Chatham Town both trailed and led in their derby match at Sittingbourne, but eventually the game ended as a draw.
Sittingbourne won a corner within thirty seconds of kick off, but it was Josh Jackson for Chatham who had the game’s first shot. It was saved unconvincingly, and that set the pattern for the first half hour. Sittingbourne had more of the ball, but Chatham asked more questions of the opposing defence. Ade Yusuff, making his first appearance since August, had two shots saved and Luke Medley also had a shot saved, but it was Sittingbourne who took the lead with 30 minutes played.
To no Chatham supporter’s surprise it was former Chatham striker Ricky Gundry who gave his new club the lead, with a well taken goal from a narrow angle on the right.
Playing into a stiff breeze in the first half, Chatham adopted long ball tactics for a time, but with little success. On the stroke of half time, Hicham Akhazzan broke clear for Sittingbourne, and Alex Hyde had to come out of his penalty area to deny him a shot.
Jackson’s excellent solo goal put Chatham level four minutes into the second half. He took the ball thirty yards out, around three defenders into the penalty area, and then around the somewhat ponderous goalkeeper into the net. Minutes later, a Marlon Patterson cross which the keeper chose to leave went only inches past the far post, and Chatham were well on top.
Sittingbourne did go close on 64 when they had half a dozen shots in a goalmouth melee before the ball was eventually cleared, but otherwise it was all Chatham. Liam Hickey and Yusuff both went close, and then with 74 minutes played Chatham went ahead. Jerald Aboagye’s cross from the right failed to find its intended recipient, but the ball ran loose in the penalty area before finding Medley who scored from ten yards out.
Not since Boxing Day 2002 have Chatham won a league match against Sittingbourne, but that seemed likely to change. Four minutes from time Yusuff took the ball into the area only to be denied by the keeper, but then Sittingbourne snatched an equaliser with 89 minutes on the watch. The goal went in off a Chatham player, and it was Chatham who had to defend throughout added time.
Chatham would have settled for the 2-2 scoreline at the start of the day, but they came so close to doing even better.
|Alex Hyde (GK)|