Sittingbourne's final friendly fixture ened in a 3-2 victory for the Brickies in a match that was feisty at times with the word "friendly" seemingly forgotten!
The match was played on the 3G pitch at Aveley FC's brand new £4.5Million ground and with the new Bostik league ball so plenty for both teams to get used to. Grays started the better of the two teams but didn't really trouble Darren Hawkes in the Brickies goal until the Essex sides Bishop headed past himt the far post almost on the goal line. Sittingbourne were slow to settle but a couple of minutes before half time Grays gifted the ball to Gil Carvalho who jinked round the keeper to shoot into an empty net.
Sittingbourne started the second half well and on 68 minutes perseverance by Miles Cornwell in trying to get to a ball on the edge of the Grays area paid off as the ball broke to Carvalho in acres of space and he finished well to complete a brace. The excitement had barely died down before Sittingbourne were saved by an outstanding save from Hawkes.
The game boiled over as both sides were giving their all and on 73 minutes the Grays player / manager was given a straight red card for use of an elbow.
Sittingbourne took advantage of the man advantage when 7 minutes later a majestic header by Bala extended the Brickies lead.
There was an immediate response from Gray though, as a defensive error led to them pulling a goal back.
This is two wins out of 2 now for the Brickies against sides who will be playing in the Bostick North league this season.
Ken Medwyn's photographs follow
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