Depleted Town Earn A Point

Bostik League South East
Tuesday September 18 2018 19.45

Whitstable and Haywards Heath had to settle for a point each at the Belmont in a poor game with few chances. Whitstable, missing several key players through injury and illness, came closest to scoring when Louis Sprosen smacked a 20 yard shot against the bar late in the first half. Haywards Heath generally looked the more likely to snatch the win, particularly in the second half, but Dan Eason and the home defence worked hard to earn a draw.

Ricky Freeman and Stuart West both failed to recover from injuries sustained during the away win at Phoenix Sports and Whitstable were also without the unwell John Walker. This meant a first start for Chris Elliott and recent signing Elliott Hartnell-Baker was named among the substitutes as was Charlie Smith, available again after his suspension. This was the first of three consecutive home games for Whitstable against the other teams promoted to the Bostik South East division in the summer, with Three Bridges and Sevenoaks Town to follow. Haywards Heath had collected four points from their first four games, including a 5-4 win at Horsham. It was a round trip from Sussex of over 150 miles for this midweek fixture.

The game started quietly and the first serious goal attempt came in the 14th minute when the first corner by the visitors was cleared as far as Max Miller, whose cross was met by the head of tall striker Melford Simpson, but Dan Eason was able to save comfortably just under the bar. A few minutes later, Miller tried a long low shot that again Eason was able to gather easily. Nathan Cooper headed a corner well wide, when picked out in the box. Whitstable were not really creating any opportunities and conceding possession far too easily. On 34 minutes though, it was the turn of Haywards Heath to give the ball away as Sean Roddy was robbed by Tom Walmsley and then earned a caution for bringing him down.

Steve Smith Wins A Header
Haywards Heath go close

Whitstable suffered a further injury blow when their captain James Morrish, who had been suffering with a back problem, limped off to be replaced by Louis Sprosen. The substitute was soon in the action, as Walmsley played the ball through and his shot from 20 yards beat Joshua Heyburn, but struck the bar and rebounded to Steve Smith, whose attempt was deflected wide for a corner. There was little further action of note before the interval, although Smith picked up a caution and was later joined in the notebook by Callum Saunders, who had been causing Whitstable a few problems with his runs, but was penalised for a poor challenge in stoppage time. The home team failed to make the most of a number of set pieces, with the delivery often not in the right areas to cause problems.

Louis Sprosen shoots
The ball beats the goalkeeper
The ball comes back off the bar

The game picked up a little in the second half and Sprosen had a low half volley saved by Heyburn and then in the 51st minute a Saunders free kick was headed wide by an unmarked Simpson, who might have done better. An injured Cooper was replaced by Ibrahim Fofane, forcing Haywards Heath into a change of shape. Some hesitant defending gifted a chance to Smith just outside the box, but his low shot was blocked by Heyburn. Kane Louis tried a shot from distance that was saved low down by Eason and then Byron Napper made a strong run past a couple of challenges, but his shot was well blocked by Chris Saunders. Elliott was booked for a foul and a few minutes later replaced by Kyran Connolly. Saunders was perhaps fortunate not to receive a second yellow card for another foul, but after presumably receiving a final warning by the referee, he was promptly taken off and replaced by Karl Akehurst.

Steve Smith has a shot saved

The Whitstable defence, with Rob Gillman a calming influence, did well to block several more dangerous balls into the box. Heyburn had to be alert to cut out a curling ball from Jordan Wright, but the Sussex team were looking the more likely winners at this stage and Simpson, who was creating some problems, passed to Akehurst whose deflected shot was saved by Eason as it was heading for the bottom corner. On 79 minutes, it was Simpson again who headed the ball down for Akehurst, but he shot over the bar. Simpson was on the end of another deep cross, but when the ball eventually fell to Miller, he could only find the side netting. As the game entered the final minute, a good effort by Akehurst was well saved by Eason and when the ball came out to Naim Rouane, his shot was deflected wide. Charlie Smith, who had been introduced as a substitute for the final quarter of an hour, had two late attempts for Whitstable. He first headed a Sprosen corner over the bar and then tried a final curling shot from distance that went past the far post.

Dan Eason grabs the ball after a Haywards Heath attack
Charlie Smith challenges for the ball

Neither team could find the net before the final whistle however, so both had to settle for a hard earned point. Haywards Heath will probably be the happier team on the night, although they were unable to find a winner against a resolute home defence. Whitstable will hope for the return of some key players for their forthcoming matches, after a below par performance.

Whitstable Haywards Heath
8 Attempts 13
3 On Target 5
2 Corners 3
1 Offside 1
17 Free Kicks Won 10

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, Chris Elliott (Kyran Connolly 67), Teddy Nelson, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (c) (Louis Sprosen 35), Tom Walmsley (Charlie Smith 75) Steve Smith, Jai McKinlay.
Sub (unused): Elliott Hartnell-Baker
Yellow cards: Steve Smith 40, Chris Elliott 63, Jai McKinlay 76.

Haywards Heath Town
Joshua Heyburn, Sean Roddy, George Brown, Byron Napper, Nathan Cooper (Ibrahim Fofane 53), Joshua Spinks, Callum Saunders (Karl Akehurst 69), Naim Rouane (c), Melford Simpson, Kane Louis, Max Miller (Kieran Rowe 85).
Subs (unused): George Fenton, Patrick Akwasi-Bronyan.
Yellow cards: Sean Roddy 34, Callum Saunders 45+3.

Attendance: 139
Referee: Ian Fissenden
Assistants: Daniel Doyle & Richard Joss

Freeman Double In Away Win

Bostik League South East
Saturday September 15 2018 15.00

An excellent first half performance by Whitstable was instrumental in their second consecutive league victory. New signing Steve Smith caused problems for the home defence throughout and set up the first goal for Ricky Freeman, who had almost scored in the first minute. Jordan Wright and Chris Saunders also went close. Phoenix struggled to get into the game and created few chances before the break, but Dan Eason did well to save from Jeff Duah-Kessie when he broke clear. Jack Barry made their task harder, when he was dismissed for a poor challenge in the 39th minute and Smith almost doubled the lead with a great effort that struck the post. The home team were better in the second half, despite playing with ten men, and created a number of openings without being able to find an end product. Wright, Smith and James Morrish all had chances for Whitstable before Smith played in Freeman for his second. The returning Louis Sprosen curled a shot just wide late on, but Whitstable had done enough to claim the points. Stuart West and Freeman both unfortunately limped off with ankle injuries that will need to be assessed before the next match.

After bowing out of the FA Cup in their last game, Whitstable returned to league action hoping to build on the win against Ashford United. Included in the team was new striker Steve Smith, who made the move from Glebe during the week. Louis Sprosen, a member of last season’s successful squad, has re-joined the club and started on the bench. Charlie Smith was completing a three game ban for his dismissal at Hounslow, whilst Ricky Freeman was returning to a club, for which he had previously played and enjoyed success. Whitstable had only visited the Mayplace Ground for a pre-season friendly in July 2016, when Phoenix Sports, then members of the Isthmian League North, completed a comfortable 2-0 win. The home team that day contained three players who started this game, Steve Phillips, Ryan Andrews and Jack Barry, but Dan Eason was the only Whitstable player to feature in both games. Phoenix had started this season well, with three wins from four league games and they remain in the FA Cup.

It was almost the perfect start for Whitstable, when a ball forward by Tom Bryant drew goalkeeper Phillips out of his area and his clearance went straight to Freeman, who hooked the ball towards the empty goal, but just wide. A few minutes later, Smith made a strong run into the box and the ball was played out to Freeman whose shot across goal was scooped over by Jordan Wright, who played at left wing back for this game, with John Walker returning to the right. Whitstable were winning every loose ball at this stage and continued to create chances. Smith headed a James Morrish cross towards goal, where it was grabbed by Phillips and then Wright and Freeman combined to set up Chris Saunders, whose shot was tipped over the bar by Phillips. Whitstable suffered an injury blow when Stuart West had to be replaced by Teddy Nelson on 23 minutes. The first real opportunity for the home side came when Jonny Miller-Annor got past Nelson, sprinted down the right and pulled the ball back for Tony Robinson, who shot over the bar. Freeman made another run into the box and found Smith, but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.

Steve Phillips comes out to clear an early ball
Ricky Freeman is just wide with his attempt to find the net
Jordan Wright just fails to divert the ball into the goal

Phoenix were just starting to get into the game around the half hour mark and a cross by Ashley Probets was glanced wide by Miller-Annor, then Jeff Duah-Kessie broke clear of the Whitstable defence, but hesitated with just Eason to beat and ended up shooting straight at the goalkeeper who stood up well. Whitstable opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, when Smith rose well to head a clearance into the path of Freeman and he slotted the ball past Phillips. There was a half chance for an equaliser when a long ball by Andrews was stabbed wide by a stretching Robinson. Phoenix were reduced to ten men shortly afterwards when a needless challenge in midfield by Jack Barry gave the referee little choice and, after the bout of pushing and shoving that followed, the red card was shown. Duah-Kessie had another sight of goal following a bit of a scramble, but the ball was kept out by the Whitstable defence. On 43 minutes, Smith ran on to a clearance by Rob Gillman and tried a great chip from outside the box, but it hit the far post and the rebound was hooked over the top of the unguarded net by Wright. In stoppage time, a good passing sequence by Whitstable was finished at the back post by Wright, but celebrations were cut short by an offside flag. The visitors went into the break 1-0 ahead, but there was a feeling that they may come to regret missing several good chances to increase their advantage.

Dan Eason saves from Jeff Duah-Kessie as the home side get a rare first half opportunity
Ricky Freeman scores the first
A great effort by Stephen Smith comes back off the post
Jordan Wright finishes off a great move, but is offside

Phoenix played with more purpose in the second half and an early shot by Miller-Annor was deflected to Eason, although Whitstable almost scored again when Walker crossed to Wright, but his shot was well saved by Phillips. Chances were now coming at both ends and Duah-Kessie worked his way into the box from a narrow angle on the left and went down as Nelson made a challenge, but the referee waved away appeals for a penalty. Back at the other end, Morrish won the ball and fed Smith who shot over. A long ball was then helped on for Miller-Annor and his chip beat Eason, but sailed over the bar. Wright then made a good run down the left and picked out Morrish at the near post, but his shot was just too high. There were a couple more good crosses by both teams, but neither could find the decisive finish. The Phoenix manager was warned by the referee for some comments made and just afterwards in the 69th minute, Freeman struck again for Whitstable. A Saunders pass sent Smith away down the left and he ran into the box before squaring the ball for Freeman to score. He was caught by Probets as he tucked the ball away and had to be substituted by Tom Walmsley.

James Morrish lifts a chance just over at the near post
Steve Smith sends the ball across to Ricky Freeman
The Whitstable striker gets his second, but is injured in the process

Smith had another shot saved by Phillips and Eason also made a routine stop from a Lewis Clarke effort. Both teams used all three substitutes, but Phoenix rarely threatened in the closing stages. Whitstable came the closest to adding another when Sprosen played a one-two with Walmsley before curling a shot past the far post, but the score remained 2-0.

It had been a good performance by Whitstable, who fully deserved the three points against a team that showed glimpses of what they are capable of, but will probably regret their slow start to the game.

Phoenix Whitstable
12 Attempts 15
4 On Target 6
2 Corners 2
4 Offside 9
11 Free Kicks Won 8

Phoenix Sports
Steve Phillips (c), Ryan Andrews, Ashley Probets, Conrad Lee, Danny Young, Jack Barry, Tony Robinson, Lewis Clarke (Lee Bird 88), Jeff Duah-Kessie (Matt Neary 84), Jonny Miller-Annor (Kenny Aileru 61), Alfie Aldridge.
Subs (unused): Kyren Mundle-Smith, Tarik Ibrahim.
Red card: Jack Barry 39

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, John Walker, Stuart West (Teddy Nelson 23), Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman (Tom Walmsley 73), Steve Smith (Louis Sprosen 84), Jai McKinlay.
Subs (unused): Chris Elliott, Kyran Connolly.
Goals: Ricky Freeman 33, 69.
Yellow cards: Steve Smith 70, Jai McKinlay 80.

Attendance: 92
Referee: David Harrison
Assistants: Chris Price & David Lunani

Junior Match At The Belmont Today

The new Whitstable Town Junior Under 15 team play their first home game in the Kent Youth League today at 11.0, when they host Margate. Both teams won their opening games, so please come along to the Belmont to support if you are able. Admission is free.

Velocity Trophy

The first round game at Ramsgate, that was postponed due to our opponents having to replay their FA Cup tie at Sevenoaks, will now take place at Ramsgate on Tuesday 9th October at 7.45 p.m.

The winners have been drawn at home to Molesey or Greenwich Borough in the second round. The full second round draw can be found on the Bostik League website: Velocity Trophy Second Round Draw

Ashford United or Folkestone Invicta v South Park or Sittingbourne
Aveley or Cheshunt v Barking or Brentwood Town
Basildon United or AFC Hornchurch v Coggeshall Town or Great Wakering Rovers
Bowers & Pitsea or Haringey Borough v Wingate & Finchley
Burgess Hill Town v Tooting & Mitcham United or Margate
Carshalton Athletic or Corinthian-Casuals v Chipstead
East Grinstead Town or Hastings United v Thamesmead Town or Merstham
Egham Town or Whyteleafe v Bracknell Town
Enfield Town v Ware
Felixstowe & Walton United or FC Sudbury v Northwood or Bury Town
Hayes & Yeading United v Potters Bar Town
Herne Bay or Hythe United v Bognor Regis Town or Whitehawk
Hertford Town or Bishop’s Stortford v Tilbury or Marlow
Leatherhead or Worthing v Tonbridge Angels or Sevenoaks Town
Maldon & Tiptree v Witham Town
Ramsgate or Whitstable Town v Molesey or Greenwich Borough

Oysters Smashed By The Rocks

Emirates FA Cup – First Round Qualifying
Saturday September 8 2018 15.00

Whitstable were dumped out of the FA Cup by an impressive Bognor Regis team in front of nearly 300 spectators at the Belmont Ground. Whitstable created a few early opportunities, without testing the goalkeeper, but were soon behind to a great strike by Jimmy Muitt who lifted the ball over Dan Eason into the far corner from outside the box. He doubled the lead midway through the half, firing a low cross past Eason when the home defence failed to react quickly enough. Tom Walmsley was denied by a good Dan Lincoln save, when it looked as though he might bring Whitstable back into the game. Most of the action though was at the other end and a string of fines saves by Eason kept the score to 2-0 at the break. An early second half goal by Bradley Lethbridge put the result beyond doubt, when he found the far corner following a pull back by Muitt. Eason continued to perform heroically in the home goal, but he was unable to prevent further goals from Portsmouth loanee Dan Smith and substitute Mason Walsh, who competed the scoring with a great finish. The biggest cheer of the day from the home supporters came in the closing minutes when Whitstable finally won a corner that was headed over the bar by Tom Bryant.

Having successfully negotiated the two preliminary rounds, Whitstable had already banked just over £5,000 in prize money and this was a chance to add a further £6,000. It always looked likely to be a difficult challenge once the draw was made, with Bognor being one of the stronger teams to enter the competition at this stage. They were relegated from the National League South last season, but have started well in the Bostik Premier League this time around. Top scorer Dan Smith and Bradley Lethbridge are on loan from Portsmouth, who gave permission for them both to play in this cup tie and Bognor also included Joe Tomlinson, a new loan signing from Brighton. Whitstable, despite beating Ashford United in their previous game, were still short of numbers. Tom Bryant was fit enough to return on the bench, which also included Harry Brown, who has yet to play since his knee operation.

Both goalkeepers had early crosses to deal with, but the opening goal arrived in the 6th minute. A ball forward down the right by Calvin Davies bounced into the path of Muitt, who shrugged off the covering defender and hit a great shot from the edge of the box that flew over Eason and into the top left hand corner of the net. Despite the early setback, Whitstable pushed forward in the next few minutes and won a free kick on the left that was taken by Wright, but Jai McKinlay headed the ball over the top. A cross by Ricky Freeman was only cleared as far as Chris Saunders, who shot wide from 20 yards. Tomlinson tried his luck from distance, but his low shot was safely gathered by Eason, then a dangerous cross from the Whitstable right was just missed by a stretching Walmsley. A great chip by Muitt from the left edge of the box was tipped over the bar by Eason. In the 22nd minute however, the visitors added a second goal when a free kick on the right edge of the penalty area was played low into the box by Harvey Whyte. Muitt was first to the ball and hit a first time shot into the bottom right corner.

Dan Lincoln claims an early cross
Chris Saunders tries a shot from outside the box
Jimmy Muitt scores the second for Bognor

Whitstable almost pulled a goal back on 26 minutes, when a Wright cross into the box was taken down by Walmsley, but his shot was pushed away by Bognor goalkeeper Lincoln, who had a trial for Arsenal last season. Bognor then won a free kick on the left and Davies tried for the top corner from a narrow angle, but Eason managed to turn the ball around the near post. Davies tried another dipping shot from the resulting corner, but Eason again denied him, getting across to save at the far post. A few minutes later another Bognor corner was played into Smith at the near post, but the busy Eason made a great block. As half time approached Freeman turned and shot just over the bar from 20 yards, but the last meaningful action before the break saw Eason make yet another save, this time from Muitt.

Tom Walmsley shoots, but his effort is saved
Dan Eason saves from Calvin Davies

Whitstable had struggled to match their opponents in the first half, but thanks to Eason they were just about still in the tie. They needed to find an early response after the restart, but it was Bognor who extended their lead on 49 minutes when a Muitt shot was parried by Eason, but the Bognor number ten next pulled the ball back for Lethbridge and he fired it into the bottom corner past the Whitstable goalkeeper. The home goal was soon under siege again when three shots in quick succession from Lethbridge, Muitt and Smith were all somehow kept out. It was soon 0-4 though when Lethbridge slipped the ball through to Smith and he shot into the bottom left corner, giving Eason no chance.

Eason parries a shot from Muitt
Bradley Lethbridge makes it 3-0
The Whitstable keeper saves another shot
This time Dan Smith’s shot beats Eason and it’s 4-0

Both teams then made substitutions, but the pattern of the game continued, as Eason parried a fierce shot by Tommy Scutt. On 67 minutes there was a goalmouth scramble with several attempted shots blocked before Scutt was denied by Eason from close range. The fifth goal did arrive in the 73rd minute, when substitute Mason Walsh, the son of former Liverpool and Tottenham striker Paul, took the ball across the box before letting fly from 20 yards and finding he top right corner. Further substitutions followed and Corey Heath picked up the only caution of the game for a late challenge on John Walker. Muitt made space for himself on the 18 yard line, but Eason was able to push his shot over the bar. On 87 minutes, Whitstable won a corner, to the delight of the Oysterboys behind the goal, and Bryant rose highest to meet the delivery by Freeman, but looped his header over the bar. Walker tried a long shot that missed the target and the final whistle sounded right on 90 minutes to confirm a place for Bognor in the next round.

The home defence are in a heap, but Eason saves again

It was a comprehensive win for the Rocks, whose performance was one of the best by a visiting team at the Belmont. Whitstable kept trying, but never threatened a surprise result. Eason was rightly named the home “man of the match” for his magnificent contribution to keeping the score down. The midweek league cup tie at Ramsgate has been postponed due to their involvement in an FA Cup replay, so Whitstable next play on Saturday at Phoenix Sports.

Whitstable Bognor Regis
6 Attempts 22
1 On Target 18
1 Corners 10
0 Offside 5
8 Free Kicks Won 9

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright (Kyran Connolly 78), John Walker, Stuart West, Rob Gillman, Teddy Nelson, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman, Tom Walmsley, Jai McKinlay (Tom Bryant 56).
Subs (unused): Chris Elliott, Harry Brown.

Bognor Regis Town
Dan Lincoln, Calvin Davies, Joe Tomlinson, Doug Tuck, Chad Field (Tommy Scutt 56), Keaton Wood (Corey Heath 74), Harvey Whyte (c), Tommy Block, Dan Smith, Jimmy Muitt, Bradley Lethbridge (Mason Walsh 65).
Sub (unused): Charlie Osborne
Goals: Jimmy Muitt 6, 22, Bradley Lethbridge 49, Dan Smith 55, Mason Walsh 73.
Yellow card: Corey Heath 80

Attendance: 297
Referee: Ryan Whitaker
Assistants: Wally James & Jak Hill

Velocity Trophy Game Postponed

Following the 1-1 draw between Ramsgate and Sevenoaks Town in the FA Cup today, they will now have to try again at Sevenoaks on Tuesday evening. This means that the Velocity Trophy match between Ramsgate and Whitstable has been postponed. The next match for Whitstable will therefore be on Saturday 15th September when they visit Phoenix Sports for a Bostik League fixture.