Sittingbourne 2 (1) -v- Ashford Town (Middx) 1 (1)

Sittingbourne 2 (1) -v-  Ashford Town (Middx) 1 (1)

Report by Mike Green

A goal deep into stoppage time from new signing Chris Harris finally edged Sittingbourne past a dogged Ashford Town (Middx) side in the oppressive Swale sauna that was Saturday (19th September) at Woodstock Park.

With the tie seemingly destined for penalties despite a dominating second half display from the home side without being able to find a way through, a superb ball from Jean-Baptiste Fischer released Harris clean through and the Brickies sub showed magnificent skill and composure to waltz round the keeper and roll the ball into the empty net to spark great celebrations in the home faithful.

Sittingbourne were on the front foot from the off and were ahead inside ten minutes as Ayman and two visiting defenders came together and the ball squeezed past a rooted Mawer and trickled into the net.

Both sides were clearly struggling with the heat and the conditions, and some very strange decisions meant the game had no pattern at all. The visitors won a series of corners but didn’t once threaten Bobby Mason’s goal whilst at the other end, Manny Osei-Owusu and Javaun Splatt were working tirelessly.

The visitors then out of nothing, levelled four minutes from the break – a ball was played over the top and suddenly two blue shirts were yards behind the Brickies defence, and whilst the home back line – and crowd for that matter – waited for a flag that didn’t come, Jack Arnold forced the ball past Mason for the leveller.

The home side switched off completely and the visitors missed an absolute sitter on the stroke of half time to lead – a cross to the back post found Ross McKernan unmarked but he couldn’t hit the target.
The second half became more and more one way traffic – Fischer was denied by a fabulous save from Mawer before D’Sean Theobalds twice went close, one with a drive straight into Mawer’s chest and the second forcing the keeper into a fine save.

In a rare foray forward for Ashford, Mason did well and was brave to deny Arnold who then proceeded to fall over the Brickies stopper, demanding a penalty.

Just as a penalty shoot-out seemed inevitable Harris showed just why Ryan Maxwell has brought him to Woodstock as he showed fine composure when clean though to skip past the keeper and roll the ball beyond the retreating defenders and into the net for the first of what the home faithful will hope will be many more goals!

The Brickies reward for edging this game will be a trip over the Kings Ferry bridge to face Sheppey United for what is believed to be the very first time in a FA Knockout competition.

Sittingbourne Played: Bobby Mason, Donvieve Jones, Ayman El-Moghaebel (Luke Woodward 46 mins), Gabriel Piorkowski (Toch Singh 90 mins), Joe Tyrie, Bagasub Graham, D’Shaun Theobalds, Javaun Splatt (Chris Harris 61 mins), Jean-Baptiste Fischer,, Emmanuel Osei-Owusu and Jake Goodman. Subs not used: Alfie Bloomfield and Casey Nolan-Samuel.

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