Category: 2017-2018 Club News

Ten Man Town Fight Back To Draw

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday March 10 2018 15.00

Whitstable managed to battle back to keep their long unbeaten run going after a sluggish start against Tunbridge Wells on a heavy pitch at the Belmont. The team had started really well in the previous match against Deal Town, but this was the complete opposite as Tunbridge Wells dominated the opening 25 minutes with the home side struggling to get going. Jack Harris was allowed far too much space and shot through a crowded area into the bottom left hand corner to give the visitors an early goal. Dan Eason had to make a couple of saves to prevent Tunbridge Wells extending their lead and then Whitstable were reduced to ten men on 20 minutes when Charlie Smith was sent off for a poor challenge on Jon Pilbeam. Eason tipped a fierce Josh Biddlecombe strike over the bar shortly afterwards, but then Whitstable reorganised and the ten men worked extremely hard to turn things around. Ricky Freeman ran on to a long pass that was missed by the last defender and took the ball around Cameron Hall to equalise. Danny Williams, Josh Burchell and Freeman each had chances to add a second before the break. Whitstable generally had the better of the second half, with Teddy Nelson and Williams both going close, before Stuart West had a header cleared off the line and late effort ruled out for offside. The best opportunity for the visitors fell to Tommy Lawrence, but he shot over the bar. The last few minutes were mainly notable for a flurry of yellow cards and a draw was probably a fair result in the end.

James Morrish and Rob Gillman returned to the squad, but Craig Cloke and Chris Saunders were still ruled out through injury. Morrish took over as captain, whilst Teddy Nelson and Charlie Smith kept their places in the starting eleven after good performances in the midweek cup success against Deal. Tunbridge Wells, who also made it through to the last four of the league challenge cup on Tuesday with a 2-1 win against Cray Valley, came into the game in better form than their league position would suggest and had lost only one of their last six games. The three previous games between the two sides had been tight affairs, with a 1-0 win each at the Culverden Stadium and a 1-1 draw at the Belmont.

Tunbridge Wells started on the front foot and created most of the early chances. They took the lead in the 6th minute as the home defence retreated, allowing Harris the opportunity to bring the ball forward and shoot low into the left corner from just outside the box, with Eason unable to get across as the ball passed through a congested area. Williams was lectured by the referee for pulling back Alexx Kendall as he tried to break and a few minutes later it was Kendall who forced Eason into a save at the near post after a good run by Harris.

Dan Eason makes an early save from Alexx Kendall

Kendall continued to cause problems by getting forward down the right and on 16 minutes his fierce cross was pushed up into the air by Eason, who was then fouled as he tried to gather the ball at the second attempt. Whitstable had a rare opportunity when Macauley Murray struck a free kick into the wall, but they were to suffer a further blow when an unwise tackle by Smith on Pilbeam was deemed worthy of a straight red card by the referee and following a needless bout of pushing and shoving, Biddlecombe was shown a yellow card. After a John Walker cross had whistled past the Tunbridge Wells far post, a poor Whitstable clearance went straight to Biddlecombe and his shot was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Eason. The corner that followed led to a couple more half chances, but Whitstable eventually managed to clear the ball.

The ten men in red gradually began to work their way back into the game and a good Freeman cross just lacked a final touch, then Tom Bryant found Williams on the right and his cross was headed away from a waiting Freeman by Kendall, although the officials decided it should be a goal kick to the annoyance of the home crowd. Just after Burchell had picked up a booking, the Tunbridge Wells defence failed to cut out the ball on the halfway line, leaving Freeman a clear run at goal and he went past the goalkeeper and slotted the ball home to make it 1-1.

Ricky Freeman is just beaten to the ball at the far post, although a goal kick was given
Ricky Freeman takes the ball past Cameron Hall
The ball goes over the line and the scores are level

Biddlecombe curled a shot wide, Williams was cautioned and then Jarred Trespaderne joined him in the book after catching Bryant in the head with a raised boot. As half time approached, Williams hooked a shot over the bar, then pulled the ball back for Burchell whose shot was blocked and when the ball came out to Freeman, his shot was deflected just over to prevent Whitstable going into the break with a lead.

Josh Burchell has a shot blocked
This effort by Ricky Freeman is deflected just over for a corner

The visitors had to make an early change in the second half, when the injured Drew Crush limped off. Nelson got his head to a Murray corner, only to see the ball go agonisingly wide of the far post. A spell of Whitstable pressure led to another attempt by Williams, but his shot from 20 yards was just too high. On the hour mark, Pilbeam tried a shot from distance at the other end, but failed to find the target. Another Murray corner was met by Stuart West, but his header was cleared off the line by Kendall.

Teddy Nelson glances a header just wide of the far post
A header by Stuart West is cleared off the line by Alexx Kendall

Whitstable brought on Louis Sprosen and Shaun Welford, with Tunbridge Wells introducing Lawrence, who almost made an immediate impact when the ball was played across to him from the left, but he failed to keep his shot down and it sailed over the bar. Both teams made their final changes with Rob Gillman replacing Nelson, who had played a full academy game the previous day, and Franco Mici coming off the Tunbridge Wells bench.

Whitstable won a series of late free kicks as they drove forward in search of a winner and Tunbridge Wells collected four more yellow cards in the space of 10 minutes, as almost every challenge seemed to result in a caution. West also picked up a booking for sharing his thoughts with the officials. In the 84th minute, a Murray free kick was headed back across goal by Bryant for West to apply the finish, but the assistant had flagged for offside against Bryant. Another free kick bobbled around in the area before Bryant shot over the bar. The final free kick however was at the other end, but a Mici shot from 25 yards was deflected harmlessly to Eason.

Tom Bryant heads the ball back across goal, but is flagged offside
Stuart West puts the ball in the net, but the effort is ruled out
Scott Porter receives his third Manager of the Month award from Ray Brown after the match

In the end, it was a hard fought point for both teams, with Whitstable showing a lot of heart and determination to battle back with ten men from a poor start, although it was ultimately two points dropped in their challenge at the top of the table. Tunbridge Wells celebrated at the end and deserved something from the game for their first half performance. Scott Porter was presented with the February Manager of the Month award after the final whistle and Whitstable can now look forward to another big game on Tuesday at Crowborough.

Whitstable Tun Wells
8 Attempts 7
4 On Target 4
4 Corners 6
2 Offside 0
18 Free Kicks Won 14

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell (Louis Sprosen 66), Stuart West, Teddy Nelson (Rob Gillman 80), Tom Bryant, Charlie Smith, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman (Shaun Welford 73), Danny Williams, Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Owen Fitt, Dean Ruddy.
Goal: Ricky Freeman 36
Yellow cards: Josh Burchell 36, Danny Williams 39, Stuart West 83.
Red card: Charlie Smith 20

Tunbridge Wells
Cameron Hall, Alexx Kendall, Alfie Hall, Drew Crush (Ollie Cooke 49), Jake Hampson, Jon Shea, Jon Pilbeam, Tom Davey (c), Jarred Trespaderne (Franco Mici 79), Jack Harris, Josh Biddlecombe (Tommy Lawrence 73).
Subs (unused): Jack Hyslop, Michal Czanner.
Goal: Jack Harris 6
Yellow cards: Josh Biddlecombe 22, Jarred Trespaderne 41, Jack Harris 80, Ollie Cooke 83, Alfie Hall 86, Jon Shea 89.

Attendance: 140
Referee: Jamie Eacott
Assistants: Kieran Stoneham & Matt Williams

Whitstable Reach Another Semi Final

Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Quarter-Final
Tuesday March 6 2018 19.45

Whitstable overcame the absence of several key players to progress to the last four of another cup competition with a deserved win over Deal Town. In a one sided first half during which Whitstable won eleven corners, some committed defending by the visitors kept the score goalless. Goalkeeper James Tonkin and his defence made sure they were first to most of the balls into their box, although Ricky Freeman was just off target after being sent clear by Teddy Nelson and Tonkin managed to deny Danny Williams from close range. Deal offered little threat apart from an Alfie Foster header that went wide from a free kick and one deflected long range shot that was easily saved by Dan Eason. The second half continued in similar fashion, although Deal did see a little more of the ball. Louis Sprosen chipped a great chance just wide and Tonkin made a good save from a Macauley Murray free kick, before a rash challenge by Luke Bigginton on John Walker gave Williams the opportunity to calmly put Whitstable ahead from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute. The introduction of three substitutes injected a bit more urgency into the Deal attacks late on and Eason had to make a couple of saves, whilst at the other end Tonkin prevented firstly Williams and then Shaun Welford from making the game safe.

This was the fourth attempt to play the game and following some hard work on a pitch that was under deep snow a couple of days earlier, conditions were fine for the game to proceed. Whitstable were without injury victims Craig Cloke and Chris Saunders, whilst James Morrish and Rob Gillman were also unavailable. This gave an opportunity for academy player Teddy Nelson to start at the back alongside Stuart West and Tom Bryant, with Louis Sprosen and Charlie Smith coming into the midfield. Deal were sitting in the top half of the table and had beaten Whitstable 2-1 in the league fixture at their ground back in September, although only four of the Whitstable players started in both games.

The home side began strongly and the majority of the first 45 minutes were played in the Deal half of the pitch. Whitstable had a number of dead ball situations in the first 10 minutes, providing opportunities to deliver the ball into the box, but a Bryant header and a shot from Williams failed to trouble the Deal goalkeeper, while Eason had just one catch to take at the other end. On 11 minutes, a good ball forward by Nelson found Freeman in space, but his shot went just wide as Tonkin tried to close him down. Whitstable then won a succession of corners, leading to a few scrambles and blocked goal attempts, but Deal generally defended stoutly with Tonkin and his defenders keeping them in the contest. Tonkin saved a Sprosen shot from the edge of the box, then a good move down the right gave Freeman the chance to send over a dangerous low cross, but Tonkin did well to prevent Williams giving Whitstable the lead in the 24th minute.

Action from one of many Whitstable corners, as Teddy Nelson challenges Kane Smith
Ricky Freeman has a shot blocked by the Deal defence
James Tonkin saves from a stretching Danny Williams

Macauley Murray had a good game in midfield and when he was flattened by Andy Miller, he got up to take the free kick, with the ball eventually falling to Freeman, whose shot was saved by Tonkin. On 29 minutes there was a rare chance for Deal when an Andy Miller free kick was headed wide by Foster and a few minutes later a long range attempt by Foster was deflected into the safe hands of Eason. Stuart West picked up the first booking of the evening after a foul on the Deal left and Andy Miller soon joined him in the book after conceding several free kicks. Just before the break, Walker put in a great cross following a one-two with Williams and that led to the eleventh corner of the half for Whitstable, although like a few before, the inswinging delivery by Josh Burchell was headed out from under the bar and the game remained 0-0 at half time.

As the teams emerged for the second half, there was a feeling around the ground that Whitstable should have had more to show for all their domination and it might just be a game where Deal would soak up the pressure and then create something on the break. This indeed almost happened when a good run by Andy Miller left the home defence a bit stretched, but Deal failed to find the right pass and the ball went harmlessly out for a goal kick. On 51 minutes Connor Coyne was spoken to by the referee after a foul on Bryant and from the free kick, the ball was headed into the path of Sprosen and, with just the goalkeeper to beat, he chipped the ball over Tonkin but wide. Charlie Smith made a good run from midfield before being stopped, then Jack Paxman was booked for a foul about 25 yards out and Murray forced a great save out of Tonkin as he turned his free kick around his left hand post. A couple more Whitstable corners followed and when the ball came back out to Sprosen, his chip to the far corner was saved by Tonkin and then Nelson sent a shot just over the bar. Deal brought on Ben Chapman for Connor Miller in the 62nd minute and he shot wide from distance shortly afterwards. West hooked an effort over the bar at the other end after being found by Sprosen. After Deal had made their second change, introducing Charlie Walsh, a promising build up down the right ended with Walker being fouled just inside the right edge of the box by Bigginton, resulting in a penalty and a yellow card. Williams stepped up and found the bottom right hand corner to put Whitstable in front with his 22nd goal of the season.

Danny Williams scores from the spot
The ball finds the corner of the net

Euan Sahadow, a young player on loan from Folkestone, was the final Deal substitute and Welford replaced the hard working Freeman for Whitstable. The combination of going behind and the three substitutions seemed to inspire Deal to go on the attack for the first time in the match and a deflected strike by Chapman was well saved by Eason at his near post and then in the 84th minute Deal won their only corner. The ball was cleared by Whitstable and Williams raced past the last defender, but was thwarted by Tonkin as he tried to take the ball around him. After a couple more Deal attempts by Sahadow and Chapman, neither of which seriously troubled Eason, the final chance of the game fell to Whitstable in stoppage time. Williams broke down the left and crossed the ball to Welford at the far post, but his shot was blocked by Tonkin for the sixteenth Whitstable corner and the game ended shortly afterwards.

Teddy Nelson jumps highest
Dan Eason collects a late Deal effort

Whitstable have now reached the last four of the competition and continue to chase success on three fronts. It will be a busy end to the season with a minimum of seventeen games left to play in seven weeks.

Whitstable Deal
16 Attempts 7
8 On Target 3
16 Corners 1
0 Offside 0
14 Free Kicks Won 13

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Stuart West, Teddy Nelson, Tom Bryant (c), Louis Sprosen, Charlie Smith, Ricky Freeman (Shaun Welford 79), Danny Williams, Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Brendon Cass, Owen Fitt, Rhys Brain, Dean Ruddy.
Goal: Danny Williams (pen) 73
Yellow card: Stuart West 38

Deal Town
James Tonkin, Jack Paxman, Danny Smith, Liam Hark (c), Kane Smith, Luke Bigginton (Euan Sahadow 76), Connor Miller (Ben Chapman 62), Alfie Foster (Charlie Walsh 69), Connor Coyne, Sam Wilson, Andy Miller.
Subs (unused): Dan Adams, Joe Reeves.
Yellow cards: Andy Miller 42, Jack Paxman 59, Luke Bigginton 72.

Attendance: 103
Referee: Dan Doyle
Assistants: Paul Franks & Kieran Stoneham

More Fixture Updates

Following the cup win last night and recent postponements, there are a number of changes to the fixture list for what is certainly a busy last few weeks of the season, as Whitstable maintain their challenge in three competitions. There are currently 17 matches to be played in 7 weeks, including 7 in the final 15 days.

The two legs of the SCEFL Challenge Cup Semi-Final against Lordswood have been arranged for the following dates:
Wed 21 March 19.45 Lordswood v Whitstable
Tue 27 March 19.45 Whitstable v Lordswood

A number of league games have been moved or added in and the complete fixture list for the remainder of the season is shown below.
Sat 10 March 15.00 Tunbridge Wells (H) SCEFL
Tue 13 March 19.45 Crowborough Athletic (A) SCEFL
Sat 17 March 15.00 Croydon (A) SCEFL
Wed 21 March 19.45 Lordswood (A) Challenge Cup SF 1st leg
Sat 24 March 15.00 Sevenoaks Town (H) SCEFL
Tue 27 March 19.45 Lordswood (H) Challenge Cup SF 2nd leg
Sat 31 March 15.00 Deal Town (H) SCEFL
Mon 2 April 15.00 Lordswood (A) SCEFL
Sun 8 April 14.00 Sheppey United (Maidstone) Kent Senior Trophy Final
Tue 10 April 19.45 Glebe (H) SCEFL
Sat 14 April 15.00 Rusthall (A) SCEFL
Mon 16 April 19.45 Rochester United (H) SCEFL
Wed 18 April 19.45 Canterbury City (A) SCEFL
Sat 21 April 15.00 Beckenham Town (H) SCEFL
Mon 23 April 19.45 AFC Croydon Athletic (H) SCEFL
Wed 25 April 19.45 Rochester United (A) SCEFL
Sat 28 April 15.00 Cray Valley PM (A) SCEFL

Challenge Cup Draw

Whitstable have been drawn against Lordswood in the semi-final of the SCEFL Challenge Cup, with the tie to be played over two legs. The dates have yet to be confirmed.

The full draw is as follows :
Lordswood v Whitstable Town
Tunbridge Wells v Crowborough Athletic

Match On Tonight

Following a pitch inspection early this afternoon, the SCEFL Challenge Cup quarter final match against Deal Town will go ahead tonight with a 7.45 p.m. kick off, with extra time and penalties if needed.

Pitch Inspection For Deal Game

After the snowfall of last week and the heavy rain on Sunday, the pitch at Whitstable was left very wet. There was still lying snow around the ground yesterday but the pitch is clear and was worked on to try to get it playable for the cup game this evening. A pitch inspection will take place between 1 and 2 p.m. and the result will be communicated once known.