Sittingbourne and Saturday’s opponents Cray Wanderers shared six goals in a memorable match on the opening day of the season.
Both teams threw themselves into the attacking side of the game on that August day, and that’s been the pattern of much of the season for Sittingbourne.
Goalscoring has been much less of a problem than they might have feared it would – for instance, they’ve averaged two a game for the last five matches. And haven’t won any of them!
Even at Cray back in the summer sunshine, they scored three times against a team who’ve got a very strong home record, though it still wasn’t enough as two late goals pegged them back.
Sittingbourne have got their goals despite changing their main striker almost as many times as their socks.
Up front this season they’ve had Miles Cornwell (still the club’s leading scorer even though he upgraded to Folkestone more than three months ago), as well as Remell Davis, Anthony O’Connor, Jordan Gallacher, Ricky Gundry and, in the last couple of games, youngster Jake Embery.
What a star Embery’s been, scoring two cracking goals in the midweek 3-3 draw with Guernsey, as well as a dramatic late goal in the recent 2-2 at Carshalton.
But it’s asking a lot to expect someone so young to play tirelessly in every game in what’s an unforgiving role, especially on a weekend like this when there’s the Saturday game at home against Cray followed so quickly by a Monday night trip to Chatham.
Alternatives have drifted away, though, with O’Connor leaving and Gundry joining Gallacher back at his old club, Chatham.
Saturday’s opponents Cray won 1-0 at Herne Bay in midweek and have lost only once in their last six games to stay just outside the promotion play-off places.
Sittingbourne, of course, were also involved in a midweek game that – despite rain throughout – was hugely enjoyable.
They took the lead three times but back came Guernsey each time to head off with a point to their overnight stay near Gatwick before the morning flight home to the Channel Islands.
Many of Sittingbourne’s opponents I’m indifferent to, others I don’t like much at all, but Guernsey I have a very soft spot for.
They play football the right way for the love of it, sacrifice an awful lot to play the game, and on Tuesday battled really spiritedly to come back each time they let a goal in.
They clearly struggle to get a full team out in midweek, were late arriving after fog delayed their flight in, but you can’t fault a young team for their effort on the night.
Having said that, Sittingbourne also have an encouraging amount of promising youngsters pushing through, with Raphe Brown the latest to get his home debut at senior level as a second half sub.
Sittingbourne go into Saturday’s match looking for their first win of 2017 with a top half finish to the season still very much the ambition.
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