourne, sporting their smart new kit, began the match almost camped in City's half for the first 10 minutes as a squally wind was proving a handful for the Cambridge team who were kicking into it.

The home side took the lead after just 8 minutes when a defence splitting ball found Spice who held of his defender and sent a glorious shot goal-wards which City keeper
Adam Calton could only palm into his own net.

City then got their act together and four minutes later Craig Dobson outran the Brickies defence and forced a good save from Steve Williams in the Brickies goal.

Dobson had another effort on 17 minutes which trickled wide and just before this Dale
Binns had a shot deflected for a corner.

The midweek Kent Senior Cup defeat to  Gravesend exposed the square Sittingbourne defence a number of times and on 18 minutes Cambridge equalised with a goal that could have come straight from that game as Simpson got round the back of the defence and with Williams stranded his cross found Paul Booth who had the simplest of tap ins.

Cambridge then stepped up their tempo and on 25 minutes Williams failed to hold a cross and in the effort to recover flattened new boy Danny Lawson (signed from Welling United) but the defence managed to scramble the ball away.

Sittingbourne were guilty of treating the ball like a hot potato at times and their tactic of lumping the ball forward at the first opportunity was giving lone striker Spice little chance.  

They had the occasional break through in this half though and on 34 minutes Kieran Marsh had a good shot but it was straight at Calton.

The second half was more interesting with Sittingbourne putting some good moves together and on 57 minutes the best move of the game saw Lee Browning putting the ball in the net only to see an assistants flag raised for off-side.

Seven  minutes later Sittingbourne did get a little rub of the green when James Campbell tackled Simpson on the edge of the area.  The referee blew for a foul and there was then a wait while he consulted his assistant as to whether it was a penalty or not and if Campbell was the last man. However, the decision was for a free kick and Campbell received just a yellow card.

Browning had taken time to come alive but he was certainly doing well in this half and on 67 minutes he sent in a 20 yard screamer which keeper Calton failed to hold but the ball was cleared.

The game was very even now  and Sittingbourne were at last playing football instead of just thumping the ball forward however City were still very much in the reckoning and on 73 minutes a blistering effort by the tricky Binns was stopped magnificently by Williams.

The wind had now increased again and this time was helping Cambridge. Glen Fuff headed over a corner kick under pressure from Brickies defenders when he perhaps should have done better and a shot by Binns looked to have found the target but the ball went through the side netting.

Alarm bells were ringing for the Brickies and on 83 minutes  they were caught up field and Booth raced away, rounded Williams and then with the goal at his mercy inextricably hit the post.

This seemed to be a massive let off for Sittingbourne but on 85 minutes a defence splitting ball from Browning found Spice who seemed to be knocked off the ball which broke loose and was punted up field to Booth. Booth  outran the Brickies defence and
planted it to the side of Williams giving City the lead.

Almost straight from the restart with the Brickies trying to push forward Simpson broke away and gave Williams no chance with his shot and the tie was over as a contest.

DELIGHT TURNS TO SORROW: Sittingbourne celebrate Bradley Spice's early opener but Steve Lovell's men were knock out of the FA Trophy by Cambridge City on Saturday  Photograph: Chris Regan:

Sittingbourne: Williams, Lawson, Hockey, Ainsworth, Campbell, Marsh,
Spiller, Gooding (Knowles 88), Browning, Spice, Sherwood, Subs: Ashmore, Taylor, Tanner, Friend