A powerful second half performance saw Sittingbourne battle back for a deserved win and re-ignite their challenge for a play-off place.
Although they’ve had a horrible run of results lately, this was actually their fourth successive away win in the league.
The team was rejigged from Saturday’s disappointing home defeat by South Park, with Ollie Brown injured, Daren Hawkes and Kane Phillips not available, and John Coker still not back.
Chris Elliott returned at left-back and showed how much he’d been missed, while Chris Webber moved forward to right midfield and Miles Cornwell went back upfront, swopping with Kane Rowland, who played in the no 10 role.
While Laurence Ball and Elliott were superb all night, Rowland stole the show in the position he was outstanding in during the FA Trophy win at Merstham. He’s brave, hard-working, quick, tenacious, good in the air, and he scored two in this game and set up the other one. A terrific performance from the promising youngster.
On a mild Surrey evening, Sittingbourne started positively against a Molesey side who have been having a poor season and are near the bottom of the league.
They soon made their superiority pay, Rowland winning the ball back from a defender and racing in along the byline before crossing low into the six-yard box. The ball was knocked out only as far as Cornwell who had time to pick his spot in the corner of the goal.
Sittingbourne were positive and energetic, much improved from Saturday, and Cornwell was close to a second when Rowland played him clear, but the keeper saved well.
Suddenly, though, the game changed and it was Molesey who were in the ascendancy for a good quarter-of-an-hour, culminating in an equaliser just before half-time. While Sittingbourne were temporarily down to 10 men after Cornwell needed attention for a blow in the face, Sobowale ran from midfield and hit a tremendous shot into the top corner from outside the box – no stopping that one.
And Molesey went one better just after the interval, taking on Sittingbourne down the left and Sobowale was in the right place for the cross to score from close range.
The response was pretty immediate and what a lovely goal it was from Rowland. Elliott played it forward, Tom Loynes slipped it cleverly on for Rowland, and he got round the covering defender before hitting a great shot into the far corner from a difficult angle.
It was all Sittingbourne now, and Molesey couldn’t get out of their own half as the visitors pressed forward.
The winner came midway through the half when Webber played a neat free-kick back to Elliott. His low shot from the edge of the box was off-target, but it was deflected back across the goal and Rowland was on hand at the far post to score from close range.
Sittingbourne decided the best way to defend their lead was to press for more goals and Cornwell and sub David Smith could easily have added to the tally in the closing moments.
But, still, it was a good, deserved victory and despite their recent inability to win at home, it’s too soon to write off Sittingbourne’s chances of achieving something memorable this season.
Sittingbourne 9 mins Miles Cornwell
Molesey 43 mins Ronnie Sobowale
Molesey 47 mins Ronnie Sobowale
Sittingbourne 58 mins Kane Rowland
Sittingbopurne 70 mins Kane Rowland
Referee: Mr Sunny Gill.
Assistants: Mr Paul Andrews, Mr Alan Crosswell.
Chris Elliott (Tyrone Guthrie, 74 min), Jidi Okimeji, Ben Gorham,
Tom Loynes (David Smith, 68 min).
Sub not used: Nick Davis.
Ross Chalke (Dre Grobler, 82 min),
Olu Akinsanya (Tayo Oyebola, 75 min),
Ronnie Sobowale (Anthony Kozakis, 88 min), Ashley Lodge.
Sub not used: Taylor Roles.
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