Division One East
|Peter Pitts reporting|
|Wivenhoe Town||3||Caton 53,77
Unbeaten run, and Beeney's reign comes to an end
Sittingbourne were unable to claim a win for Mark Beeney in his last game as manager of the club but they still produced a good display and they were unlucky not to get a share of the points.
Beeney stands down as manager as his position at Premiership leaders Chelsea as goalkeeper coach has been turned into a full-time position.
Wivenhoe started brightly and on just three minutes Stafford Browne tried to lob Pat Mullin in the Brickies goal but Mullin easily held the effort, then a fine cross by Tabani Mabvura found Ray Turner in the area but he had the ball taken off of his foot by a Brickies defender.
Sittingbourne settled down and on 23 minutes a Jon Neal shot rebounded out to Bradley Spice but Adam Bethell made a saving tackle.
Sittingbourne were playing some good football and Shane Campbell in particular was giving Wivenhoe defender Bethell a torrid time.
On the half hour Clint Gooding lost the ball to Ray Turner who crossed to Browne but the ball was just too far ahead from him and his header trickled into Mullins hands.
At the other end Spice had a header go just wide then Neal fired a 20 yard effort wide.
Both sides were having chances in a very even first half which ended with Turner firing over and another diving header from the lively ex-Dover Athletic player Browne.
Sittingbourne though had the last effort of the half when Lee Browning's shot was held at the second attempt by Wivenhoe's goalkeeper Colin Sanders.
The second half began with the much improved Gooding firing narrowly wide then a Gooding / Kieran Marsh move set up a great chance for Neal but his shot was weak and easily gathered by Sanders.
Wivenhoe took the lead on 54 minutes when a far post cross eluded the Brickies defence and Sean Caton was on hand to fire the ball into the net.
Six minutes later Wivenhoe extended their lead and once again the goal came when the defence failed to clear a far post ball this time from a free kick and the ball was passed inside by Matt Stace to Jack Wignall who headed home.
This double set-back galvanised the Brickies into action and they came back well.
Dean Hill was close with a shot that sailed over the bar then on 69 minutes Paul Ainsworth glanced a magnificent header from a Marsh corner into the Wivenhoe net to pull a goal back.
Sittingbourne pressed for the equaliser and a Spice cross was just missed by the onrushing Neal. Just as the Brickies were looking good to score again Caton cut inside and was
allowed to bear down on the goal and with no challenge he produced a magnificent shot which whistled into the Brickies net for Wivenhoe's third and his second of the match.
Almost straight from the restart Sittingbourne pulled a goal back when the ball was pumped forward to the unmarked Neal and fired past Sanders.
The scene was now set for a grandstand finish and the Brickies didn't disappoint as they pushed forward. Spice had a good effort blocked, then Gooding made a good run and set up a golden opportunity for Hassett but the header was off target.
On 88 minutes Neal just beat the keeper to the ball but he recovered and blocked Neals shot.
Right on time Adam Douglas latched onto a free kick but he too sent his shot over and the Brickies were defeated in the league for the first time in seven games.
Steve Nolan, Beeney's assistant, has been appointed the new manager at Bourne Park and takes charge of the team for Monday's trip to Boreham Wood.
Sittingbourne: Mullin, Coyle, Dowley, Gooding, Hill, Ainsworth, S Campbell (Douglas 75), Marsh, Neal, Spice, Browning (Hassett 59), Subs: Tanner, Ashmore, Fewell