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Final Score: Sittingbourne 0 Cray Wanderers 0

Played 24th October 2017


Two well-matched teams protecting long unbeaten runs fought out an  honours-even goalless draw.
That much will soon be forgotten. What will stick rather longer in the memory, unfortunately, is a pretty dreadful pitch battle at the end when 
players simply lost their heads.
One from each side was sent off, but far from ending the trouble, it just sparked an even worse incident after Cray’s Rhule punched 
Sittingbourne’s Chris Elliott as the pair trudged off.
Players from both sides rushed to start separate fights, though to be fair some were trying to break them up, and then both benches raced on, 
hopefully to try to stop the mayhem.
Eventually, and it took an awful long time, law and order was restored with the referee ending the match and both sets of players leaving the 
pitch separately.
So an evening that had promised much between two in-form Kent sides in the top five in Bostik League South ended in mayhem.
The game itself was dominated by well-organised and efficient defences, with Sittingbourne’s John Coker and his opposite number in the Cray 
team, the aptly-named Leader, the outstanding players on display.
Sittingbourne made two changes from the team that drew 1-1 with Chipstead on Saturday, Harry Brooks replacing Daren Hawkes in goal, and 
Tyrone Guthrie in midfield in place of Lawson Okimeji.
Hard-working Miles Cornwell thrashed an early 20-yarder just too high but at the other end Rhule thundered his 10th minute shot against the 
bar, though that turned out to be the closest Cray got all night.
Brooks made a very good save from a Power header when the big Cray striker for once lost his marker, but chances were few and far between 
though a pacy game ebbed and flowed from end to end.
There was a precedent for what happened later on when a 32nd minute tackle by Bola Dawodu sparked a melee, with lots of pushing and shoving 
making it impossible for the referee to sort out the bad guys from the  good ones.
Sittingbourne dominated the second half, always going forward, always pressing high up the pitch as Cray determinedly kept possession at the 
back and constantly tried to play their way out.
Dawodu went close and Tom Loynes fired in a short corner that was headed off the line as Sittingbourne drove on in search of the sort of late 
goal they so enjoyed scoring on Saturday.
But Cray, who like Sittingbourne have now gone nine matches without defeat, were well organised, too, and snuffed out everything that came 
their way.
So to the climax when with the three added minutes already played, Elliott tackled Cray’s Rhule, who reacted violently to the challenge.
In came players from both sides to spark a fracas that ended with the referee sending off the two originally involved – though I’m not sure 
what Elliott hd done to deserve this.
Rather than dismissing them separately, the under-pressure ref showed his red cards to each player one straight after the other, and it was 
they headed reluctantly off the pitch, the violence erupted.
Sittingbourne’s discipline has generally been excellent this season and the hope is that the lesson learned from this night is not to get so 
involved again, even when a teammate’s in trouble and needs support.
They’re still unbeaten in the league at home this season, and this point took them back up to second in the table, so there’s so much more to be 
playing for.

Tony Rickson

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Score Summary

Attendance 160

Match Officials

Referee: Mr Joseph Stokes; Assistants: Mr Daniel Procter, Mr Matthew 
Charles.


Teams

Sittingbourne FC

Harry Brooks,
Salvyn Kisitu,
Chris Elliott (Red card), 
Tyrone Guthrie (Yellow card) (Jide Okimeji, 45 min) (Ollie Brown, 90 
min),
Ben Gorham,
John Coker,
Tom Loynes,
Bola Dawodu (Yellow card), 
Kane Rowland (Yellow card) (David Smith, 58 min),
Miles Cornwell, Gil 
Carvalho (Yellow card).
Subs not used: Lex Allan, Kane Phillip.

Cray Wanderers

Nick Blue,
Ben Mundele,
Barney Williams,
Jay Leader (Yellow card),
Mitchell Nelson,
Lee Dawson,
Dean Carpenter,
Zak Henry, 
Michael Power,
Aaron Rhule (Red card),
Jerome Frederico (Timi Osibodu, 
85 min).
Subs not used: Michael Frieter, Anthony Adesitt, Joe Vines.


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