It’s the annual flying visit of Guernsey this Saturday lunchtime as Sittingbourne concentrate on getting their home form back on track.
They’d be doing really well away, up until Tuesday night when they went down 3-0 at Walton Casuals, having won five away games on the trot before then.
But they’ve struggled for results at Woodstock, though the last league game saw an impressive 2-2 draw with promotion-seeking Corinthian Casuals.
In that game, Casuals equalised in the last 10 minutes, and conceding late goals has become a bit of an unfortunate pattern for Sittingbourne over the last few weeks.
They lost a couple of home games to injury time winners, and let in two in the last 10 minutes in Tuesday night’s game at Walton.
But as they were already a goal down, Sittingbourne were fiercely chasing the game at that point and left their defence with less cover than usual.
Walton, who jumped over Sittingbourne with those three points, demonstrated why they’ve got such a good home record this season – just one defeat in 11 games.
They concentrate really hard on keeping the ball on the ground, able to trust implicitly in the artificial surface, and sign players with instant control and good pace.
Every cross into the area was on the ground, and eventually – and patiently –they got the reward with three goals from close in.
Guernsey will provide a quite different challenge, though they, too, have always been a footballing side who like to play the ball around.
They’ve struggled a bit after making a big impact at this level of football, and are down in 17th place in Bostik League South, having won just three times in 10 trips to the mainland this season.
They won 4-2 at home to VCD Athletic last Saturday, and have been scoring lots of goals lately, averaging more than three a game in the last few weeks.
But they have lost Ross Allen, their leading player and top scorer since the days before they entered football at this level, as he recently left the island.
Sittingbourne are still heavily involved in the promotion race despite slipping down from second in Bostik League South in the recent few weeks.
There’s still more than half a season to go and Sittingbourne have proved time and time again they’re a very useful side with defensive stability, attacking creativity, and the determination to work hard all over the field.
Last season they drew 3-3 at home to Guernsey thanks to two Jake Embery goals and one by Joe Loft, but they lost the away match – in fact they’ve yet to win on Guernsey after four trips there.
Saturday’s match kicks off at the earlier time of 1pm to allow the visitors time to get back to Gatwick in readiness for an early-evening flight home.
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