Report by Tony Rickson
Tuesday (24th September) evening may have only been a League Cup-tie in front of a small crowd, and Sittingbourne did concede four goals, but this felt like an important and exciting step forward in the development and evolving of the club.
For a start, Sid Sollis came in up front and had an impressive debut, youngsters from the development squad got their chances in an already young side, and overall Sittingbourne impressed with some super creative football, especially in the first half. And they took their goal chances that were so wasted in Saturday's defeat by Guernsey. On the down side, they proved vulnerable at the back to VCD's quick-raiding forwards, and once again conceded a 90th minute goal, but you don't often see eight goals in one game. Well, seventeen if you include the penalty shoot-out.
As well as giving Sollis his debut, Sittingbourne brought in former Wigan and Barnet goalkeeper Jordan Perrin for the first time, and took an early lead when Josh OIiver got his first goal for the club, a right-foot effort through the keeper's hands after his left-foot shot at the end of a brilliant individual run had been saved. VCD had hardly had a sniff of the ball but were 2-1 up by 20 minutes, the first a splendid individual effort by Gaggin, cutting in from the right, and the second when Lyoubi was given too much space to pick his spot.
Sollis was proving a real handful for the VCD defence and when he went searching for space down the right he hit a superb cross from wide out that Johan Caney-Bryan cleverly headed home. And two minutes later Sittingbourne were back in front when Perrin whacked a long ball forward and Sollis ran behind the defence, took a great touch, and beat the keeper in a one-on-one. How Sittingbourne could have done with that sort of confident finish in such situations on Saturday.
VCD got level again early in the second half when a through ball wasn't cut out and Obgoe went round the keeper to steer it home. Sittingbourne got a great goal to regain the lead, sub Smallman Moulon finding Lewis West, whose long cross beyond the far post was headed back across goal by an athletic Tom Fagg for Sollis to poach a real striker's goal at the far post.
As Sittingbourne rang the changes to give substitutes a chance, VCD enjoyed their best period of the game, and although Lex Allan held them up with some great tackles and interceptions, they levelled with 90 minutes played when Gaggin scored at the second attempt.
Having lost a penalty shoot-out at Sevenoaks in their opening group game, this time Sittingbourne converted all five of theirs, with Perrin saving one of VCD's. The Brickies penalty scorers were subs Chris Webber and Lewis Chambers, then West and keeper Perrin, with youngster Declan Pearse keeping his nerve well to score the final one.
Sittingbourne Played: Jordan Perrin, Jason Fregene (Chris Webber, 56 min), Lewis West, Lex Allan, Ben Fitchett (Yellow card), Kane Phillip, Josh Oliver (Declan Pearse, 81 min), Tom Fagg, Sid Sollis (Lewis Chambers, 85 min), Johan Caney-Bryan (Smallman Moulon, 56 min) and Liam Middleton. Sub not used: Jackson Cullen-Cooper.