Poor First Half Costs Town

SHEPPEY UNITED 1 WHITSTABLE TOWN 0
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday August 27 15.00

A lacklustre first half performance condemned Whitstable to their first league defeat of the season in front of 315 people. The decisive goal came in the 26th minute from Enoch Adjei after a goalmouth scramble, but there could have been several more before the break as the home side totally dominated. It was a different story in the second half, particularly after the hosts were reduced to ten men, but Whitstable were unable to find an equaliser as Sheppey managed to see the game out.

It was another warm afternoon and the new ground on the island looked tidy with a lush green playing surface. The large crowd created quite a hostile atmosphere and the referee failed to endear himself to either set of supporters as the match progressed. Manager Scott Porter started with both new signings Jack Healey and Kane Rowland, as Lee Winfield failed to recover from the injury picked up at Eastbourne on Tuesday. In fact it looked like the team had a bit of a hangover from that game as they struggled to cope with the lively Sheppey side early on.

As early as the 3rd minute Craig Thompson had to make a last ditch clearance as the ball fell dangerously in the six yard box. Two minutes later an unmarked John Ralph put his close range header wide from Ian Batten’s free kick. Thompson did shoot over after being set up by Nick Treadwell and Rowland in the 10th minute following a rare attack. Back at the other end the tricky Adjei shot just wide after getting past Callum Wraight. Shortly afterwards he made another good run into the box, but dragged his shot past the far post. Then Dan Eason raced out to clear and somehow managed to get back to save as the ball appeared to be heading into the unguarded net from a long distance effort.

The goal came after some more good play down the right as the ball was finally crossed by James Simmons and although a couple of attempts were blocked, Adjei was on hand to stab the ball over the line. Eason then had to come out to deal with a dangerous cross from right back and ex-oyster, Marvin Okundalaiye. A poor header by Healey then fell to Okundalaiye whose shot was saved by Eason. Half time arrived with the home side probably feeling unfortunate to be only one goal up.

Aaron Quain's free kick
Aaron Quain’s free kick
Just wide
Just wide

Whitstable, who introduced Aaron Quain for the second half, won two early free kicks, both of which were put over the bar by Darren Marsden. Simmons then found himself free and broke into the Whitstable penalty area, but took too long and Ollie Lee was able to block. Timmy Babbington had a shot deflected for a corner, which was cleared after a bit of a scramble.

The referee sent off Sheppey’s Rob Saunders in the 52nd minute after showing him two yellow cards in the space of five minutes. Quain struck a free kick just wide from distance, then had another effort saved by Dean Warford. Marsden skipped past a couple of challenges but his shot was also saved.

Close
Just past the post

After 73 minutes Whitstable won the first of their four corners, as they pressed for an equaliser. Sheppey captain Ian Batten, who had already been booked, then fouled Treadwell as he looked to break and was perhaps fortunate to stay on the pitch. An error by Scott Punton let in Matthew Gething whose shot from the 18 yard line cannoned back off the post after what looked like a fingertip save by Eason. Substitute Charlie Smith and Treadwell both saw efforts go wide in the last couple of minutes, but the home goalkeeper was never seriously tested and one goal was enough to claim the points for the home side.

Dan Eason deflects the ball on to the post
Dan Eason deflects the ball on to the post

It was a disappointing display by Whitstable, who started really slowly and never really did enough to deserve anything from the match despite an improvement in the second half.

Sheppey United
Dean Warford, Marvin Okundalaiya, Carl Harrold, Rob Saunders, John Ralph, George Batten (James Huggins 61), Enoch Adjei (Sam Winch 66), James Simmons, Matthew Gething, Ian Batten (c), Timmy Babbington.
Subs (unused): Brian Bell, Ingras Zydelis.
Goal: Enoch Adjei 26.
Yellow cards: Rob Saunders 47, 52, Ian Batten 68.
Red card: Rob Saunders (two yellows) 52.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason (c), Scott Punton, Callum Wraight, Ollie Lee, Jack Healey, Harry Brown (Harris Rodgers 56), Nick Treadwell, Jamie Collado (Aaron Quain 45), Craig Thompson (Charlie Smith 79), Darren Marsden, Kane Rowland.
Subs (unused): Ollie Brown, Harry Brooks.
Yellow cards: Harry Brown 8, Callum Wraight 68, Nick Treadwell 82, Charlie Smith 90.

Attendance: 315
Referee: Dan Doyle
Assistants: Hawker Ahmed & Ryan Andrews