Plenty of work for Sittingbourne’s management still to do in the final fortnight before the 2018-19 league season starts.
They’ve now lost home friendlies 2-1 on successive Saturdays, with the latest against a team who play in a league below them.
Sittingbourne’s performance against a hard-working Sheppey United side was by no means poor, but there remains a concern that they didn’t create enough chances. Even their goal was a freak one that’s unlikely to be repeated at any time.
In front of a crowd of 230 for this Swale derby, Sittingbourne dominated early on and got on top again towards the end, but in between Sheppey were probably the better side and were rewarded with a goal either side of half-time.
Half the Sittingbourne starting X1 were players returning from last season, with captain Chris Webber, Lex Allen, Tom Loynes, Kane Rowland and Josh Dorling all putting in a good afternoon’s shift. Lewis Chambers and Dan Parkinson from last season also came on as second half subs.
The Sheppey side also contained some familiar faces with ex-Sittingbourne players Jono Richardson, Ollie Brown, Remell Davis and Luke Girt playing 90 minutes, and Hicham Akhazzan, Tom Brunt and Conrad Lee among the subs. Former Brickies captain and coach Richardson put in a typically immaculate performance but for me Brown was the best player on the pitch with his reading of the game and sensible passing at all times.
He nearly gave Sheppey an early lead with a shot from distance, while at the other end Loynes twice went close and Rowland had a shot tipped round the corner by the keeper.
The goal, in the 21st minute, was a bizarre one with Loynes hitting a free-kick from wide out that the Sheppey keeper seemed to save only to drop the ball and allow Johan Caney-Bryan to tap it over the line.
But rather than go on from there, Sittingbourne stopped winning the ball back and Sheppey got into the game without really threatening, only to equalise just before half time when Bradshaw pounced to score with a good shot on the turn.
Sheppey won it on 58 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for what seemed an extremely harsh decision by the referee, Bradshaw confidently scoring his second goal of the game.
Sittingbourne drove forward for the rest of the game but were competently kept out by the Sheppey defence and failed to test the keeper.
Their pre-season fixtures conclude next Saturday away to a Carshalton side who won their league last season.
The following Video and Photographs are by Ken Medwyn