Ramsgate: Luke Watkins, Jake McKenzie, Jack Penny, Liam Dickson (Rory Smith, 48 min), George Crimmen, Ollie Gray, Samuel Lawford (Kyron Lightfoot, 74 min), Tijan Jadama, Aaron Millbank, Ryan Huckle, Alfie Paxman. Subs not used: Jake Munday, Jacob Mensah, Shannon Harris.
Sittingbourne: Harry Brooks, Josh Dorling, Fabrice Blewordah, Lewis Chambers (Yellow card), Chris Webber, Reiss Crimmen, Seyfettin Akdeniz, Dan Parkinson (Seb Rowland, 90 min), Kane Rowland (Tyrone Guthrie, 64 min), Germaine Dua (David Smith, 57 min), Tom Loynes. Subs not used:
Charlie Allen, Chris Elliott.
Referee: Mr Isaac Searle, Assistants: Mr Glen Childs, Mr Richard Joss.
Rather than storming through the 50-point barrier, Sittingbourne edged their way to within a point of it thanks to sub David Smithís second half penalty equaliser.
This was their first draw in 21 games, and a fair result, too, with neither side doing quite enough to win their Easter Monday derby.
The energy and drive that Sittingbourne brought to the recent games against South Park and Greenwich Borough was strangely missing, and it took a couple of second half substitutions to shake them up enough to hit back for a draw.
Still, thatís just one defeat in the last four games, a much-improved record on what had gone before.
Sittingbourne made three changes from the team that did well in defeat against Greenwich the previous Tuesday, with Chris Webber and Germaine Dua returning, and exciting Swiss prospect Seyfettin Ardeniz given his full debut.
Captain Webber was excellent in the heart of the defence, showing good determination and terrific positional sense, while Ardeniz looks quite a find. Tricky on the ball, and with a good turn of speed, he was the main threat all game to the Ramsgate defence, even though his covering back needs a bit of working on. Home fans havenít seen him yet, but itís a treat to look forward to.
On a breezy day and on a sometimes bobbly pitch, it was a low-key first half with chances few and far between.
For Sittingbourne, Ardeniz got round the back of the Ramsgate defence but his cross was cut out, and the same player forced a free-kick just outside the area only for Reiss Crimmen to hit it over the bar.
At the other end Harry Brooks advanced to make a good save with his feet as Penny turned up in space, and then watched as Millbank headed narrowly over, but a lot of the play was confined to midfield with both sides guilty of giving the ball away too much.
Ramsgate made a positive start to the second half and having always looked at their most dangerous from corners against a not very tall Sittingbourne side, they took the lead when Brickies old boy Ollie Gray headed one in from six yards.
Sittingbourne responded and gradually began to thread some better moves together with Lewis Chambers hitting the bar after Crimmenís long throw had caused problems for the home defence.
The introduction of David Smith and Tyrone Guthrie from the subsí bench gave Sittingbourne much more thrust and positivity, but it was Ardeniz who created the equaliser when his cross was stopped by a defenderís hand. Smith smoothly converted the resulting penalty, sending the keeper one way and stroking the ball the other side.
Sittingbourne looked the likelier of the sides to grab a late winner, but they needed Brooks to be alert when he dived to his right to fist away a Ramsgate free-kick.
Deep into injury time and Sittingbourne forced a corner that Chambers headed goalwards only to see a defender scoop it off the line.
Sittingbourneís midfield has impressed in recent matches with their hard running and commitment but although that was somehow missing this time, at least they returned from their Bank Holiday trip to the seaside with something to show for their troubles.
Video and Photographs by Ken Medwyn
Photographs by Ken Medwyn
Bostik South East
Saturday 23rd February 2019 Away, VCD Athletic. KO 3.00PM