Category: 2017-2018 Club News

Christmas Draw 2017

The Christmas Draw tickets are on sale at the Belmont Ground if anyone would like to take part. They cost £1 each and are available in the clubhouse or alternatively from members of the committee. There are some very good prizes once again and the draw will be made after the home match against Crowborough Athletic on Saturday 23rd December, when the club are organising a party in the evening for the players, management, committee and supporters. There will be more news on this to follow, but please make a note of the date if you would like to come.

SCEFL Challenge Cup Draw

The draw for the Third Round of the SCEFL Challenge Cup has now been published on the SCEFL website and Whitstable have a home fixture against Lydd Town or Croydon, whose Second Round tie is scheduled for December 6th.

The full draw for the Third Round is given below, with matches due to be played during the month of January.

Chatham Town v Snodland Town
Cray Valley PM v Sporting Club Thamesmead
Crowborough Athletic or Canterbury City v AFC Croydon Athletic
Erith Town v Hollands and Blair
K Sports v Tunbridge Wells
Stansfeld v Lordswood or Fisher
Sutton Athletic v Deal Town
Whitstable Town v Lydd Town or Croydon

Kent Senior Trophy Draw

Whitstable will be away to Erith Town in the quarter finals of the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy. The match will be played during the weekend of Saturday 20th January.

The full draw is as follows:

Erith Town v Whitstable Town
Sheppey United v Tunbridge Wells
Cray Valley PM v Chatham Town
Canterbury City v Sporting Club Thamesmead

Penalties End Perfect Month

Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Second Round
Saturday November 25 2017 15.00

Whitstable made in six wins in a row during November as they progressed into the last eight of the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy. Division One opponents Stansfeld put in a spirited performance, but never looked like creating an upset at the Belmont. The home side started well and created a number of early chances, but had to wait until the 24th minute to open the scoring when Ricky Freeman scored from the penalty spot after being fouled. Stansfeld conceded another penalty in the second half when Freeman was pulled down and Charlie Smith beat Lewis Collier. Whitstable looked sharper and fitter, especially in midfield, and there might have been a few more goals, but for some missed chances and good saves by Collier. Jake Williams showed a few flashes of quality for the visitors, but Dan Eason had a comfortable afternoon in the Whitstable goal.

Whitstable initially planned one change to their starting eleven, with Louis Sprosen coming in for Chris Saunders, who had taken a fitness test alongside Rob Gillman. Macauley Murray however had to withdraw just before the kick off with a chest injury, so Saunders came back in to replace him. Gillman, Danny Williams and Shaun Welford remained on the injury list and recent academy signing Teddy Nelson was cup tied. Chislehurst based Stansfeld made their first visit to the Belmont sitting in mid table in the division below Whitstable, but had won their previous two games.

Visiting goalkeeper Collier was busy in the opening minutes as Whitstable attacked. He had to be alert in the 1st minute when a back header by Greg Summersby almost went past him and he then managed to push a Stuart West header from a free kick out for a corner, which was swung in by Sprosen and just tipped over the bar. Smith found space in the box, but was unable to find a teammate as he tried to lay the ball off, but soon afterwards Freeman had a chance with a header that went over Collier but wide. Stansfeld had their first sight of goal on 7 minutes, when Williams set up Billy Shinners, but his low shot was an easy save for Eason. Whitstable continued to press though and Smith hooked the ball just over the bar following a good sequence of passing. A Josh Burchell cross reached Smith, whose effort was blocked and Craig Cloke headed the resultant corner over the bar. A Burchell free kick was helped on to Smith and his close range header was saved by Collier and another corner by Sprosen was headed off the line.

Lewis Collier keeps an early Stuart West header out
Charlie Smith is closed down as he is about to shoot
Another good save from a Smith header

A rare break by Stansfeld looked promising when Whitstable were outnumbered at the back, but they failed to make the most of the opportunity. The opening goal arrived just afterwards when Tom Bryant played the ball into the box and although it was partially cleared, it was accidentally sliced back in the air by Summersby towards his own goal. George Martin was able to head it out from under the bar, but the referee spotted a pull by Jesse Thackham on Freeman as he tried to challenge. The Stansfeld number four was booked and Freeman found the right hand corner with a well taken penalty.

Ricky Freeman is pulled back and a penalty is given
Freeman takes the penalty
Collier is beaten and it is 1-0

James Morrish played a one-two with Freeman, but was just unable to find the finish from a few yards out. Michael McKenna sent a long range shot into the hands of Eason and Saunders fired wide from distance. Shinners was allowed to break clear despite looking offside, but the home defence managed to prevent him getting a shot away. There were a few more half chances for Cloke, Smith and Freeman, but Whitstable went in at the break just the one goal in front.

The second half started with shots by Freeman and Bryant both being saved by Collier, but then Freeman was pulled down in the penalty area as he tried to get on the end of a cross and after a discussion between the match officials another penalty was given. This time Smith stepped forward and shot down the middle as Collier went to his right and it was 2-0 after 50 minutes.

Smith takes the second penalty
Whitstable lead 2-0

It felt like that was the end of the match from a competitive point of view and the result was never really in doubt from that point. West, who had a good game on the right of the back three, found Smith and he showed good control to knock the ball over the last defender, but his shot hit the frame of the goal. Saunders and Smith had further attempts as Whitstable remained largely in control. Williams had made a couple of promising runs for Stansfeld, but he was replaced in the 65th minute, as both teams started to make substitutions. Whitstable took off Freeman and Burchell, with the FA Vase game next week in mind, and Rhys Brain and Brendon Cass, for his first appearance of the season, came on. Bryant got his head to a Cloke free kick, but was off target. West was robbed in his own half and the ball was played up to Shinners in a good position in the box, but he could not get a clean shot and the ball just bobbled back to Eason. Smith had a low shot deflected into the hands of Collier and in the closing minutes the two Whitstable substitutes combined, with Cass heading the ball into the path of Brain, but he could not find a shot to test Collier.

The final whistle blew and Whitstable were safely through to the quarter finals of the trophy. Next Saturday is the FA Vase third round and for the second consecutive season, Chichester City will visit. They are currently in second place in the Southern Combination Football League, having scored 48 goals in 18 matches, and will provide a stern test as Whitstable bid to reach the last 32 of the national competition.

Whitstable Stansfeld
19 Attempts 5
9 On Target 3
7 Corners 2
2 Offside 1
15 Free Kicks Won 7

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell (Brendon Cass 79), Stuart West, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Louis Sprosen, James Morrish, Ricky Freeman (Rhys Brain 70), Charlie Smith, Chris Saunders.
Sub (unused): Dean Ruddy
Goals: Ricky Freeman (pen) 24, Charlie Smith (pen) 50.

Lewis Collier, Joe Borland (Joe Brown 65), Greg Summersby, Jesse Thackham, George Martin, Adam Ball, Billy Jolley, Michael McKenna, Billy Shinners, Jake Williams (Nathan Flaher 65), Mark McKenna (Ryan Hassan 75).
Subs (unused): None
Yellow card: Jesse Thackham 24

Attendance: 120
Referee: Paul Franks
Assistants: John Baigan & Max Sollis

Defence Holds Firm To Secure Win

SCEFL Premier Division
Tuesday November 21 2017 19.45

A goal in each half was enough to beat league newcomers Rusthall and earn Whitstable their fifth straight win in all competitions. The visitors played some good football, particularly early in the second half, but were unable to find a way through the home defence. Chris Saunders hit the bar early on, before opening the scoring on 28 minutes, firing the ball back in after it had been partially cleared. Whitstable struggled to create much after the break, as Rusthall pushed forward in search of an equaliser, but Ricky Freeman confidently converted a 75th minute penalty after Louis Sprosen had been fouled whilst attempting to shoot. Whitstable then saw the game out in relative comfort to move up to 7th in the league table.

The three players injured at Tunbridge Wells were unable to start this game. Rob Gillman and Danny Williams are both expected to be out for a couple of weeks with ankle and hamstring problems respectively, whilst Shaun Welford is awaiting advice after feeling a muscle pull in his leg. Academy trio Ryan Birch, Rhys Brain and Teddy Nelson were on the bench, with the latter having just transferred from Hollands and Blair, where he had been playing since the start of the season. Rusthall are playing at this level for the first time, having won promotion this year and Whitstable are yet to visit their Jockey Farm Stadium in Tunbridge Wells, where facilities are gradually being improved. They have so far won four league matches and were dumped out of the FA Vase by Epsom and Ewell, the team subsequently beaten in that competition by Whitstable.

In the 1st minute, Freeman charged down an attempted clearance by goalkeeper Callum Christie, but the referee signalled that the ball had struck his arm and awarded a free kick. Rusthall had their first chance when a John Sebbar free kick was headed just wide by a stooping Joe Fuller. On 12 minutes Charlie Smith crossed from the right and Saunders nipped in to deflect the ball towards goal, but it hit the bar.

Joe Fuller sends an early header wide
Chris Saunders almost scores for Whitstable

Craig Cloke did well to defend a dangerous Rusthall cross before a Saunders shot was deflected behind for a corner. The game was fairly even at this stage and Steve Smith shot low through a crowd of players and Dan Eason appeared to get across to touch the ball around the post, although the referee decided that it should be a goal kick, much to the surprise of the visitors. Whitstable had the ball in the net soon afterwards when Freeman won a high ball into the box and fired in, but he was penalised for a foul. A good cross field ball by Tom Bryant was volleyed wide by Charlie Smith, who probably had more time than he realised, but then Cloke found Charlie Smith again on the right and this time he was hauled back by Callum Gallie. Josh Burchell swung in the resulting free kick and the ball was headed out by Daniel Mitchell, but only as far as Saunders who took it in his stride and shot through the crowd into the net to give Whitstable the lead.

Daniel Mitchell tries to head clear
Chris Saunders picks up the ball and heads towards goal
Whitstable take the lead

Charlie Smith and John Walker both shot over the bar after they were each set up by Freeman. Steve Smith, who looked a threat for Rusthall throughout, skipped through the Whitstable defence on the left and forced Eason to get down to make a save. Freeman attempted an ambitious shot from a narrow angle that failed to trouble Christie and just before half time a good spell of possession by Whitstable created a chance for Freeman, but he failed to get a decent connection, so the home team went in 1-0 up.

Saunders, who had been very good in the Whitstable midfield, did not return for the second half due to an injury niggle and was replaced by Louis Sprosen. The home defence were almost caught out by a long free kick which found Mitchell unmarked in the box, but his glancing header went wide. James Morrish had to make a couple of timely challenges to assist the defence as Rusthall began to dominate possession. John Phillips and Steve Smith both caused some problems with their runs, but the Whitstable defence generally did a good job of protecting Eason, who was not seriously tested. Freeman did have a couple of chances on the break, created by Charlie Smith and Morrish, but was unable to beat Christie. Whitstable got the cushion of a second goal when Paul Butler impeded Sprosen in the penalty area as he shaped to shoot and the referee pointed to the spot. Freeman stepped up to power the ball into the right corner giving Christie no chance. Steve Smith was booked in the aftermath, presumably for something he said.

The referee awards Whitstable a penalty as Louis Sprosen is impeded
Ricky Freeman makes it 2-0

Shortly afterwards, a chip into the Whitstable box was punched clear by Eason, amidst shouts for a penalty as a Rusthall player went down in the box, but the officials were unmoved. Both teams made changes, with Brain replacing Freeman up front and Nelson coming on for his debut in place of Burchell for Whitstable and all three named Rusthall substitutes were given an opportunity to change the direction of the game. Whitstable were quite happy to run the clock down though and there were few chances for either team, although Sprosen had a shot saved by Christie. The referee collected a couple of late bookings, with Sprosen and Mitchell being cautioned for fouls.

Dan Eason clears as Rusthall appeal for a penalty

The game ended 2-0 and the winning run continued for Whitstable. Rusthall did not play badly with Mitchell and Steve Smith in particular having good games, but Whitstable defended very well and took a couple of chances when they arose. Two cup games now follow for Whitstable, as they look to extend their interest in the Kent Senior Trophy and FA Vase.

Whitstable Rusthall
11 Attempts 10
4 On Target 5
7 Corners 3
2 Offside 2
11 Free Kicks Won 17

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell (Teddy Nelson 88), Stuart West, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders (Louis Sprosen 46), James Morrish, Ricky Freeman (Rhys Brain 83), Charlie Smith, Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Brendon Cass, Ryan Birch.
Goals: Chris Saunders 28, Ricky Freeman (pen) 75.
Yellow card: Louis Sprosen 85

Callum Christie, Jacob Wright, Callum Gallie, Ryan Waterman, Daniel Mitchell, Stewart Gostlow (c), Steve Smith, Paul Butler, John Sebbar (Bayley Colbran 73), Joe Fuller (Drew Crush 79), John Phillips (Alex Rich 79).
Subs (unused): None
Yellow cards: Steve Smith 76, Daniel Mitchell 86.

Attendance: 100
Referee: Paul Agboola
Assistants: Mark Cheeseman & Ryan Chantril-Smith

Freeman Goal Secures Three Points

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday November 18 2017 15.00

A late Ricky Freeman goal was enough to give Whitstable their second away win of the week on a damp, miserable afternoon in Tunbridge Wells. The visitors lost defender Rob Gillman to injury in the first few minutes when he slipped on the wet pitch, but were the better team for the first half hour and created a few chances, the closest being a header that struck the woodwork. Tunbridge Wells lost their goalkeeper, Michal Czanner, to injury on 34 minutes, with outfield player Tom Davey taking over the jersey. The remainder of the match was a fairly even affair, played mostly in midfield with neither goalkeeper having much to do. Injured Whitstable striker Danny Williams also had to be replaced at halftime and it was his replacement, Freeman, who got on the end of a header across goal by another substitute Shaun Welford to make the breakthrough. Welford, returning from a knee injury, appeared to still be feeling it, but remained on the pitch. Freeman also struck the post late on from a narrow angle. The home side had some late possession, winning a few corners, but Dan Eason did not have to make a save as Whitstable held on for the win.

The Whitstable manager kept faith with the starting eleven that had played well to win at Chatham during the week, although the experienced quartet of Craig Cloke, Shaun Welford, Ricky Freeman and Dean Ruddy all returned to the squad and started on the bench. Tunbridge Wells are not having the best of seasons, but the Culverden Stadium is never an easy place to get a result and the grim weather on this afternoon made it a cold, wet, gloomy place with a different playing surface to those encountered so far in this campaign.

Whitstable were temporarily reduced to ten men when Gillman had to leave the field with an ankle injury in the 2nd minute. A good ball from Macauley Murray released Williams who got in front of defender Perry Spackman before going down when challenged on the right edge of the penalty area. The referee waved play on and strike partner Charlie Smith almost got a clear sight of goal, but the danger was cleared by Czanner. Cloke then came on to replace Gillman, who was unable to return and is likely to be out for a couple of weeks. Josh Burchell and Murray both sent dangerous crosses into the box as Whitstable pressed forward. Chris Saunders, who had a good game in midfield, was clipped just outside the box, but Murray curled the resultant free kick wide of the post. Tom Bryant played a ball forward down the left and Williams outpaced John Shea before being denied by the diving Czanner at the near post.

Michal Czanner saves from Danny Williams, before having to go off injured

On 20 minutes, Jon Pilbeam had the first real attempt for the home side, when he turned past his marker and tried a shot from just outside the box, but as he was challenged the ball took a deflection and went out for a throw in on the far side. A couple of free kicks and a corner soon followed as Tunbridge Wells gradually got into the game, but they failed to test the Whitstable goalkeeper. Back at the other end, good play between Smith and Saunders resulted in the latter winning a free kick out on the right touchline, which was curled in by Burchell and a Stuart West header from 6 yards came back off the far post.

Stuart West hits the upright with a header

Smith broke into the box from the right and his shot was parried by Czanner, who was injured in a collision involving Shea and Saunders as the Whitstable player tried to follow in. The home goalkeeper did manage to carry on briefly and Williams had another effort blocked, but after some delay he had to leave the field, with Rhys Bartlett coming on and Davey taking over in goal. Tunbridge Wells then had a period on the attack as Bryant almost chested the ball past his own goalkeeper and then Pilbeam glanced a header wide from a Stephen Ita cross. In the 5 added minutes, a ball into the box by Smith struck the arm of a defender, but the penalty appeals were turned down and then Smith hit a free kick into the wall after James Morrish had been flattened 20 yards out. The visitors might feel that they should have been in front, but the half ended goalless.

The referee tries to brighten up a dull game

Williams had a tight hamstring and did not return for the second half, which saw little entertaining football as the weather deteriorated further. Substitute Freeman made a couple of runs, winning a free kick and then shooting wide, but he was also booked for a challenge on the stand in goalkeeper. Smith joined him in the book for a foul on Shea. Ita saw his free kick from 25 yards deflected off the wall for a corner, before Jack Harris was replaced by Joe Nwoko. Whitstable brought on Welford, who had been out for six weeks with knee ligament damage, in an attempt to find a breakthrough. A Burchell free kick was headed back across goal by Bryant and West was just unable to apply the finish at the far post. On 79 minutes though, Whitstable got the decisive goal when West came forward on the right and sent over a deep cross that was met by the head of Welford and as the ball came back across goal, Freeman found the net with a diving header.

Stuart West is inches away from connecting at the far post
Shaun Welford heads across goal
Ricky Freeman dives in
The replacement goalkeeper, Tom Davey, is beaten

Shortly afterwards Welford pulled up, appearing to be feeling his knee injury once more, to the amusement of a few unsympathetic home supporters, but he was able to continue until the end of the game. Tunbridge Wells were now having a good deal of possession in midfield and won a couple of corners, but Dan Eason was well protected by his defence. Burchell became the third player to be cautioned for one foul too many and two more late corners saw the ball going across the Whitstable goalmouth several times, but there was just one shot that was blocked by a defender in front of Eason at the near post. After the home side had made their final substitution on 90 minutes, Freeman chased a ball into the right corner, went around the goalkeeper who had come to meet him and rolled in a shot from a very narrow angle that hit the outside of the post. The final whistle sounded with no further alarms and Whitstable had secured a valuable three points. They had created the better chances in a generally poor game, but for long periods of the second half it was hard to see where a goal was coming from.

The Whitstable defence ensured Dan Eason had an easy afternoon
Charlie Smith on his 150th Whitstable appearance

The next game for Whitstable is at home to league newcomers Rusthall on Tuesday evening and checks will need to be made on the fitness of several players.

Tunbridge Wells Whitstable
5 Attempts 10
1 On Target 4
7 Corners 3
1 Offside 5
14 Free Kicks Won 18

Tunbridge Wells
Michal Czanner (Rhys Bartlett 34), Keiron Tarbie, Alfie Hall, Tom Davey, Perry Spackman (c), John Shea, Alex Kendal (Josh Biddlecombe 90), Steven Ita, Jon Pilbeam, Jack Harris (Joe Nwoko 71), Tom Lawrence.
Subs (unused): Maxim Carbune, Jake Hampson.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Rob Gillman (Craig Cloke 8), Stuart West, Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (c), Danny Williams (Ricky Freeman 46), Charlie Smith (Shaun Welford 77), Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Jack West, Dean Ruddy.
Goal: Ricky Freeman 79
Yellow cards: Ricky Freeman 54, Charlie Smith 68, Josh Burchell 87.

Attendance: 171
Referee: Joe Kasper
Assistants: Steve Roots & Stephen Luke