Bostik League South
Sittingbourne (0) 1 (Dua 52) Shoreham (0) 0
Pretty it wasn’t, but the whole point is to score at least one more goal than your opponents and Sittingbourne achieved that.
And that was for the second time in less than 48 hours, a very nice one-two for the still-new management team of Aslan Odev and Ian Varley to get under their belts.
Shoreham, rock bottom and all but relegated already, weren’t terrible by any means and for a lot of the game provided obstinate opposition.
But with their poor record all season, they were clearly there for the taking, though it has to be admitted Sittingbourne made hard work of it for much of the time.
Sometimes they didn’t seem to know whether to go long, and hit the ball over the top, or short, building it up with patient possession football.
And sometimes they gave the ball away by hitting passes that just weren’t good enough.
But having said that, they got the job done and kept a clean sheet too, for the first time in ten games.
Despite ending a tough game at South Park on Thursday night with quite a few players seeming to be carrying knocks, they made just one change to their starting line-up with Dan Parkinson returning in midfield for Charlie Allen.
But disappointingly, new signing Seyfettin Akdeniz, who made quite an impact as sub in that match, was ruled out by a groin injury. Good news, though, that Chris Elliott was back after a long period out, and he made a successful return to action in the second half.
Shoreham showed in the first half they were happy to very quickly put up a five-man defensive barrier and for a long time Sittingbourne struggled to create much.
When they did, it was almost always through Tom Loynes, who flashed one dangerous cross straight across the area, and also had a left-foot shot saved at the near post.
And he created by far and away the best chance of the half, for Kane Rowland, but the top scorer’s normally ice-cool finishing let him down for once, as he stroked the ball past the advancing keeper but wide of the far post.
Sittingbourne’s defence has looked much more secure since captain Chris Webber and Josh Dorling swapped roles, with Lex Allan alongside them in top form again, but both Webber and Dorling had to go off with injuries before an hour had been played. Subs Elliott and Harrison Hatfull, another of the club’s promising youngsters, both did exemplary jobs as replacements.
Sittingbourne won it just six minutes into the second half. The ever-dangerous Loynes blasted a loose ball across the six-yard box and Germaine Dua, alert on his home debut, slid in at the far post to divert it home.
Shoreham continued to defend stubbornly but didn’t have enough about them to do much about forcing an equaliser, and Sittingbourne seemed to peter out with their efforts towards the end, though tiredness must have been setting in by then.
The chances they did cut out were almost all down to stand-in captain Loynes, who had a shot cleared off the line, a corner punched off his line by the keeper, and another shot blocked by desperate defending.
This was a potential banana skin for Sittingbourne but they avoided slipping on it – two more home games just around the corner and tougher opposition than Shoreham to face in both of them.
Sittingbourne: Harry Brooks, Josh Dorling (Chris Elliott, 57 min), Fabrice Blewordah, Dan Parkinson (Yellow card) (Tyrone Guthrie, 83 min), Lex Allan, Chris Webber (Harrison Hatfull, 45 min), Tom Loynes, Lewis Chambers, Kane Rowland, Jermaine Dua, David Smith. Subs not used: Josh Algar, Seb Rowland.
Shoreham: James Broadbent, Sean Roddy, Alfie Proto Gates, Evan Leitch, Harvey Dunk, Josh Tuck, Alvera Castano, Jack Whitmore, Alex Laing (Yellow card) (Oliwer Kruszinski, 77 min), Nick Collyer, Sacha Mbaye.
Subs not used: Nana Baah, Vincent Follea.
Referee: Mr Ian Fissenden, Assistants: Mr Liam Giles, Mr Joseph Gray.
Photographs from the match by Ken Medwyn and Glen Parkes
Bostik South East
Saturday 23rd February 2019
Away, VCD Athletic. KO 3.00PM
The best way to get to Woodstock