It’s a sunny but blustery day in Sittingbourne, the chill of winter is remains in the air as Hastings United look to maintain their 6-point gap at the top of the Isthmian Southeast League.
When Sittingbourne visited The Pilot Field back in November it was a late winner for the ‘U’s courtesy of Ben Pope who would sadly be missing today’s game through an injury picked up against Hythe Town last weekend, Lloyd Dawes returns from injury and Ollie Black is in the starting XI since our loss to Burgess Hill Town on the 22nd of January.
The team line-ups are announced as:
Sittingbourne: 1. Harry Brooks 2. Samuel Okoye-Ahaneku 3. Taylor Fisher 4. Sam Flisher 5. Emmanuel Dasho 6. Lex Allan 12. Alex Flisher 8. Ibrahim Bamba 9. Kane Rowland 10. Harry Miller 7. Tyler Anderson
Subs: 11. Johan Caney-Bryan 14. Harry Stannard 15. Toby Bancroft 16. Ethan Smith 18. George Monger
Hastings United: 1. Louis Rogers 2. Ollie Black 3. Ryan Worrall 4. Finn O’Mara 5. Craig Stone 6. Tom Chalmers 7. Lloyd Dawes 8. Jack Dixon 10. Sam Adams 15. Andrew Sesay 17. Tommy Cooney
Subs: 11. Sam Hasler 12. Marcus Goldsmith 14. Kenny Pogue 16. James Hull 18. Knory Scott
Hastings kick off the game shooting from right to left on the attack early forcing a couple of early corners and long throws from Ollie Black keep Sittingbourne on the back foot, on the 11th minute Lloyd Dawes is able to spin and lose his defender and his shot is volleyed just over.
Hastings keep the pressure up winning another corner, as the corner is swung in a ‘U’s head flips it away from the keeper and Craig Stone is able to put the visitors 1-0 Up on the 13th minute. The Sittingbourne goal keeper remains on the floor and seems to be struggling each time when taking a kick. This goal would prove to be a turning point for the hosts, they seemed to find an extra gear and pushed the ‘U’s back, finding an equalizer after a perfectly timed pass and run finds Sittingbourne’s number 12 Alex Flisher 1-on-1 with Louis Rogers who is unable to reach the slotted shot and the hosts find themselves equal on the 23rd minute.
United are still trying to push forward but Sittingbourne are able to defend well and constantly put pressure on the ‘U’s, Andrew Sesay finds himself in space and as the cross comes in he heads it just over. Jack Dixons finds himself in some space on the edge of the area and his shot is just wide. Sesay recklessly brings down a Sittingbourne player and earns himself a yellow card in the 45th minute. The referee then blows his whistle and both teams leave the pitch all square.
HT: Sittingbourne 1 – 1 Hastings United
Gary Elphick makes 2 changes at half time, Kenny Pogue and James Hull come on replacing Lloyd Dawes and Tommy Cooney.
Sittingbourne kick off the second half and continue their dominance in midfield keeping the ‘U’s at bay, after a perfectly weighted pass finds a Sittingbourne player in midfield Sesay brings them down by pulling on their arm, for his troubles he earns himself a second yellow card and subsequently a red card in the 54th minute, United must see out the rest of the game with only 10 men, a hard fete given how well Sittingbourne have played after conceding to Stone’s goal in the 14th minute.
Elphick makes a quick-change bringing Ryan Worrall off and replacing him with Sam Hasler in the 59th minute. Sittingbourne with their extra man are unable to find any real space behind the Hastings defence, the tactic from Sittingbourne seems to be trying to push the ball high and far, with Finn O’Mara and Craig Stone able to comfortably deal with any threat, the home team are able to muster a dangerous chance from a free kick and the ball is just over the bar, a corner swings in and Louis Rogers is cool and collected as he picks the cross out of the air.
Since the introductions of Pogue, Hull and Hasler the ‘U’s are unable to produce any real chances but neither are Sittingbourne, this feels like it will be seen out as a 1-1 draw, the sun has set behind the club house and the wind chill is taking its toll on the fans and players and the slippery pitch isn’t helping keep the game flowing resulting in some scrappy play from both sides, a rare cross into the box from Kenny Pogue is just missed by James Hull who can’t get a clean contact on the shot and it goes wide.
Sam Adams finds himself in the referees’ book after pulling a Sittingbourne player down, the game becomes a bit scrappier with free kicks being given away by both sides when Sam Hasler is able to force a brilliant save from the Sittingbourne keeper, a feeling from many fans that it will remain 1-1 until the end. There is an indication that there will be 4 minutes of added time, Sittingbourne come close again but it is hit too high.
Kenny Pogue finds himself in some space however the Sittingbourne defence are able to pile pressure and stop an attack, Pogue doesn’t give up and forces a corner in the 93rd minute. Sam Adams steps up and swings a perfect cross onto the head of Tom Chalmers who neatly places the ball into the bottom corner, the Hastings Faithful go berserk screaming and shouting, many Sittingbourne fans up and leave as the celebrations start, Sittingbourne kick off and the referee blows full time. Hastings United win 2-1 thanks to a last grasp goal!
FT: Sittingbourne 1 – 2 Hastings United
It wasn’t a pretty game but champions don’t always win in style but get the points when the chance presents itself.
Sittingbourne Subs Used: 16 Ethan Smith replaced 10 Harry Miller in the 70th minute. 11 Johan Caney-Bryan replaced 12 Alex Fisher in the 86th minute. 14 Harry Stannard replaced 8 Ibrahim Bamba in the 87th minute.
Sittingbourne Cards: 12 Alex Fisher yellow card 35th minute. 9 Kane Rowland yellow card 71st minute.
Hastings United Subs Used: 14 Kenny Pogue replaced 17 Tommy Cooney in the 46th minute. 16 James Hull replaced 7 Lloyd Dawes in the 46th minute. 11 Sam Hasler replaced 3. Ryan Worrall
Hastings United Cards: 15 Andrew Sesay yellow card 45th minute and red card 54th minute. 10 Sam Adams 79th minute. 11 Sam Hasler 90th minute.