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Saturday, 8th September 2018
By Tony Rickson

Emirates FA Cup, 1st Qualifying Round

Sittingbourne (0) 0 Gosport Borough (0)1 (Pennery (52) pen), Attendance: 154

Sittingbourne: Patrick Lee, Chris Webber, Josh Dorling, Dan Parkinson,
Lex Allan, Ben Fitchett (Yellow card), Ira Jackson (Red card), Lewis
Chambers, Bola Dawodu (Yellow card), Tommie Fagg (Nathan Elder, 70 min),
Izzy Adebayo (Tom Loynes, 70 min). Subs not used: Harry Brooks, Reiss
Crimmen, Khalil McFarlane, Johan Caney-Bryan, Harrison Hatfull.

Gosport Borough: Patrick O’Flaherty, Tom Leggett, Harry Medway, Jordan
Brooks, Matthew Casey (Matt Tubbs, 86 min), Lucas McCartney (Eddie
Wakley, 62 min), Connor Hoare, Patrick Suraci, Craig McAllister (Samuel
Lanahan, 70 min), Ryan Pennery, Tony Lee (Yellow card). Subs not used: 
Joseph Lea, Scott Walters, Alexander La Fleur, Bradley Stone.

Referee: Craig Barnett. Assistants: Reece Pinchback, James Masson.

Video and Pics by Ken Medwyn

That’s two cup competitions Sittingbourne have gone out of this season
on penalties.
The first was in the Kent Senior Cup when three penalties were awarded
against them at Tonbridge and they lost 3-2, while this was the
altogether more important matter of the Emirates FA Cup.
Again it was decided on penalties, well just the one, awarded to Gosport
Borough after 52 minutes. And the one Sittingbourne might have had as
they pressed desperately for an equaliser, and a replay.
But it was Gosport who got the crucial decisions and they were able to
wind down the clock and manage the game out successfully, even though
they lost both their central defenders to second half injuries.
Sittingbourne were left to regret missing out on the £6,000 prize money
from the FA, made doubly annoying by the niggling feeling that not a lot
went their way in the form of decisions from the officials.
Perhaps it’s because they’re such a young team that there’s a bit of
naivety about their tackling, or that they come up against more
experienced players who crumple to the ground at the slightest touch and
successfully claim free-kicks.
To cap it all, and complete what all in was a very disappointing
afternoon, they had Ira Jackson sent off deep into injury time on the
say of an assistant referee.
What Sittingbourne can take from the game is that they more than matched
a team who play football one division higher, and on another day they
could easily have ended up with at least a replay.
On an autumnal afternoon, manager Aslan Odev had some selection issues
to resolve for the first time this season really, and it meant Reiss
Crimmen and Tom Loynes were squeezed out of the starting line-up from
the previous week’s 5-4 defeat at Thamesmead.
Pat Lee retained the keeper’s jersey ahead of Harry Brooks, who kept a
clean sheet in the midweek League Cup win, and turned in his best
performance yet, with a couple of brilliant second half saves.
Sittingbourne started brightly and Tom Fagg’s header from an early
corner was scrambled away by the keeper with Lewis Chambers just enable
to find the target as he got his head to the rebound.
Both Bola Dawodu and Chambers had shots well blocked by Gosport
defenders when they had good openings on goal, and the visitors took the
threat of Chambers’ long throws so seriously they pulled all 11 players
back into the penalty area to defend them.
Gosport hit the bar with one effort – as they did in the second half,
too – and Lee made a good save to tip over Pennery’s shot.
The visitors got the only goal of the game on 52 minutes when a push by
Chambers as he went for a header was penalised, and Pennery neatly
scored from the spot-kick.
Understandably, Gosport wasted time for all they were worth, and
Sittingbourne relied heavily on throw-ins, free-kicks and corners as
they didn’t create too many chances from open play.
Dawodu just failed to get into position to turn a chance in from Chris
Webber’s pull-back while their other big opportunity was an 83rd minute
free-kick for Ira Jackson from an identical spot to where he scored a
spectacular goal against Greenwich Borough last month. But he drove this
one into the wall.
There were big appeals for a penalty, too, when defender Casey’s clumsy
challenge for a high ball ended up with him injuring himself when he
clattered into the Sittingbourne player but the referee waved away
The game ended with Jackson getting his marching orders, and Gosport
winning the place in the next round. Wembley will have to wait for
another year.


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