Saturday 27th October 2018
Buildbase FA Trophy, 1st Qualifying Round
By Tony Rickson
Sittingbourne (0) 1 (Parkinson 57) Wingate & Finchley (1) 2 (Beckles-Richards 7, 74)
Sittingbourne: Shea Pritchard, Chris Webber (Yellow card), Josh Dorling (Johan Caney-Bryan, 81 min), Dan Parkinson (Yellow card), Ben Fitchett, Joe Denny, Ira Jackson, Lewis Chambers, Nathan Elder, Bola Dawodu, Tom Loynes (Harrison Hatfull, 85 min). Subs not used: Reiss Crimmen, Khalil McFarlane, Mason East.
Wingate & Finchley: Shane Gore, Ola Williams (Yellow card), Loic Hernandez, Marc Weatherstone, Sean Cronin, Tommy Tejan-Sie, Rob Laney, Brandon McKenna (Yellow card) (Chace O’Neill, 64 min), Timothy Mosheju (Marc Charles-Smith, 65 min), Reece Beckles-Richards, Samir Bihmoutine (Charlie Cole, 65 min).
Referee: Mr Dale Wootton. Assistants: Mr Ciaran Fiddler, Mr Nick Blogg.
Photographs by Ken Medwyn & Glen Parkes
That’s three cup competitions Sittingbourne have gone out of this season by the odd goal against opposition who play at just one level higher.
And a definite pattern has emerged. Sittingbourne match the opposition all the way, but are eventually edged out by a team who are more clinical with their finishing, artful at winning decisions from the referee at crucial times, and manage the game successfully once they inch ahead.
Apart from in those areas, Wingate & Finchley were no better than Sittingbourne, though in two-goal dangerman Beckles-Richards they clearly had the best player on the field.
So, disappointingly, Sittingbourne went out of the Buildbase FA Trophy just two weeks after knocking out close rivals Faversham Town in the previous round and raising hopes of a money-spinning run in the competition.
Their team showed four changes from the previous week’s 1-1 draw with Phoenix Sports. Goalkeeper Patrick Lee was unavailable and Lex Allan injured, while Reiss Crimmen and Harrison Hatfull dropped down to substitute.
Emergency signing Shea Pritchard came straight in for his debut in goal, Joe Denny played his first full game in central defence, captain Chris Webber returned after injury and Dan Parkinson was restored in midfield.
There was almost a dramatic start with the visitors’ Monsheju having a clear shot on goal within seconds of the kick-off but Pritchard came out and was in the right position to save.
But he wasn’t so lucky with just six minutes played when Wingate, wearing a peculiar change kit of yellow and a funny shade of brown, were gifted the lead following a succession of Sittingbourne errors. Lewis Chambers went across to take a long throw but was out of position when a short one was taken before he got there, and then Sittingbourne twice conceded possession as Wingate counter-attacked down the left. When the cross came in, Pritchard came out to collect it but dropped the ball when he collided with a teammate, and Beckles-Richards was on hand to carefully slam home the loose ball.
Sittingbourne fought back really well from the setback and played some good football in the first half without turning excellent possession into goals.
Ira Jackson twice shot over after Chambers’ long throws had caused the visitors all sorts of defensive problems, Tom Loynes smashed a good chance wide of the near post, the lively Bola Dawodu was twice foiled by the keeper saving with his legs, and Dan Parkinson’s long-range deflected free-kick was well saved by keeper Gore.
Irritatingly, immediately after Gore had complained vociferously that he was unable to get a clear way out of goal to defend long balls into his area, the referee penalised Sittingbourne at the next one. Sometimes it pays to manage the ref in the way opposition teams often do better than the nice Sittingbourne boys.
At the other end Pritchard had very little to do in the first half but did dive well to his right to save an accurate Beckles-Richards free-kick.
Sittingbourne continued their control into the second half and deservedly equalised 12 minutes after the break. Loynes cut in from the left, Nathan Elder had his chance blocked at close range and the alert Parkinson was on hand to sweep the loose ball into the net.
You sensed Wingate would be happy with a draw and a home replay, and seemed content just to keep tight shackles on Elder and Jackson and prevent them having an influence on the game.
So their winning goal on 74 minutes was a bit of a surprise. They created space down the left and the ball was cut back beautifully for the alert Beckles-Richards to confidently first-time it into the net.
Quite a few times this season Sittingbourne have mounted big finishes but this wasn’t one of those days and Wingate successfully prevented them gaining much momentum, often forcing them backwards and sideways just to retain possession.
In fact the best chance in the closing stages fell to Wingate but Josh Dowling was in the right place to clear it off the line.
This was a good lesson for Sittingbourne’s predominantly young team into what it takes to play at a higher level, but that’s both the national cup competitions they’re out of even before the clocks have gone back for winter.
Match Day Programme