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Tony Rickson Reports:

Bostik League South East Division

Whitstable Town (1) 2 (Stannard 33, Wright 54) Sittingbourne (0) 1 (Babbington 57)
Attendance: 177

Whitstable Town: Dan Eason, Stuart West, Harry Brown, Jordan Wright
(Nick Treadwell, 84 min), Rob Gillman, Thomas Bryant (Yellow card),
Connor Saunders, James Morrish, Harry Stannard (James Trueman, 88 min),
Stephen Smith (Ricky Freeman, 80 min), Miles Cornwell. Subs not used:
Taylor Fisher, John Walker.

Sittingbourne: Patrick Lee, Chris Webber, Kwasi Amoah (Henry Woods, 45
min), Jack Morrell, Harry Barkaway, Lewis Chambers (Yellow card), Izzy
Adebayo (Johan Caney-Bryan, 31 min), Chris Barnard, Roman Campbell,
Billy Lewins, Timmy Babbington (Liam Middleton, 71 min). Subs not used:
Rob Lofting, Franklin Phipps.

Referee: Isaac Searle. Assistants: Christopher Price, Andrew Simmonds.

When a well-struck corner doesn’t even reach the penalty area then you
know the wind is playing havoc with a game.
And when all three goals float over the keeper and go in at the far
post, well … again, you know the way the wind’s blowing.
Yes, the ferocious Whitstable wind spoiled this game, making it much
scrappier then it could have been.
But then again it was the same for both sides and the home team battled
just that bit harder to ignore the conditions and stop their opponents
Lots of energy, commitment and battling has been Chris Lynch’s basic
demand from his team but for once Sittingbourne came up a bit short.
They defended well enough – both Whitstable goals were long shots – but
in the end they suffered just their second defeat in eight games, and
were beaten for the first time in an away game after four wins on the
Harry Barkaway was drafted in for his debut in the back four with Tommy
Fagg away, and Billy Lewins was preferred to Henry Woods after a couple
of impressive substitute appearances.
It was such a windy day down by the seaside that football was never
going to be easy and the loyal Sittingbourne fans made short work of any
traffic difficulties by immediately getting behind their team.
They even had a special song as he warmed up for Whitstable sub Nick
Treadwell, who was once a Sittingbourne favourite, but it was another
ex-Brickie, Miles Cornwell, who headed wide a great early chance for his
team after a swift build-up.
Sittingbourne didn’t show much in the opening half-hour, eventually
getting forward for Chris Webber to hit a low shot wide and Tim
Babbington to shoot straight at the keeper from a good position.
Whitstable continued to win plenty of the ball without looking too
dangerous, but took the lead after 33 minutes when Stannard hit a
speculative left-foot shot from 25 yards and it seemed to hold up enough
in the wind to sneak in high off the far post.
Sittingbourne needed to hold on till half-time and then regroup, which
is what they did, coming out with renewed vigour and a three-man
defence to try to wrest the game back.
They had a good chance with a free-kick for handball just outside the
penalty area but Roman Campbell couldn’t it get beyond the wall.
Whitstable seemed content to hold on to their 1-0 lead but they fluked a
second on 54 minutes when Wright looked to be crossing to the far post
from out on the left and the ball sailed over Patrick Lee and into the
far corner.
Sittingbourne knuckled down to the fight and soon pulled a goal back
when Babbington cut in from the left, dummied the covering defender, and
found the furthest part of the goal with a well-aimed shot, his third
goal in four games.
Whitstable were happy to respond by looking for the odd counter-attack
and Cornwell twice got clean on goal, but Lee saved well the first time
and the other one he shot wide.
Without playing much fluent football, fair enough given the conditions,
and without getting much in the way of 50-50 decisions from the referee,
Sittingbourne mounted some pretty invigorating late pressure.
The home side somehow survived a couple of scrambles in their own goal
area and then keeper Eason made the decisive save of the match, flinging
himself to his left to keep out Campbell’s shot on the turn in injury
So Whitstable completed a 2-1 double over Sittingbourne this season – an
important result for them given their precarious position and the fact
they’d only won once previously since Christmas.
For Sittingbourne, their winning run was going to come to a halt at some
time and for a young team packed with decent and skilful players, this
was hardly going to be their sort of match.
Their next away game, away to Greenwich Borough in a fortnight, now
looms as pretty important to make sure the gap between themselves and
the bottom of the league stays as wide it is now.





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