Category: 2017-2018 Club News

Freeman Goal Wins Tight Match

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday February 24 2018 15.00

Whitstable edged closer to the top of the table with a narrow win over Corinthian in a game of few chances at a bitterly cold Belmont Ground, with a strong wind and a tricky surface making things difficult for both teams. Visiting goalkeeper Aiden Prall had to make three saves in the first half, the hardest being a Craig Cloke free kick that he got down well to gather low to his right. The best opportunity before the interval however fell to Luke Tanner, but the Corinthian number eleven shot wide from close range with only Dan Eason to beat. Substitute Rob Gillman replaced the injured Chris Saunders at half time, but only lasted a few minutes before suffering a nasty cut to his head from a high boot and Cloke also limped off later in the half. There were few moments of quality to warm the crowd, but Ricky Freeman scored the only goal in the 74th minute after Shaun Welford had caused problems from a free kick. Just a minute later, Eason had to pull off an important save, turning a fierce shot from Tanner around the post. That was the only effort on target that Corinthian managed, despite having some spells of pressure and although they were far from their best, Whitstable hung on to claim the points.

Josh Burchell was unavailable this week, so Louis Sprosen started for Whitstable at left wing back, but otherwise it was a familiar looking line up for the home side, as they looked to continue their unbeaten run that stretched back to mid-December. This was the third meeting of the season between these teams, with the two previous matches ending in 5-0 Whitstable victories and Danny Williams had scored a hat trick in both. Corinthian had won at Glebe in their latest fixture to end a four game losing streak and their team contained three former Oysters – Sam Bewick, Sam Groombridge and Michael Hurcomb.

There was some early action in the home penalty area, when John Walker sliced an attempted clearance towards his own goal, but the defence eventually cleared the ball up field. It was certainly not the only miskick of the afternoon with the strong wind and, in the second half especially, the soft pitch making things difficult for the players unless they took extra time to bring the ball under control. At the other end James Morrish felt he was fouled as he tried to get on the end of a good cross by Williams, but the officials saw nothing wrong. Williams was excellent in the first half, with his pace and control causing numerous problems for the Corinthian defence and he was taken out by Groombridge in the 8th minute just outside the penalty area. Cloke took the free kick and struck it low towards the bottom left corner of the goal, but Prall was able to get across to make the save.

Craig Cloke takes a free kick
Aiden Prall saves the free kick

Sprosen met a Freeman cross on the half volley, but it was a straightforward stop for Prall and then a good turn and forward run by Williams ended as he shot wide of the post. There were a few pushes and minor fouls that were ignored, as the referee decided to let the game continue with few stoppages and the next chance came in the 14th minute, when a long clearance bounced dangerously and just eluded two Whitstable players, who were both unable to divert the ball towards goal. The visitors then had a great chance to take the lead when a corner was taken short and the ball worked in from the right. It was only partially cleared and Bewick sent it back into the box where it fell to an unmarked Tanner on the six yard line, but he dragged his left footed shot wide of the right hand post when it looked easier to score. Just afterwards a good run by Bewick ended when he was crowded out by the home defence. Macauley Murray sent a dangerous free kick across the goal without anyone being able to get a touch, after Williams was pushed over on the right edge of the box and then Cloke felt he was impeded as he tried an acrobatic effort from another cross, but the referee did not agree.

Louis Sprosen tries a shot

As the half hour mark approached, Tom Bryant made a timely clearance after a bit of a mix up in the home defence. Freeman turned and shot over from 20 yards, then a Murray shot was deflected towards goal, but was easily gathered by Prall. On 36 minutes Saunders was injured in a challenge on the halfway line, but carried on until the break. After a spell of pressure by the visitors, a Whitstable free kick by Murray from his own half was headed over the bar by Williams. In the last minutes of the half, Bewick went over in the box after a surging run, but his penalty appeals were waved away and then Alexander Jack Billings found the side netting from an acute angle.

Saunders was unable to return after he break, so Gillman came on to play at the back with Stuart West moving into midfield. A few minutes into the half however, he was kicked in the head by Hurcomb as he went for a header in the middle of the pitch. The dangerously high kick sparked a few arguments amongst the other players before Gillman was helped from the pitch, to be replaced by Welford, and Hurcomb escaped with a yellow card. The unfortunate Whitstable player later returned from the local medical centre with a number of stitches in his forehead. When the free kick was eventually taken, the ball fell to Freeman whose shot flew over the bar. Freeman was involved again when he combined with Morrish to create an opening for Walker, but his shot was saved by Prall.

The unfortunate Rob Gillman suffers a nasty head wound

Cloke was robbed as he tried to bring the ball forward, but Tanner was unable to hit the target. A good piece of football down the right by Walker enabled him to deliver a cross that was volleyed over by Welford. Corinthian had a promising few minutes, pushing Whitstable back, but without being able to test Eason. When the home side did regain some control, Welford challenged Prall for a Bryant cross and the ball dropped to West whose shot struck a defender and went behind for a corner.

Shaun Welford challenges for a high ball

Bewick was booked for kicking the ball away on 70 minutes and then Whitstable lost their third player to injury, when Cloke had to be replaced by Owen Fitt. A free kick led to the decisive goal as Welford jumped in a crowd of players and the ball fell invitingly for Freeman, who swept it into the far corner from close range. As in the previous game, Whitstable looked vulnerable immediately after taking the lead, but this time Eason was equal to a shot by Tanner and turned it round the post. Hurcomb next shot high and wide after the ball had not been properly cleared.

Ricky Freeman scores the winner
The ball finds the far corner
Goal celebrations
Dan Eason prevents an equaliser

Corinthian made two substitutions, with a booking for Sprosen for dissent sandwiched in between. The remaining minutes passed with little quality, as the enforced changes and increasingly difficult conditions both played a part. Williams made one good run down the left to win a corner that Whitstable declined to send into the box and substitute Donvieve Jones was cautioned for a double foul on Sprosen as he raced down the right. The referee called a halt after three additional minutes as Whitstable secured another win. It is now 8 wins and 3 draws in the last 11 games and with other results helping, Whitstable moved up to third place, 5 points behind the leaders Sevenoaks.

Whitstable Corinthian
12 Attempts 7
6 On Target 1
3 Corners 2
1 Offside 2
10 Free Kicks Won 7

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Louis Sprosen, Stuart West, Craig Cloke (c) (Owen Fitt 73), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders (Rob Gillman 46, Shaun Welford 52), James Morrish, Ricky Freeman, Danny Williams, Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Brendon Cass, Dean Ruddy.
Goal: Ricky Freeman 74
Yellow card: Louis Sprosen 78

Aiden Prall, Jordan Campbell, Alexander Jack Billings, Jack Bath (c), Jardel Bundu-Kamara, Sam Groombridge, Malik Ouani, Sam Bewick (Donvieve Jones 77), Michael Hurcomb, Oscar Housego, Luke Tanner (Conor Johnson 81).
Sub (unused): Aaron Guard
Yellow cards: Michael Hurcomb 51, Sam Bewick 70, Donvieve Jones 90.

Attendance: 147
Referee: Joshua Howard
Assistants: Paul Franks & Simon Jackson

New Date For Deal Game

The postponed SCEFL Challenge Cup quarter final, Whitstable Town v Deal Town, will now take place on Tuesday 27th February. The league match at Crowborough has therefore been postponed and will have to be moved to a later date.

Please note that the academy game today against West Ham Beckton Blues (Wednesday 21st February) has been rearranged for Wednesday 18th April.

Cup Tie Off Again

Following a pitch inspection at 1 p.m. by the referee, the SCEFL Challenge Cup quarter final match against Deal Town has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

A new date for this game and any resulting changes to other fixtues will be communicated once confirmed.

Deal Match Latest

There will be a pitch inspection by the referee at 1 p.m. this afternoon to see if the cup quarter final match against Deal Town can go ahead tonight. An update will be given once this has been completed.

Whitstable v Deal

The rearranged SCEFL Challenge Cup quarter final, Whitstable Town v Deal Town, is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday 20th February.

The pitch at the Belmont Ground is currently fine and the club are hoping the game will go ahead despite the damp weather forecast for today and tomorrow. If the rain becomes heavier, it may be necessary to arrange a pitch inspection on Tuesday afternoon, so keep an eye on the website and other social media.

Points Shared At The Belmont

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday February 17 2018 15.00

Whitstable and Lordswood battled to a 1-1 draw in a poor game at the Belmont Ground on a sunny, but chilly afternoon. For the first third of the match, Whitstable pushed forward, winning six corners, but failed to create any clear goal scoring opportunities. Jordan Wells made one promising early run for the visitors, but the goalkeepers had little to do until Ricky Freeman opened the scoring with a good finish in the 30th minute. Shortly afterwards Lordswood won their first corner, from which an unmarked Joe Kane headed the equaliser from close range. As half time approached, Freeman shot over the bar when well placed and Dan Eason had to get down quickly to gather the ball after the Whitstable defence had failed to clear. Neither team managed a serious effort on target after the interval, as the defences dealt comfortably with any danger. Whitstable rarely looked like extending their winning run, as Lordswood seemed content to settle for a point to maintain their own unbeaten start to 2018.

Whitstable manager Scott Porter had a full squad at his disposal as league action returned to the Belmont. John Walker returned to the team, leaving a strong looking bench. Lordswood arrived in good form themselves, having not lost since a 4-3 defeat at Hollands and Blair at the end of December. Their team contained a number of players who had appeared in a Whitstable shirt in recent seasons. The pitch had dried considerably in the previous few days, but was still a little soft in places.

The home team began quite confidently and the majority of the early play took place in the Lordswood half. Wells did cause a few problems for the Whitstable defence with a good run down the right, but his low cross was blocked as it came into the box. Whitstable won a number of corners and sent in a few other crosses and deflected shots, but Ryan Chandler in the Lordswood goal was relatively untroubled, although he was at full stretch to tip one dangerous Josh Burchell corner away from the waiting home attackers. James Huggins hit a free kick into the Whitstable box that almost caused problems before the ball was eventually cleared. The deadlock was broken when Walker played a low pass forward from the right and the ball reached Freeman in space just inside the penalty area and he controlled it before shooting past Chandler into the bottom left hand corner of the net. Lordswood responded quickly when a Bradley Webb corner was swung in from the left and Kane found himself unmarked in the six yard box and headed the ball past Eason, who had stayed on his line.

Early pressure from Whitstable
Ricky Freeman scores
Contrasting emotions
Joe Kane heads the equaliser

After Whitstable had failed to make the most of another corner, Danny Williams found himself in the book for an aerial challenge. Little else of note happened until the last few minutes of the half. A great cross field ball by Tom Bryant picked out Williams and he headed the ball back across the box to Freeman who had an opportunity to put his team back in front, but he lifted the ball over the bar. At the other end, a mistake in the home defence almost gifted the visitors a half time lead, but Eason was quickly down to gather the ball.

Ricky Freeman tries for a second goal
It’s over the bar

The second half started with a couple of free kicks for each team, before a Lordswood ball across the box was well cut out by Walker with a last ditch interception. James Morrish picked up the ball in his own half and burst forward, only to be brought down by Jordan Gallagher who was booked by the referee.

James Morrish breaks away
Jordan Gallagher collects a yellow card for this tackle

Both teams then made substitutions with Helge Orome coming on for Lordswood and Shaun Welford and Louis Sprosen replacing Williams and Walker for Whitstable. It was Welford who had the next attempt, heading a Macauley Murray over the bar in a crowded area. Lordswood had a couple of corners without troubling Eason and then Freeman was fouled on the edge of the box, earning a booking for Huggins, but the free kick was headed away from danger. Huggins was substituted by ex-Oyster Grant McIlheron shortly afterwards. The referee was having his patience tested as Lordswood looked to run down the clock, although when he did eventually show a card for delaying a throw in, Carl Harrold was perhaps a little unfortunate as he had not been the worst offender. Morrish soon followed him into the book when he took exception to being penalised for a challenge in midfield.

Shaun Welford heads over
Tom Bryant has a late effort saved
James Morrish with the final attempt to win the game

In the five and a bit added minutes, there were a few half chances as firstly Welford headed the ball down for Bryant whose shot was blocked, then a Burchell free kick was deflected past the near post. The hard working Freeman shot wide and finally a Morrish header was comfortably held by Chandler. The whistle soon followed and a game containing little excitement for the crowd ended 1-1. Lordswood defended well once they had quickly cancelled out the Whitstable lead, but the home team will know they will need to play better if they are to collect the points needed to challenge for a top two spot at the end of the season.

Whitstable Lordswood
7 Attempts 3
3 On Target 2
10 Corners 4
3 Offside 1
13 Free Kicks Won 16

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker (Louis Sprosen 74), Josh Burchell, Stuart West, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish, Ricky Freeman, Danny Williams (Shaun Welford 67), Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Rob Gillman, Charlie Smith, Teddy Nelson.
Goal: Ricky Freeman 30
Yellow cards: Danny Williams 35, James Morrish 87.

Ryan Chandler, Joe Kane, Carl Harrold, George Blake, Gary Cook (c), Peter Huggens, Bradley Webb (Helge Orome 61), James Huggins (Grant McIlheron 87), Jack Mahon (Frankie Griffin 90+4), Jordan Wells, Jordan Gallagher.
Subs (unused): Jason Hollick, Tom Carter.
Goal: Joe Kane 32
Yellow cards: Jordan Gallagher 56, James Huggins 83, Carl Harrold 85.

Attendance: 138
Referee: Nick Fruin
Assistants: Andrew Worthington & Mark Cheeseman