GRIFFITHS DOUBLE ROCKS BRICKIES
AN EXCELLENT performance on the road sees the Lilywhites deservedly come out on top in this keenly contested derby.
A fourth minute attack from the Brickies finds Kane Rowland in possession at the corner of the penalty area. Rowland elects to shoot through a group of players. The fierce shot is blocked, followed by appeals for handball. The referee awards the penalty and there are no protests from the away side.
Rowland steps up, but Simon Overland dives low to his right to deny the Sittingbourne striker. A key moment early on.
Seemingly keen to make amends, Rowland wins possession on the left side of midfield and drives forward into the area before unleashing an angled drive towards goal. Overland makes a sharp block diving to his right. With the ball still loose, Matt Bourne completes the clearance.
Faversham's first chance arrives after 10 minutes courtesy of a free-kick. Luke Griffiths gets free in the area, but heads over from Danny Walder's delivery.
The Brickies and the Lilywhites are now metaphorically exchanging blows, to coin a boxing term.
For Sittingbourne Tom Loynes feeds the overlapping Chris Weber, Weber pulls it back to the edge of the area for Jide Okimeji turn and shot forces Overland into a diving catch to his left.
Town respond and cut through the Sittingbourne defence. Chris Barnard picks up possession in the visitors' half and brings it forward. Barnard to Carl Rook whose neat flick releases Dan Carrington. Carrington doesn't need to break stride, makes ground and releases Ernest Okah into the area. Okah gets to the byline but a fine tackle brings the flowing move to an end.
Walder's inswinging corner from the left into a crowded area. Ryan Cheeks makes it his, but the header is over the bar.
Town get in a mix up in midfield - a bouncing ball - and all seemingly waiting for someone to do something. The Brickies take advantage and Rowland gets a shot on goal, but blocked for a corner.
Loynes' resultant outswinging corner is met at the far post by captain Ben Gorham whose bullet header smashes against the outside of the netting. A close call.
Barnard from the middle of the park, spreads it wide for Rook. Rook's cross into the area is deflected for a corner. Walder's corner is successfully defended, but only at the expense of another. Walder takes again, Bourne attacks the ball and sends the header goalwards. It's cleared from the line. Town appeals that the ball has crossed the line are ignored.
The attack is quickly recycled. Rook heads it forward into the area, Cheek leaps and gets a backwards header on for the waiting Griffiths who - with back to goal - turns and clips it beyond Daren Hawkes in the Brickies' goal. (0-1 after 44 minutes).
0-1 at H-T.
From the chance-laden first to a very different and even more intense second half. Combative, attritional, feisty. But still utterly absorbing. Chances are at a premium.
One such chance - Overland's goal kick picks out Okoh on the left. Okah cuts inside and shoots, but it's rising and over.
Sittingbourne are winning the possession stats but are unable to breakdown a resolute rearguard or find a penetrating final ball.
And when they do, a whipped ball heads into the heart of the Town penalty area. Bourne has to defend it and gets a flicked header which, from a Faversham perspective, goes just the correct side of the goalpost. Close.
A dangerous corner is dealt with by Bourne, heading clear from under the crossbar.
With two minutes to go and Town within touching distance of a hard fought victory, Sittingbourne get the equaliser. A high, hopeful ball is looped towards a congested goal. Overland looks to have it covered, but Kane Phillip's deft backwards header rolls into the net (1-1 after 88 minutes).
Despite this huge setback, Town go on the offensive. Mark Lovell cuts a ball back for Griffiths on edge of the area. The half-volley forces a fine diving save from Hawkes. From Walder's corner, Griffiths gets in front of his man to stab home from close range and spark wild celebrations on and off the pitch. (1-2 after 90 minutes).
1-2 at F-T.