Playing against Hythe Town previously this season has brought out the best and worst in Sittingbourne.
The best was in November when Sittingbourne stunned Hythe with a 4-0 win, equalling their biggest league victory of the season, and certainly equalling or even bettering their best performance, too.
That was sweet revenge for an FA Cup defeat down at Hythe three months earlier when Sittingbourne were thumped 5-0, their worst defeat of the season.
The November win was in the middle of Sittingbourne’s best run of the season – just one defeat in nine games – and was an excellent all-round effort based on energy, pace and determination.
Hythe were stunned by goals from Anthony O’Connor and Ricky Gundry – two players who have subsequently moved on – as well as Jake Embery – currently injured – and Conrad Lee.
It was Hythe’s second visit of the season to Woodstock, having previously fought out a 1-1 draw in the preliminary round of the FA Cup at the start of the season.
That was the day Hythe had goalkeeper Joe Mant harshly sent off after only six minutes for handling outside his area.
They still took the lead with 10 men before Sittingbourne forced a replay which took place three nights later with a second half goal by Dan Tanner.
Hythe dominated the second half of the return match, adding four goals to the one they’d got at the end of an even first half, to end up dominant winners.
So not many happy memories of Hythe for Sittingbourne as they head back through Kent for Saturday’s league match there.
They go there on the back on a recovery of form, having won two and drawn one of their last four games, a spell which has taken them back into the top half of the Ryman South table.
Hythe are five places higher and in the thick of the challenge for a play-off place – emulating last season when they also got in the play-offs only to lose heavily to eventually promoted Worthing.
Hythe have struggled a bit in the last week, only drawing 1-1 with relegation-threatened Three Bridges last Saturday, and going down 1-0 to title-challenging Greenwich Borough in midweek.
That match saw a Greenwich debut for former Sittingbourne favourite Stefan Wright after his recent move there.
Wright wasn’t the only player who once graced a Sittingbourne shirt to earn some attention this week, joining Sean Raggett, who scored Lincoln City’s winner in their FA Cup-tie at Burnley last Saturday.
Raggett was a 16-year-old academy player at Dover Athletic when he helped out Sittingbourne on loan under Gary Abbott’s management in November 2010. And a good, steady job he made of it, too.
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