Tony Rickson Reports:
Sunday 23rd September 2018
Bostik South East League
Guernsey (0) 1 (Fazakerley 64) Sittingbourne (1) 2 (Loynes 23, 81), Attendance: 634
Guernsey: Callum Stanton, Keanu Marsh (Yellow card) (Matt Loaring 74), Jamie Dodd, Tom De La Mare, Frank Tobin (Yellow card), Liam Mahon (Kyle Smith, 86), Dave Rihoy, Charlton Gauvain, Craig Young (Carlos Canha, 67), Will Fazakerley. Subs not used: Jordan Kelly, Thomas Dodds.
Sittingbourne: Patrick Lee, Chris Webber, Josh Dorling,Lex Allan, Ben Fitchett, Lewis Chambers, Tom Loynes (Yellow card), Dan Parkinson (Yellow card) (Johan Caney-Brown, 63 min), Bola Dawodu (Yellow card), Tommie Fagg (Harrison Hatfull, 38 min), Izzy Adebayo. Subs not used:
Reiss Crimmen, Joe Denny, Harry Brooks.
Referee: Jack Bonnick. Assistants: Toga Inanc, Peter Georgiou.
Photographs by Ken Medwyn and Michael Sayce
Good things come in pairs, so they say, and Tom Loynes got a pair of tremendous goals to give Sittingbourne an overdue first away win on Guernsey.
It was a day for twos. The win took them up to joint two in the Bostik South East League, it was win number two away from home this season, and it made it two wins in a row – both by 2-1.
Make no mistake, winning at Guernsey is no easy feat. The match comes in the middle of a 16-hour round trip, made up of car, plane and minibus journeys, with loads of waiting around in between.
The match preparation has to be spot on, and even then there’s a 600-plus home crowd to try and quieten, and all the time without any away support all.
Luckily for Sittingbourne, manager Aslan Odev is an expert at preparing his team properly, and he was determined to make amends for last season when he felt his team under-performed and let down the fans who on that occasion had been able to make the journey to the Channel Islands.
This is the sixth season since Guernsey arrived at this level of football, and Odev at last steering a team to victory makes him Sittingbourne’s most successful manager ever in international football!
And it was quite a win, built around the qualities that have made Sittingbourne successful this season – hard work, good organisation, great team spirit, and an ability to take their chances.
Although Guernsey – hospitable and generous as ever off the pitch – moaned that it was a defensive error that won the game for Sittingbourne, it was nothing of the sort. It was just that Loynes thought quicker and acted quicker to win the ball and finish it off.
It was no more than Sittingbourne deserved, having dominated the first half, and been much the better side apart from a short spell around the time of Guernsey’s goal in the second half.
With heavy morning rain at last subsiding, the game kicked off in sunshine as a blustery wind blew the last clouds away.
Sittingbourne were at it straightaway, pressing high and preventing Guernsey play the sort of passing game out from the back that they clearly prefer.
Within the first 10 minutes, Lewis Chambers blazed a shot over, Bola Dawodu had his header from a long throw saved, and Dan Parkinson got the ball in the net but was ruled offside.
Guernsey were struggling to get into the game and Sittingbourne went ahead midway through the first half. Izzy Adebayo worked himself some space near the corner flag, captain Chris Webber crossed first time from his pass, and Loynes anticipated beautifully, getting ahead of his marker to magnificently deflect a firm header into the far corner.
For the first time I can remember in many years of watching Sittingbourne, utter silence greeted it - the only sound to be heard was Loynes screaming his delight at what he’d done.
No Brickies fans had been able to make the trip as by the time this Sunday fixture was cleared to be played on an FA Cup weekend, only very expensive flights – or none at all – were available. Bet there was some cheering in the Woodstock clubhouse, though, as the match was beamed back there.
Patrick Lee made a lovely full-length save – one for the camera that – to keep the lead but generally it was all Sittingbourne, and Tommie Fagg, Adebayo and Loynes had shots which failed to properly test the keeper.
Loynes blotted his copybook after an otherwise terrific first half effort by shooting over after a good move but generally it was a great 45 minutes’ work by the Brickies.
And they carried on at the start of the second half with two chances for Parkinson, who was now playing further forward after Fagg had gone off with a knee injury. A bit of a sickener for him. But Parkinson’s first effort skidded across the face of goal, and his second, after a great one-two with Dawodu, was just inches wide.
As Guernsey at last began to get of a handle on the game, Lex Allan was magnificent in defence for Sittingbourne, but could do nothing to prevent the home side’s 63rd minute equaliser. An excellent 25-yard shot pinged back off the post, and, luckily for Guernsey, came back at just the right place for Fazakerley to stroke in with Lee still recovering from a dive to keep out the initial effort.
But it was Sittingbourne who showed the extra energy and determination to regain control of the match – and go on and win it.
Loynes showed great anticipation to intercept a passing move across the back four and nicked the ball, ran forward, and confidently placed a beautiful shot into the corner past the advancing keeper.
A fitting winning goal, welcomed by the whole of the jubilant subs’ bench piling on to Loynes and a squashed corner flag underneath the bundle.
Again Sittingbourne competently managed a narrow lead to the end and it was Dawodu who went closest to adding another goal, heading wide from a good position.
A great day out, a long one but a good one, and a great result to go with a flying visit to remember.