Report by Mike Green
Sittingbourne’s ten men earned a point at Lancing, on the coldest afternoon of the season on Saturday (25th November), as they extended their unbeaten run to eleven games.
Ryan Maxwell’s side had the better of the exchanges and should have been in front by the break before having to play the last fifteen minutes of the game and seven of stoppage time with ten men after Chris Arthur was shown a straight red card after the referee overlooked a foul on the Brickies defender as he battled with a Lancing forward in the build-up to the defenders clumsy challenge.
Despite being a man down, the home side did not threaten the Brickies goal and the point was well deserved in the end and keeps Sittingbourne third in the table.
The visitors had the best chance of an extremely tight opening when Chris Harris just could not bring the ball down quick enough to test keeper Louis Rogers. It set the tone for the first half as the Brickies created the better half chances - Mitch May was denied by a smothering block from Rogers; Donvieve Jones headed a D’sean Theobalds header wide and from a Theobalds free kick, Joe Tyrie saw a header go narrowly wide which a scrambling keeper was relieved to see bounce wide of the right upright. Indeed, the only chance that the home side had saw Alex Laing fire tamely straight at Bobby Mason.
After the break, the home side enjoyed more possession, but it was not probing enough to even come close to breaching the visitors back line – Laing again having the only real chance as the ball ricocheted to the Lancing man and with the goal at his mercy, he could only shin his effort straight at Mason. Knory Scott failed to hit the target when well placed on the edge of the Brickies box after being found by Laing – really was a poor miss – before Merchant handed Lancing the chance to push on for the winner.
Arthur and Lukas Franzen-Jones battled for possession on halfway. The Brickies defender won the ball leaving the Lancing man tugging and pulling at Arthur, causing the defender to be off balanced going into his next challenge, which the referee deemed to be poor enough to warrant a straight red card.
The home side huffed and puffed but in the 15 minutes of normal time and 7 minutes of added time remaining never looked like breaching the Brickies back line which now included Alex Bentley. The only real effort ended with Franzen-Jones tamely heading high over the bar.
The point keeps the Brickies in the middle of the Play Off places with home games against Hythe Town and Phoenix Sports next on the agenda.
Sittingbourne Played: Bobby Mason, Donvieve Jones, Bagasan Graham, Luke Woodward, Joe Tyrie, Chris Arthur (Red card 71 mins), Mitchell May (Alex Bentley 75 mins), D’Sean Theobalds, Chris Harris (Gabriel Piorkowski 85 mins), Harry Hope, and Ayman El-Moghaebel (Jardel Adeyinka 62 mins). Subs not used: Emmanuel Osei-Owusu and Ryan Maxwell.