Of course, a four-goal defeat doesn’t all hinge on one moment.
But it was still pretty important to the balance of the game when Cray took a 2-0 lead early in the second half just a minute after Sittingbourne had almost equalised at the other end.
Two-up meant Cray could then defend in depth and hit Sittingbourne with the occasional counter-attack, which they did successfully to end the day four-ahead.
Trouble with that crucial second goal was that Luke Medlock looked well offside when he raced clear – well, he was so far behind the Sittingbourne defence he could have strolled it - and then stroked the ball past Simon Overland.
Sittingbourne, with an even younger look about their side than usual, had easily as much of this game as Cray, but the very experienced visitors took their chances and the home side didn’t.
The Brickies made three changes from the side that drew 3-3 with Guernsey in midweek with Danny Rumbol damaging his shoulder in Thursday night training, and Joe Loft and Hassan Jalloh also out. Back came Hicham Akhazzan, Conrad Lee as an emergency centre-half and Josh Wisson.
The presence of Wisson behind the attacking force of Jake Embery and Connor Wilkins was straight out of the club’s under-21 side.
On a pleasant February afternoon, Cray presented a different sort of challenge with two strikers up front, but it was Sittingbourne who almost drew first blood as Akhazzan shot narrowly over in the first minute.
Back came Cray with Overland making a fine save from McKinlay, and then having penalty appeals turned down when Leigh Bremner went to ground under a challenge from Bourne captain Jono Richardson.
It was an even first half but Cray edged ahead when Overland back-pedalled furiously but couldn’t cut out a left-wing cross and Bremner headed easily home at the far post.
Sittingbourne were fired up for the second half and went very close straightaway as Tom Carlse and Akhazzan combined beautifully down the left only for Wilkins to volley narrowly wide.
Immediately Cray got their second goal, Bremner whacking the ball forward with Medlock in behind the defence to score easily despite appeals for offside from both the Sittingbourne defenders and the crowd behind the assistant referee.
Sittingbourne responded and Tom Brunt had a shot blocked away after an excellent move before Cray made it 3-0 when Bremner’s shot from a left wing cross was blocked by Overland, only for Mundell to thrash in the rebound.
It was still Sittingbourne pushing forward, with Carlse just wide, Wisson shooting over, Richardson heading straight at the keeper, sub Bradley Schafer seeming to get fouled on the edge of the area but getting nothing, Embery just missing the far post with the keeper out of his goal, and Wilkins hitting the ball into the keeper’s body from close range.
To rub it in for all the chances going begging, Sittingbourne conceded a fourth in the last minute, Medlock scoring from close range after good work by Cray sub and ex-Sittingbourne player Dane Luchford.
So that’s nine games without a win now for Sittingbourne, who face a daunting trip to league leaders Tooting & Mitcham next Saturday. But before that they have a Monday night fixture up the road at a Chatham Town side who are desperate for points in their fight against relegation. - Tony Rickson
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Leigh Bremner 36 mins
Luke Medley 49 & 90 mins
Ben Mundell 60 mins
Referee: Danny Bonneywell
Assistants: Daniel Proctor
Jono Richardson (C)
Tom Brunt (Bradley Schafer 62 mins)
Josh Wisson (Hassan Jelloh 80 mins)
Connor Wilkins (yellow)
Hicham Akhazzan (Raphe Brown 83 mins)
Subs not used: Jardel Bundu-Kamara, NikDavis
Grant Basey (yellow), (Brandon Scott 71 mins.)
Lea Dawson (C)
Karl Dent (Solomon Taiwo 78 mins)
Leigh Bremner (Dane Luchford 85 mins)
Jeysiva Siva Pathasundram
Subs not used: Osdibodu Timmi, Paul Loraine.
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