Whitehawk 1 (1) -v- Sittingbourne 0 (0)

Whitehawk 1 (1) -v- Sittingbourne 0 (0)

Report by Peter Pitts

Saturday (8th February) afternoon was yet another Sittingbourne display where they left their best play until the second half. Whitehawk looked a good side and although the Brickies matched them for long periods the home side were wasteful at times when they looked to have good chances to increase their lead.

The Whitehawk ground has improved since my first visit some 10 years ago when they had just gained promotion from the Sussex County League. Since then they have had an up and down existence with fleeting visits to the Isthmian Premier Division and what is now the National League South. The remnants of this improved status can be seen by the additional substantial seating behind both goals and the excellent food bar that is both good looking and serving one of the best burgers that I have had for a long time! They are now a very friendly club led by an enthusiastic Chairman.

The Whitehawk fans were also phenomenal in the support of their team and even out sung our own away support..although a drum and far more of their fans joining in did help them. It's good to see other teams with vocal support other than Sittingbourne! The game was marred by an injury to Chris Barnard who left the field on 25 minutes with what looked like a break in his arm, however it now appears that it is serious bruising.

Sittingbourne were second best in the first half and Whitehawk, currently third in the league but well in contention for the league title, had a chance to take the lead after just three minutes when Lucas Rodrigues just failed to connect with a good cross.

The Brickies first chance came in the 19th minute when Roman Campbell found Sid Sollis in the centre but Sollis fired over the bar., Two minutes later Jordan Perrin pulled of a brilliant diving save to foil Connor Tighe's 35 yard block buster, the ball being turned round for a corner. From the corner the ball was kickeWill Holder, Nigel Neita.d off the goal line. Then came the injury to Barnard with Ainsley Everett taking his place.

There was a warning for Sittingbourne when a good run from Rodrigues ended in him being dispossessed but the ball fell to Tighe who fired wide. But on 33 minutes the ball was floated into the Brickies box into a crowd of players where Ahmed Abdullah was the first to react and he headed the ball into the Brickies goal to give the Hawks the lead. This definitely wasn't a good sign for a Sittingbourne side who have struggled to recover when they go a goal down.

The Hawks had two more chances to increase their leads before the end of the half, firstly a snapshot by Charles Banya brought out another excellent save from Perrin then Fintan Walsh picked out Rodrigues in acres of space in the Brickies area but he sent his header wide. To the Beickies credit they put up a much better fight of it in the second half and could have snatched an equaliser if the rub of the green had been in their favour.

On 57 minutes Cameron Brodie, who had his best game for the Brickies since joining, had a good shot well turned round by Hawks keeper James Broadbent. The Hawks continued to have chances though and on 65 minutes Henry Muggeridge could have done better if he hadn't slipped when presented with a good chance. Two minutes later a Hawks cross ended in the ball rattling the Brickies left hand post. At the other end Brodie went on a good run but just as he was about to shoot the ball was kicked off his toes.

Sittingbourne had a free kick with 6 minutes to go which Campbell took, the ball rebounded off the Hawks wall and was promptly kicked back goal-wards by Campbell but again the effort was blocked. Sittingbourne were now desperately looking for the equaliser and Kane Phillips, who had come on a substitute for Ikechi Eze, had a crashing shot turned round by Broadbent for a corner. The last throw of the dice fell to Campbell who was within a cats whisker of turning a crossed ball into the Hawks net but once again Sittingbourne had to settle for an odd goal defeat by a championship chasing side.

Sittingbourne Played: Jordan Perrin, Ben Fitchett, Chris Webber, Cameron Brodie, Lex Allan, Cory Walters-Wright (Yellow), Chris Barnard (Ainsley Everett (25mins), Ikechi Eze (Kane Phillip 63 mins) (Yellow)), Roman Campbell, Sid Sollis (Sam Stace 63 mins)and Johan Caney-Bryan. Subs not used: Will Holder and Nigel Neita.

100% Local Radio for Sittingbourne