Report by Peter Pitts
Spurred on by non-stop support from the noisy supporters in Blakeys shed Sittingbourne gained their first victory of the season on Saturday (17th October) afternoon thanks to an excellent second half display.
East Grinstead Town avoided being relegated last season because of the voiding of the season but this season under manager Leigh Dynan they sit 3rd in the league table, having played 3 games unbeaten with a goal deference of +9 contrasting with the Brickies in 14th place with a goal difference of -3 so East Grinstead must have been favourites coming into this tie.
That goal difference was apparent in the first half when the East Grinstead forwards were causing problems to the Brickies defence. But through some excellent goal keeping from Jordan Perrin in the Sittingbourne goal, some stout defensive work and rank poor finishing by East Grinstead all of the their efforts came to nothing. Sittingbourne did cause problems though and on 22 minutes the ball pinballed around the East Grinstead area before being fired wide. It was clear with the arguing with the referee by the East Grinstead players that they were getting frustrated.
The second half though was a different story with Sittingbourne shaking off a couple of early scares, firstly a fantastic clearance off the Brickies goal line by Kane Rowland with just a minute of the half gone stopped a certain East Grinstead goal then Perrin pulled off another memorable save from the dangerous Michael Uwezu. Then Sittingbourne started to really gel as first Rowland had a good effort go narrowly wide, then Harry Miller, son of Brickies favourite Mark Miller who starred for us along with his brother Neil in the early 2000’s, fired narrowly over the bar. Then Miller had an effort that East Grinstead’s keeper Jacob Adams tipped round a post.
With a quarter of an hour to go, just as it looked like the game would have to be settled by penalties, Rowland hooked the ball into the middle from the byline and in the middle was the unlikely figure of defender Sam Flisher unmarked and he rose and headed the ball into the East Grinstead net to start jubilant celebrations from players and fans alike.
East Grinstead tried to fight back and on 80 minutes Louie Theophanous headed the ball onto the Brickies bar. For Sittingbourne George Monger then set up a header for substitute James Witt which the ex Gillingham youngster headed just wide. Then Witt was the provider setting up Kane Rowland for a shot that went straight to the keeper. Perrin then pulled out another great save from a shot by Sean Clohessy as East Grinstead tried to save the game.
It was a pulsating end to end game now. Perrin palmed another shot away and then Andy Drury tried a cheeky lob from just inside the East Grinstead half as he spotted Adams off his line.
Four minutes into the time added on by referee Joe McKay almost saw a dramatic equaliser as Theophanous crossed the ball where Gil Carvalho was all on his own but the ex Brickie stretched but just couldn’t touch the ball in.
Sittingbourne Played: Jordan Perrin, Sam Flisher, George Monger, Daniel Stubbs, Freeman Rogers, Lex Allan, Enoch Adjei, Harry Miller, Harry Goodger (James Witt 75), Andy Drury (Vance Bola 90), Kane Rowland (Johan Caney-Bryan 89). Subs not used: Cory Walters-Wright and Michael Freiter.