Kent rivals left in the dark

Wednesday 20th September 2006
Last night’s Ryman League Division One South derby between Sittingbourne and Ashford Town at Bourne Park was abandoned after 42 minutes due to a floodlight tower failure, writes Peter Pitts.A floodlight tower failure was probably all that was between Sittingbourne and joint second place in the league table as when the game was finally abandoned they looked well in control and results in the league elsewhere meant that if they had won they would be in that lofty position, wedged between leaders Dover Athletic and Fleet Town.

Sittingbourne meant business from the off and after just three minutes a long Toby Ashmore pass found striker Mark Lovell who set up a chance for Kieran Marsh but the ball screamed over.

However, eight minutes later the Brickies were ahead when Ashford Town goalkeeper Simon Overland could only block Andy Doerr’s shot and the ball came back out to Lovell who made no mistake.

Then with 28 minutes played one of the new floodlight towers failed and although there looked still to be plenty of light but Ashford Town refused to continue even though the referee was willing to.  The darker end was where the Nuts & Bolts were defending.

The referee was extremely patient allowing time for an electrician to investigate and then some 40 minutes later two of the lights on the tower came back on and it was deemed ok to continue.

The break sparked Ashford into life and four minutes after the restart Richard Sinden broke through only for his effort to be cleared off the line by Joe Dowley.

However, Sittingbourne quickly got back into the driving seat and two minutes later Lovell found Mitchell Sherwood wide on the left.  Sherwood rifled in a shot that the highly-rated visiting goalkeeper could only block, but the ball came out to Doerr and he finished well to put the Brickies two goals up.

Doerr, a summer signing from Kent League side Lordswood, was causing Ashford plenty of problems and on 38 minutes he was fouled just outside the area.  The free kick, meanwhile, was blasted just over the bar by Paul Ainsworth.

As half-time approached the tower failed again and the referee, Mr Woodward (Seaford) had no option but to abandon the match.

Ten years ago Steve Searle was in the Sittingbourne team that defeated Ashford Town by 4-1 in front of a crowd of 1,025 at the adjacent Central Park Stadium.  Amongst the Sittingbourne substitutes was Richard Sinden. 

However, last night only 169 fans were at Bourne Park.  Where have all the fans gone?

If you are one of the stay-away fans that used to support Sittingbourne or Ashford Town in the past but don't anymore, would like to hear from you.  Please click on "Contact us" and explain why you no longer attend games at Bourne Park or The Homelands.

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