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FAVERSHAM TOWN – HOME / RYMAN LEAGUE DIV 1 SOUTH

 

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It started with dramatic late goals and it was fitting that the season – at home, anyway – should finish with yet another one.

Substitute Keanu Williams got the 90th minute winner to cap a superb Sittingbourne fightback which overcame local rivals Faversham.

It gave Sittingbourne their highest points total for eight seasons – with one more game still to go – and in front of their second biggest home crowd of the season.

Not only did the match finish in style for Sittingbourne, but what followed immediately afterwards was just as memorable in its own way.

Both manager Nick Davis and captain Jono Richardson brought their young children onto the pitch as the players went down one end to thank their ever-loyal ever-noisy fans.

A lovely moment to finish the season at Woodstock and one which sums up the family atmosphere which makes Sittingbourne a special club.

After two successive 1-0 wins, Sittingbourne stuck with the 3-5-2 system they introduced at Horsham 48 hours earlier with Kane Phillip and Sam Welch replacing Jake Embery and Tom Brunt in the starting line-up.

Having previously drawn with Faversham this season, a tight game was in prospect, but both teams lost players to early injuries, Josh Wisson hobbling off after only 18 minutes.v Faversham 170417 001 (142)

Faversham had a ‘goal’ chalked off for handball, and sub Griffiths put a good chance over the bar, before they took a 35th minute lead.

Griffiths was knocked off-balance as he tried to race into the area and the referee gave a penalty.

Having saved two spot-kicks in recent home matches, Simon Overland relished the chance against his old club of making it a hat-trick.

And save it he did, diving to his right to block Bewick’s kick, but he couldn’t hold onto the ball and the Faversham player was able to follow and score.

In truth, it hadn’t been Sittingbourne’s best first half of the season but they almost snatched an equaliser out of the blue just before the interval when Phillip slammed a shot against the bar.

Faversham are an awkward team to play against, with an irritating offside trap, ex-Brickie Matt Bourne still a terrific defensive lynchpin, and plenty of blocking runs and pinning players back at set pieces.

Sittingbourne needed to raise their game in the second half, and that’s just what they did, switching to a more conventional back four and beginning to dominate possession. In all of this, midfielder Joe Loft was outstanding in a real man-of-the-match performance.

They deservedly equalised just after the hour with a clever bit of play.

With Faversham expecting their former player Jack Steventon to put in a long throw-in, he chose instead to give a short pass back to Tom Carlse.

That altered the angle of attack and Carlse put in a great cross behind the defence for Richardson to head his seventh goal of the season inside the far post.

Honours even, but that wasn’t enough for Sittingbourne. It needed determination, spirit and pace – especially pace from the youngsters – and that’s what they threw at the last quarter of the match.

And they got their reward in the 90th minute when Bradley Schafer, a highly promising young player, hit a tremendous shot from 20 yards.

Faversham keeper Godman made a fine diving save to his right to push the ball away. But the ever-energetic Carlse was first to it, and got in a low cross to provide his second goal assist of the game, sub Keanu Williams squeezing the ball in at the far post.

Faversham argued in vain for offside and young defender Carrington picked up a second yellow card for his protests and was sent off.

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What a finish to a game – and a season of home matches. And Sittingbourne could even clinch a final place in the top half of the league if they make it four wins in a row when they head to South Park on Saturday.

Tony Rickson

Phoographs by Glen Parkes of Jace Media 

 

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