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

Match Day At The Belmont

Whitstable Town take on fifth placed Lordswood at 3pm this afternoon at the Belmont in a league fixture.

The postponed SCEFL Challenge Cup home quarter final against Deal will follow on Tuesday evening.

Next Saturday there will be another home league fixture, when Corinthian will be the visitors. Hopefully the weather will remain kind to us throughout the week.

Cup Quarter Final Postponed

The SCEFL Challenge Cup quarter final scheduled for tonight at The Belmont against Deal Town has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

A new date will be confirmed later, but it is likely to be next week.

After today the weather forecast is better, so the pitch will hopefully recover to enable the home game on Saturday to go ahead as scheduled.

Kent Senior Trophy Final

The final of the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy between Sheppey United and Whitstable Town will be played at the Gallagher Stadium, Maidstone on Sunday 8th April. Please note that the kick off will be at 2 p.m.

As a result of this fixture, the league match Whitstable Town v Glebe has now been moved from Saturday 7th April to Tuesday 10th April at 7.45 p.m.

Whitstable Reach Trophy Final

Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Semi-Final
Saturday February 10 2018 15.00

Whitstable edged past Cray Valley to book their place in the Kent Senior Trophy Final at Maidstone on Sunday 8th April, where they will meet Sheppey United, who beat Canterbury City 3-1 in the other semi-final. The game was always likely to be a close affair with both teams in good form and the unpleasant wet and windy weather made conditions tricky throughout. Whitstable generally had the better of the first half, with a couple of good efforts by Ricky Freeman just off target, although Dan Eason had to turn a Joe N’Guessan strike around the post. The decisive goal came in the 17th minute, when a Josh Burchell free kick was headed into his own net by Ashley Sains. There were few clear chances in the second half, although Danny Williams had an early shot tipped over by Andy Walker. Cray Valley saw a lot of the ball, but Whitstable were well organised, working hard all over the pitch to defend their lead and Eason was not seriously tested by the dangerous visiting strikers.

John Walker and the cup tied Teddy Nelson were unavailable for Whitstable. Louis Sprosen started at right wing back and Stuart West dropped back into the defence with Chris Saunders returning in midfield. The Millers had won their previous six matches in all competitions and were the last team to beat Whitstable, back in mid-December, when their players with experience of higher levels of football made a difference, with goals from Kevin Lisbie and Joe N’Guessan and a commanding performance in midfield from Jamie Day. For this cup tie, more experience was added to their squad with Simon Glover starting and Calum Willock named amongst the substitutes, the latter having played in each of the top seven levels of English football including spells at Fulham, Brentford, Peterborough and Ebbsfleet and he also scored a couple of goals for St Kitts and Nevis in a World Cup qualifying game in 2006. Connor Dobson missed out through injury.

The home team were the first to press forward, Freeman won an early corner and the delivery from Burchell was helped on at the near post, but Andy Walker got down to collect. The Cray Valley goalkeeper was next in action in the 10th minute when he caught a good Sprosen cross from the right. Burchell then found Freeman with a nice pass and after the ball was initially cleared, it came back out to Freeman who struck a good curling effort that went just wide of the right hand post.

An early Whitstable attack
Andy Walker gets down to collect the ball
An effort from Ricky Freeman curls just wide

The first goal attempt by the Millers came in the 14th minute when N’Guessan tried a shot from distance that brought a good save from the diving Eason as he turned the ball around his right hand post for a corner. A few minutes later Whitstable won a free kick on the right and Burchell swung the ball dangerously into the box, where it was met by the head of defender Sains and he diverted it past Walker and into the net for an own goal.

The unfortunate Ashley Sains heads Josh Burchell’s free kick into his own net

Whitstable continued in the ascendancy with Cem Tumkaya and then Josh James both having to make timely interventions to stop attacks, as the visitors struggled to get into the game. On 24 minutes however, Whitstable skipper Craig Cloke for once failed to clear the ball as Cray Valley got forward down the right and his pass almost gave them a sight of goal, but his fellow defenders came to the rescue before Eason could be tested. Back at the other end, a Macauley Murray free kick was cleared as far as Freeman a few yards outside the box and his first time strike flew narrowly over the bar.

Ricky Freeman tries another long shot…
The ball is just too high

West was penalised for a tackle and cautioned for his reaction by the referee, before Day sent the resultant free kick tamely wide of the left hand post. Burchell tried a long range effort that was saved by Walker. Ryan Flack tried to set up Lisbie who was quickly closed down, but the ball fell to N’Guessan who was unable to hit the target. There was some controversy as half time approached when Williams chased a through ball alongside two defenders and as one of them got a touch that was picked up by Walker, the referee awarded Whitstable an indirect free kick for a back pass just inside the box. Williams touched the ball to Cloke whose shot struck the wall and the danger was cleared. The home side went in at the break 1-0 ahead, which felt about right given the balance of play.

A free kick is awarded to Whitstable for a back pass for this incident
The wall keeps the ball out

Eason had to make a routine save low by his near post at the start of the second half as N’Guessan and Flack combined. A poor defensive header fell to Williams on the 18 yard line and his shot was just palmed away for a corner by Walker. After a couple of Murray corners were safely cleared, a good low cross by Matt Parsons led to a corner at the other end that was headed over the bar. Williams then glanced his header wide from another Burchell cross, as the rain began to fall more heavily.

Danny Williams fires a shot towards the top corner
The goalkeeper pushes it out for a corner

Parsons and Ben Francis worked an opportunity for a cross on the left, but Flack shot well wide and then James felt he should have had a corner for a deflection when his effort went over the bar, but the officials disagreed. On 66 minutes, a Day free kick was headed down towards goal by Lisbie, but the ball was easily gathered by Eason. Freeman threaded a pass through for Williams, but as he raced on to it he was just beaten to the ball by Walker. N’Guessan tried a shot on the turn that was deflected behind and the ball in from the corner looped up kindly for Eason to claim.

Willock was introduced in place of Flack on 70 minutes, before a Francis cross was headed down by Lisbie and collected by Eason. Glover then collected the second booking of the game for a foul on Morrish and Denzel Gayle came on for Francis, as the Millers tried to find a way back into the match. With conditions deteriorating as the game entered the last 10 minutes, sandwiched between corners at each end, Willock had a shot deflected over the top after another Day free kick fell to him in a crowded box. Williams and Freeman continued to work hard up front for Whitstable without managing any further goal attempts, while the rest of the home team worked exceptionally hard to protect their lead, limiting the Millers to a few half chances. A great tackle by Saunders prevented another attack. Alex Nelson was the final Cray Valley substitution and Whitstable brought on Charlie Smith and Shaun Welford for the closing minutes. In stoppage time Day, who was playing his last game before leaving to become the assistant manager at Conference National side Barrow AFC, sent one more free kick and corner into the box, but the excellent Tom Bryant, Cloke, and West stood firm until the final whistle.

Whitstable clear the final attack to book their place in the final

It was a hard fought 1-0 win in difficult conditions against arguably the best team Whitstable have faced this season and it was later confirmed that the final will be played at the Gallagher Stadium, the home of Maidstone United, as Whitstable try to win the trophy for the first time since 2007.

Whitstable Cray Valley
6 Attempts 8
3 On Target 3
4 Corners 5
3 Offside 4
13 Free Kicks Won 11

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Louis Sprosen, Josh Burchell, Stuart West, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (Charlie Smith 89), Ricky Freeman, Danny Williams (Shaun Welford 90+3), Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Rob Gillman, Owen Fitt, Rhys Brain.
Goal: Ashley Sains o.g. 17
Yellow card: Stuart West 29

Cray Valley PM
Andy Walker, Ryan Flack (Calum Willock 70), Matt Parsons (c), Jamie Day, Cem Tumkaya, Ashley Sains, Josh James, Simon Glover (Alex Nelson 86), Ben Francis (Denzel Gayle 77), Kevin Lisbie, Joe N’Guessan.
Subs (unused): Sam Bailey, Jordan Sandiford.
Yellow card: Simon Glover 73

Attendance: 141
Referee: Matt Charles
Assistants: Harry Wager & Myles Hewson
Fourth Official: Steven Perry