Saturday 1st October 2016
By Tony Rickson
East Grinstead Town (1) 2 (Emptage 31, Kwayie 72) Sittingbourne (0) 0
East Grinstead: Chris Haigh, Callum Emptage, Jake McIntyre, Mitchell Chapman, George Benner, Fuller Roseje, Will Thomas (Yellow card) (Alex Gaggin, 59 min), Leo Mazzone, Travis Gregory (Alex Arif, 79 min),
Marcus Elliott, Noel Mbo (Tashi-Jay Kwayie, 62 min). Subs not used: Jack Howlett, Chad Goulter.
Sittingbourne: Ben Bridle-Card, Tom Brunt, Conrad Lee, Danny Rumbol (Yellow card), Jono Richardson (Yellow card), Jack Steventon (Connor Wilkins, 75 min), Hicham Akhazzan (Josh Wisson, 57 min), Stefan Wright,
Ricky Gundry (Ola Rabiu, 72 min), Miles Cornwell, Tom Carlse. Sub not used: Dan Tanner.
Referee: Mr Michael Lowe. Assistants: Mr Timothy Godfray, Mr Samuel .
Sittingbourne failed to score in a league game for the first time this season and that just about sums up a disappointing afternoon to forget for them.
The lesson, of course, is that it’s no good thrashing Ramsgate 4-0 in midweek if you lose the Saturday before and the Saturday after to teams below you in the league.
It took two excellent pieces of individual skill to get the goals that beat them but on this occasion Sittingbourne, though they never stopped pushing forward, were second best.
East Grinstead are on a good confidence-boosting run after a terrible start to the season and had done their homework thoroughly – they man-marked Miles Cornwell to stop his trademark runs, and blotted out
the considerable threat of Jono Richardson when he went up for attacking set-pieces.On an afternoon of sunshine and showers, Sittingbourne intended to keep the same team that beat Ramsgate but full-back Sam Welch failed a fitness test before the game and had to drop out.
The first half-hour was pretty even with East Grinstead putting three headed chances over the bar and Stefan Wright and Tom Brunt shooting just too high at the other end.The home side took the lead with a great bit of individual skill by McIntyre, dribbling down the left and cutting in before playing it in to the near post where Emptage squeezed the ball in.Sittingbourne began to get on top but the chances went begging with Tom
Carlse driving a good chance straight at the keeper and Wright’s powerful shot going through the keeper’s hands but over the bar as well.
Sittingbourne went into this match in the top ten of the league but were generally failing to impose themselves on the game, and it took an excellent goalline save by Conrad Lee to keep it at 1-0 right at the
start of the second half.East Grinstead clinched the points on 72 minutes when leggy sub Kwayie collected his keeper’s clearance on the halfway line and raced forward before beating Ben Bridle-Card with a terrific shot to cap a superb goal.
Sittingbourne continued to drive forward, though perhaps with less conviction than in previous games, but sub Connor Wilkins missed the best chance when he fired just wide with the keeper rooted to his line.
Sittingbourne did the double over East Grinstead last season but this time came up against a lively hardworking group of youngsters who on the day deserved their win.
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