Category: 2017-2018 Club News

Harry Brown

Harry Brown suffered an injury during the cup game against Corinthian when falling awkwardly. He has been for a scan and unfortunately has done significant damage to his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus that will require surgery. This will mean that he will be unable to play again this season.

The club will be organising a collection for Harry at the FA Vase match against Lancing on Saturday and everyone sends their best wishes for his recovery.

Second Half Goals Win Derby

WHITSTABLE TOWN 2 CANTERBURY CITY 0
SCEFL Premier Division
Tuesday September 19 2017 19.45

Whitstable were back in league action for the first time since their defeat at Deal, having since scored ten goals in two cup wins. They collected all three points thanks to two second half goals against local rivals Canterbury City, whose squad contained eight ex Whitstable players. In a tight first half, there were few chances at either end. Whitstable had one loud penalty shout for a handball, but too often picked out the Canterbury goalkeeper Jack Delo with their final ball. The best chance actually fell to the visitors, after Dan Eason had parried a long shot into the path of Gary Mickelborough, but he failed to hit the target. Whitstable took control after the break and were rewarded with two goals in two minutes by Stuart West and Danny Williams. Canterbury rarely threatened to get back into the game, apart from a few long range attempts that failed to test Eason, as Whitstable climbed up to second place in the league table.

Harry Brown was unable to play for Whitstable, having had a scan on the injury sustained in the previous match, and was replaced at left back by Tom Bryant, while Nick Treadwell was unavailable. There were a lot of familiar faces in the Canterbury team, with no fewer than seven former Oystermen in the starting eleven and Ian Pulman, scorer of exactly 100 goals in 190 appearances for Whitstable, on the bench.

An early move down the right ended with Williams having an attempt deflected behind for a corner that was comfortably caught by Delo. Jack West and Ricky Freeman both collected yellow cards for fouls near to the touchline in the first 20 minutes and Mickelborough sent a header wide from one Canterbury free kick. Freeman shot just past the post for Whitstable after being put through by successive headers from Shaun Welford and Williams.

An early effort is deflected just wide
Jack Delo claims the ball

The Canterbury captain Laurence Harvey limped off after 26 minutes to be replaced by Cory Walters-Wright at the heart of their defence. Matt Martin caught Craig Cloke with a late challenge and became the third and final name to go into the book shortly afterwards. Shots on target were scarce in a hard fought first half, but the only one from the visitors almost brought the first goal on 38 minutes when Eason was forced to make a save low to his right from a well struck shot from distance and the rebound fell to Mickelborough, but he was unable to find the net. Stuart West got his head to a Bryant free kick at the far post, but Delo was on hand to make the save. In added time a Stuart West shot struck a hand in the box, but the penalty appeals were waved away by the referee and then from a Bryant corner, Cloke found himself in space on the six yard line, but he was unable to keep his shot down and it went just over the bar, so the half ended goalless.

Craig Cloke shoots just over from a corner

At the start of the second half, Freeman was fouled on the edge of the area, sparking some heated exchanges before Bryant saw his free kick deflected wide for a goal kick. A shot by Stuart West from distance went just wide and then a good low strike by Williams was well saved by Delo, with the follow up attempt blocked. Ollie Lee was introduced in the 59th minute for James Morrish and he brought a fresh impetus to the home midfield, as the visitors seemed to run out of steam a little. Whitstable took the lead on 65 minutes when a mistake in the Canterbury defence allowed Williams to pick up the loose ball and pass it to Stuart West on the right and he found the top corner of the net just inside the far post, giving Delo no chance.

Stuart West finds the top corner to open the scoring

Martin had a shot comfortably saved by Eason at the other end before Whitstable scored again in the 67th minute. Some great build up play led to Louis Sprosen playing the ball in to Welford who in turn passed to Williams and he did well to make room and shoot past Delo just inside the near post, leading to some jubilant scenes behind the goal.

Danny Williams scores the second
Celebrations

A couple of minutes later, Welford got into a good position, but saw his shot saved by Delo. The Whitstable back four, who all played well, were by now relatively untroubled and Canterbury were restricted to a few shots from distance. Joe Nelder and Dave Pilcher both had a go, but were well off target. Charlie Smith came on for Sprosen and Whitstable then won three successive corners that were all dealt with by the Canterbury defence. Pulman replaced Nelder for the last few minutes in an attempt to find a goal for the visitors, but it was Whitstable who went close again when Smith sent a dangerous ball across the box that just eluded the advancing Welford. Harris Rodgers was the last substitute, replacing the hard working Freeman. Welford twisted and turned in the box before being crowded out and Lee had a shot saved by Delo. Eason had one final cross from Martin to deal with before the final whistle. It had been a good second half performance by the home side that enabled them to take the points.

Charlie Smith tries a shot
Danny Williams and Ian Pulman battle for possession

Whitstable will be hoping that they can make it three home wins in eight days when they entertain Lancing in the FA Vase on Saturday.

Whitstable Canterbury
13 Attempts 8
7 On Target 2
7 Corners 1
2 Offside 4
11 Free Kicks Won 9

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jack West, Tom Bryant, Rob Gillman, Craig Cloke (c), Stuart West, Louis Sprosen (Charlie Smith 72), James Morrish (Ollie Lee 59), Ricky Freeman (Harris Rodgers 82), Shaun Welford, Danny Williams.
Sub (unused): Dean Ruddy
Goals: Stuart West 65, Danny Williams 67.
Yellow cards: Jack West 12, Ricky Freeman 17.

Canterbury City
Jack Delo, Josh McCallum, Gary Sayer, TJ Moncur, Laurence Harvey (c) (Cory Walters-Wright 26), Joe Kennett, Sam Conlon, Joe Nelder (Ian Pulman 80), Gary Mickelborough, Dave Pilcher, Matt Martin.
Subs (unused): Rob Lawrence, Michael Turner, Perry Cray.
Yellow card: Matt Martin 30

Attendance: 195
Referee: Bobby Kwatt
Assistants: Matt McCaughan & Chris Cannon

Whitstable Hit Five Again

WHITSTABLE TOWN 5 CORINTHIAN 0
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

Corinthian
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

FC ELMSTEAD 1 WHITSTABLE TOWN 5
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

DEAL TOWN 2 WHITSTABLE TOWN 1
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

BEARSTED 1 WHITSTABLE TOWN 2
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

Bearsted
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