Saturday, 13th April 2019
By Tony Rickson
Bostik League South East Division
Sittingbourne (2) 2 (Campbell 24, 37 (pen) Guernsey (0) 2
(Mahon 63, Pereira 87), Attendance: 237
Sittingbourne: Patrick Lee, Chris Webber, Jack Morrell,
Lex Allan, Josh Spencer, Tommy Fagg
(Yellow card), Kane Phillip (Izzy Adebayo, 66 min), Chris Barnard, Roman
Campbell, Henry Woods (Kwasi Amoah, 77 min), Timmy Babbington (Liam Middleton,
56 min). Subs not used: Khalil McFarlane, Abdel Ndew.
Guernsey: Callum Stanton (Yellow card), Tom De La Mare,
Jamie Dodd, Tom Dodds, Frank Tobin, Liam Mahon (Paeris Pereira, 62 min), Glyn
Dyer (Kieran Mahon, 61 min), Dave Rihoy, Will Fazakerley, Carlo Canha, Matt
Loaring. Sub not used: Tom Jackson.
Referee: Simon Finnigan; Assistants: James Amadori,
Photographs by Ken Medwyn
And here was Sittingbourne’s whole season summed up in 90
minutes: Far too good for the opposition in the first half; Outplayed in the
Sittingbourne have been good for parts of the season,
even very good at times, but at other times they just haven’t been good enough.
Inconsistent to say the least.
At half-time on a blustery afternoon with the remains of
Storm Hannah passing over, you would have thought Sittingbourne were going to
win by a distance. But in the end they sort of just about scraped a draw.
So plenty of food for thought for the management team
and now a summer to digest it. Who's going to be invited back for pre-season?
Where do Sittingbourne most need strengthening? How’s
that going to be done? Can Chris Lynch build a team to get in the hunt for
promotion from the position we’re in now? Whatever the answers, it’s going to be
fun finding out.
Sittingbourne made two changes from the team that started
at Herne Bay last Monday, Kane Phillip and Timmy Babbington back in the wide
positions, and this time Tommy Fagg was in midfield with captain Chris Webber
returning to right-back.
It was an attacking 4-4-2 line-up from the start and
Guernsey, who needed a point to be certain of staying up, were made to look
Sittingbourne used the width of the field well to mount
attacks and 18-year-old Roman Campbell, who hadn’t got a goal since February,
was proving a handful for the visiting defence with his movement and strength.
With Babbington shooting straight at the keeper and Chris
Barnard firing just wide, it was Campbell who brought the best out of the
visiting keeper with a fine save from the striker’s left-foot shot. But midway
through the half and Campbell found the target, neatly volleying in Jack
Morrell’s deep cross with a confident first touch.
The keeper saved well from a Campbell shot and made an
even better save from Babbington’s close range follow-up, but Campbell was
proving the main man and when he raced clear on Phillip’s pass he was bought
down by Stanton.
Campbell blasted home the penalty to draw level with
seven goals as the club’s top scorer along with Tom Loynes, who last netted
before Christmas and has been out injured almost ever since.
Guernsey had looked like a side who hadn’t won for months
and were going down meekly, but it’s possible a few words were exchanged in
their dressing room at half-time as they made much more of a go of it after the
Even so, Sittingbourne forced more chances to extend
their lead with Henry Woods firing across goal and Campbell just failing to get
a hat-trick touch on it at the far post and then Campbell himself shot just
Guernsey pulled a goal back on 63 minutes when
Sittingbourne failed to clear a long throw into their box and sub Mahon, who had
only just come on, scored with a low shot.
It was a scrappy second half but you’d still have put
your money on Sittingbourne winning it, especially when Fagg had a headed chance
from a corner but he put it just over the bar from almost underneath it.
With all three substitutes already used Sittingbourne had
to play the last few minutes with 10 men as goalkeeper Patrick Lee raced out of
his area and slammed a clearance straight into the face of teammate Josh Spencer
just a yard away.
The ball almost rebounded right back into goal but with a
clearly groggy Spencer having to go off after a lengthy spell of treatment,
Guernsey scored from the resulting corner when their other sub, Pereira, bundled
it in at the far post.
Both goals conceded from set pieces and that’s a weakness
Sittingbourne will have to work on for next season.
Guernsey didn’t actually need the draw in the end as the
only team below them, Greenwich Borough, were beaten at home. But, personally,
I’m glad they stayed up as they always try to play decent football and it’s
always an enjoyable and hospitable place to visit. And I’ve still got some
Guernsey currency to spend from my last trip there.
As for Sittingbourne, there’s been many highlights this
season, some excellent wins, and plenty of spirited individual performances.
Thanks for them all, and is it too soon to say: Roll on next season.
Match Day programme