Thursday 01st September 2005

Brickies pleased with four point holiday return

Monday 3rd
January 2006
Southern League
Division One East
Peter Pitts reports from Stonebridge Road
Dartford 0  
Sittingbourne 0  

This was probably the last game between these two sides to be played at Stonebridge Road as Dartford's home ground, (their new ground back in the Dartford borough should be open for business in July of this year), writes Peter Pitts.

The Mayors of Dartford and Swale were amongst the Southern League Division One
East highest crowd of the day for a game which although lacked goals was nonetheless an entertaining encounter.

Dartford, who are unbeaten in the league at home this season, were without a key player in Jimmy Carter but Sittingbourne's injury list meanwhile continues to shrink with only Mark Lovell now missing but he too is close to a return.

Steve Lovell kept faith with the same team that did so well against Chatham Town meaning that Lee Browning, Bradley Spice and Paul Ainsworth were on the
bench alongside Ricky Spiller and Jon Neal who is slowly getting back to
full fitness.  

Dartford began well with their two wide men causing problems. Ex Maidstone United player Dave Martin was particularly prominent and was causing all sorts of problems on the left hand side. He had a shot across the Brickies goal after just three minutes and then he rounded Toby Ashmore to set up a good chance for Ian Pulman but Pulman's shot lacked power and was easily held by Brickies goalkeeper Steve Williams.

Williams in his return to one of his previous clubs palmed over a Ryan Hayes free kick.

Sittingbourne were on the defensive for much of the first half and Williams, who was in fine form, was called into action again when a good run by Steve Hafner ended in Hayes forcing a marvellous save from the Brickies keeper.

On 29 minutes a Ryan Briggs free kick rebounded over the bar from Williams fists and then a minute later Hafner blasted the ball over the Brickies bar when he perhaps should have done better.

Dartford continued to press forward but their finishing was woeful. Briggs shot wide and a weak Martin header was easily gathered by Williams and Eddie McClements stabbed the ball wide.

The second half was much more even.  A Peter Taylor free kick bounced off the Dartford wall for a corner but the game then turned into a real end to end affair with both sides having half chances.

On 55 minutes Williams palmed a shot away but at the other end a Taylor through ball found Michael Smissen who forced a spectacular diving save from Darts keeper Kevin Hudson.

Smissen was playing his last game for Sittingbourne before returning to Dover Athletic.

Sittingbourne brought on Lee Browning and Bradley Spice and immediately the Brickies stepped up a gear. On 71 minutes Smissen broke away and found Spice
whose shot skewed just wide of the Darts goal.

The Darts though were still well in the game and a shot from Hafner looked to have found the net but in fact the ball had curled round the back of the goal. This near miss seemed to spur the Darts on and Pulman had a good chance on 74 minutes but good
work by Toby Ashmore forced the Darts man to fire over the bar, then a defence splitting cross field pass found Hayes but he too shot wide.

Spice's speed was causing the Darts problems and on 79 minutes he outran the defence but his shot was just caught by the diving Hudson.

The Brickies had managed to keep Martin relatively quiet in this half however on 83 minutes he came to life but his shot didn't trouble Williams.

With just three minutes to go a Smissen pass found Marsh who fired narrowly over the Darts bar and then Smissen himself had a curling shot that just passed outside the right hand corner of the Darts goal.  

The last chance though fell to the Darts but Hafner's shot bounced off Williams and to

So four points out of the two Christmas and New Year games played by the Brickies which is a return that they probably would have settled for before the holiday!

Dartford: Hudson, Carter, Osborne (Craig 67), Henry, Avery, Hayes, Briggs, Hafner, Pulman, McClements, Martin. Subs: Maguire, Westerman, Potter, Olson

Sittingbourne: Williams, Ashmore, Dowley, Tanner, Campbell, Marsh, Hockey
(Neal 88 ), Gooding (Browning 60), Smissen, Sherwood (Spice 64), Taylor:
Subs: Ainsworth, Spiller