Thursday 01st September 2005

Brickies end poor run of results against rivals Chatham

Saturday 15th
October 2005
FA Trophy
First Qualifying Round
Peter Pitts reports from Bourne Park
Sittingbourne 3 Marsh 24
Spice 68
Neal 86
Chatham Town 0  

This was a much more exciting and tense game between these two sides than has been the case in the last couple of seasons, writes Peter Pitts.

Despite the score-line there was little between the sides and two incidents, one a poor penalty for Chatham and the other a masterfully taken goal for Sittingbourne sealed the
win for the Brickies.

Chatham probably began the match as favourites as they are currently ten places ahead of the Brickies in the league, although the gap in points is just six, and they had  gone nine games without defeat by the Brickies in previous league and cup encounters.

The Brickies, however, are unbeaten in the league at home, their only defeat being in the FA Cup by Chessington & Hook United.

Chatham were dealt a blow in the kick about when goalkeeper Louis Green aggravated an injury and ex Brickie Kevin Fewell, who signed this week for Chatham, took his place.

Fewell went on to have a competent game despite not playing at this level since May and was given a good reception by the noisy Brickie followers.

Sittingbourne were dealt their own blow before the game as leading scorer Mark Lovell still hasn't fully recovered from his knee injury and therefore took a place on the bench.

This was a shame as there were high hopes that the two leading scorers in the Southern League Division One East would line up in the game, Brendon Cass for Chatham being the other one. 

Chatham started the game in lively fashion and on 6 minutes Sittingbourne keeper Steve Williams tipped a shot from ex Brickie Steve Searle over the bar.

Two minutes later came Sittingbourne's first attack and a Bradley Spice cross was headed round the post by Matt Bourne for a corner.

Chatham though were pushing forward more and Glen Billiness headed well wide and a 30 yard effort from Israel Amadi curled around the right hand post, but you sensed
that the Brickies defence was in command of the situation.

On 14 minutes James Campbell committed a foul just outside the area but Danny Larkin's free kick sailed well over the bar.

Ten minutes later came the Brickies breakthrough as a throw almost on the Chatham by line was flicked into the area and Kieran Marsh was on hand to chest the ball over the goal line to put Sittingbourne into the lead.

Chatham hit back well and an attack down the right led to Cass passing infield but Lee Browning came in at the nick of time to turn the ball away for a corner. From the corner a far post header by Cass went wide.

Sittingbourne then had a good last quarter of the half with a skilful run by Browning ending in a pass to Spice whose shot was gathered well by Fewell.

Then Clint Gooding had a header thud against the ground and the ball almost bounced over Fewell's head before he grabbed it.

Chatham suffered another blow just before half time when Searle limped off and was taken to hospital with a suspected broken ankle.

The second half started sensationally as with just 4 minutes of the half gone Joe  Dowley handled in the area and a penalty was awarded by Mr Searle.

Up stepped joint league top scorer Cass but his shot was weak and barely to the left of Williams who made a good stooped save.

This miss frustrated Chatham and they pressed forward and the pace of the game began to get frantic. On 64 minutes Israel Amadi got the better of Dowley on the right hand side and sent in a great cross which from barely 10 yards out Billiness stabbed at and the ball sailed over the Brickies bar.

You then got the impression that this could be the Brickies day and a minute later at the other end a Lee Browning shot was blocked, many thought by someone's hand, and cleared.

One goal really wasn't enough for the Brickies and both sides were showing signs of anxiety, and so were the two sets of fans.

Four minutes later though the Brickies fans could relax a little as Chatham were caught up
field as  Ricky Spiller raced away down the right hand side and sent in a pin point cross to Bradley Spice whose sensational bullet header gave Fewell no chance whatsoever and the Brickies were two up.

Chatham's response now was muted and a despairing Byron Walker shot well wide. On 81 minutes the same player had another effort but this one went well over the bar.

Five minutes later the game was sewn up as once again. Chatham were stranded in the Brickies half as the ball was cleared to Neal who exchanged passes with Mitchell Sherwood before he fired an effort past Fewell at the far post for number 3.

With Sittingbourne Reserves  defeating Chatham Reserves today this was a great double for Sittingbourne who must now wait to see who they face in the next round to be played on Saturday November 12th as Hastings United  and Corby Town  drew their tie 0-0 and replay at Kettering Town's ground on Wednesday night.

Sittingbourne: Williams, Spiller, Dowley, Ainsworth, Campbell, Marsh, Browning (Taylor 83), Gooding, Neal, Spice ( Sherwood 73), Edwards, Subs: Styles, Davies, M Lovell

Chatham Town:  Fewell, Binks (Garrett 78), D Larkin, Boyle, Bourne, A Larkin, Solly, Searle (Walker 44), Billiness (Finn 90), Cass, Amadi, Subs: Brooks, Miles.