Tony Rickson previews Sittingbourne v Merstham

Written by Tony Rickson on 10th October 2017

Sittingbourne have been drawn at home to Merstham, who play in one league higher, in both the cup competitions they remain in.
The first of those matches is on Tuesday evening at Woodstock, when they meet in the League Cup competition for the Velocity Trophy. The other tie is at the end of the month when they play in the first qualifying round of the FA Trophy as a result of Sittingbourne’s comfortable 3-0 win over Ashford in the preliminary round on Saturday.
The chances of all the team who started that match for Sittingbourneplaying again against Merstham are pretty slim, with  manager Nick Davis traditionally shaking up his team for midweek cup-ties.
That means Lex Allan, Tom Loynes, in fact all five substitutes on Saturday, could well be in the team, showing the advantages of having a squad system and fierce competition for places.
The success of that, of course, depends on a lack of injuries and an absence of suspensions and Sittingbourne have had a good, though not perfect, record in both in the opening months of the season.
Their win at Ashford, thanks to goals by Kane Rowland (2) and sub David Smith, continued a terrific run of five successive wins, including four clean sheets in a row.
While they’ve made progress in the Trophy and the League Cup – they beat Ramsgate quite easily in the previous round – Sittingbourne have also shown some outstanding form in the league.
They currently stand second, three points behind leaders Lewes, having gone top for 24 hours last midweek.
While Sittingbourne were winning at Ashford on Saturday, Merstham were going down 2-1 at home to Dorking Wanderers despite taking a first half lead and seeing their opponents reduced to 10 men early in the game.
They stand mid-table in the Bostik Premier Division, having finished 20th last season in their second year at that level.
They went up from Sittingbourne’s division through the play-offs in 2014-15, having comfortably won 5-0 during that season when they last appeared at Woodstock.

Tony Rckson

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