Category: 2016-2017 Club News

Lee Header Wins Close Game

WHITSTABLE TOWN 1 CRAY VALLEY PM 0
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday April 22 2017 15.00

Whitstable won their final home game of the season thanks to an Ollie Lee goal early in the second half. Cray Valley shaded a quiet first period, as Whitstable conceded too many free kicks and rarely got enough players forward to trouble the visitors. Both teams did have a few opportunities though, with Bola Dawodu volleying a Connor Hood cross just wide for Whitstable and Jason Thompson hitting the post for Cray Valley, who also created a few other openings without really testing Dan Eason. Whitstable were better after the break with fit again substitute Harris Rodgers impressing. After Lee had headed home a Louis Sprosen free kick, it was only really in the final ten minutes that the Millers looked like equalising. Denzel Gayle had a fierce shot kept out by Eason and Jordan Sandiford hit the post from close range when he looked certain to score, but Whitstable held on and remain in fifth place.

For this game, Whitstable were without the suspended trio of Charlie Smith, James Morrish and Brendon Cass, whilst Craig Thompson was also unavailable. Cray Valley made a number of changes to their line up after beating Dulwich Hamlet in the London Senior Cup semi-final on Thursday evening and this was their fourth game in eight days.

Whitstable won an early corner that Rob Gillman headed back across goal, where the ball rebounded off fellow centre back Ashley Brown and went just wide. Thompson curled a Cray Valley free kick over the bar on 10 minutes after Sandiford was fouled on the edge of the penalty area. Sprosen went down in the box at the other end, but was shown a yellow card for his efforts by the referee, who adjudged it a dive. Hood then chipped the ball into the box for Dawodu, who could not get a clean shot and his attempt went wide. Aaron Sekhon looped a header over the top from a corner and then a free kick was only partially cleared to Sandiford who skipped past a couple of challenges on the left, before shooting over from a narrow angle. Thompson worked his way into the box following a one-two with Chandler Kasai, but his shot came back off the post.

Kane Rowland sent a header over the bar after being found by Quain. The Whitstable defence then failed to deal with a long ball forward by Frankie Griffin, leaving Kasai free in the box, but he could only lob over Eason and the bar. On 26 minutes Brown passed down the right touchline where Hood took the ball forward and sent in a good cross, but Dawodu volleyed the ball just wide of the far post. Another Cray Valley free kick in a dangerous position was wasted by Thompson, but Quain had to hook the ball off the line as it bounced towards goal following a corner. Jamie Miller saw his shot deflected for another corner after he had latched onto an attempted clearance by Brown.

Cray Valley on the attack

The home supporters raised a cheer when Whitstable were awarded their only free kick of the half on 31 minutes. The free kick count for the visitors reached double figures in the first half, although the situation was to be reversed after the interval with Whitstable winning the majority. Frankie Sawyer shot wide from distance after some good play down the left and then saw another attempt go wide as the interval approached. Goalkeeper Jordan Carey was booked on the stroke of half time after the ball had gone out for a goal kick.

Whitstable made a change at the restart with Rodgers replacing Sawyer, who was struggling with an injury. The early stages of the second half saw Whitstable getting more players forward as they tried to find a goal. Dawodu shot just wide and then Sekhon was booked for a foul on Hood. Whitstable broke the deadlock on 52 minutes after Lee was fouled on the left and Sprosen curled the free kick into the box, where Lee rose to glance a header over everyone and out of the reach of Carey into the far corner.

Ollie Lee gets his head to the ball
The only goal of the game

A few minutes later, Quain played the ball into Rodgers, who turned smartly on the edge of the box but his shot was just too high. Dawodu was booked for a foul on Alastair Gordon, but the free kick was cleared by Brown. Dawodu, Rowland and Rodgers did well to win a corner on the right and the delivery by Quain was met by Lee, but his header was cleared off the line by Jamie Wood. On 64 minutes Cray Valley made all three substitutions, introducing regular starters Denzel Gayle, Aaron Rhule and Taylor McDonagh. A Whitstable free kick was lifted just onto the top of the net by Gillman, although one of the players ended up in the goal, necessitating some emergency repairs as a large hole appeared in the back of the net. Sprosen then had a bouncing shot collected by Carey after being played in by Rodgers and Lee. Seb Rowland replaced brother Kane after 76 minutes.

Rob Gillman puts this one just over the top

The visitors threatened on a few occasions in the closing stages. Hood was caught in possession as he tried to play out of defence and the ball was played to Gayle whose well struck shot was parried by Eason and McDonagh put the rebound wide. Back at the other end, Seb Rowland won a corner that was headed over by Tom Bryant. Cray Valley then had a great opportunity to equalise when a ball by Gordon reached the unmarked Sandiford about 6 yards from goal, but his shot cannoned off the post and away to safety.

Jordan Sandiford hits the post

Whitstable managed to run the clock down with a succession of corners and free kicks in stoppage time and held on for the win. Cray Valley will finish in fourth place and have another cup final to look forward to against Metropolitan Police, whereas Whitstable will finish fifth if they win at Corinthian in the final game. Any other result though could see them overtaken by Sheppey United.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Connor Hood, Aaron Quain, Tom Bryant, Rob Gillman (c), Ashley Brown, Ollie Lee, Bola Dawodu, Kane Rowland (Seb Rowland 76), Frankie Sawyer (Harris Rodgers 46), Louis Sprosen.
Subs (unused): Harry Brown, Calvin Sedenu, Harry Brooks.
Goal: Ollie Lee 52
Yellow cards: Louis Sprosen 12, Bola Dawodu 58.

Cray Valley (PM)
Jordan Carey, Alastair Gordon, Frankie Griffin, Jamie Wood (c), Aaron Sekhon, Cem Tumkaya, Chandler Kasai (Denzel Gayle 64), Jamie Miller, Jordan Sandiford, Jason Thompson (Aaron Rhule 64), Enoch Adjei (Taylor McDonagh 64).
Subs (unused): Ashley Sains, Laurence Collins.
Yellow cards: Jordan Carey 45, Aaron Sekhon 50.

Attendance: 109
Referee: Matthew Pollington
Assistants: Mark Cheeseman & Ryan Andrew

Last Home Game Of Season

Whitstable play their last home game of the season on Saturday 22 April against Cray Valley PM, who are almost certain to finish their league campaign in fourth place regardless of results in the last two fixtures. Whitstable meanwhile are destined to end their first season back in the Southern Counties East League somewhere from fifth to eighth.

The Whitstable Town career records for those players that have featured in the current season have now been updated and will appear in the match programme. One player reached 100 goals for the club this season, one current player has now made 134 appearances and two others are approaching the 100 appearance milestone. Do you know who they are?

After the match, the club are holding their end of season presentation evening starting around 18.30 in the clubhouse. Please come along if you are able.

There are a couple of charity matches scheduled at the Belmont Ground in the coming weeks – on Sunday 30 April (preceded by an Under 14 game for Whitstable Town Juniors) and Saturday 6 May. More details will follow.

Whitstable Town Football Academy

Whitstable Town FC is delighted to announce the launch of a brand new Football Academy/Scholarship Programme in partnership with Football Futures and SCL.

Are you 16-18 years old and wanting to progress your footballing career?
Are you looking to train every day/full time while studying a BTEC Level 3 in sport course?

Play once a week in the SCL South East Kent College League
Represent Whitstable Town FC

This is an amazing opportunity for players looking to progress as far as possible with various opportunities such as university, American scholarships, semi-professional and professional football and our main aim – progression through to Whitstable Town FC first team.

Training sessions will be held every day by Head Coach and Gillingham FC scout Josh Algar and UEFA qualified coaches.

Trials for next season:
Monday 8th May 6-8pm
Friday 12th May 6-8pm
5.45pm prompt for registration
Location: Whitstable Town FC, The Belmont Ground, Belmont Road, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1QP

To register or for more information, please email: footballfutures@mail.com
or call us on: 07519279929

The following link will provide you with all of the detailed information about the course and also enable you to book a trial for the Whitstable Football Academy/Scholarship Programme.
wearescl.co.uk/whitstable-fc

Town Outplayed By Lordswood

LORDSWOOD 2 WHITSTABLE TOWN 1
SCEFL Premier Division
Monday April 17 2017 15.00

For the second time over the holiday weekend, Whitstable were generally outplayed by a team fighting relegation. A bizarre own goal and good goalkeeping helped secure a somewhat fortunate win on Saturday, but a woeful Easter Monday display meant three valuable points for a hard working Lordswood team containing several ex-Whitstable players. The home team pressed forward from the start and a great strike by Adam Hooper gave them a deserved lead. He was also the key figure in the Whitstable equaliser as he first fouled Craig Thompson when he was the last defender and then deflected the resulting free kick past his own goalkeeper, under challenge by Kane Rowland. It failed to inspire the Oystermen however, as Lordswood continued to dominate and they might well have been given a penalty a few minutes later. Jordan Wells converted a low cross midway through the second half to put the home side back in front and Whitstable offered little in response, apart from a couple of long range Ollie Lee efforts and a strong penalty claim after a handball appeared to halt a Seb Rowland run. Despite an end of season, patchy, uneven playing surface and a few puzzling decisions, there can be little excuse for such a lacklustre performance and Lordswood fully deserved their win.

Whitstable were without Aaron Quain and James Morrish due to illness, while Bola Dawodu was unavailable. Striker Frankie Sawyer was suffering from an injury and therefore not risked in the starting eleven. The Lordswood team contained a few faces familiar to Whitstable fans, but one of their squad had to be helped from the field before the game had started having picked up an injury.

Lordswood pushed Whitstable back in the early stages, winning a couple of corners, and Wells shot wide after a spell of pressure. From another corner, Sean Bremner swung a dangerous ball into the box where Gary Cook just failed to connect with his head. Whitstable did manage to get down the other end after 15 minutes, where Craig Thompson and Rowland set up Harry Brown, whose shot was easily caught by Ryan Chandler. Kyle McDowall then sent in a cross from the left and Wells played the ball back into the path of Hooper who hit it first time with his left foot and it curled away from Dan Eason and into the top corner to open the scoring on 17 minutes. Another good run and cross by McDowall was headed wide a few minutes later. After Charlie Smith had picked up a booking for a foul near the corner flag, a header out by Tom Bryant was picked up by David Smith on the right, who drove forward but shot straight at Eason.

Just on the half hour mark, Thompson robbed Hooper and set off towards goal only for the home captain to bring him down just outside the penalty area before he had a chance to test the goalkeeper. Hooper was clearly the last defender and must have feared it would be his last involvement in the game, but surprisingly he only received a yellow card. Harry Brown sent the free kick into the wall, but the rebound was chipped back into the box and as Hooper and Rowland challenged, it was the former who got the touch that sent it past Chandler to make it 1-1.

Adam Hooper escapes with a yellow card
Adam Hooper heads towards his own net
The ball beats Ryan Chandler

The equaliser did little to alter the balance of play and after David Smith had won another corner, the ball in was stabbed clear by Ashley Brown, but only as far as Wells who went down as the Whitstable defender tried to win the ball back. The home team were certain they should have had a penalty and Wells was booked for his protests. The two Lordswood wide players, David Smith and McDowall, were causing problems and the shape of the Whitstable team seemed to be allowing them too much space. A late challenge on McDowall by a frustrated Thompson earned him a booking. McDowall then had a low shot from 20 yards deflected just wide and Wells met a cross from the right and shot over the bar just before half time. The scores remained level at the break, but the corner count was 7-0 to the home side.

Dan Eason is under pressure

Things did not really improve for the visitors as the teams came out for the second half. A David Smith cross was headed wide by McDowall and the Whitstable manager was spoken to by the match officials for complaining after a handball was missed during another home attack. Smith threatened again on 50 minutes, getting past Harry Brown and seeing his shot saved by Eason, who then had to block an attempt by Wells. The fit again Louis Sprosen replaced Jack Mahoney for Whitstable on 55 minutes. A long punt by Lee clipped the top of the bar and Harry Brown tried a shot from around 50 yards when spotting Chandler out of his goal, but was off target. Seb Rowland was introduced as a substitute for Charlie Smith and did manage to give Whitstable a bit more of an attacking threat on a few occasions, although Lordswood were back in front on 68 minutes when David Smith went past his marker and sent in a low cross that was swept past Eason, low to his right, by Wells.

Eason keeps this attempt out
Jordan Wells scores the winner

Cook was booked for a foul on Thompson, before a well struck half volley by Lee from distance was held by Chandler. Sprosen and Grant McIlheron were next into the notebook for infringements and both teams made substitutions with Calvin Sedenu replacing Thompson in an unusual forward role and Charlie Plummer coming on for Lordswood in place of David Smith. It was on 84 minutes that Lee and Harry Brown combined to win the first of three Whitstable corners. Seb Rowland broke into the box and all of the Whitstable players were convinced a penalty should have been awarded for a handball, but they were to be disappointed. As the third Whitstable corner was taken, Lee was held in the box by Plummer and then Chandler struck out at Lee sparking some routine pushing and shoving, which was eventually sorted out with yellow cards for Lee and the fortunate Chandler. Lordswood made a couple of substitutions in stoppage time and Kane Rowland had a shot comfortably saved as the home side held on with few alarms to claim all three points.

This was a very poor display by Whitstable, who will need to show a lot more application and tactical awareness against Cray Valley PM in their next game if they want to get anything out of the final home fixture of the campaign..

Lordswood
Ryan Chandler, Carl Harrold, Adam Hooper (c), Grant McIlheron, Sam Lovage, Gary Cook, David Smith (Charlie Plummer 84), Sean Bremner, Jordan Wells, Hicham Akhazzan (Jason Hollick 90), Kyle McDowall (Tom Carter 90+4).
Subs (unused: Jake Creed, Steven Mills.
Goals: Adam Hooper 17, Jordan Wells 68.
Yellow cards: Adam Hooper 30, Jordan Wells 37, Gary Cook 70, Grant McIlheron 83, Ryan Chandler 89.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Connor Hood, Harry Brown, Tom Bryant, Rob Gillman (c), Ashley Brown, Jack Mahoney (Louis Sprosen 55), Ollie Lee, Kane Rowland, Craig Thompson (Calvin Sedenu 84), Charlie Smith (Seb Rowland 67).
Subs (unused): Frankie Sawyer, Harry Brooks.
Goal: Adam Hooper (o.g.) 31
Yellow cards: Charlie Smith 23, Craig Thompson 41, Louis Sprosen 80, Ollie Lee 88.

Attendance: 83
Referee: Phillip Dunkley
Assistants: Stephen Luke & Matt Charles

Early Own Goal Is Enough

WHITSTABLE TOWN 1 ERITH TOWN 0
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday April 15 2017 15.00

An early moment of farce when Whitstable were gifted an own goal was enough to secure three points in a very poor game. Whitstable created a few other chances, but managed only a couple of shots on target. Relegation threatened Erith Town looked a little more composed on the ball and did cause some problems for the home defence, particularly in the first half, but their finishing lacked quality. Whitstable goalkeeper Dan Eason had to make a couple of excellent saves though to preserve the lead and earned himself the man of the match award. The final piece of action in stoppage time summed up the afternoon as the Erith goalkeeper went up into a packed box for a free kick, but the delivery went high and wide and the referee mercifully called a halt to proceedings.

Rob Gillman and Ashley Brown both returned to the heart of the Whitstable defence after injury absences, but James Morrish was unwell. Manager Scott Porter shuffled the team around with Harry Brown starting and Connor Hood, Ollie Lee and Calvin Sedenu on the bench. Erith Town are one of five teams realistically battling to avoid filling the two relegation places.

In the second minute Luqman Adesina played the ball back to his goalkeeper Rilwan Anibaba from a very tight angle after Whitstable had pressed down the right, but the goalkeeper seemed to slip and allow the ball to roll past him. He tried to get back, but the ball had already crossed the line.

Whitstable are gifted an early own goal

Charlie Smith rode a couple of challenges before shooting well off target from outside the box. Erith then attacked, sending in a dangerous cross from the left that Gillman rose to head clear, but the ball was diverted and heading towards the top corner until Eason managed to get across to push away. Frankie Sawyer almost got through following some hesitation between Warren Carver and Anibaba and then Aaron Quain sent the ball forward to Sawyer who controlled it and laid it off for Harry Brown to hit a curling shot that was saved by Anibaba. On 20 minutes, Erith twice appealed for a penalty after successive challenges in the box, but the well placed referee only awarded a corner.

Dan Eason makes a good save

After Quain and Harry Brown had swapped sides of the pitch in a tactical switch, Ryan Mascharenhas whipped it a great left footed cross from the right that picked out an unmarked Nathan Palmer on the six yard line, but he was unable to bring the ball under control and Eason was out to collect it. Quentin Conteh then sent the ball across the box, but nobody was able to get a touch. Jack Mahoney won the ball on the halfway line and tried to thread a pass through for Sawyer, but he was crowded out before being able to get a shot away. Harry Brown was booked for stopping a break with a pull back on 37 minutes. As half time approached, Anibaba punched clear under pressure from three red shirts and Sawyer shot wide after receiving a cross from Smith. Whitstable went into the break 1-0 ahead, but the visitors had looked marginally the better team.

In the early moments of the second half, Kane Rowland broke clear but his attempted pass was over hit and then a Mahoney pass over the top was cleared by the head of Anibaba out of his area. Chris Michael tried a snap shot for Erith that flew just wide from 20 yards. Rowland then had one shot deflected for a corner and another that went wide as the home side tried to extend their lead. Hood replaced Quain at right wing back and Erith brought on Liam Birks for Carver. On 66 minutes Erith won a free kick 25 yards from goal and Ola Giwa rolled the ball to the right where Palmer struck a fierce shot that Eason just managed to push away.

Rilwan Anibaba blocks this Kane Rowland shot
Dan Eason saves Nathan Palmer’s shot

Lee was introduced for Mahoney on 68 minutes and was soon involved, shooting just wide after Bola Dawodu and Sawyer had combined to set him up. Rowland was fouled right on the edge of the penalty area when jumping for a header and after Anibaba was booked for his protests, he just managed to block as Smith thumped the set piece through the wall.

Charlie Smith takes a free kick
Rilwan Anibaba keeps it out

The visitors made their second substitution on 83 minutes with Jack Mahon replacing Palmer and their captain Lee Coburn was pushed forward. It was Coburn that sent a dangerous header back across the box with a couple of minutes left, but it was well defended by Tom Bryant. In the fourth minute of added time a foul by Smith gave Erith a final opportunity and with everyone in the box, including their goalkeeper, Conteh curled the ball harmlessly over the top.

Given the lack of goalmouth action to report, here are a few match statistics.
(Whitstable-Erith) corners 2-3, free kicks won 9-17, offside 5-3

This was not a good performance by Whitstable, although they did manage to pick up the win. Three games remain to decide their final league position, which will be between fourth and eighth. They travel to Lordswood on Easter Monday and can do Erith Town a favour by beating one of their rivals at the foot of the table.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Harry Brown, Aaron Quain (Connor Hood 62), Tom Bryant, Rob Gillman (c), Ashley Brown, Jack Mahoney (Ollie Lee 68), Bola Dawodu, Kane Rowland, Frankie Sawyer, Charlie Smith.
Subs (unused): Craig Thompson, Calvin Sedenu, Seb Rowland.
Goal: Luqman Adesina (o.g.) 2.
Yellow card: Harry Brown 37

Erith Town
Rilwan Anibaba, Ryan Mascharenhas, Bradley Simms, Luqman Adesina, Warren Carver (Liam Birks 62), Lee Coburn (c), Nathan Palmer (Jack Mahon 83), Chris Michael, Quentin Conteh, Ola Giwa, Clinton Sunshine.
Subs (unused): Dennie Aris, Osman Proni, Ian Jenkins.
Yellow card: Rilwan Anibaba 71

Attendance: 147
Referee: Joe McKay
Assistants: Matt McCaughan & Matt Williams

Late Goal Keeps Crows In Title Race

WHITSTABLE TOWN 2 CROWBOROUGH ATHLETIC 3
SCEFL Premier Division
Tuesday April 11 2017 19.45

Crowborough kept up their title challenge with a winner in the seventh minute of added time as Whitstable failed to clear the ball, allowing Jason Barton to score his second of the night and clinch all three points. The visitors had taken a very early lead as hesitant defending let Gabriel Odunaike in to shoot past Dan Eason. Both teams missed a couple of half chances and Jack Turner had a header ruled out for offside, but there were no further goals before the break. Whitstable fought back well in an entertaining second half and two well taken early goals put them in the driving seat, with Kane Rowland scoring after the volatile Dan Ellis failed to get any distance on a punched clearance and Charlie Smith finishing a quick break with a low strike into the corner. Some great defensive blocks and a save from Eason preserved the lead in a goalmouth scramble as Crowborough fought to keep their season alive. Just as it began to look that Whitstable would go on to win the game, some sloppy play and a rash challenge in the box gave Barton an opportunity to equalise from penalty spot and eight minutes of stoppage time proved just enough for the jubilant visitors.

After entertaining Ashford United the previous Tuesday evening, it was the other title contenders Crowborough Athletic that came to the Belmont looking for the win that would keep them level at the top of the table, albeit with an inferior goal difference. Whitstable were still without the injured defensive pairing of Rob Gillman and Ashley Brown, whilst Craig Thompson was also unavailable. The visitors had the luxury of starting with Henry Muggeridge, a key player in their earlier win over Whitstable, on the bench. They did include two current Walton Casuals’ players in their side, both familiar faces from Whitstable’s Ryman League days. Odunaike, their Nigerian striker who is heading for his fourth consecutive golden boot and Jahmahl King, an experienced central defender with over 400 Ryman League appearances for clubs such as Horsham, Hastings and Carshalton, were both making their debuts for Crowborough

It was a dream start for Odunaike, as the game had just entered its second minute when Lee Carey sent the ball forward, Zac Attwood helped it on and Calvin Sedenu, who seemed to be in control of the situation, failed to deal with it and allowed the striker to get between him and his goalkeeper to stab the ball into the net. On 5 minutes a pass from Bola Dawodu reached Kane Rowland in a great position and he took the ball clear of the defenders, but curled his shot over the bar as Ellis came out to intercept. Carey then had a sight of goal as the home defence failed to clear their area, but could only roll the ball straight to Eason. After the bad tempered and somewhat controversial game at Crowborough, this was a much better contest and well refereed throughout. Rowland was an early entry in the book however – he was fouled by Tom Vickers, sparking an altercation between the two that ended with Rowland seeing his heavyweight opponent go down following a push. Apart from a booking for Jack Walder, the rest of the half remained card free.

Some good play down the Whitstable right ended with Dawodu shooting just wide of the far post from around 20 yards. Frankie Sawyer almost got in on goal, but Ellis did well to push the ball clear of danger. Whitstable won two successive corners, but failed to make the most of them and then Rowland met a good cross by James Morrish, but could not get enough power in his header to trouble Ellis. On 30 minutes a good free kick from Carey was headed into the net from close range by Turner, but the assistant had his flag raised for offside. At the other end Smith shot wide after the Crowborough defence struggled to clear a cross from the right. As half time approached, Carey and Turner had further attempts for the visitors and Sawyer for Whitstable, but neither goalkeeper was seriously tested. A late Whitstable corner was cleared, giving Crowborough a great opportunity to break, but they made a bit of a mess of it and the chance was gone.

Just after the restart, an Attwood header from a Carey cross was deflected into the hands of Eason. Whitstable then found an equaliser on 48 minutes as an Aaron Quain free kick was not cleared effectively by Ellis, giving Rowland the chance to shoot through a crowd of players into the back of the net.

Kane Rowland shoots through the crowd
Whitstable are level

A couple of minutes later Whitstable were in front when a quickly taken Crowborough free kick was  intercepted by Morrish setting up a break down the right and the ball was pulled back from the bye-line by Rowland into the path of Smith who shot low past the stranded Ellis from the edge of the area.

Charlie Smith fires the ball past Ellis
Whitstable are 2-1 ahead

Whitstable were now looking confident and it was the visitors who started to hit the ball long and concede possession too frequently. Muggeridge replaced Vickers on 53 minutes, but Whitstable continued to look like they might add a third and a Quain cross after another quick break was just cleared. Then on 58 minutes Crowborough looked certain to score as three times in quick succession they were denied, twice by last ditch blocks either side of a point blank save by Eason. A nice chip into the box by Quain was just out of reach of the stretching Smith as Whitstable came back again.

Both teams made substitutions that seemed to slowly help swing the balance back in favour of the visitors. It was Whitstable that gifted Crowborough a way back into the game though on 75 minutes, as the ball was carelessly given away and a cross from the right drew an unnecessary challenge from Sedenu on Walder and the referee awarded a penalty. Barton made no mistake from the spot. Sedenu was booked for another foul, as both teams had further half chances. A good pass from Tom Bryant sent Rowland away until he was brought down just outside the area by Barton, who was booked, but Jack Mahoney lifted the resultant free kick over the bar. Whitstable substitute Harry Brown, who had come on for Quain, sent in a dangerous cross that was cleared. After the home captain Bryant had been shown a yellow card for dissent, Mahoney sent another effort wide from distance.

With 90 minutes on the clock, Rowland latched on to a good ball from Mahoney, made himself space for a shot, but failed to hit the target, much to the anguish of the home fans. There was then a coming together of numerous players in the Whitstable penalty area that seemed to be triggered by an incident involving Ollie Lee and Dan Perry. It took a few minutes to calm down and sort out, but the officials dealt with it sensibly, eventually booking Perry and Connor Hood. Then, deep into stoppage time, after Sawyer had threatened at one end, Hood failed to clear the ball after a Crowborough corner leaving Barton in space to shoot past Eason from just inside the area. The visiting contingent went understandably wild with a mixture of joy and relief and the referee finally called a halt to proceedings after eight added minutes.

This was always going to be a transitional season for Whitstable, given the disastrous 2015-16 campaign both on and off the pitch, and coupled with numerous injury problems a finish in the top six would be a respectable return. The results against the top teams however do highlight the deficiencies that will need addressing in order to mount a title challenge next season. As far as this season is concerned, with both Ashford and Crowborough winning at Whitstable in the last two games, the evidence based on those performances would suggest Ashford are likely to hang on to the top spot. No games are easy at this stage, but their game against Canterbury would seem to be the best chance for a slip that might just give Crowborough a chance to overtake them.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Connor Hood, Aaron Quain (Harry Brown 81), Tom Bryant (c), Calvin Sedenu, Ollie Lee, Bola Dawodu, James Morrish, Kane Rowland, Frankie Sawyer, Charlie Smith (Jack Mahoney 65).
Subs (unused): Seb Rowland, Brendon Cass, Harry Brooks.
Goals: Kane Rowland 48, Charlie Smith 50.
Yellow cards: Kane Rowland 8, Calvin Sedenu 76, Tom Bryant 87, Connor Hood 90+3.

Crowborough Athletic
Daniel Ellis, Tom Boddy, Jason Barton, Tom Vickers (Henry Muggeridge 53), Jahmahl King, Jack Turner, Lee Carey (c), Jack Walder, Zac Attwood, Gabriel Odunaike (Dan Perry 89), Sam Carrington (Tom Pearson 64).
Subs (unused): Dan Tear, Sam Crabb.
Goals: Gabriel Odunaike 2, Jason Barton (pen) 75, 90+7.
Yellow cards: Jack Walder 16, Jason Barton 80, Dan Perry 90+3.

Attendance: 138
Referee: Joe Stokes
Assistants: Brian Woodhouse & Paul Franks