Tony Rickson previews Sittingbourne v Thamesmead Town
Sittingbourne look to continue their excellent finish to the season when they’re at home to in-form Thamesmead Town on Tuesday evening.
They go into the match buoyed by an excellent win at Phoenix Sports on Saturday, the game settled by a confident 81st minute strike by David Smith.
And it was a special win, too, as Phoenix are the highest-placed Bostik League South team Sittingbourne have beaten in an away game this season.
All seven previous away wins were against teams lower than Phoenix in the league.
Sittingbourne’s run under interim manager Aslan Odev of four wins and a draw in their last seven games began with victory at South Park, and it’s no coincidence that game marked the debut of midfielder Lewis Chambers.
In fact, he scored that night and in all the games since then Chambers has added solidity, hard tackling and neat passing – as well as fierce shooting and long throws – to give much-needed backbone to the team’s midfield.
Chambers, though, was one of two midfielders who limped off injured during Saturday’s game at Phoenix – Charlie Allen was the other – to join a worryingly long injury list that already includes key players Kane Rowland, Lex Allan and Sefyettin Akdinez. And, of course, John Coker, who has been out for months.
Whether any of those players are fit to return against Thamesmead for the last midweek game of the season could have a significant effect on the result.
When Sittingbourne and Thamesmead met earlier in the season, an end-to-end game ended 2-2 with Bola Dawodu and Smith getting the goals, Smith getting his beautifully-struck equaliser late in the game after coming on as a substitute.
Thamesmead have been flying lately, winning five and drawing the other one of their last six games, and beating play-off contenders Greenwich Borough and Walton Casuals in their previous two matches.
They overcame Walton 2-1 on Saturday and that was a crucial defeat for their opponents as it gave Hythe Town a huge advantage towards securing the final play-off spot.
Up at the top, Lewes and Carshalton – Sittingbourne’s opponents on Saturday in their final home match of the season – have already secured the two automatic promotion places. Now they have to sort out which of them goes up as champions.
At the other end of the table, Shoreham’s relegation has now been officially confirmed as they go back to county league football after just one season at this higher level.