Atkins Double Dumps Whitstable Out Of Cup

(Sheppey United win 4-2 on aggregate)
Macron SCEFL Challenge Cup Semi-final Second Leg
Tuesday March 28 2017 19.45

A brace of goals by seasoned striker Richard Atkins was enough to see Sheppey United progress to the final of the SCEFL Challenge Cup at the expense of Whitstable, where they will meet Sevenoaks, who eased past Ashford United 3-0.

On a pleasant evening for late March, the bumper crowd of 316 witnessed a game where the home side dominated the possession, while the visitors took their chances.

As early as the 8th minute, a clumsy challenge by the experienced Sheppey captain Rob Saunders on Frankie Sawyer saw him enter referee Mr Rudd’s book, but the resulting free-kick by Sawyer went tamely wide. Soon after, Connor Hood was also cautioned, when a 50-50 tackle on Karn Miller-Neave saw the latter reeling in agony, but after a little treatment he was able to continue. Miller-Neave went down again soon afterwards, claiming an elbow to the head, but the referee who had a good game waved away the protests from the visitors and only gave a throw-in. Whitstable were seeing more of the ball now, but efforts by Sawyer, Craig Thompson and Kane Rowland were food and drink for Dean Warford in the Sheppey goal.

Then just after midway through the first half, Sheppey’s first real attack led to the opening goal. David Abe jinked passed a couple of players and fed Richard Atkins and he slipped past Ashley Brown who tripped him in the box, leading to a penalty. With no complaints from the home side, Atkins sent Dan Eason the wrong way to put the travelling team 1-0 up.

Whitstable soon gained their first corner of the match, which resulted in a swivel shot from Sawyer going just wide. A long punt by Warford then found Atkins, but his effort threatened the windows in the houses behind the goal, rather than the goal itself. Just before the break, home skipper Rob Gilman picked up an injury and was replaced by Jack Mahoney. In stoppage time, Mahoney picked out Sawyer and the return ball to Mahoney saw him send in a shot which Warford only parried to Thompson, who netted; however the flag went up as Thompson had strayed offside.

HT 0-1

Sheppey came out of the blocks quicker in the second half and a neat move by Dan Bradshaw, after Ashley Brown slipped, fed Atkins whose diet for goal was spot on and the poacher coolly netted to the travelling fans joy, leaving Town an uphill task.

Aaron Quain then went into the book after words with the official and Newman Poku was introduced, replacing the injured Ashley Brown. Whitstable then started pushing forward and an off the ball incident by Joseph Denny, who blatantly stopped a Kane Rowland run, saw him lucky to only see yellow. The resulting free kick saw Quain float the ball gently over the bar. Just after the hour Dan Bradshaw was given a straight red after pushing Ollie Lee in the face in another off the ball incident. The home side then threw caution to the wind, but poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping was frustrating the Oystermen. Mahoney though was dominating the midfield and showed some excellent touches, leading to more unfinished chances.

With the clock ticking down and Sheppey getting away with some time wasting tactics, another attack saw a Rowland shot beat the keeper, but Saunders on the line stuck out a hand, resulting in a penalty and an early shower for visiting defender, who threw his arm band away and his took his shirt off in a tantrum moment. Alas, Sawyer’s weak penalty was easily saved, but Rowland found the net on the rebound, only for it to be ruled out for a push, which looked really harsh. However there was still time for a superb dipping effort by Sawyer to be brilliantly saved by Warford, who then moments later denied Thompson from six yards out.

So, it’s the end of the Whitstable Cup dream, but with Ashford and Crowborough wobbling at the top and still to visit the Belmont, the season for some is not quite over yet.

Unfortunately there were no official photos taken for this match.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Connor Hood, Aaron Quain, Tom Bryant, Rob Gillman (c) (Jack Mahoney 41), Ashley Brown (Newman Poku 58), Ollie Lee, Charlie Smith, Craig Thompson, Frankie Sawyer, Kane Rowland.
Subs (unused): Calvin Sedenu, Brendon Cass, Dean Ruddy.
Yellow cards: Connor Hood 10, Aaron Quain 54.

Sheppey United
Dean Warford, James Huggins, Karn Miller-Neave, Joseph Denny, Rob Saunders (c), George Batten (Ross Pagett 75), David Abe, Dan Bradshaw, Richard Atkins, Danny Walder, Timmy Babbington.
Subs (unused): Lee Friend, Lewis Gransden, John Ralph.
Goals: Richard Atkins 25, 48.
Yellow cards: Rob Saunders 8, Joseph Denny 59.
Red cards: Dan Bradshaw 62, Rob Saunders 87.

Attendance: 316
Referee: Scott Rudd
Assistants: Brian Woodhouse & Dan Friar