WHITSTABLE TOWN 1 CRAY WANDERERS 5
Saturday July 20 2019 15.00
Whitstable were comfortably beaten by last season’s champions Cray Wanderers at a sunny, warm and breezy Belmont. Joe Taylor scored all five of the Cray goals, with Marcus Elliott netting a consolation for Whitstable. It was the first home game for a new look Whitstable, with a different chairman, manager and a number of players and despite this result, there remains a sense of optimism around the club. Whitstable were without a number of players for this game, with James Morrish, John Walker, Taylor Fisher, Liam Dickson and Harry Stannard all unable to play. The visitors have retained the majority of the team that won the league and also had several trialists on view, although manager Tony Russell was away.
Whitstable goalkeeper Dan Eason had to make a couple of early saves, whilst Lewis Carey in the other goal got down to block a low shot, as the game started fairly evenly. Things were soon to change however when Cray opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Eason was unable to fully clear a Freddie Parker cross and Mitchell Nelson played the ball back towards goal, where Taylor applied the finish. It was 2-0 on 21 minutes, as Taylor collected a ball from Tom Carlse and shot low towards the bottom left corner, beating the dive of Eason. Whitstable had a great opportunity to pull a goal back on the half hour mark when Alex Anderson was played through and found himself with just Carey to beat, but his touch was a little heavy and the Cray goalkeeper was able to get down to gather the ball. The home team were having their best spell of the game and were rewarded in the 39th minute when Elliott rose to plant a header past Carey into the top corner. The two goal lead was soon restored however as Eason failed to hold a low shot by the Cray number 11 and Taylor was on hand to complete his hat-trick. James Trueman almost got a second for Whitstable just afterwards, breaking into the box on the left and shooting past Carey, but Jay Leader was able to clear off the line. The game was effectively settled on the stroke of half time, with Cray making it 4-1 as Whitstable fluffed several chances to clear the ball before a Parker effort fell to Taylor who easily scored again from close range.
Cray soon increased their lead when the teams emerged for the second half and it was Taylor again who calmly chipped the ball over Eason after being sent clear by a Karl Dent pass. That was to be the end of the scoring, although there were a few more half chances at both ends. Anderson shot wide and a good effort from substitute Liam Gillies was saved, as Whitstable went in search of a second goal. At the other end, Eason denied Taylor a sixth goal on a couple of occasions and Dent shot over the bar. Whitstable had one last opportunity on 90 minutes when they won a free kick just outside the box and Osman Proni curled a great effort towards the top corner, but the ball was kept out and the score remained 5-1 at the final whistle.
With Beckenham Town pulling out of the friendly previously arranged for Tuesday, Whitstable will again face BetVictor Premier Division opponents in their next two fixtures, at Folkestone Invicta on Saturday, before Margate visit the Belmont the following Tuesday.
Dan Eason, Jake Mackenzie, James Trueman, Connor Sanders, Marcus Evans, Tom Bryant (c), Luke Girt, Osman Proni, Marcus Elliott, Tarik Ibrahim, Alex Anderson.
Subs: Danny Patterson, Liam Gillies, Owen Fitt, Muhammed Cham, Ryan Birch.
Goal: Marcus Elliott 39
Lewis Carey, Barney Williams, Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson, Tom Phipp, Trialist 7, Trialist 8, Joe Taylor, Freddie Parker, Trialist 11.
Subs: Lee Lewis, Karl Dent, Charles Etumnu, Neil Spencer.
Goals: Joe Taylor 14, 21, 40, 45, 49.
Referee: Kirsty Dowle
Assistants: Piotr Zachweija & Nick Monkman