If at first you don’t succeed …. Sittingbourne and Pagham try again on Tuesday night to decide who goes through to the first qualifying round
of the Emirates FA Cup.
The teams battled out a 1-1 draw on Saturday, Sittingbourne taking an early lead through Bola Dowadu – his second goal of the season – with
the Southern Combination League side equalising from a penalty early in thesecond half.
It’s the third year in a row that Sittingbourne have been involved in anFA Cup replay. Last season they drew with Hythe Town at this stage of the competition but crashed out in the replay, while the year before they drew at MetPolice after going a round further and then won an exciting Tuesday
night replay 1-0. Met Police play at a level higher than Sittingbourne in football’s pyramid system, whereas Pagham are at one level lower.
To make it even harder for them, the Sussex club face all the difficulties associated with a Tuesday night away game a long way from
home. Getting off work early, flogging around the M25 at one of the busiest times of day, playing on an unfamiliar ground, and facing a
return home well after midnight.
Both Sittingbourne and Pagham have made unbeaten starts to the season, but one of them will end up losing on Tuesday as someone must progress
to the next round. Sittingbourne are two out of two in the league and Pagham had won both their previous competitive matches 4-0 before Saturday’s deadlock.
The Brickies go into the match without having conceded a goal from open play so far this season – Pagham’s was a spot kick and Chipstead in the
opening league match of the season scored from a set-piece corner.
Both Ollie Brown (suspended for one match after collecting two yellow cards at Chipstead) and Miles Cornwell (foot injury) missed the match at
Pagham, but Brown at least should be available to return.
Cup-tie or not, the match will do well to replicate the atmosphere of last Tuesday night at Woodstock when Sittingbourne pulled off an
exciting 3-0 win over near neighbours Herne Bay. That made them one out of only three teams to have 100 per cent records
in Bostik League South at the conclusion of the opening week of the season.
Whether they’re still in the FA Cup or not, Sittingbourne will return to league action on Saturday – back in Sussex again, this time to play at
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