Tony Rickson previews Sittingbourne v Thamesmead (Good Friday 1.00PM KO)
When he first took over as interim manager of Sittingbourne, Aslan Odev had to show extreme patience as game after game was called off because of bad weather.
Now the boot’s on the other foot, and the matches are coming thick and fast as the fixture list plays catch-up.
When Sittingbourne meet North Kent rivals Thamesmead Town on Friday lunchtime (1pm kick-off) it will be their fourth game in barely more than a week.
They won the first two and played really well in defeat on Tuesday night when Greenwich Borough, who are heavily involved in the promotion race, beat them 2-1.
Luck wasn’t on Sittingbourne’s side as they fought back to equalise through Dan Parkinson’s header from stand-in captain Tom Loynes’
Already without Chris Webber from an injury sustained in the previous game, they lost their other first choice centre-half, teenager Lex Allan, to injury.
Though their replacements, Reiss Crimmen, in a terrific return to the club he used to play for alongside his brother George, and Josh Dorling, switching from right-back, did excellently they could not prevent Greenwich getting a 76th minute winner.
Sittingbourne also had a couple of decisions go against them, both involving the Greenwich goalkeeper.
The first was when he seemed to fumble the ball after catching it but when Kane Rowland put it in the net the goal was disallowed for a foul on the keeper.
The other was in the second half when the keeper looked as if he was trying to keep out a mighty throw-in by Crimmen, which ended up in the goal. The referee ruled that no-one had touched the ball on its way in, but fans behind the goal thought the keeper had got his fingers on it and it should therefore have counted as an own goal.
All that’s water under the bridge now, but Sittingbourne can take a lot of confidence from their much-improved performance and commitment in all three of their most recent games.
Friday’s opponents Thamesmead have won their last two games but lost three before that, and that sums up a topsy-turvy season for them which sees them just a few points above Sittingbourne in mid-table.
When the teams met earlier in the season in a good end-to-end game on the Dartford pitch that Thamesmead currently share, the match ended 2-2 with David Smith curling in a late equaliser for Sittingbourne.
Don’t forget the earlier-than-usual kick-off time, Easter starting and finishing with a Sittingbourne game as they then travel down to Ramsgate on Monday afternoon.