Saturday, 14th April 2018
By Tony Rickson
Bostik League South
Phoenix Sports (0) 0 Sittingbourne (0) 1 (Smith 81 mins)
Sittingbourne: Harry Brooks, Josh Dorling, Fabrice Blewordah, Charlie Allen (Yellow card) (Tyrone Guthrie, 16 min), Chris Webber, Reiss Crimmen, Harrison Hatfull, Lewis Chambers (Chris Elliott, 79 min), David Smith, Dan Parkinson (Josh Algar, 90 min), Tom Loynes. Subs not used:
Abdul Malik Usman, Max Farrelly.
Phoenix Sports: Steve Phillips, Ryan Andrews (Zak Bryon, 53 min), Ashley Probets (Yellow card), Jack Hopkins, Danny Young, Jack Barry, Lewis Mingle, Tony Robinson, Jeff Duah-Kessie (Yellow card) (Fredrik Olafsen,
90+5 min), Kweku Ansah, Alfie Aldridge (Jonny Miller-Annor, 67 min).
Subs not used: Kelvin Ogboe.
Referee: Mr Jack Bonnick, Assistants: Mr Stuart Smith, Mr Paul Andrews.
Ironic that Sittingbourne created loads of decent chances all afternoon and then won the game with a stroke of luck.
Tom Loynes got his body in the way of an attempted Phoenix clearance and it could have bounced anywhere but fell straight into the path of David Smith.
The teenager took full advantage and with tremendous assurance placed his left-footed shot into the far corner to score the only goal of the game.
That’s four wins out of seven games for revitalised Sittingbourne, and fully deserved it was too as they were the better side throughout.
What is worrying for Sittingbourne, though, as they attempt to finish a topsy-turvy season on a high is the sudden length of their injury list.
Kane Rowland’s season looks to be over on 23 goals after breaking his hand on Wednesday night at Hythe, and lively winger Seyfettin Akdeniz is also out after getting hurt in that game.
In addition, promising defender Lex Allan is still injured, and midfielders Lewis Chambers and Charlie Allen both went off injured in this game.
On a beautiful spring afternoon, and up against a Phoenix side who had beaten them this season at Woodstock and are higher placed than them in the league, Sittingbourne started well.
So well, in fact, that following one of Reiss Crimmen’s long throws, Harrison Hatfull had a third minute shot cleared off the line and Chambers thundered the loose ball against the bar.
Hatfull headed a great chance wide from a pinpoint Loynes’ cross and so in control were Sittingbourne that the Phoenix bench were complaining bitterly to their players that they were second best all over the pitch.
It probably sparked them a little bit as the home side got back into the game for a short spell and Sittingbourne keeper Harry Brooks, who has done so well to win back absolute control of the No 1 shirt, made a couple of good saves from dangerous half-chances and Ansah hit a shot against the top of the bar.
There were plenty of opportunities at both ends throughout the second half, Phoenix’s mostly from breakaways, with Sittingbourne generally controlling the game and attacking well.
The home keeper fumbled a Loynes shot but got away with it, Josh Dorling hit an effort wide and Smith missed from close range with a header as the ever-dangerous Loynes set him up.
Captain Chris Webber was terrific in the heart of the Sittingbourne defence as Phoenix threatened intermittently but it was Fabrice Blewordah who saved them when he was in just the right position to clear off the line when Brooks was beaten for once.
The Brickies won it on 81 minutes when Loynes inadvertently set up Smith and the striker celebrated an afternoon’s hard work filling the big shoes of Rowland by scoring yet another of his crucial late goals.
Sittingbourne held out well in an occasionally frantic finale, with Brooks hurt as he bravely came out for a long ball through the middle, extending the additional time to seven minutes before the team could deservedly celebrate their eighth away win of the season.
A nice sunny day, a nice win to follow an unlucky defeat at Hythe, Sittingbourne fans outnumbering – and out-supporting - the home club.
What’s not to like.