Category: 2017-2018 Club News

Pitch Inspection Tomorrow

Whitstable have a home league fixture against Deal Town tomorrow,  Saturday 31st March.

Whilst the pitch at the Belmont Ground was playable on Friday morning, given the heavy rain that has fallen since, and continues to fall, Whitstable have arranged for a pitch inspection to be carried out at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. An update will be provided as soon as possible.

Goal celebrations

Whitstable Through To Second Final

Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Semi-Final Second Leg
Tuesday March 27 2018 19.45

A cup double is still on for Whitstable, following a 4-2 aggregate victory over Lordswood in this SCEFL Challenge Cup semi-final. With a single goal advantage and three away goals from the first leg, Lordswood knew that they needed to win and score at least two goals to go through to the final. The first half was fairly comfortable for Whitstable, as they allowed their opponents no shots on goal or corners, but Dan Eason did have to be alert to beat Bradley Webb to a low cross just before the interval. Whitstable should really have been ahead, as Danny Williams grazed the top of the bar when he looked certain to score and Joe Kane cleared a deflected Josh Burchell cross off the line. Lordswood gave it a go in the second half, although their task was made more difficult when Teddy Nelson nodded in at the far post following a free kick in the 59th minute. Eason was called upon to make a few saves, but substitute Jack Mahon came closest to pulling a goal back when his header hit the post. There were to be no further goals however, as Whitstable extended their unbeaten run to sixteen games and booked their place in the final against Tunbridge Wells, who completed a 5-0 aggregate win over Crowborough.

Stuart West returned to the Whitstable team after his suspension and took the place of Rob Gillman, who started on the bench after being delayed on his journey to the ground. Shaun Welford was nursing a slight strain, so Danny Williams returned to the starting eleven. Lordswood made a couple of changes from the first leg, with Bradley Webb and Adam Hooper replacing Jordan Gallacher and Jack Mahon.

The opening stages were relatively quiet and a couple of good in swinging corners by Burchell that were pushed out by Ryan Chandler were the closest Whitstable came to opening the scoring. In the 15th minute, John Walker played the ball forward to Williams, who raced clear only to see his shot blocked by Chandler and as the ball came back to him, he lifted his shot onto the top of the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Whitstable go close from an early corner
Danny Williams has a shot blocked by Ryan Chandler
The Whitstable striker hits the top of the bar from the rebound

Chandler then saved from Ricky Freeman after West had headed the ball on for him. Then, a good pass by Macauley Murray found Burchell on the left and his low cross deflected off the goalkeeper towards the goal, but Joe Kane was on hand to clear. The only real threat to the home goal in the first half came on 35 minutes, when a good low cross from the right almost presented Webb a chance, but Eason got to the ball just before the Lordswood player. Whitstable reached the interval without ever looking quite as sharp as they had been in the previous couple of games, but they seemed comfortably in control, although with just the one goal lead they knew that things could still change in the remaining 45 minutes.

Shortly after the restart, Gary Cook was booked for bringing down Freeman and then a well struck shot from distance by Frankie Griffin brought a save from Eason. The hard working Freeman set up Williams and he took the ball forward into the box but his initial shot was blocked by the outstretched leg of Kane and as the ball rebounded to him, he struck it well, but this time Chandler managed to push the ball over the top to keep the scores level.

Another Danny Williams shot is blocked by Lordswood
The goalkeeper just manages to get his hands to this shot
The ball goes behind for a corner

On 53 minutes, Tom Bryant appeared to be fouled, but play was allowed to continue, giving Lordswood a great chance, but they failed to make the most of the opportunity. Burchell was then cautioned for a challenge on Griffin as he tried to break. The only goal arrived on 59 minutes when Whitstable won a free kick on the right and Murray curled the ball into the box, where West jumped with the goalkeeper and a couple of defenders and the ball was helped on towards the far post where Nelson managed to shrug off some holding by Jason Hollick to head the ball into the net. It was a reward for another good performance by the young academy player.

Stuart West causes problems from Macauley Murray’s free kick
Teddy Nelson is first to the ball at the back post despite the attention of Jason Hollick
Whitstable have the lead

Lordswood raised their game in the later stages, as they had done in the first leg and a good James Huggins cross was met by Hooper with a diving header, but it was an easy save for Eason. Mahon then came on for Huggins, whilst Whitstable sent on Louis Sprosen for Burchell. A Lordswood free kick was headed just wide and then a short corner was punched clear by Eason. A Griffin cross from the right was headed against the upright by Mahon, before a low shot from the rebound was safely gathered by the Whitstable goalkeeper. The referee awarded a free kick when Helge Orome went down just outside the box, much to the frustration of the home players, but the attempt by Hooper was saved low by Eason. More substitutions were made by the managers, with Ashley Miller and Gillman both coming on in the 75th minute as Whitstable made a double change. On 85 minutes Freeman ran through from midfield, keeping possession after a couple of challenges, to shoot low across the goal where West was just unable to force the ball in at the far post.

Ricky Freeman shoots across the goal
Stuart West just fails to divert the ball into the net

A determined run by James Morrish created an opening for Miller, but he was unable to get a shot away. West was booked for a foul, but the Lordswood free kick from 25 yards out was off target. The visitors felt they should have had a corner in stoppage time, but the officials gave a goal kick and there were to be no further opportunities and Whitstable were through to another final, to be played in early May.

Whitstable Lordswood
10 Attempts 7
7 On Target 4
4 Corners 1
5 Offside 4
7 Free Kicks Won 10

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell (Louis Sprosen 62), Teddy Nelson, Stuart West, Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders (Rob Gillman 75), James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman, Danny Williams (Ashley Miller 75), Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Shaun Welford, Dean Ruddy.
Goal: Teddy Nelson 59
Yellow cards: Josh Burchell 57, Stuart West 86.

Ryan Chandler, Frankie Griffin, Jason Hollick (Lennie Laker 90), George Blake, Gary Cook (c), Joe Kane, Bradley Webb, James Huggins (Jack Mahon 62), Adam Hooper (Tom Wooldridge 74), Jordan Wells, Helge Orome.
Subs (unused): Tom Carter, Peter Huggens.
Yellow card: Gary Cook 48

Attendance: 110
Referee: Stuart Marriott
Assistants: Dan Friar & Matthew Sell

SCEFL Challenge Cup Final

Whitstable Town and Tunbridge Wells both made it through to the final of the SCEFL Challenge Cup last night, defeating Lordswood and Crowborough Athletic respectively.

It has now been confirmed that the cup final will be played on Saturday 5th May with a kick off time of 1 p.m. The venue will be the Longmead Stadium, which is the home ground of Tonbridge Angels Football Club.

Further details of the match day arrangements will be announced once known.

Freeman Double Beats League Leaders

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday March 24 2018 15.00

This was a game that Whitstable had to win to stay in touch with the teams at the top of the table and they did so deservedly with a great team performance. Two excellently taken goals by Ricky Freeman in a couple of minutes midway through the first half were enough to claim the three points. The in-form striker, who now has six goals in the last six games, opened the scoring with a great finish after being played in by Rob Gillman and then added a second when he tucked away a John Walker cross at the near post. Macauley Murray and Freeman both went close from free kicks and Shaun Welford had a header blocked as Whitstable dominated proceedings in the first half, although Dan Eason had to be alert to deny Kenny Pogue after he latched on to a defensive error. Sevenoaks were more competitive after the break, winning some early corners after Whitstable had gone close to scoring a third, but the home defence generally coped well until Frankie Sawyer found space in the box to pull a goal back in the 86th minute. Sevenoaks pumped a series of balls into the box to try to find a late equaliser and Eason was called upon to make a couple of saves, but Whitstable held on to close the gap at the top of the table.

The only change to the Whitstable team that played Lordswood in the week was Chris Saunders returning in midfield, with Louis Sprosen dropping to the bench. Ashley Miller was in the Faversham squad for the afternoon, but Danny Williams returned, although only as a substitute as he was unable to get to the ground in time to start. Sevenoaks arrived with a healthy lead at the top of the table and having made a series of additions to their squad in recent weeks in an attempt to stay there. These included two former Whitstable players in Frankie Sawyer, who had scored hat-tricks in two of their previous three games, and Jack Mahoney, the latest signing from Sheppey.

Dan Eason clears a Sevenoaks corner

The game started quietly and a good cross by Walker that went right across the goalmouth with no one in a position to take advantage was the highlight of the first 10 minutes. There were then a couple of early yellow cards: Pogue for a high challenge on Eason and James Morrish for a lunging tackle on Chris Edwards. Morrish, Murray and Saunders seemed to be winning every ball in midfield, as Sevenoaks struggled to get into the game. On 18 minutes, Morrish won a free kick that Murray curled just past the left post. There was a rare sight of goal for the visitors when Pogue intercepted an attempted header back to Eason, but as he tried to find the bottom corner, the Whitstable goalkeeper was able to get a hand to the ball and deflect it wide. Back at the other end, Freeman was fouled by Corey Holder and the free kick delivered by Murray was met firmly by the head of Welford, but the ball was blocked and claims of handball were waved away by the referee. This was a game between the two teams with comfortably the best defensive records in the division, so it was likely to take something special to break the deadlock and Whitstable managed just that, with two of their better goals of the season in the space of two minutes. Gillman collected the ball on the right in his own half and after bringing it forward, picked out Freeman on the left edge of the box and he took it inside the defender and hit a great shot into the left corner giving Jack Bradshaw no chance.

Ricky Freeman scores the first

Then, just as the crowd were settling down, Walker made a good run down the right and sent over a cross from the corner and Freeman got in front of Jack Miles at the near post to divert the ball into the far corner.

Ricky Freeman is first to the cross
A great near post finish makes it 2-0

In the 33rd minute, Welford was fouled just outside the box as he tried to hold the ball up and Freeman came close to his hat-trick, curling the free kick just wide. As the interval approached, Freeman almost turned provider when he sent over a cross for Welford, but the ball was well cut out by the defence. Sevenoaks were looking a bit ragged and there were several uncharacteristic stray passes that went straight out or to an opposing player. They had to make an early change when Mahoney injured himself in a challenge and limped off to be replaced by Billy Bennett. The Whitstable goal was threatened on 44 minutes, when the defence struggled to clear a ball into the box, but after a couple of last ditch blocks the ball went out for a corner and when the it came back in, Edwards tried a shot that went way over the bar.

Shaun Welford was a handful for the Sevenoaks defence all afternoon
Ricky Freeman goes close to a hat trick

A 2-0 lead at the break was a fair reward for the way the game had gone in the first 45 minutes, but Sevenoaks are top for a reason and they came out early and looked more determined when play restarted. Whitstable though had a great chance to add a third when a great step over and pass by Morrish released Saunders, but his cross was too high for the unmarked Welford in the box. Jason Thompson was booked for a tackle on Morrish, but then Sevenoaks won three corners in quick succession and there were several blocks and a handball appeal before the danger was cleared. Morrish shot just wide and then Edwards was booked for bringing down Josh Burchell. Walker was having an impressive game and he won a free kick after a good move and when the ball arrived at the far edge of the penalty area, Teddy Nelson, who did not look out of place despite his young age, had a shot deflected just wide for a corner.

Chris Saunders is just unable to find the waiting Shaun Welford with this cross
Teddy Nelson has a shot deflected for a corner

Both teams made a change on 66 minutes, with Josh Froggatt, another recent Sevenoaks recruit from Sheppey, coming on for Thompson and Williams replacing Welford for Whitstable. Welford had been a constant menace to the Sevenoaks defence on his second start after a long injury lay off. Brett Ince became the fourth Sevenoaks player to be cautioned after another foul on Morrish, before Byron Walker replaced Harrison Carnegie, who had been unusually quiet. Murray tried a shot from distance that was caught just under the bar, before he then picked up an injury and was substituted by Sprosen.

Danny Williams and Corey Holder had a good battle for the last 20 minutes

Sevenoaks had been trying to get the ball forward more directly and with a few minutes remaining, a chance finally fell to Sawyer, who had time to place his shot past Eason from inside the box. There followed the predictable late pressure from the visitors as Whitstable sat back and failed to keep possession, with goalkeeper Bradshaw coming forward for one corner and Eason having to save a looping header from Pogue and then keeping out shots by Ben Wilson and Froggatt. There was to be no further drama and Whitstable claimed the win that their team performance had merited.

James Morrish with the Oysterboys at the end

It was the second game in a week however when Whitstable had been comfortably in control, only to have to suffer some nervy minutes near the end and for the sake of the stress levels of their supporters, they might consider how best to manage the closing stages of games as the season enters its decisive month.

Whitstable Sevenoaks
8 Attempts 9
4 On Target 5
1 Corners 8
5 Offside 0
11 Free Kicks Won 9

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Teddy Nelson, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman, Shaun Welford (Danny Williams 66), Macauley Murray (Louis Sprosen 83).
Subs (unused): Owen Fitt, Brendon Cass, Dean Ruddy.
Goals: Ricky Freeman 24, 26.
Yellow card: James Morrish 15

Sevenoaks Town
Jack Bradshaw, Chris Edwards, Ben Wilson, Brett Ince, Jack Miles, Corey Holder (c), Harrison Carnegie (Byron Walker 75), Jason Thompson (Josh Froggatt 66), Kenny Pogue, Frankie Sawyer, Jack Mahoney (Billy Bennett 41).
Subs (unused): Greg Benbow, Osman Proni.
Goal: Frankie Sawyer 86
Yellow cards: Kenny Pogue 10, Jason Thompson 47, Chris Edwards 55, Brett Ince 69.

Attendance: 176
Referee: Valentine Anekwe
Assistants: William Cannon & Paul Franks

Late Goals Keep Tie Alive

Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Semi-Final First Leg
Wednesday March 21 2018 19.45

Whitstable will start the second leg of this semi-final with a single goal advantage after Lordswood fought back to score two late goals in a match that looked like ending in a comfortable away win until the last 15 minutes. In a one sided first half, two Rob Gillman goals from corners gave Whitstable a deserved lead and when Ricky Freeman headed a third soon after the restart, they appeared to be cruising towards a second cup final of the season. The game was more evenly contested in the second half, but it was only after Jordan Wells had fired home a loose ball on 75 minutes that Lordswood started to play with any real belief and suddenly Whitstable struggled to keep any meaningful possession. Joe Kane nodded in a second following a corner to set up a frantic finish, but the Whitstable defence withstood some late pressure to take a 3-2 lead back to the Belmont next Tuesday.

The two teams had met one month earlier in the league, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw at the Belmont and there were a few changes to the starting elevens. Carl Harrold, Peter Huggens and Bradley Webb were replaced by Frank Griffin, Jason Hollick and Helge Orome for the home team. Whitstable were without the suspended Stuart West and Charlie Smith, whilst also absent were injured captain Craig Cloke and top scorer Danny Williams, who had to miss the game for family reasons. Chris Saunders, who had sat out the previous couple of games through injury, was on the bench where he was joined by new dual registration signing Ashley Miller. Shaun Welford started his first game since early October.

Pre match greetings

The first meaningful action came in the 7th minute when Welford headed the ball on for Freeman, whose low strike was turned behind by Ryan Chandler. The corner was taken by Josh Burchell and when the ball found its way to the back post, it was headed back into the centre by Welford and Gillman rose to nod it into the net to give Whitstable an early lead.

Rob Gillman heads the first

A good run by Jordan Wells was ended by a Burchell tackle, but the referee allowed Lordswood to continue the attack and the danger was eventually cleared with a timely intervention by John Walker. A long ball in from the right by Welford then struck the angle of the post and bar before going behind for a goal kick. Burchell shot wide before Whitstable doubled their advantage on 21 minutes. Another corner by the left wing back led to one effort coming back off the post and the rebound was blasted high into the net by Gillman.

The ball rebounds off the post
Rob Gillman fires the ball back towards goal
It’s 2-0 to Whitstable

Jordan Gallacher made a couple of threatening runs for the home team, one leading to two corners in quick succession, but Dan Eason was not tested at all in the first half. In the 36th minute, a poor pass by Griffin was intercepted by Welford and although Lordswood regained possession, a back pass was picked up by Chandler and a free kick was awarded to Whitstable just to the left of the goal. Chandler was cautioned for his reaction, but when the free kick was rolled back to Welford his shot was blocked. Freeman and Welford both found their way into the book for challenges in the next few minutes. Whitstable were unhappy with two decisions just before the break, firstly when the ball appeared to go well behind the line for a corner that was not given and then after a Welford shot was deflected, Chandler crashed into Burchell as he attempted to get to the loose ball. The Lordswood goalkeeper saved one more Freeman shot before the half time whistle blew with the visitors well worth their two goal lead.

Ryan Chandler collides with Josh Burchell as they challenge for the ball

Gallacher strode forward dangerously with the ball early in the second half, before being upended by Teddy Nelson 25 yards from goal, but Helge Orome lifted the free kick high over the bar. On 51 minutes, a Whitstable free kick was headed back across the box and Freeman directed a header perfectly over Chandler and into the top corner to make it 3-0.

Ricky Freeman heads the ball over the goalkeeper
It finds the top corner and Whitstable are three up

Whitstable seemed to be in complete control, although Lordswood created their first real opening a few minutes later, when a good cross by Orome fell to Jack Mahon, but he could only stab the ball wide of the far post. It was to be his last involvement as he was then substituted by Adam Hooper. On the hour mark, the home team managed their first effort on target when a long range shot by George Blake was held just under the bar by Eason. Tom Bryant headed a Macauley Murray corner over the top and then Welford, who had done a good job on his return, was replaced by Miller. A spell of Whitstable pressure ended with Louis Sprosen shooting past the post from outside the box. Joe Kane was booked for a foul on Whitstable skipper for the night, James Morrish, before Burchell and Miller almost created another opportunity. Bradley Webb was then introduced in place of Gallacher. There was a break in play when one of the assistants was struck in the eye with the ball and had to be treated by the home physio, Donna Walker.

With a quarter of an hour remaining, a Griffin cross was not properly cleared by the Whitstable defence and Wells smashed the loose ball past Eason from just inside the penalty area. This changed the game completely and Lordswood suddenly grew in confidence and pushed Whitstable back. A Sprosen tackle was adjudged to be worthy of a caution and Grant McIlheron was the final substitute used by the home team. In the 81st minute, a corner was helped on at the near post by Gary Cook and Kane was on hand to head home from close range. In the time that remained, Whitstable survived another four corners and Eason made two comfortable saves from Webb, but despite the pressure Lordswood were unable to find an equaliser. The last action was a yellow card for Orome after a foul on Burchell and Whitstable will start the second leg with a one goal advantage. If the aggregate scores are level after 90 minutes at the Belmont, extra time, away goals and penalties may yet be called upon to decide the tie.

Lordswood Whitstable
10 Attempts 12
5 On Target 5
9 Corners 4
3 Offside 1
16 Free Kicks Won 13

Ryan Chandler, Joe Kane, Frank Griffin, George Blake, Gary Cook (c), Jason Hollick, Jordan Gallacher (Bradley Webb 72), James Huggins (Grant McIlheron 80), Jack Mahon (Adam Hooper 58), Jordan Wells, Helge Orome.
Subs (unused): Tom Carter, Tom Montgomery.
Goals: Jordan Wells 75, Joe Kane 81.
Yellow cards: Ryan Chandler 36, Joe Kane 71, Helge Orome 90+4.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Teddy Nelson, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Louis Sprosen, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman, Shaun Welford (Ashley Miller 63), Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Owen Fitt, Chris Saunders, Brendon Cass, Dean Ruddy.
Goals: Rob Gillman 7, 21, Ricky Freeman 51.
Yellow cards: Ricky Freeman 37, Shaun Welford 42, Louis Sprosen 79.

Attendance: 101
Referee: Kirsty Dowle
Assistants: Rob Columb & Billy Woods

Ashley Miller Returns

Whitstable manager Scott Porter has signed Ashley Miller on dual registration from Faversham Town and he is included in the squad for the cup semi-final at Lordswood this evening. The former Gillingham striker played 11 games for Whitstable during the 2013-14 season, scoring 8 goals. He has since played for several Kent clubs, including Folkestone Invicta and Hythe Town.