Saturday, 4 March 2017





Perhaps I’m getting mellow in my old age, but I felt sorrier for Godalming than I was delighted for Sittingbourne when the injury time winner went in.
The bottom-of-the-table side had fought hard throughout and should really have been in front if they’d taken some great chances.
But having run themselves into the ground, they stopped tackling and chasing in the last 10 minutes and Sittingbourne grabbed the initiative to take all three points.
It was by no means the Brickies’ finest performance – they’ve played better than this and lost this season, so eking out a win against the odds is in itself more than welcome.
Funnily enough it was just like the game at Godalming back in November.
Sittingbourne take the lead, Godalming equalise, and just when it looked like being a draw up pops a Brickies sub with 90 minutes played to score the winner from close range.
Against a Godalming side facing almost certain relegation at the end of the season, Sittingbourne made two changes to the side that lost at Hythe last Saturday, Connor Wilkins and Hicham Akhazzan starting in place of Josh Wisson and Gil Carvalho.
In an even first half, Godalming had two great chances within a minute midway through the half. Simon Overland just did enough to divert the first onto the post and then Bunyan shot over when he got clean through behind the defence.
Sittingbourne responded and after Akhazzan hit the outside of a post following Jack Steventon’s long throw, they took a 38th minute lead.
Kane Phillip, on his home debut, skinned two defenders with a dazzling bit of skill out on the right before cutting it back for Connor Wilkins to score.
But Godalming equalised with the last kick of the half when danger-man Wheeler did something similar to Phillip, beating two defenders before passing it back. The initial shot was blocked but it fell handily to Dormer, who spotted a window to shoot home.
Sittingbourne just couldn’t get into it for a while in the second half as Godalming continued to work hard and the home side got hassled off the ball or lost possession too easily.
The visitors missed a couple of great chances to score and Overland made one nifty save before Sittingbourne at last began to look more dangerous.
Godalming’s stern resistance was emphasised when Tom Carlse yet again raced into a good position down the left and tried to cross three times, with Godalming players each time throwing themselves in front of him to block.
The best Sittingbourne move of the half ended with Phillip shooting over, Conrad Lee was just wide with a free-kick, David Abe miskicked when Phillip set him up, and Carvalho scuffed the ball goalwards only for a defender to comfortably clear it off the line.
But with two of the three added minutes played, Sittingbourne won it when Abe shot for goal, only for Carvalho to latch on to the ball and shoot home from about six yards out for his first Sittingbourne goal.
Yet another crucial late goal in a season that’s been littered with them – and relief all round that this one was in Sittingbourne’s favour …
Tony Rickson

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