Two sensational pieces of skill memorably won this game for Sittingbourne and took them up to the dizzy heights of second in the Bostik South League.
‘We’re going up’ sang the fans behind the goal, if a little hopefully with 41 games still to play!
But they haven’t been able to sing something like that for many a long year, and their optimism was justified by an excellent team performance by Sittingbourne.
Ok, the goals were something else, but this was still a well-rounded, competent display which deservedly ended Whyteleafe’s unbeaten start to the league season and ruined their dream of going top of the table with a win here.
Sittingbourne themselves are still unbeaten in the league – three wins and two draws – and this was surely their best all-round effort so far.
Better even than the win over Herne Bay which was so enjoyable.
On a pleasant sunny September afternoon, Daren Hawkes returned in goal after a back injury, Chris Elliott came straight in at left-back after joining from Ashford United, allowing Ollie Brown to move into a more familiar midfield role. Kane Phillip returned to the starting XI and led Whyteleafe a merry dance all afternoon.
But it all started so badly for Sittingbourne. Lex Allan was harshly penalised for a tackle out on the left that seemed to win the ball and Hutchings left-footed the free-kick at no great pace one bounce into the far corner. A terrible goal to concede, and one that Whyteleafe had done nothing to earn.
Sittingbourne came roaring back immediately and the Whyteleafe keeper did really well to save from Kane Rowland and then get back in place to keep out the rebound from Gil Carvalho.
The home side were carving out chance after chance with some good attacking football but Brown and Bola Dawodu hit shots far too high, Rowland had a header tipped over and Tom Loynes shot narrowly wide.
Whyteleafe hardly got a look-in all half, though they did waste a chance on the break when they outnumbered Sittingbourne’s stretched defence three to one.
At the other end Loynes seemed to be pushed over as he raced into the area chasing Elliott’s long through ball, but the referee was hardly in a position to give it from 40 yards back.
Sittingbourne were still trailing 15 minutes into the second half when Phillip took matters into his own hands. He skilfully burst past two defenders but instead of crossing he took on and beat a third. He then raced along the byline and passed to the far post where Rowland was in the right place to stab in the equaliser.
Phillip’s moment of genius was matched by Loynes 10 minutes later.
Racing on to a pass down the right he spotted his chance and without breaking stride shot from fully 35 yards over the advanced keeper and into the far corner.
What a winner! What a glorious piece of enterprise! No wonder his colleagues went mad as Loynes celebrated an important second successive Saturday goal since his return.
Only for the last 10 minutes or so did Sittingbourne lose the composure and enterprise that had put them in a winning position.
They resorted to lumping clearances into the far corners and the ball kept coming back, but centre-backs Ben Gorham and the again impressive Lex Allan were cool and committed, and the full-backs solid and hard to beat.
A great win, and still unbeaten into September. What’s not to like about this revamped and exciting Sittingbourne side at the moment.
Ken Medwyn's video / stills CLICK HERE
Ken Medwyn's Photographs
Match Day programme
Kane Rowland 61 mins
Tom Loynes 71 mins
Referee: Ricky Adams
Assistants: Thomas Nicholls, Hossain Tavakkoli
Chris Elliott (Yellow)
Ben Gorham (C)
Tom Loynes (David Smith 76 mins)
Gil Carvalho (George Blake (87 mins)
Subs not used: Harry Brooks, David Adekoya, Nick Davis
Olumide Oluwatimilehin (Yellow)
Jahmal Howlett-Mundle (C)
Terell Forbes (John Scarborough 46 mins)
Tom Hutchings (Charlie Postance 77 mins)
Subs not used: Shawn Clement-Peter, Jake Treagus, Bola Nkori-Venceslas
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