After this goalless draw, the teams will play the second leg at Sevenoaks on Saturday September 24.
ERITH & BELVEDERE 2 WHITSTABLE TOWN 3
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday September 3 2016 15.00
Whitstable fought back after a poor start to take the points with a late winner. The game was marred however due to a serious injury just after the Deres went 2-0 up in the 15th minute. Play was halted for 56 minutes whilst the emergency services tended the unfortunate home player. The final whistle eventually blew just before 6 pm with heavy rain falling on the celebrating Oyster Boys, who had been using their large flag for shelter.
Whitstable fans were pleased to see the return of Lee Winfield, who missed the two previous games through injury and also Michael Yianni, playing his first game of the season after a knee operation. Things did not go to plan early on though, as Michael Fahm was fouled just outside the penalty area by Grant McIlheron in the 2nd minute and Liam Wright’s left footed free kick beat the outstretched left hand of the diving Dan Eason to give the Deres the lead. In the 10th minute, a cross from the left found Fahm but he shot straight at Eason. Five minutes later more good approach play down the left led to Wright doubling the advantage as he met the cross and shot firmly under Eason.
The major incident followed shortly afterwards as the Erith & Belvedere number 8 Enoch Akosah and Scott Punton challenged for the ball close to the touchline and the home player suffered a broken leg. This led to some heated exchanges between both benches with the players then becoming involved as the extent of the injury became apparent. The officials however deemed no action was necessary and there was then a delay of just under an hour as the medical staff assessed the situation and they were finally able to move the stricken player into the ambulance which had driven on to the pitch.
After another warm up the game restarted and Whitstable gradually began to take control with the midfield of Winfield, Yianni, Nick Treadwell and Darren Marsden dominating. Yianni had an effort blocked, Marsden shot wide and then Yianni fired a decent attempt just over the bar. After a penalty claim by the home side was waved away, Kane Rowland and then Marsden again had shots blocked and a Winfield free kick was struck into the defensive wall. In what was the 51st minute of stoppage time a good passing exchange between Treadwell and Marsden allowed the latter to slip the ball through to Rowland who curled his shot past Lee Kidman into the far corner to pull a goal back.
The second half started as the first finished with Yianni first setting up Rowland whose shot was off target and then Thompson also shot just wide. Whitstable were forced to make a change as Punton was injured by a late tackle and Ollie Brown slotted in at right back. Harry Brown was then a victim of a poor challenge, but after treatment was able to continue. The home side had a couple of attempts with Fahm shooting over the bar and Wright slicing a dangerous cross wide of the post.
The game became quite open in the last 30 minutes with chances at both ends. Ollie Brown and Treadwell were both on hand to make good clearances and at the other end Rowland and Yianni had efforts saved and Winfield shot over after a good move. The equaliser finally arrived in the 82nd minute when a Marsden free kick was headed back across goal by substitute Brendon Cass and Ollie Lee arrived to head past Kidman.
Marsden then set up Harry Brown, but his rising shot was more of a threat to the passing buses on Park View Road. The Deres were still dangerous on the break though and after Fahm headed straight at Eason, the Whitstable keeper made a great save in the 88th minute, pushing a fierce shot up on to the bar and Ennis Fyffe was just unable to stab the rebound home. Then came the winner as Rowland, Marsden and Cass cut through the home defence leaving Lee to drive into the box to finish coolly for his second.
In the end it was a deserved victory with some good football played, but the game was undoubtedly marred by the horrific injury to Enoch Akosah. Both physios did a good job and the emergency services attended promptly and everyone at Whitstable Football Club sends their best wishes. It has been decided that a collection will be held at the next two home games at The Belmont in aid of the unfortunate player, who faces surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation period.
Erith & Belvedere
Lee Kidman, Ennis Fyffe, Sheriff Babatunde, George Reed (Victor Borode 55), Yinka Salami, Aaron Fray (c), Nad Nwitua, Enoch Akosah (Ashley Robinson 45+26), Liam Wright, Michael Fahm, Josh Froggatt (Jeff Allen 61).
Subs (unused): Ike-Robertson Feehi, Baris Bozyigit.
Goals: Liam Wright 2, 15.
Dan Eason (c), Scott Punton (Ollie Brown 62), Harry Brown, Ollie Lee, Grant McIlheron, Lee Winfield, Nick Treadwell, Michael Yianni (Harris Rodgers 76), Craig Thompson (Brendon Cass 76), Darren Marsden, Kane Rowland.
Subs (unused): Callum Wraight, Harry Brooks
Goals: Kane Rowland 45+51, Ollie Lee 82, 89.
Referee: Tom Nicholls
Assistants: Danny Geary & Darren Wilson