Two in-form Kent teams clash at Woodstock on Saturday with high-flying Sittingbourne at home to Hythe Town.
It’s been quite a week for Sittingbourne, following up a handsome 5-1 win at Horsham last Saturday when a much-changed team showed the club’s strength in depth by beating Ramsgate 2-0 in midweek in the League Club competition for the Velocity Trophy.
Only three of the team who played all 90 minutes at Horsham – two-goal Miles Cornwell, ever-present right-back Chris Webber, and top scorer Bola Dawodu – started the game against Ramsgate. And Cornwell only played the first half before being withdrawn.
The goals against the Rams were scored by Tyrone Guthrie, his first for the club, and Laurence Ball in his first game for a month after getting injured in the match away to still-unbeaten Lewes.
That took to nine the number of Sittingbourne players who have scored in the last four games – this squad may have been hastily assembled by Nick Davis in the summer but it’s showing good form and providing plenty of selection options.
Davis has choices all over the field at the moment, not least of them at centre-back where he now has the club’s most experienced player, Ball, available to compete for a place with the highly promising Lex Allan, captain Ben Gorham and John Coker.
Both Gorham and Coker have scored important goals from corners in the last two league games while Allan has been a revelation since his astonishingly composed debut as a replacement for the injured Ball in that match down at Lewes.
Sittingbourne are fourth in Bostik League South after last Saturday’s win when they swept aside struggling Horsham with goals by Gorham, Cornwell (2), Dawodu and a cracker by Kane Phillip, his first of the season.
Hythe, meanwhile, were drawing 2-2 at South Park after being two-up but since then they’ve beaten Faversham 3-0 on Tuesday night, and are enjoying a four-match unbeaten run in the league having previously seen off VCD and Ashford United.
That took them up to eighth in the league table, just a couple of points behind Sittingbourne so it’s an important game for both ambitious teams on Saturday.
Sittingbourne know about facing difficult opponents – they’ve already played both the league’s top two, Lewes and Whyteleafe, who themselves battled out a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night.
Sittingbourne and Hythe met each other four times last season, though only a few players survive at their respective clubs a year on.
Early on the Brickies drew with Hythe at home in the FA Cup but lost the replay. They gained revenge with a storming 4-0 home win in the league thanks to goals by Anthony O’Connor, Conrad Lee, Ricky Gundry and Jake Embery - all of them now at pastures new. In the return match at Hythe later in the season, the home team won 2-1.
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