Published: 05:00, 25 November 2021
Sittingbourne have released three players while boosting their squad with a loan signing.
Goalkeeper Joe Docherty is set to link up with another side in Isthmian South East, while Christophe Aziamale and Pritchard Adjei also depart.
Joining the Brickies is former Dartford striker Duane Ofori-Acheampong, who’s arrived on a month’s loan from National South club Hungerford.
Docherty’s departure confirms Harry Brooks as the new first-choice keeper.
“I’m really grateful to Docs,” said Brickies boss Darren Blackburn, whose side lost 1-0 at Ashford on Saturday.
“He’s a top bloke and I’d like to thank him for his efforts.
“It was always going to be difficult to keep two good goalkeepers happy - I’m surprised we managed it for as long as we did.
“Brooksy had the same club in for him as Docs, but he turned down a move.
“He’s good mates with Kane Rowland (the Brickies captain) and travels in with a couple of the Thanet boys.
“All he wanted was to be the No.1 here.”
As for Aziamale and Adjei, Blackburn added: “It’s just a case of trying to make the squad a bit more manageable and settle things down a bit.
“In fairness to those lads, they’ve not had the minutes they deserve or need.”
Acheampong, who scored in Tuesday night's 2-1 defeat at Hastings, gives Sittingbourne genuine higher-league pedigree up front, having also played for the likes of Dover and Torquay.
Blackburn said: “I spoke to him in the summer but he was looking to play higher.
“He signed for Hungerford but hasn’t had the opportunities he wants, so he’s come here for a month to get games.
“I was really pleased to get that done - he’s got all the physical attributes and is an absolute handful.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t give him the service he needed at Ashford.”
Acheampong’s arrival allowed Blackburn to experiment with Rowland in central defence at Ashford.
It was a role the Brickies skipper, a centre-forward by trade, was happy to take on and he impressed in a ding-dong battle with Nuts & Bolts targetman Jay May.
“He handled Jay May really well - he did exactly what I wanted him to do,” said Blackburn. “Jay didn’t score or set up a goal so, from that point of view, it was a success.
“It took him 10 minutes to get to grips with it but then I’d say he was our best player.
“I know Ashford like to play off Jay and if he was winning every header I knew we’d be in trouble but Kane did really well there.
“It’s something I spoke to him about a few weeks ago.
“He’s got an eye for a block, he’s a good tackler for a striker, and he’s great in the air - it was a good old-fashioned battle with Jay that was great to watch.
“He’s not finished up top, he’ll definitely be back up there, but I’ve no qualms playing him at centre-back again.”
Sittingbourne visit East Grinstead this Saturday, with Blackburn hoping his team have learned from high-flying Ashford, whose winner was scored by ex-Brickies man Josh Wisson.
“We keep trying to score the perfect goal,” said Blackburn. “We’re trying to play through teams all the time instead of going round them or over them.
“These pretty 10-yard passes look good but sometimes you just need to flick the ball over the top.
“We must have defended 30 long throws at Ashford and they play the ball into Jay May and get runners off him.
“Corinthian have been winning games like that and Cray Valley, they fizz the ball in to the striker and get runners off him.
“These little one-twos we’re playing in front of the opposition are pretty ineffective. They don’t impact the game.”