Tony Rickson previews Sittingbourne v Carshalton Athletic, 21st April, Last Home Game
Sittingbourne’s final home match of the season on Saturday couldn’t be more important to opponents Carshalton Athletic.
With two matches left they’ve already clinched promotion from Bostik League South, but now Carshalton’s ambition is to go up as champions.
If they win those two remaining games they will win the league, but they could also clinch it this weekend if they beat Sittingbourne and second-placed Lewes lose down the road at Faversham.
Carshalton go into the match on a fantastic run, unbeaten in 20 matches, a record which stretches back to last December.
One of those games was when they played Sittingbourne at home in January and with the help of two penalties won 3-0.
It’s been such a change-round for Sittingbourne this season that of the players who took on Carshalton that day only three – Chris Webber, Harry Brooks and Tyrone Guthrie – were in the side that drew 2-2 in midweek with Thamesmead.
Top scorer Kane Rowland would have been a fourth but he was reduced to the role of spectator with his broken hand in a sling.
Sittingbourne showed lots of fighting spirit to hit back in that game after twice conceding to set-pieces – a penalty and a free-kick – to force a 2-2 draw.
Both goals were scored by players who’ve never previously netted for Sittingbourne – Chris Elliott with a deftly-taken penalty and under-18 player Dylan Riches on his first team debut.
It continued a very good run of results for Sittingbourne, who have lost just twice in their last eight games to boost interim manager Aslan Odev’s ambition to get offered the job for next season.
He’s successfully picked up his players from a poor run of results to play with commitment and energy, managing to blood promising youngsters like Riches alongside the slightly more experienced talents of players such as Tom Loynes, Dan Parkinson and Reiss Crimmen.
Sittingbourne’s Saturday will be completed with the player-of-the-year presentation ceremony after the match, and their season finishes the following Saturday away to Hastings United.