Whitstable Town v Ashford FC

3:00 pm

Whitstable Town v Gillingham

7:45 pm

Whitstable Town v Tunbridge Wells


Whitstable Town v AFC Croydon Athletic

SCEFL Premier Division
Monday April 23 2018 19.45

Following hard fought draws in the previous two games, Whitstable returned to the winning trail and collected a comfortable three points against AFC Croydon Athletic at the Belmont. Tom Bryant scored from an early corner to give the team a perfect start. The Rams saw their chances of getting back into the game diminish when Tom Penson was sent for his reaction to conceding a free kick in the 19th minute. Goalkeeper Dan Burnett dropped a Macauley Murray free kick to gift Rob Gillman the chance to double the lead inside the first half an hour. A good piece of play down the right involving Danny Williams and John Walker led to Williams scoring the third on 63 minutes. Whitstable then took the opportunity to rest some tired legs as their punishing end of season schedule continues, using all three substitutes in the space of a few minutes. They did go close to increasing the score on several occasions, but there were few alarms at the other end despite some glimpses of good football from the visitors. Whitstable now have 20 wins and 6 draws from their last 26 matches and have moved to within three points of leaders Sevenoaks Town with just three away games of their league campaign remaining.

With games still coming every couple of days, manager Scott Porter rotated the squad a little, with Craig Cloke, Chris Saunders and Ricky Freeman all sitting this one out. Rob Gillman returned to the starting eleven, having not played in the previous three games. Charlie Smith, who came off the bench to score late equalisers in the last two games, was given his chance from the start. AFC Croydon have not been in the best of form in recent weeks, but did enjoy an excellent 3-1 win at Sheppey earlier in the month. They arrived at the Belmont without a few regular starters, but the team did contain two players with good goal scoring records this season, Emmanuel Oloyede and Nahum Green.

Whitstable had only managed to draw their previous two games, but got off to the ideal start by taking the lead in the 3rd minute. Smith did well to hold the ball up and win a corner, which Macauley Murray swung over and it was met at the far post by Bryant, who hooked the ball into the net.

Tom Bryant strikes the ball towards goal
It’s in the net and Whitstable take an early lead

Smith continued to cause problems for the visitors defence and Whitstable had another two corners cleared, before Gabriel Adesina tried a shot that was deflected behind at the other end and the corner, taken by Green, was headed wide by Adesina. Whitstable continued to look more likely to get the next goal, although there were some shouts for a Croydon penalty when James Fray had a shot blocked by the home defence. Croydon were then reduced to ten men, when their captain Penson was sent off for a combination of something said to the referee and kicking the ball at the assistant, after Whitstable were awarded a free kick. On 29 minutes Murray delivered a free kick into the box from the left and as Burnett attempted the catch, he spilled the ball and the grateful Gillman was able to find the net from the six yard line.

Danny Williams tries to get the ball across
Dan Burnett tries to collect a free kick
The ball is dropped for Rob Gillman to score the second

Louis Sprosen headed a good Josh Burchell cross over the bar and then Smith was pulled back by Abbas Agoro, earning the Croydon number six a yellow card. The home team continued to press forward without creating many clear cut chances, but in added time, another great Burchell cross just needed a finishing touch, but Smith missed his header and Whitstable had to settle for a 2-0 half time lead.

Croydon had a good spell early in the second half, although they struggled to open up the Whitstable defence. They did make an early change when Adesina was replaced by Joshua Calder. It was the home side that continued to look the more dangerous though and a Burchell corner almost led to another goal, but the ball was headed just wide for a goal kick. Williams and Walker combined to give Whitstable their third goal, when Williams sent the wing back away down the right and his cross into the box was perfect for the striker, who arrived to sweep the ball into the corner of the net.

This attempt from a corner goes wide
John Walker about to cross for the third goal
Danny Williams is first to the ball
Whitstable have a 3-0 lead

Walker was seeing plenty of the ball and was then fouled on the edge of the box. Burchell took the free kick, which was scrambled clear and then Smith went down in the box, but the officials were not impressed with the penalty appeals. Williams created another opportunity for Walker to advance down the right, but when he might have tried a shot, he elected to cross and the ball was cleared for a corner. Sam Lobinjo was booked for continuing complaints to the referee, before the game could restart. Owen Fitt, Teddy Nelson and Shaun Welford were all introduced from the bench, as Murray, Burchell and Williams were given a rest. A mazy run by Sprosen created a half chance for Fitt, but his low left footed strike from the edge of the box went wide of the right hand post. Croydon, who also used their full quota of substitutes, did force Dan Eason into a save when a break down the right led to a cross being deflected towards the near post. Smith latched on to a forward pass and chipped the ball over the goalkeeper, but it also went over the bar. In stoppage time, Smith thought he was through on goal, as a long ball forward was missed by everyone else, but he was halted by an offside flag and the game ended 3-0.

This was the final home game of the season and as the players were applauded off the pitch, the result saw Whitstable edge closer to long time leaders Sevenoaks, but perhaps more significantly they are seven points ahead of third placed Crowborough. Whitstable now have to finish their campaign on the road with visits to Rochester United, Cray Valley and Lordswood, as they seek the league points needed, before thoughts can turn to the Challenge Cup final against Tunbridge Wells.

Whitstable AFC Croydon
9 Attempts 2
4 On Target 1
9 Corners 2
12 Offside 1
12 Free Kicks Won 10

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell (Teddy Nelson 76), Stuart West, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Louis Sprosen, James Morrish (c), Charlie Smith, Danny Williams (Shaun Welford 78), Macauley Murray (Owen Fitt 73).
Subs (unused): Chris Saunders, Dean Ruddy.
Goals: Tom Bryant 3, Rob Gillman 19, Danny Williams 63.

AFC Croydon Athletic
Dan Burnett, Ibrahim Kallon (Romel Blair 89), Sam Lobinjo, Tom Penson (c), Rob Carter, Abbas Agoro, James Fray, Emmanuel Oloyede, Gabriel Adesina (Joshua Calder 53), Valentine Laurence (Lorenzo Lewis 79), Nahum Green.
Sub (unused): Alvin Turyatemba
Yellow cards: Abbas Agoro 38, Sam Lobinjo 70.
Red card: Tom Penson 19

Attendance: 138
Referee: Matt Charles
Assistants: Daniel Baruch & Mark Cheeseman


Whitstable Town v Beckenham Town

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday April 21 2018 15.00

Charlie Smith came off the bench to score a late goal and earn Whitstable a point for the second time in three days, after ten man Beckenham Town had taken the lead in 72nd minute. Whitstable had a couple of early chances, with Tyler McCarthy doing well to tip a Ricky Freeman header over the bar. A strong Beckenham side then went on to have the better of the first half, although despite having numerous corners and free kicks in attacking positions, Dan Eason was only called upon to make a couple of saves. Whitstable improved after the interval and had a confident penalty claim turned down when a Shaun Welford header appeared to be handled in the box, before the visitors had Fred Parker sent off for a high challenge on Josh Burchell in the 65th minute. Tom Bryant then hit the bar with a header, before Jamie Humphris netted after a goalmouth scramble to give Beckenham the lead with their only effort on target of the second half. Despite a lot of late pressure, it looked as though the long unbeaten run was about to end until Smith planted a firm header into the top corner in stoppage time.

There was only one change to the Whitstable team that had drawn with Canterbury in midweek, as Danny Williams returned from suspension to replace Shaun Welford up front, although Rob Gillman was available again and named as a substitute. Beckenham, who had won the reverse fixture back in October when Whitstable had performed poorly on the day, had maintained their challenge at the top of the table for most of the season, although arrived at the Belmont having suffered several recent defeats.

The game started quite brightly, with five early corners and it was Whitstable that had the two best chances to take the lead. A long punt up field by Eason was missed by the last defender and the ball reached Burchell, whose shot from the left of the penalty area was saved by McCarthy. Then, after Ike Robertson had shot over from a Beckenham corner, Williams flicked the ball over the defence and it dropped perfectly for Freeman who tried to find the net with a header, but McCarthy managed to tip the ball over the bar.

Ricky Freeman sees his header tipped over the bar by Tyler McCarthy

Bryant was caught in the face by the hand of Richard Atkins, who was spoken to by the referee whilst the Whitstable player received some attention. Beckenham started to push Whitstable back and won a number of free kicks that were mostly taken by Marvin Alebiosu, but the home defence generally managed the threat quite well, considering the height of several of the players in blue. Junior Kaffo headed a corner over the bar and Eason had to tip one curling Alebiosu free kick over the top after John Walker had been booked for a challenge on the touchline. Just before half time, Craig Cloke slipped over and brought down his opponent as Beckenham tried to break clear down their right. The Whitstable captain was shown a yellow card and Adam Wadmore struck the free kick well from around 30 yards, but Eason was able to push the ball over for a corner. The last action before the interval resulted in a booking for Dan Fleming, when he fouled Freeman, who was trying to race on to a clearance from Eason.

Ricky Freeman challenges for the ball

In the 50th minute, Chris Saunders was pushed over just outside the penalty area, but Freeman failed to beat the wall from the free kick. At the other end, an Alebiosu set piece was glanced just wide by the head of Parker. Whitstable introduced Welford for the last half an hour as a substitute for Freeman and his aerial threat gave the tall Beckenham team a different challenge as he started to win a number of high balls. A corner swung dangerously across goal by Burchell just missed everyone in the box and then Williams did well on the right and sent over a deep cross for Welford, who headed the ball into the middle where it seemed to be cut out by the arm of a Beckenham player, but the officials waved away the penalty appeals. Parker then caught Burchell in the head after a challenge in the centre circle and the referee decided to show him a straight red card. Atkins was also shown a card, this time yellow, for a late tackle on James Morrish and Welford headed the free kick well over the bar. Bryant well much closer when he rose highest to meet a Burchell corner, but his header struck the top of the bar.

This cross just misses everyone in the box
Tom Bryant rises the highest to win a header
The ball hits the top of the bar

Just as it looked as though Whitstable might be about to take advantage of the extra man, a Beckenham free kick reached Atkins in the box and he turned to try to shoot. A couple of attempts were blocked, before the ball ran loose to Humphris and he fired the ball high into the net from close range despite the attempts of Bryant on the line. The goal came against the run of play, stunning the home crowd and the Whitstable manager reacted by sending on Smith in place of Saunders.

Jamie Humphris (on the ground) gives Beckenham the lead

Stefan Wright was booked for fouling Walker by the corner flag, as Whitstable started to press forward again. The free kick was followed by two corners, but there was no end product as the game entered the final 10 minutes. Welford headed the ball into the path of Stuart West on the edge of the box, but he was unable to keep his shot down. Another Welford header led to some last ditch defending as Beckenham managed to clear the ball away after the goalkeeper was beaten. A rare attack by the visitors saw Atkins collect the ball just outside the penalty area, but his shot went wide. The goal scorer Humphris was replaced by James Duckworth for the last few minutes.

Stuart West fires a shot over the bar
Stuart Welford heads towards goal
The Beckenham defence keep the ball out

Wadmore went into the book as the game entered added time for complaining about a corner awarded to Whitstable, but it came to nothing. After a Williams shot had flown well wide, the equaliser finally came in the 93rd minute. A curling ball in from the left was met by Smith about 12 yards out and he powered a great header over the defenders and into the top corner out of the reach of McCarthy to much relief around the ground. Whitstable had a couple of minutes left to try to find a winner, but a final corner kick was cleared by Beckenham and the teams each had to settle for a point.

Charlie Smith (obscured, far right) sends a great header towards the top corner
It’s another late equaliser for Whitstable
Scott Porter is presented with the March Manager of the Month award by Tony Day

Scott Porter received the March Manager of the Month award from Tony Day after the match. The unbeaten run has now reached 25 matches. Given results elsewhere, there was little change at the top of the table and still everything to play for in a busy final 10 days of the season.

Whitstable Beckenham
11 Attempts 8
5 On Target 3
10 Corners 10
1 Offside 2
16 Free Kicks Won 15

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Stuart West, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders (Charlie Smith 76), James Morrish, Ricky Freeman (Shaun Welford 59), Danny Williams, Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Rob Gillman, Louis Sprosen, Teddy Nelson.
Goal: Charlie Smith 90+3
Yellow cards: John Walker 40, Craig Cloke 44.

Beckenham Town
Tyler McCarthy, Adam Wadmore, Jack Hope, Stefan Wright (c), Dan Fleming, Ike-Robertson Feehi, Junior Kaffo, Marvin Alebiosu, Richard Atkins, Fred Parker, Jamie Humphris (James Duckworth 87).
Subs (unused): Jake Britnell, Jason Clews, Ricky Bennett, Frank Warren.
Goal: Jamie Humphris 72
Yellow cards: Dan Fleming 45, Richard Atkins 69, Stefan Wright 77, Adam Wadmore 90.
Red card: Fred Parker 65

Attendance: 157
Referee: Dan Doyle
Assistants: Brian Woodhouse & Jak Hill


Whitstable Town v Rochester United

SCEFL Premier Division
Monday April 16 2018 19.45

Whitstable continued their quest for the treble, scoring three goals without reply, against bottom of the table Rochester United. This was the 10th consecutive win in the space of 27 days and extended the unbeaten run to 23 matches. After a lively start, Whitstable were gifted the first goal when Charlie Smith helped the ball on and a Rochester defender tried a back pass, but only succeeded in striking the ball low and hard past his own goalkeeper from around 25 yards. James Morrish added a second with a good left footed finish a few minutes later. Ricky Freeman ballooned the ball over the bar on the stroke of half time with just the goalkeeper to beat, but Stuart West headed in a corner shortly after the restart to make sure of the points. Despite their lowly league position, Rochester caused a few problems for the home defence with some pacy runs and Nick Shaw, who replaced Dan Eason in the Whitstable goal, had to make three great interceptions to prevent them scoring. A late Macauley Murray free kick struck the post, but with just two days until the next match, thoughts were already turning elsewhere.

This was the first meeting between the two sides this season, as a consequence of earlier postponements. Dan Eason sat out his first game of the season, with Nick Shaw pulling on a Whitstable shirt for the first time in five years. John Walker, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant and Danny Williams were also missing for various reasons, with Josh Burchell, Craig Cloke, Teddy Nelson and Charlie Smith returning to the team. Rochester United came into the game 12 points adrift at the foot of the table and with only 3 league wins all season, but had achieved creditable draws against Chatham and Cray Valley during March.

Rochester won an early corner, but Whitstable soon started to create chances. Freeman swept the ball across from left to right for Louis Sprosen, who played in Morrish, but his shot hit the side netting. After Morrish had tried again with a shot that was too high, West headed a Murray corner just over. Rochester always carried a threat on the break and Shingirai Chiriseri made a promising run down the right and whipped the ball across the box, but there was no one there to get on the end of it. Smith rose to flick the ball on and Jack Healey tried to pass it back to his goalkeeper from outside the box, but hit it too firmly and it went straight into the net to gift Whitstable the lead in the 12th minute.

James Morrish is just wide with this early effort

Jai McKinlay tried a long shot that was easily saved by Shaw, but then in the 20th minute a poor Rochester clearance went straight to Freeman, who crossed from the right. Smith knocked the ball down to the edge of the area, where Morrish struck a left footed shot into the right hand corner of the net, just out of reach of the diving Tony Coxall.

Charlie Smith wins the aerial challenge
James Morrish scores the second

Luke Saggers was presented with a sight of goal at the other end, but shot straight at Shaw. It was then Morrish who tried again, but this time he was denied by Coxall and the resulting corner from Murray was cleared off the line, leading to a quick break by the visitors that Whitstable did well to block. Freeman, Burchell and West all had attempts to add a third goal, before Rochester won the ball on the halfway line and sent Merrick Simms clear, but Shaw did really well to come out and save at his feet. In the last minute before half time, Smith challenged for a high ball and it fell invitingly for Freeman, but just as he looked like adding to the lead, he lifted his shot high into the night sky. There was still time for Burchell to head a Sprosen cross over the bar, before the teams went in with the score still 2-0.

This attempt is a little off target

Just a couple of minutes into the second half, a corner from the right taken by Burchell was headed in from close range by West. From this point on, the game felt like it was drifting to an inevitable home win and both teams started making substitutions. Whitstable soon introduced Shaun Welford, then Owen Fitt and Rhys Brain and Rochester also tried to change things around.

Stuart West is first to the ball
It’s 3-0 to Whitstable

Welford helped to create a chance for Fitt, but he shot over. Smith became the only home player to be cautioned following a poor tackle in midfield. On 77 minutes, Shaw was quickly out again to make a save on the edge of the box as Chandler Kasai raced clear of the home defence. Fitt made a bit of room for himself before shooting just wide and then Sprosen was pulled down 20 yards from goal, earning a booking for Ralph Katikaza. Murray took the free kick and was unlucky to see the ball strike the inside of the post and rebound to safety.

Nick Shaw does well to deny Chandler Kasai a consolation goal
Macauley Murray takes a free kick
The ball comes back off the post

Brain had a shot saved after running on to a Welford header. There were a couple of late chances for a consolation Rochester goal. Dan Nash rolled a free kick into the path of Owen Price who sent his shot way over the top and there was one more dangerous break by Kasai, but his shot was once again well saved by the alert Shaw.

The Rochester goalkeeper made the final save of the match when he collected a deflected shot by Sprosen in last added minute, leaving the score at 3-0 and another three points were banked. Canterbury await on Wednesday, as the crazy end of season fixture list continues. With 38 league matches during the 9 month season, 12 of them will have been played during the final 31 days.

Whitstable Rochester
22 Attempts 5
9 On Target 3
6 Corners 4
1 Offside 0
9 Free Kicks Won 9

Whitstable Town
Nick Shaw, Louis Sprosen, Josh Burchell, Stuart West, Craig Cloke (c), Teddy Nelson, Chris Saunders (Rhys Brain 75), James Morrish (Owen Fitt 65), Ricky Freeman (Shaun Welford 56), Charlie Smith, Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Tom Bryant, Dean Ruddy.
Goals: Jack Healey o.g. 12, James Morrish 20, Stuart West 47.
Yellow card: Charlie Smith 73

Rochester United
Tony Coxall, Dan Nash (c), Ralph Katikaza, Marlou Peter-Brown, Freeman Rogers, Jack Healey (Donnell Anderson 65), Jai McKinlay, Jamie Rawsthorne, Shingirai Chiriseri (Owen Price 59), Luke Saggers (Chandler Kasai 67), Merrick Simms.
Sub (unused): Darren Onslow
Yellow card: Ralph Katikaza 84

Attendance: 116
Referee: Zoltan Konkoly
Assistants: Mark Cheeseman & Ryan Andrew