Tony Rickson Previews South Park v Sittingbourne 3rd February 2018, KO 3.00PM
Photographs from Sittingbourne v South Park 22nd April 2017 by Ken Medwyn
Away to South Park was one of Sittingbourne’s most memorable games of last season – even though it ended in a rather tame 2-0 defeat.
And this season’s match promises to be equally memorable, as it’s the first game for Aslan Olev as the club’s new interim manager.
He’s stepped up from coach to the hot seat after last Saturday’s departure of Nick Davis and his assistant manager Tony Cornwell.
Going to South Park is a tough way for him to start, and he learned this week he’ll be without Miles Cornwell, who has followed his dad out of the club.
Cornwell was stand-in captain for Sittingbourne when he played his 100th game for the club last Saturday in the 3-1 home defeat by Horsham which turned out to be Davis’s last game in charge.
South Park are mid-table in Bostik League South, just above Sittingbourne, but have been playing catch-up with their fixtures after good cup runs caused quite a few league games to be postponed.
They were in action on Tuesday this week, hitting back from a goal down at half-time at home to Hastings United to eventually draw 1-1.
Last season’s match was so memorable as the players and fans travelled together to and from Reigate in Surrey to mark the final game of the season.
There was a huge amount of camaraderie and it’s amazing that every single Sittingbourne player, including the substitutes, who represented them that day is no longer with the club.
The well-documented loss of so many players in the summer led to a huge recruitment drive by Davis and Cornwell, and for a while it worked out so well.
There was a disappointing and costly defeat by Sussex county leaguers Pagham in the FA Cup, but Sittingbourne’s league form was stunning, taking them right up to the top and making them strong promotion contenders.
It’s unravelled since then and the defeat by Horsham was Sittingbourne’s seventh in their last nine games.
It will be fascinating to see how they shape up without Davis, who has been a massive figure at the club for what’s been an exceptionally long time in non-league football.
New man Olev will have lots of support and plenty of people hoping he will do well – starting at South Park on Saturday.