WHITSTABLE TOWN 1 CANTERBURY CITY 4
SCEFL Premier Division
Monday August 29 2016 15.00
In front of a Bank Holiday crowd of 231, Whitstable produced a woeful performance as Canterbury City coasted to possibly the easiest three points they will collect this season. Once again there were enforced changes to the starting line-up and the team looks as though it has yet to recover from the monumental effort in the FA Cup defeat at Eastbourne on Tuesday night.
Following a quiet start to the game Gary Clarke shot just wide of the home goal after being set up by Danny Lawrence in the 10th minute. Shortly afterwards however, as the ball was worked from right to left across the box Lawrence eventually managed to clip it back to the far post where it was met by a stooping header from the unmarked Dave Pilcher to give City the lead. In the 14th minute it looked as though it was two as Gary Mickleborough rose to meet a Pilcher cross, with his glancing header finding the net, only to see the flag raised for offside.
For the remainder of the half, Whitstable had the better of the possession and chances, without ever looking totally convincing. Despite winning a few free kicks in dangerous positions and four corners to City’s none, Darren Hawkes in the visitors’ goal wasn’t really tested. Charlie Smith proved the main threat, having been set up by Darren Marsden on a couple of occasions. His header back across goal was gathered by Hawkes at the second attempt and he had several shots, one just wide after some clever play by Marsden, one deflected for a corner and another dropping on top of the net. A few minutes before half time after he was pulled back, Marsden’s free kick just evaded him and the far post and City went in with their one goal lead intact.
Canterbury won their first corner in the 50th minute, but then Clarke was fortunate to escape a booking for a foul. From the resulting free kick Smith was found by Harry Brown, but his shot was blocked by Ben Gorham. The ball rebounded to Lawrence who went on a long run without any Whitstable player being able to dispossess him. As he reached the edge of the home penalty area, he slipped the ball to Sam Conlon who finished coolly into the far corner to put City two up. Assistant manager Bob Reardon, who was in charge for the day in Scott Porter’s absence made some changes to try to find a way back into the game, but after 59 minutes Clarke almost added a third, as Callum Wraight cleared his effort off the line. There were a couple of Whitstable chances as Marsden curled a shot just wide and then after he was fouled his free kick was comfortably caught by Hawkes.
The game was up after 64 minutes as City made it 3-0. Mickleborough was pulled back a few yards outside the box, earning Wraight a yellow card and Pilcher curled the free kick beyond Eason and in off the far post. Harry Brown’s long shot was saved by Hawkes, but then some terrible defending as a header back went straight to substitute Alfie Nunn on the edge of the box. He had only been on the field three minutes, but calmly lobbed the ball over a stranded Eason to make it four in the 76th minute. Finally with just a few minutes remaining Whitstable did score a consolation goal. Harris Rodgers played the ball to Smith who was felled in the area. Brendon Cass saw his penalty saved by Hawkes, but Jamie Collado reacted the quickest and fired the ball straight back into the net. There was one more chance for each side but after five added minutes the game ended with a 4-1 home defeat. City had much the better of the second half as the home side became ever more disjointed.
Whitstable have a rearranged fixture at Erith & Belvedere next Saturday and will be hoping that some of their key personnel return to full fitness to help get the season back on track after a disappointing week.
Dan Eason (c), Scott Punton (Grant McIlheron 58), Harry Brown, Callum Wraight, Ollie Lee, Jamie Collado, Charlie Smith, Nick Treadwell, Craig Thompson (Ollie Brown 53), Darren Marsden (Brendon Cass 66), Harris Rodgers.
Subs (unused): Toby Heydon, Harry Brooks
Goal: Jamie Collado 86.
Yellow card: Callum Wraight 63.
Darren Hawkes, Chris Webber, Patrick Nzuzi, Gary Clarke, Ben Gorham, Connor Partridge (Josh McCallum 79), Sam Conlon (Ryan Philpott 74), Danny Lawrence, Dave Pilcher, Gary Mickleborough (Alfie Nunn 73), Taser Hassan.
Subs (unused): Rob Lawrence, Jack North.
Goals: Dave Pilcher 11, 64, Sam Conlon 53, Alfie Nunn 76.
Yellow card: Danny Lawrence 59.
Referee: Michael Chard
Assistants: George Lowe & Brian Woodhouse