Sittingbourne: Harry Brooks, Josh Dorling, Fabrice Blewordah, Lewis Chambers, Chris Webber, Lex Allan (Reiss Crimmen, 35 min, Yellow card), Harrison Hatfull (Chris Elliott, 72 min), Tyrone Guthrie, David Smith, Seyfattin Akdeniz (Germaine Dua, 58 min), Tom Loynes. Subs not used:
Charlie Allen, Dylan Riches.
Carshalton Athletic: Billy Bishop, Mohammed Idris Oshilaja, Danny Dudley (Yellow card), Peter Adenyi, Ola Sobganmu, Raheem Sterling-Parker, Tommy Bradford, Jordan Cheadle, Ryan Healey (Omar Koroma, 64 min), Christie Pattison, Rio Davidson-Phipps (Brendan Murphy-McVey, 77 min). Subs not
used: Bobby Price, Kalvin Morath-Gibbs, Charlie Burns.
Referee: Mr David Harrison, Assistants: Mr Joshua Godfrey, Mr Val Anekwe.
Ken Medwyn's Video of the game.
A massive win, that’s what newly-installed Sititingbourne manager Aslan Odev called this victory over champions-elect Carshalton when he addressed fans at the end-of-season presentations after the match.
After a run of five wins and two draws in the last nine games, Odev was invited before the game to ditch his ‘interim’ title and stay on to manage Sittingbourne next season.
And what a way to celebrate! Carshalton needed only a draw to reach 100 points for the season and a win would have been seen them go up as champions of Bostik League South.
But despite being unbeaten in 20 games since before Christmas, and despite firing on all cylinders early on and taking a fifth minute lead, they ended up soundly beaten by rejuvenated Sittingbourne.
Odev, with his assistant Ian Varley, has got his team battling and fighting for each other, playing with belief in their ability, and no little skill as well.
In the end they were too good for Carshalton and were delighted to celebrate their first victory of the season over any of the top seven clubs in the league.
For this final home game of the season, there were four changes from the team that drew 2-2 with Thamesmead in an enjoyable midweek game, Fabrice Blewordah, Lewis Chambers, Lex Allan and Seyfattin Akdeniz all returning to the starting line-up.
Carshalton, with more height and, so it seemed at first, more power than a young Sittingbourne side, started strongly and took an early lead. Tom Loynes was unlucky to be penalised in an aerial challenge, and following the free-kick, Sogbanmu drove a low shot into the far corner from the edge of the area.
Sittingbourne nearly responded when David Smith shot over on the half-volley but Carshalton were also just wide with a couple of good chances and goalkeeper Harry Brooks saved well from Sterling-Parker.
After 20 minutes or so of being mostly on the back foot, Sittingbourne worked themselves back into the game and a terrific move out from the back started by Blewordah ended with Akdeniz bursting forward from midfield. He did one defender with his acceleration to get into a shooting position and then hit a left-footed shot dipping over the flailing keeper.
Reiss Crimmen, on for the injured Allan, had a header turned round for a corner as Sittingbourne ended the half showing Carshalton they weren’t going to let them celebrate winning the title without having to fight tooth and nail for it.
The league’s top side started the second half strongly and had four good chances virtually straightaway, but Sittingbourne defended stubbornly, with Crimmen deflecting one away, Blewordah clearing off the line and the opposition’s player-manager Adeniyi missing badly after creating a one-on-one chance for himself.
What followed was the best half-hour of the season for Sittingbourne fans as their team just took the game away from Carshalton with some splendid and spirited football crowned by two headed goals by Smith.
He got his first on 60 minutes when losing his marker at a Crimmen corner to head powerfully home, the ball hitting sub Germaine Dua on the way but not enough to change its direction.
And he made it 3-1 just 17 minutes later when he again found space in the area to be in the right place at the far post to deftly head home a long throw-in by sub Chris Elliott.
He had a couple of other opportunities, too, but seems to miss easier chances than he scores – though ever since scoring the winner on the opening day of the season he’s shown himself to be a very promising talent, and excellent cover for the injured Kane Rowland.
Brooks made a couple of really decent saves as Sittingbourne looked to be holding on well to their lead, and Carshalton seemed to have more or less given up the ghost when they were awarded a controversial 89th minute penalty.
Unlucky Dua was really hard done by as a cross was driven at his hand from about a yard away, and doubly unlucky as he looked to be just outside the penalty area at the time. But the referee gave a spot-kick only for Carshalton to end their day to forget with a horrible miss, Sterling-Parker blasting the ball over the bar and out of the ground.
And that was it. What a win for Sittingbourne, what a day for Odev. And what a standard’s been set for all future performances under his management.
Photographs from the game are by Ken Medwyn
Match Day Programme
Bostik South East
Saturday 23rd February 2019 Away, VCD Athletic. KO 3.00PM