Thursday 01st September 2005

All square in dress rehearsal

Saturday 5th
November 2005
Southern League
Division One East
Peter Pitts reports from Bourne Park
Sittingbourne 0  
Corby Town 0  

Sittingbourne's injury troubles were slightly eased by the midweek signings
of Michael Smissen, who is on loan from Dover, writes Peter Pitts.

Joining Michael in signing was Lee Hockey and Charlie Belcher. Unfortunately though the injury list still includes leading scorer Mark Lovell  and defenders Joe Dowley and Dan Edwards as well as Jon Neal.

There was an encouraging return to the club for Hockey who slotted in well alongside James Campbell and Paul Ainsworth whilst it will take a little time for the pairing of Bradley Spice and Michael Smissen to gel as effectively as it  did in season 2003-2004 when Smissen finished joint leading scorer with Neal.

Corby started the game in a more enterprising fashion than the Brickies and almost took the lead on 7 minutes when a cross from Brett Darby was headed against the Brickies right hand post by Kevin Byrne.

Three minutes later Brickies keeper Steve Williams had to head a back pass over his own goal and in the process crashed against a post but thankfully he came away unscathed.

Sittingbourne were relying far too much on the long high ball which seemed to suit the Steelmen more than themselves and were posing little threat to the Corby keeper Darren Watts.

On 24 minutes a last ditch challenge by Ricky Spiller on Danny Marlow in the Brickies area averted a certain goal.  

At the other end Bradley Spice was trying his best to break through but he was far too often a lone figure battling the experienced Corby defence.  However, the Brickies at last came alive and on 27 minutes a good run by Lee Browning ended in him shooting
just wide of the Corby goal and into the side netting.  

The game was then very close with little to choose between the teams, the half ending with a Spiller shot comfortably held by Watts and another Browning run ending in a
shot wide.

The second half saw a much better display from Sittingbourne. They had long periods of dominance in this half and with better finishing could have had a couple of goals. But Corby came back well at the end of the half.

On 53 minutes a Kieran Marsh far post cross was headed just wide by Spice, then three minutes later a Campbell header following a free kick led to a great chance for Smissen but Watts reacted quickly to smother the ball.

Another excellent Browning run was broken up but the ball fell to Marsh who set up
another header for Spice but again the effort went wide.

Darby then had a shot go sailing over the Brickies bar but at the other end a spectacular Browning cross was just missed by Spice when a glance would have seen the ball end up in the Corby net.

Corby came into the half more and Darby fired over from a good position then Glen Turner had the ball taken off his foot in the Brickies area just as he was about to shoot.

Almost immediately at the other end Marsh missed a great chance by skewing a shot at the far post.

In an action packed last five minutes  a Corby free kick into the Brickies area was headed clear for a corner, then from the corner Byrne forced a good diving save from Williams who turned the ball round a post for another corner. The ball broke to Spice leading eventually to a Corby defender heading the ball off the line, but the referee had blown for an infringement and the the match remained scoreless.

The two teams now square up to each other again next Saturday at Bourne Park
but this time in the next round of the FA Trophy.

Sittingbourne: Williams, Spiller, Hockey, Ainsworth, Campbell, Marsh,
Browning, Gooding, Smissen, Spice, Sherwood. Subs: Tanner, Belcher,
Taylor, Davies, Friend