Category: 2017-2018 Club News

Whitstable Hit Five Again

Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Preliminary Round
Saturday September 16 2017 15.00

Whitstable made it ten goals in two games as they comfortably beat Corinthian in this Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Preliminary Round tie. The home side put in a confident performance against a team that have also had a good start to the league campaign. Two goals from Danny Williams gave a dominant Whitstable the lead at the interval. Williams completed his hat-trick early in the second half before goals by James Morrish and Ricky Freeman made it 5-0 shortly after the hour mark. The visitors, to their credit, played better towards the end hitting the post and then Craig Cloke and Dan Eason both did well to ensure a clean sheet. Whitstable will now play FC Elmstead at the Belmont in the next round on Saturday 14th October.

For this cup fixture, Whitstable were without the injured Ashley Brown, so Jack West came in at right back and Morrish was fit to return in midfield, whilst another recent injury victim, Tom Bryant, started on the bench. Corinthian had collected 13 points from their first 7 matches and sat just above Whitstable in the league table. Prior to the kick off, Scott Porter was presented with his Manager of the Month award by Tony Day of the Southern Counties East League.

Scott Porter receives the manager of the month award

Corinthian won an early corner, but it was the home team who quickly started to play the ball around effectively and press forward. Jack West linked well with Freeman on the right and burst into the box with his shot being saved leading to a couple of quick corners. Williams was looking threatening and was just off target with a header from a Harry Brown cross before firing a shot over the bar following some good build up play by Freeman and Shaun Welford. The home supporters did not have to wait long for the first goal though as Williams raced on to a through ball to shoot low past Aiden Prall into the bottom right hand corner on 14 minutes.

Danny Williams scores the first

A few minutes later Prall spilled a high free kick and Williams picked up the loose ball, but the goalkeeper recovered in time to make the save. A rare Corinthian attack ended with Eason comfortably catching a long range effort by Alexander Jack Billings and then a corner by the visitors was helped on to former Whitstable defender Sam Groombridge at the far post, but his shot was way over the top. Back at the other end, Freeman did well to pull the ball back into the path of Morrish whose shot was blocked. The impressive Stuart West sent Williams away and his cross just eluded Freeman in front of goal but the ball was collected by Welford whose shot was saved by Prall. The second goal finally arrived after 37 minutes when the referee played the advantage following a deliberate hand ball by Ryan Sawyer as he tried to stop a forward pass. Williams collected the ball and played it out to Louis Sprosen on the left and his return pass was drilled straight into the net past a couple of defenders and the goalkeeper by Williams.

Williams beats Aiden Prall to double the lead
The Whitstable bench celebrate

After another ball into the box by Sprosen was scrambled clear, there were a few chances at both ends just before the break. A Bradley Large cross was just out of the reach of a diving Billings and then Charlie Clover turned in the box before shooting over. Freeman had an attempt off target for Whitstable before a Corinthian shot following a corner landed on top of the tall tree behind the goal. The last action of the half came from a Whitstable corner when Stuart West just failed to connect with the goal at his mercy, so the home side went in with a fully deserved 2-0 lead.

Whitstable made a change for the second half with Ollie Lee replacing Sprosen. It was soon 3-0 as a Craig Cloke free kick from the half way line was headed down at the back post by Stuart West and the ball fell invitingly for Williams to shoot home from close range and complete his hat-trick on 47 minutes.

Williams about to complete his hat trick

Harry Brown went down off the ball just afterwards and eventually had to leave the pitch, being replaced by Bryant. The injury will be need to be assessed, but he must be doubtful for the next couple of games. On 55 minutes Williams fed Welford, who rolled the ball across to Morrish and he tried his luck from well outside the box. The goalkeeper failed to hold the ball under his crossbar and spilled it into the net and it was 4-0.

James Morrish scores the fourth

In the 62nd minute it was 5-0 when Welford battled hard for the ball on the edge of the penalty area and the ball was played back to Freeman whose shot beat Prall.

Ricky Freeman is congratulated for his goal

With around half an hour still to play, more goals seemed likely, but Corinthian made three substitutions early in the second half and the changes saw them become more of an attacking threat, although the game was effectively over as a contest. Donvieve Jones did well to play the ball in for Oscar Housego and his shot came back off the post, only for Jones to send his follow up attempt wide.

Harris Rodgers replaced Welford for the home side, Lee struck a good shot just past the post and then Morrish shot straight at Prall from a Rodgers cross. Prall blocked another Lee effort and then Stuart West released Freeman, whose shot was well saved and Bryant shot over at the far post from the resulting corner. Michael Hurcomb had a couple of attempts for the visitors before Stuart West became the only name taken by the referee for a foul in midfield. Freeman hit another good low shot across the goal that was saved by Prall. In stoppage time, Hurcomb was denied by a goal line clearance by Cloke and from the rebound a fierce shot by Marcus Heddon was somehow kept out by Eason.

Dan Eason makes a great save to preserve his clean sheet
Danny Williams receives the Man Of The Match award

Whitstable are back in action on Tuesday, with only their second home league game of the season against Canterbury City, followed by the FA Vase fixture next weekend when Lancing are the visitors.

Whitstable Corinthian
22 Attempts 14
14 On Target 7
7 Corners 3
1 Offside 1
9 Free Kicks Won 10

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jack West, Harry Brown (Tom Bryant 58), Rob Gillman, Craig Cloke (c), Stuart West, Louis Sprosen (Ollie Lee 46), James Morrish, Ricky Freeman, Shaun Welford (Harris Rodgers 66), Danny Williams.
Subs (unused): Charlie Smith, Nick Treadwell.
Goals: Danny Williams 14, 37, 47, James Morrish 55, Ricky Freeman 62.
Yellow card: Stuart West 86

Aiden Prall, Louis Anderson (Jordan Campbell 56), Bradley Large (Donvieve Jones 64), Sam Groombridge, Ryan Sawyer, Chris McDermott, Alexander Jack Billings, Jack Bath (c), Michael Hurcomb, Oscar Housego, Charlie Clover (Marcus Heddon 50).
Sub (unused): Aaron Guard

Attendance: 130
Referee: Nicholas Fruin
Assistants: Robin Smit & Bo Wang

Town Ease Through In FA Vase

Buildbase FA Vase First Round Qualifying
Saturday September 9 2017 15.00

Whitstable booked their place in the next round of the FA Vase with a comfortable 5-1 win at FC Elmstead. The returning Ollie Lee created the opening goal when he struck the post and the rebound went into the net off the unfortunate home goalkeeper. Dan Eason denied Lekan Bakare with a good save when he looked set to equalise, shortly before Louis Sprosen curled in a free kick to double the lead. Danny Williams headed a third before the break to all but settle the tie. Shaun Welford made it four early in the second half with a clever finish after his first effort was saved. FC Elmstead made a couple of substitutions and produced a spirited response in the last half an hour, playing their best football of the afternoon and they were rewarded with a consolation goal when Steve Strotten scored from the penalty spot. Whitstable added a fifth through Stuart West near the end. Lancing FC, of the Southern Combination Football League Premier Division, will visit the Belmont in the next round after winning 5-3 at Rochester United.

This game was played on an afternoon of sunshine, blustery thundery showers and rainbows at the ground of Holmesdale FC in the Bromley countryside. Following the defeat at Deal, Tom Bryant, James Morrish and Nick Treadwell were all side-lined through injury. Rob Gillman started his first game of the season and Ollie Lee returned having not played since the FA Cup tie against Croydon. FC Elmstead came into the game with seven points from seven games in the division below Whitstable, although they did reach the first round proper of the FA Vase last season.

The home team were almost gifted an early chance when a Harry Brown pass went astray, but the danger was averted. Williams forced the first save from Dan Teeley after a Welford cross. Craig Cloke got his head to a Harry Brown corner on 5 minutes, but Strotten was on hand to clear from under the bar. Ashley Brown had started at right back, but lasted only 12 minutes before being forced off with an injury to be replaced by Jack West. Williams and Ricky Freeman both had further attempts for Whitstable before they took the lead on 21 minutes. Lee and Jack West combined on the right with Lee sending the ball across the area where it hit the far post and bounced back into the net off the diving Teeley.

Craig Cloke has a header cleared off the line by Steve Strotten
Ollie Lee strikes the post
The ball is deflected back into the net by Dan Teeley

Williams shot over from the edge of the box following a good build up on the right. The best chance for Elmstead came after 27 minutes when their big striker Strotten flicked a header into the path of Bakare, who raced clear only for Eason to get down and make a good save to deny him. Sprosen was fouled about 25 yards out and took the free kick himself, finding the bottom right hand corner with Teeley rooted to the spot, doubling the lead on 29 minutes.

Louis Sprosen takes the free kick
The goalkeeper sees the ball in the corner of his net

The lively home forward Bakare was lectured by the referee following his second late challenge. Williams made a good run down the left before going down in the box under the challenge of Joe Hart, but appeals were waved away and then Lee did well to play in Freeman, but the Elmstead defence managed to block. In the 42nd minute it was 3-0 when a long Harry Brown cross found Williams coming in from the right and he outjumped Teeley to head the ball towards the unguarded net with the defender on the line unable to prevent it crossing the line.

Danny Williams climbs high to win the header
The ball beats the defender and it is 3-0

Lee drove forward into the box before passing to Freeman who shot over the bar. Strotten won a late free kick for Elmstead, which he struck into the wall and the rebound was lashed over by Dexter Babalola, so Whitstable went into the break with a three goal advantage.

Welford headed a Harry Brown cross over the bar from close range straight after the restart, but he was on the scoresheet in the 52nd minute. Stuart West played the ball into his path and his first effort was saved, but he reacted quickly as the ball came back to him and headed the ball back into the net with Teeley still on the ground.

Shaun Welford scores the fourth goal

Both teams then made substitutions as it began to look as though there might be a few more goals to come for the visitors, but Elmstead started to play the ball around with more confidence and created a few chances for themselves. The impressive Christian Howell hit a swerving shot from outside the box that was saved by Eason and he then slipped the ball through to Strotten who flicked it just past the post. Substitute Jordan Samuel caused Jack West a few problems down the left and one cross picked out Strotten, but he lifted a left footed shot over the bar. On 69 minutes Bakare was pulled back as he was about to shoot and although he managed to test Eason, the referee pulled play back and pointed to the spot and Strotten stepped up to beat the Whitstable keeper making it 4-1.

Steve Strotten scores from the penalty spot

Thunder and lightning arrived, causing a few more spectators to seek cover in the old stand as Elmstead won a couple of corners, the second taken short before being headed just over by Strotten. The officials failed to take action when Harry Brown was caught, leading to some words from the Whitstable bench that the referee then spoke to the manager about. On 81 minutes a right wing cross was met by Strotten whose header was tipped over the bar by Eason. A poor cross field free kick by Christian Howell sent Welford away, but his shot was deflected for a corner. Jack West broke into the box from a free kick in the 85th minute and had three shots blocked in quick succession before his brother Stuart found the net as the ball came out to him.

Stuart West (6) scores the fifth goal

Welford became the only player booked, for something he said, with a few minutes left. Harris Rodgers made a good run but was unable to beat Teeley and Welford was also denied as he followed in. Welford then had another shot deflected for a corner from which Charlie Smith saw his header saved by Teeley. The last action was a shot on the turn by Tunde Aderonmu that was just off target and Whitstable were through for a home tie on the 23rd September.

FC Elmstead Whitstable
11 Attempts 22
5 On Target 14
3 Corners 5
0 Offside 4
14 Free Kicks Won 13

FC Elmstead
Dan Teeley, Joe Hart, Mark Axell, George Bryan (Kamal Charles-Reid 73), Reece Barrett, Marcus Howell, Ben Lockett (Jordan Samuel 56), Christian Howell (c), Lekan Bakare, Steve Strotten, Dexter Babalola (Tunde Aderonmu 56).
Sub (unused): Ali Fevzi
Goal: Steve Strotten (pen) 69

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Ashley Brown (Jack West 12), Harry Brown, Rob Gillman, Craig Cloke (c), Stuart West, Louis Sprosen, Ollie Lee (Charlie Smith 73), Ricky Freeman, Shaun Welford, Danny Williams (Harris Rodgers 56).
Subs (unused): Carl Harrold, James Morrish.
Goals: Dan Teeley (o.g.) 21, Louis Sprosen 29, Danny Williams 42, Shaun Welford 52, Stuart West 85.
Yellow card: Shaun Welford 86

Attendance: 61
Referee: Timothy Dowdeswell
Assistants: Wayne Ingram & Bethany Archer

Poor First Half Proves Costly

SCEFL Premier Division
Tuesday September 5 2017 19.45

It was a disappointing night for the good contingent of travelling Whitstable supporters as their winning run ended on a damp evening at Deal. The home team played some good football in the first half as they both outthought and outplayed their previously unbeaten opponents. Sam Wilson scored two early goals, first shooting low past Dan Eason and then following in after a free kick had been pushed out by the Whitstable goalkeeper. There could have been more Deal goals as their wide players in particular were allowed far too much space, but Eason pulled off a couple of good saves to keep the score down to 2-0 at the break. Whitstable had been really poor in the first 45 minutes, but got the perfect start to the second half as Craig Cloke headed in a corner to spark hopes of a comeback. It was then a different game with the visitors generally on the front foot, but despite hitting the bar and forcing James Tonkin to make a couple of smart saves, there were no further goals.

Manager Scott Porter made some changes to his side for this match with Carl Harrold coming in as part of a tactical reshuffle, whilst James Morrish and Nick Treadwell started in midfield, meaning Louis Sprosen, Charlie Smith and Danny Williams started on the bench this time. Deal Town had already beaten Beckenham Town and Canterbury City whilst they sat on top of the early season table and were hoping to do it again with Whitstable in first place after the weekend results, although they had lost to Lordswood in their last home fixture. A band of rain passed through the area shortly before the kick off, but conditions improved for the game.

Whitstable won a couple of quick corners, but any early promise was short lived. In just the 5th minute, Charlie Walsh and Steve Butcher created an opening for Sam Wilson and he had the time to fire a left footed shot low past Eason into the far corner. James Morrish sent a long range effort over the bar and Andy Miller shot wide for Deal. A Whitstable long throw was headed on at the near post to Cloke, who tried an overhead kick that just sailed over the bar.

An acrobatic effort just clears the bar

On 15 minutes though Deal doubled their lead when an Andy Miller free kick from outside the box was struck low through a crowd of players and Eason got down to save at the far post, but he was only able to push the ball into the path of Wilson who found the net again from close range. James Tonkin had to be alert to gather the ball when a Harry Brown free kick bobbled around dangerously in the box. Deal were now causing plenty of problems with Jack Paxman and Harry Alexander in particular having the freedom to run at the Whitstable defence on numerous occasions. Eason did well to save from Walsh as he got on the end of a good move and then another spell of pressure ended with a shot just off target. Paxman sent another low ball right across the box, but there was nobody there to apply the finish. The Whitstable management team had seen enough and Harrold was sacrificed for Williams as they reverted to a back four on 27 minutes. It did little to stem the tide initially however as Paxman pulled another ball back for Walsh, whose first time shot was well saved by Eason.

The game then went through a quiet period until a good run by Williams created a half chance for Freeman, but his shot was wide. Deal were well worth a two goal cushion as half time arrived and they might have had more goals.

Freeman won Whitstable an early corner once play restarted and Harry Brown swung a good ball to the far post where Cloke stooped to head it past Tonkin to give his team a way back into the match.

Craig Cloke stoops to head the Whitstable goal at the back post
The ball hits the back of the net

Shaun Welford was just crowded out on the edge of the box as he almost worked an opening and then Tom Bryant found Harry Brown and his cross was met by Welford, whose header was tipped over the bar by Tonkin. Treadwell got in front of Tonkin from a Freeman free kick, but could only send his header over the top. On 58 minutes Williams won a free kick on the right and as Harry Brown played the ball across the area, Welford saw his shot beat Tonkin but come back off the bar.

James Tonkin saves a Welford header
Shaun Welford hits the bar

At the other end, Paxman did make another good break down the right and got into the box, but the ball was cleared for a corner. Bryant was booked by the referee before having to limp off with a groin injury. A few minutes later Morrish also had to depart with a leg injury. There were by now quite a few stoppages with the referee taking time to speak to a number of players. Ashley Brown appeared to be first to the ball just outside his own box, but the referee thought otherwise, booking him and awarding a free kick to Deal, which was taken by Walsh whose shot was tipped over by Eason.

Dan Eason tips a Charlie Walsh free kick over the bar

Deal then made the first of their three substitutions before Welford flicked the ball on for Freeman and he found himself one on one with Tonkin, but the Deal goalkeeper was able to make a good save.

James Tonkin saves from Ricky Freeman

Deal substitute Connor Coyne shot wide after latching on to a right wing cross and then it was the turn of the Deal bench to vent their frustration as a free kick was given to Whitstable right in front of them, when it appeared the home player had been fouled. Smith was the third Whitstable player to be shown a card on 89 minutes. A good run and turn by Freeman ended with a shot over the bar and as Whitstable were about to take a corner in the sixth of the seven added minutes, the referee called a halt to proceedings and a largely disappointing night for the visitors was over. Whitstable had shown plenty of determination in the second half and might have rescued something from the game, but Deal deserved the points for their first half performance.

Deal Whitstable
13 Attempts 12
6 On Target 7
2 Corners 7
1 Offside 1
18 Free Kicks Won 12

Deal Town
James Tonkin, Jack Paxman, Harry Alexander (Dean Hill 90+3), Liam Hark, Kane Smith, Lee Scott, Luke Bigginton, Steve Butcher (c), Charlie Walsh, Sam Wilson (Joe Reeves 84), Andy Miller (Connor Coyne 80).
Subs (unused): Ryan Philpott, Dan Adams.
Goals: Sam Wilson 5, 15.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Stuart West, Harry Brown, Ashley Brown, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant (Charlie Smith 66), Nick Treadwell, James Morrish (Louis Sprosen 70), Ricky Freeman, Shaun Welford, Carl Harrold (Danny Williams 27).
Subs (unused): Jack West, Harris Rodgers.
Goal: Craig Cloke 47
Yellow cards: Tom Bryant 63, Ashley Brown 77, Charlie Smith 89.

Attendance: 134
Referee: Simon Cutler
Assistants: Chris Spalding & Paul Franks

Two Penalties, Three Points

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday September 2 2017 15.00

Whitstable moved to the top of the early season table with their fourth straight win on a sunny afternoon at Bearsted. Shaun Welford put them in front from the penalty spot when Ricky Freeman was brought down after only 3 minutes. Any thoughts of a comfortable win were ended though when Reece Collins equalised for the home side with a good finish in their first meaningful attack a few minutes later. Whitstable then found it hard to break through again, despite pressing forward and having the majority of the chances. A couple of efforts were ruled out and goalkeeper Scott Andrews was called upon to make a few saves. It was eventually another Welford penalty that restored the lead on 78 minutes after his shot had struck the hand of Rob Lyall. Dan Eason had been a virtual spectator until Bearsted had a couple of very late corners as they tried to respond, but Whitstable held on to claim the points.

There were a couple of changes to the Whitstable starting line-up, with James Morrish resting a leg injury and Harry Goodger unavailable. Bearsted were missing several squad members for a variety of reasons and had yet to register a win in the current season. Whitstable started the game on the front foot and took an early lead from the penalty spot when Welford and Danny Williams combined to release Freeman inside the box and the referee had no hesitation in giving the penalty when he was brought down before he could test the goalkeeper. Welford stepped up and beat the outstretched left hand of Andrews.

Shaun Welford takes the first penalty
The ball beats the diving Scott Andrews

Welford then sent in a cross from the left that no one could quite reach as Whitstable went in search of a second goal. However with 8 minutes played, a good cross field ball from the halfway line by Cameron Croucher found an unmarked Collins, who controlled and fired the ball past Eason to bring the scores level. It was a good finish, but the Whitstable management team would not have been happy with the simplicity of the goal from a defensive point of view.

The away bench

Williams cut in from the right, beating several home players before shooting from the edge of the box, but Andrews was able to make the save. A Harry Brown corner from the right was fired into the Bearsted net, but the effort was ruled out. On 17 minutes, following one of a number of stoppages in play, Charlie Smith won a dropped ball and Freeman was fouled by Charley Epps 25 yards out. Louis Sprosen took the free kick, but Andrews got across well to save low by the near post and Williams was unable to get to the rebound before the goalkeeper recovered.

A free kick by Louis Sprosen is saved

Sprosen and Tom Bryant produced a good move down the left to play in Freeman, but his shot went wide. Williams had another shot that was easily saved by Andrews before Epps shot well over at the other end and then Croucher was also off target with a free kick. Freeman was the first player into the book on 38 minutes as he reacted to what he believed to be a foul on him. Lyall soon joined him in the notebook for a handball just outside the box, resulting in a free kick that Harry Brown struck high over the bar and the teams went in all square at the break.

Bearsted were forced into a substitution at half time as Lucian Scarlat, who had impressed in the corresponding fixture last season, was replaced by debutant Ignicio Garcia-Fernandez. On 51 minutes Andy Foster was booked for a poor challenge on Williams and from the free kick by Sprosen the ball was met by a head in the crowded area and deflected towards goal, but Andrews did well to see it past the post for a corner, which was headed behind for another one. This time the delivery by Harry Brown was met by Bryant at the far post and his header went back across goal into the net, but was ruled out by the officials.

The Bearsted keeper turns this one past the post
Tom Bryant heads for goal
The ball crosses the line, but it is disallowed

Bryant was booked on 63 minutes for a challenge in midfield, Epps played the free kick forward and the ball reached Garcia-Fernandez, but his weak shot was collected by Eason. Matt Garner was next in line for a yellow card for a foul and as the resultant free kick came into the box, Williams turned well, but failed to get any power in his shot. Epps was then also booked, presumably for an accumulation of fouls. Williams ran on to a good header forward by Stuart West, but again was denied by Andrews, before Craig Cloke headed the following corner over the top. Freeman tried his luck from distance but his effort just cleared the bar.

A long throw by Welford was cleared by Bearsted, who broke quickly, with Garcia-Fernandez just unable to direct his header on target following a good cross by substitute Josh White. Another Welford throw led to a couple of hand ball shouts, as Whitstable tried to increase the pressure on the home goal. It paid off with 12 minutes remaining when a Welford shot was blocked by the arm of Lyall as he went to ground and the referee again pointed to the spot. Welford stepped up once more and beat Andrews to put his team back in front.

A second penalty is given as a Shaun Welford shot strikes the arm of Rob Lyall

Bearsted won their first corner after 83 minutes and a Garcia-Fernandez shot was headed behind for a second and this time the ball was deflected up to Eason for a comfortable catch. The home team tried to apply a bit of pressure, but Cloke, Ashley Brown and Stuart West all covered well in defence when called upon. There was little further action of note and Whitstable went home with their fourth consecutive league win. On the balance of play the result was fair enough, but the feeling around the ground was that despite sitting top of the table, Whitstable have not yet played as well as they promised during a good pre-season campaign.

Bearsted Whitstable
7 Attempts 21
3 On Target 8
2 Corners 6
1 Offside 5
21 Free Kicks Won 19

Scott Andrews, Luke Hughes, Cameron Croucher, Andy Foster, Rob Lyall (c), Charley Epps, Jack Sellens (Josh White 63), Matt Garner, Reece Collins, Constantin Scarlat (Chris Carcary 77), Lucian Scarlat (Ignicio Garcia-Fernandez 46).
Subs (unused): Matt Blendell
Goal: Reece Collins 8
Yellow cards: Rob Lyall 42, Andy Foster 51, Matt Garner 65, Charley Epps 68.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Stuart West, Harry Brown, Ashley Brown, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Louis Sprosen, Charlie Smith (Nick Treadwell 77), Ricky Freeman, Shaun Welford (Jack West 89), Danny Williams (Harris Rodgers 74).
Subs (unused): Rob Gillman, Carl Harrold.
Goals: Shaun Welford (pen) 3, (pen) 78.
Yellow cards: Ricky Freeman 38, Shaun Welford 58, Tom Bryant 63.

Attendance: 97
Referee: Paul Agboola
Assistants: Paul Franks & Matthew Sell

Sprosen Scores Late Winner

SCEFL Premier Division
Monday August 28 2017 15.00

A late goal by Louis Sprosen decided this Bank Holiday encounter that started half an hour late due to traffic delays. Following an entertaining start to the game, visitors Sheppey United were reduced to ten men after 18 minutes when Remell Davis received a straight red card. Whitstable were denied on a number of occasions by goalkeeper Adam Highsted who pulled off a series of fine saves, whilst Dan Eason, in the home goal, only had one save to make. Sheppey did have the ball in the net on the stroke of half time, but the officials spotted it had been handled. Whitstable failed to make the most of their numerical advantage for much of the second half, playing too many hopeful long balls on a hot afternoon, but some late pressure finally brought the decisive goal when a free kick by Sprosen was missed by Highsted and the ball curled straight into the far corner of the net.

Whitstable made two changes to their starting eleven for this second fixture of the holiday weekend, with Danny Williams and Charlie Smith replacing Ricky Freeman and Shaun Welford. The visitors, who had beaten Chatham 7-1 two days earlier, only named their team a few minutes prior to the delayed start due to fitness doubts and as a result, Kwasi Amoah, Jon Ralph and Luke Harvey were missing from their team sheet. There were however four former Whitstable players in their team – Adam Highsted, Tom Brunt, Jack Mahoney and Luke Girt, who was utilised in an unfamiliar defensive position.

The game started in lively fashion with a Williams header gathered by Highsted, while at the other end Timmy Babbington lifted a shot over the bar after being played in by Dan Bradshaw. Williams then charged down an attempted clearance by Highsted and the ball rebounded just wide of the open goal. Whitstable went close from a couple of free kicks, with a Tom Bryant header being saved before a Harry Brown cross narrowly missed three red shirts waiting at the far post. The tricky Davis cut in from the right and worked himself an opening, but Eason was able to save his shot. That was to prove the last meaningful action for the Sheppey forward, as shortly afterwards he was dismissed for striking a home player and eventually escorted off the pitch following a few heated exchanges. George Batten was booked a few minutes later by the referee. On 27 minutes, Williams struck a powerful shot from outside the box that Highsted did well to turn around the post for a corner and when the ball was played into the area, it was volleyed just wide by Craig Cloke. Harry Goodger did really well to bring a high ball under control, turn and shoot, but again Highsted made the save. From the resulting corner, Whitstable were twice denied with close range efforts being blocked.

Danny Williams hits a good shot from outside the box
Craig Cloke is just off target
Adam Highsted denies Harry Goodger

Trey Williams won Sheppey their only corner of the first half on 35 minutes, but the ball in by Mahoney was headed over the top by Rob Saunders. Harry Brown put the last Whitstable chance before the break wide after running onto a ball played across the box and then the injured James Morrish had to be replaced by Nick Treadwell. The final action of the half took place at the other end when a great Brunt cross from the right was put into the net at the far post by Bradshaw, but a hand was used and the celebrations were cut short as the effort was ruled out and a yellow card shown.

At the start of the second half another smart shot on the turn by Goodger was well saved low down by Highsted. Bryant then created a chance for Williams, but Sheppey captain Saunders did really well to avert the danger. A good pass by Sprosen allowed Williams to sprint clear of the defence, but Highsted pulled off a great save low to his right.

Highsted saves from Williams again

Bryant was shown a yellow card for a midfield challenge before Whitstable brought on Freeman and Welford for Goodger and Smith after 61 minutes. The next period of the game saw Whitstable generally pushing forward and there were several corners and free kicks that the Sheppey defence handled with few alarms and the frustration grew as balls were often knocked forward too hastily, giving the ten men the chance to regain possession. Sheppey rarely threatened apart from one corner and a free kick that Mahoney struck wide after Stuart West had been booked for a foul. The Whitstable pressure grew though as the game entered the final ten minutes, but Highsted continued to deal with any balls into the box. On 84 minutes a Harry Brown corner was met at the far post by Treadwell and Highsted made a great reaction save to keep it out and loud appeals for handball were waved away after the corner was sent into the box. Just afterwards Whitstable won a free kick on the left edge of the penalty area, which substitute Hicham Akhazzan was subsequently booked for disputing, and Sprosen curled the ball into the crowded box where it was missed by everyone and found the far corner. It was unfortunate for Highsted, who had looked like earning his team a point, but relief for Whitstable.

The free kick by Louis Sprosen flies past everyone into the net

There was still time for Highsted to deny Welford with another save after Sprosen had won the ball and played him in. Sheppey tried to respond and a late cross went right across the home box, but nobody was able to apply the finishing touch and Whitstable had their third league win.

Shaun Welford is denied by Highsted

The next game for Whitstable is a rearranged trip to Bearsted, as scheduled opponents Erith Town have an FA Cup tie against Burgess Hill.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Stuart West, Harry Brown, Ashley Brown, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Louis Sprosen, James Morrish (Nick Treadwell 45), Danny Williams, Harry Goodger (Shaun Welford 61), Charlie Smith (Ricky Freeman 61).
Subs (unused): Jack West, Carl Harrold.
Goal: Louis Sprosen 85
Yellow cards: Tom Bryant 58, Stuart West 78.

Sheppey United
Adam Highsted, Tom Brunt, Darren Cooper, Luke Girt, Rob Saunders (c), Timmy Babbington (Hicham Akhazzan 83), George Batten, Dan Bradshaw, Remell Davis, Trey Williams, Jack Mahoney.
Subs (unused): Tom Montgomery, Josh Spencer.
Yellow cards: George Batten 23, Dan Bradshaw 45+3, Hicham Akhazzan 86.
Red card: Remell Davis 18

Attendance: 225
Referee: Zoltan Konkoly
Assistants: Matthew Sell & Matt McCaughan

Town Win At Star Meadow

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday August 26 2017 15.00

Whitstable claimed all three points in a workmanlike performance at a sunny and warm Star Meadow. Hollands and Blair showed the neater approach play in the first half, although Whitstable had a couple of good chances in the opening minutes. Some sloppy play by the home side led to a penalty that was comprehensively despatched by Harry Goodger just before half time. An early, well taken goal by Tom Bryant in the second half appeared to deflate Hollands and Blair and Whitstable then looked to be in control until a typical James McDonald header led to a nervous last ten minutes.

Shaun Welford, James Morrish and captain Craig Cloke all made their first competitive starts of the season for Whitstable. Aaron Quain and George Savage left the club in the week, with the latter having signed for Glebe. Hollands and Blair did the double over Whitstable last season, but had been beaten by Beckenham in their only league fixture to date. Young Whitstable Academy player Ted Nelson lined up in the home defence.

Welford was brought down on the edge of the penalty area in the 2nd minute, but the free kick by Goodger was saved by Tom Benham in the home goal. On 10 minutes a miskick by Benham went straight to Goodger who went round the stranded keeper, but Anthony Jeffers was able to deflect the ball for a corner to deny the big striker.

Harry Goodger sees his attempt deflected for a corner

Bryant fed Welford down the left and he sent a dangerous ball across the box, but there was nobody to apply the finish. The first threat at the other end came after a corner was played back into the box, but Cloke was alert to the danger. Ricky Freeman then crossed for Welford, whose shot was blocked by the home defence.

Shaun Welford tries a shot

On 20 minutes some neat play down the left wing by Hollands and Blair led to a couple of successive corners that were well defended by the visitors, with Cloke having a good debut game. Welford headed over after Bryant had set him up following another Whitstable corner. Just after the half hour mark, the home team had their best chance of the half when a good cross from the left by Lewis Taylor found its way to the feet of Lee Farrell, but he shot well over from close range. George Keen was then fouled by Louis Sprosen just outside the box and Jack Simon struck a good free kick that clipped the top of the bar. Louis Valencia, who had shown some promise running at the Whitstable defence, got into a good position but hit a weak shot straight at Dan Eason. The home team were looking the most likely to break the deadlock, but in the 40th minute a poor throw by Jeffers sold Benham short and Goodger nipped in and was brought down by the keeper as he tried to go past him. Benham was shown a yellow card and Goodger made no mistake from the spot, thumping the ball into the right hand corner of the net to send Whitstable in 1-0 up at the interval.

Harry Goodger scores from the spot

An early Harry Brown corner in the second half was headed over by Goodger, but on 49 minutes it was 2-0. A free kick just inside his own half by Cloke was headed on by Goodger to Bryant who did well to direct his header over Benham and into the far corner of the net.

Tom Bryant heads the second goal
Tom Bryant and Ricky Freeman celebrate

A curling effort by Freeman was easily saved by Benham and Sprosen tried his luck from the halfway line, but was well off target. Another Goodger shot was gathered at the second attempt by Benham. In the 61st minute, a good through ball reached McDonald whose shot was deflected into the hands of Eason. Both teams then started to make substitutions and Danny Williams who had replaced Goodger won a corner, but as on several occasions the delivery was not quite right. Welford and Williams combined to release Freeman, who went down in the box, but play was waved on. Farrell, Simon and Morrish all found their way into the notebook of the referee in the space of a few minutes as the play became scrappier. Cloke was then replaced by Rob Gillman who was making his first appearance of the season after suspension.

On 80 minutes a left wing cross by Valencia was headed in at the near post by McDonald, giving Hollands and Blair renewed hope of salvaging something from the game. Simon hit a free kick over the bar and in the closing minutes the ball was whipped in by McDonald for Simon who glanced his header well wide. Substitute Nick Treadwell was shown a late yellow card for a foul as Whitstable tried to run down the clock and the final whistle followed shortly afterwards.

Whitstable were happy to collect a win at a ground that is generally not an easy place to visit, but it was not the best of games and some improvement will be required in the matches to come.

Hollands & Blair
Tom Benham, Anthony Jeffers, Lewis Taylor (c), Ted Nelson, Tom Staff, George Keen (Mark Chiverton 83), Brad Webb (Archie Miller 62), Jack Simon, James McDonald, Lee Farrell (Rob Denness 75), Louis Valencia.
Sub (unused): Bryan Greenfield
Goal: James McDonald 80
Yellow cards: Tom Benham 39, Lee Farrell 70, Jack Simon 74.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Stuart West, Harry Brown, Ashley Brown, Craig Cloke (c) (Rob Gillman 75), Tom Bryant, Louis Sprosen, James Morrish , Ricky Freeman, Harry Goodger (Danny Williams 64), Shaun Welford (Nick Treadwell 83).
Subs (unused): Charlie Smith, Jack West.
Goals: Harry Goodger (pen) 40, Tom Bryant 49,
Yellow cards: James Morrish 76, Nick Treadwell 90+1.

Attendance: 85
Referee: Richard Joss
Assistants: Tom Burman & Harry Graham