Sittingbourne 1-3 Fleet

It was win number three from friendly number three as the Fleet scored three times to see off a spirited Sittingbourne side at Woodstock Park.

It was a cool enough summer’s evening in contrast to the heat of Friday night at Tonbridge as Isthmian South-East side Sittingbourne hosted the Fleet, 30 years on from when the two clubs were deadly rivals in the Southern League.

This, however, was a much friendlier affair with Craig Tanner first into the fray courtesy of a free-kick that bent away and just over the bar on six minutes. The target was reached six minutes after that, however, with a fine individual run and strike from Franklin Domi who steamrollered the Bourne defence before an excellent shot that rippled the back of the net.

Sittingbourne responded with a shot that bounced back off Darren McQueen just past the post and Chris Haigh then pushed another effort behind.

There were a few tackles flying in but the ball was getting a pasting too and Tanner flashed off another strong effort on 19 minutes from the edge of the box that wasn’t far off the target.

There continued to be action at both ends and Chris Solly was forced to turn crosses behind twice for corners.

Fleet extended their lead on 38 minutes and it was individual stuff once more. Jack Wakely cleared his lines with a ball high into the air and Chapman brought it down in his own half, covered the rest of the pitch with a magnificent run and cut inside with a shot across the goalkeeper’s bows that he fumbled at his far post and in it rolled.

Chapman almost turned provider for Dominic Poleon moments later and the Sittingbourne keeper then redeemed himself with a good save from McQueen.

Wakely – who was in a very physical battle with Bourne’s No.9 – made a great interception just before half-time but the 9 was on hand to tuck away a low delivery to reduce the arrears to 2-1 before the whistle blew.

There was less action to greet the second-half though Haigh had to come out of goal to block well and Ouss Cissé was left writhing on the turf after a challenge that warranted a booking for his Sittingbourne opponent.

Shaq Coulthirst connected well in the home box to smash a shot just off target past the hour mark and David Amoo wriggled into space to shimmy wide of a defender and hit one on target with 20 minutes to go.

One of the biggest cheers of a quiet second period saw a clearance bounce back off the underside of an overhanging tree to knock the flag out of the assistant referee’s hands!

More cheers followed that incident as Amoo put pressure on the home defence and as the ball swung in from the right, Sittingbourne’s No.19 turned the ball past his own goalkeeper.

Trialist A had a turn and shot blocked that bounced back for Chapman – it was tempting and he swung his foot through it but it sailed into the night sky to deny the 2021/22 player of the year a second goal of the evening. The all-action Chapman ended the evening with another wicked cross that skipped through the six-yard box before the referee called time on proceedings.

EUFC squad from: Cousins, Haigh, O’Neill, Martin, Wright, Wakely, Cissé, Tanner, McQueen, Poleon, Cundle, Domi, Edser, Solly, Chapman, White, Amoo, Coulthirst, Hollis, Trialist A.
Attendance: 219


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