Tony Rickson Reports
Saturday 17th November 2018
Bostik League South East Division
Sittingbourne (0) 0 Three Bridges (0) 1 (Grant 89), Attendance: 132
Sittingbourne: Patrick Lee, Chris Webber, Reiss Crimmen (Yellow card), Lewis Chambers (Josh Dorling, 85 min), Ben Fitchett, Joe Denny, Ira Jackson, Bola Dawodu (Yellow card) (Nathan Elder, 80 min), David Smith, Tommie Fagg (Harrison Hatfull, 45 min, Yellow card), Tom Loynes. Subs not used: Chmidi Otuadinma, Matt Funnell.
Three Bridges: James Shaw, Nathanial Simpson, Oluminde Oluwatimilehin, Liam Collins (Red card), Jensen Grant, Brannon O’Neal (Yellow card), Ibby Akanbi (Kelvin Adjei, 90 min), Omar Folkes (Connor French, 73 min), Amaraldo Glloga, Antone Douglas, Joe Tennent. Subs not used: Farouq Odeshina, Alex Clark, Kelvin Adjei.
Referee: Mr Joseph Stokes. Assistants: Mr David Joseph, Mr Andrew Simmonds.
Talking about his team’s 2-1 win last week, Whitstable Town manager Scott Porter said he was so pleased as Sittingbourne is a hard place to go to and get a result.
Unfortunately, he’s got that wrong at the moment as this was the fifth home game in a row that Sittingbourne had failed to win.
And to make it worse this was a golden opportunity wasted, as Three Bridges had only won twice in 11 previous games this season and on top of that they had to play the last quarter of the game with only 10 men.
Yet they still contrived to score a last minute winner and leave Sittingbourne wondering just what they have to do they end their poor run of results.
After all, they look a decent team with some good players, particularly going forward. But they’re also a bit naïve too, and perhaps it’s a lack of experience that’s letting them down for now. That, and missing so many chances when well placed to score.
Manager Aslan Odev again rang the changes, with four coming in to the team that lost to Whitstable. Patrick Lee returned in goal for Matt Funnell, Joe Denny replaced Lex Allan in defence, Bola Dawodu came into midfield in place of the suspended Dan Parkinson, and ex-Brickie David Smith, on loan from National League club Dover, took over from Nathan Elder upfront.
In an even first half, Three Bridges looked a better side than their league position suggested, Akanbi particularly dangerous, putting one good chance wide and seeing Lee tip over his shot from distance.
When Sittingbourne, in their smart new Quinn Estates-sponsored kit, began to get into the game, Ira Jackson fired an opening too high and Dawodu headed wide from a corner and then had another header cleared off the line.
Sittingbourne, with Tom Loynes ever dangerous down the left, began to create much more in the second half but they couldn’t finish off the openings they created, hardly forcing the visitors keeper to make a save.
Ben Fitchett put the ball narrowly wide following a corner, Jackson also missed a good opening when Loynes put him clear, Smith had a shot deflected wide and the referee rejected penalty appeals for handball when a Denny shot was blocked.
As the momentum seemed to be swinging Sittingbourne’s way, Three Bridges were reduced to 10 men when Collins got a straight red card in the 65th minute for a high and dangerous challenge on Loynes.
Dawodu also had a golden chance from a few yards out but blazed over and how Sittingbourne would pay for spurning their opportunities as Three Bridges still flickered in occasional sorties forward.
They probably had the best chance of the whole game on 85 minutes when a good move down the left set up Akanbi with a shooting chance from about the penalty spot, but Lee dashed out and made a terrific save.
But the warning signs weren’t heeded as Three Bridges nicked all three points with 89 minutes played, a near post corner headed strongly home by unmarked captain Grant.
What a sucker punch. I still think Sittingbourne are a top half team, even though the league table shows otherwise at the moment, but finishing in the top half seems such a lame ambition after such a heady and promising start to the season.
Match Day Programme