Tony Rickson previews Sittingbourne v Chipstead

Written by Tony Rickson on 16th December 2016

Sittingbourne go for a fourth successive home win when Chipstead are the visitors on Saturday for the last game before Christmas.

It’s been a good time at home for Sittingbourne since the start of November, a run of four wins and a draw taking them soaring up the Ryman South table.

In fact, they’ve lost only twice in 10 games though the most recent was a defeat, 3-0 away to league leaders Dorking Wanderers last Saturday.

Sittingbourne stand ninth in the league, just six points away from one of the play-off places, with all to play for in the second half of the season.

Opponents Chipstead have had an inconsistent season, losing their last three games and all without scoring a goal.

But just before that they scored a stunning away victory over high-flying Greenwich Borough and have also beaten this season Carshalton and Walton Casuals, who are other teams in the battle for promotion places.

And they will be remembered clearly as the team who stunned Sittingbourne last season when they inflicted an incredible 6-1 defeat at Woodstock.

Chipstead turned up that November day bottom of the league with just two wins in 20 games that season, but also with a handful of new signings.

They proceeded to pull away from the foot of the league, eventually finishing fourth bottom with nine points to spare over the relegated teams.

That 6-1 game was memorable for Sittingbourne suffering such a heavy trouncing but also because it turned out to be the last game Harry Smith played for the club.

His career has taken him on to Millwall since then, via Folkestone Invicta, so it was hardly a farewell to remember for Smith.

Sittingbourne go into this game without unavailable captain Jono Richardson, but Stephen Ita hopes to have recovered from the injury he sustained – unusually – while scoring a penalty away to Ramsgate.

Penalties have figured strongly in recent Sittingbourne games, with one given against them in each of the last two away games – at Dorking and at Lewes the Saturday before.

The one at Lewes was crucial as it helped the home team to a 2-2 draw, but the one at Dorking not so much as they were just too strong for Sittingbourne on the day.

The Chipstead game will provide a much different sort of challenge – but at least fans can enjoy a bit of festive cheer as the first 60 paying spectators will get a free mince pie on entry. Happy Christmas!

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