Category: 2018-2019 Match Reports

Season Ends With Narrow Defeat

THREE BRIDGES 2 WHITSTABLE TOWN 1
Bostik League South East
Saturday April 27 2019 15.00

Whitstable finished their first season back in the Bostik League in 12th place, after they went down to a 2-1 defeat on a windy afternoon in West Sussex. Whitstable played some good football in the first half and should have been several goals ahead by half time, but only had a Stephen Smith free kick as a reward for their efforts. Smith also hit the post and went close on a few other occasions, while James Shaw denied Ricky Freeman, John Walker and Harry Stannard. The home team did begin to get into the game towards half time and Connor French missed a couple of good chances. French did get an equaliser early in the second period when he claimed the last touch as a cross from the right curled past Dan Eason. Brannon O’Neill struck an unstoppable shot into the net from distance soon afterwards to turn the game around. A lack of discipline might well have cost Three Bridges, as they had to play out the closing stages with nine men after French and Andrew Sesay were both sent off, but despite having a number of chances, Whitstable were unable to find a way past Shaw again.

Three Bridges were promoted as runners up from the Southern Combination League at the end of last season, in similar fashion to Whitstable, who took the same route from their league. Both teams have had good and bad spells during the current campaign, but had secured their place for next season without having to ensure a tense afternoon in the final fixture. After three games without scoring, Three Bridges had beaten Whyteleafe on Easter Monday, thanks to two goals from French. Whitstable started with the same eleven that drew with Hythe in their previous game.

The end of season pitch was looking worn and had a fair covering of leaves from nearby trees on a blustery day, but the rain mainly stayed away. It was Whitstable that started much better and the game was played almost exclusively in the home half in the first quarter of an hour. Despite there being little to play for other than pride, the passionate home bench were perhaps fortunate to escape any punishment for comments directed at the referee in the opening minutes. The pressure on the home goal had not created too many clear cut chances, although Ricky Freeman volleyed over the bar in the 6th minute, when the ball reached him just inside the penalty area. Sesay made one threatening run at the other end, but he was eventually closed down before having a chance to test Eason. When Smith was fouled just outside the box in the 15th minute, he took the free kick himself and his low strike found the bottom left corner of the net to give Whitstable a deserved lead. Smith then headed a Walker free kick over the bar. In the 20th minute, Eason had to make his only save of the half, when Olu Oluwatimilehin shot straight at him after a promising move. Ibby Akanbi sent a dangerous ball across the Whitstable box, but there was nobody there to apply the finish.

Whitstable open the scoring from a free kick
The ball is in the back of the net
Stephen Smith has another goal towards the Golden Boot

Smith rose to meet a long Connor Sanders throw in the 26th minute, but his header came back off the post with Shaw beaten. Stannard then played in Smith again and he turned well, but shot over the top from 10 yards. James Morrish, who had a good game in midfield, chipped the ball into the area for Freeman who glanced a header just wide. Three Bridges almost found a way through on 33 minutes when Eason came out but was beaten to the ball by French, who hooked the chance wide from 25 yards. Whitstable then worked the ball well through the middle, but Smith shot wide. There was then a better opportunity for Whitstable to double their lead when Walker cut into the box and fed Freeman whose shot was blocked by Shaw and when the ball rebounded to Walker, his effort was cleared off the line by Tyrone Berry. The chances kept coming for Whitstable and a great cross by Taylor Fisher picked out Stannard, whose volley was pushed behind by Shaw for a corner. The home side were almost gifted an equaliser in the 42nd minute when an attempted back pass by Morrish went straight to French, but he blazed his shot into the car park with only Eason to beat. In the closing moments of the half, both French and Morrish lifted half chances over the bar at each end and Whitstable took a 1-0 lead into the break.

Stephen Smith rises to meet a throw in by Connor Sanders
The ball strikes the foot of the post
Smith tries again to increase the lead
This shot is just too high
This time Ricky Freeman is denied by James Shaw
The follow up from John Walker is cleared off the line by Tyrone Berry
James Shaw palms away a Harry Stannard volley

Whitstable had to make a change early in the second half, with the injured Walker being replaced by Nick Treadwell, who went into midfield with Jordan Wight moving to right back. On 56 minutes, Morrish drove forward and played the ball out to Freeman on the right, who crossed for Stannard, but he was unable to beat Shaw. The home team started to look more threatening and Oluwatimilehin hit a low shot from 20 yards that was pushed out and gathered at the second attempt by Eason. Akanbi then tried a shot from the edge of the area that was deflected for a corner, from which the ball eventually came back out to O’Neill on the right and his curling ball into the box was helped on by French into the net to bring the scores level. Three Bridges were now having their best spell of the game and won two more corners, whilst also making a couple of substitutions. In the 67th minute, they took the lead with a great strike by O’Neill. He collected the ball about 22 yards form goal and hit a dipping shot over Eason and into the corner of the net.

Dan Eason saves from Olu Oluwatimilehin
Three Bridges equalise

A few minutes later, an incident on the pitch caused tempers to flare and when things calmed down, the referee consulted an assistant before showing a red card to French, followed by yellows for Morrish, Sesay and Joe Tennent. Three Bridges were then left with about a quarter of an hour plus stoppage time to hold on to the lead and their goalkeeper Shaw tried to slow the game down and not release the ball. He went down when Smith challenged him, causing a further delay and a booking for the Whitstable striker. Shortly afterwards, Sesay was sent off for an incident off the ball and Whitstable with a two man advantage spent the remainder of the game pushing forward to try to rescue a point. Rob Gillman almost turned a corner past Shaw at the back post, then from the next corner, Tom Bryant was denied by the busy goalkeeper. A left footed effort by substitute James Trueman was deflected past the post and next it was the turn of Wright to force Shaw into another save, with Treadwell’s follow up also blocked. Treadwell had another header from a free kick saved and Freeman could only turn a cross into the side netting in added time. When Freeman struck a free kick wide in the 5th minute of stoppage time, the final whistle blew, giving Three Bridges the points with a 2-1 win.

Connor French is dismissed
Stephen Smith gets a yellow card for his challenge on the goalkeeper
Andrew Sesay is the second home player to be sent off
Rob Gillman tries to find a way past James Shaw
Jordan Wright and Nick Treadwell both go close to a late equaliser
Ricky Freeman can only hit the side netting from a narrow angle in added time

Whitstable therefore finish in 12th place with 43 points from their 36 games and Three Bridges were 2 points behind in 14th. Despite some encouraging late season form, Whitstable ended as the lowest scorers in the league with only 36 goals, although their defensive record was the 9th best with 55 goals conceded. Stephen Smith finished with 12 goals, 2 ahead of Ricky Freeman, and was presented with the held over “Golden Boot” trophy by the chairman Joe Brownett after the game.

Steve Smith won the Golden Boot this season for his 12 goals and received the award from the chairman after the game at Three Bridges
Three Bridges Whitstable
10 Attempts 20
4 On Target 10
4 Corners 4
2 Offside 1
8 Free Kicks Won 13

Three Bridges
James Shaw, Lee Hall, Dean Gunner, Andrew Sesay, Connor French, Brannon O’Neill, Ibby Akanbi (John Lansdale 67), Olu Oluswatimilehin, Tyrone Berry (Reece Hallard 62), Antone Douglas, Joe Tennent (c).
Subs (unused): Youcef Azzouz, Alex Clark.
Goals: Connor French 58, Brannon O’Neill 67.
Yellow card: Joe Tennent 74
Red cards: Connor French 73, Andrew Sesay (two yellows 74, 80)

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker (Nick Treadwell 50), Taylor Fisher, Jordan Wright, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Connor Sanders, James Morrish (c) (James Trueman 81), Ricky Freeman, Stephen Smith, Harry Stannard (Miles Cornwell 70).
Subs (unused): none
Goal: Stephen Smith 15
Yellow cards: James Morrish 73, Stephen Smith 78.

Attendance: 88
Referee: Kirsty Dowle
Assistants: Joshua Smith & David Lunani

No Goals In Last Home Game

WHITSTABLE TOWN 0 HYTHE TOWN 0
Bostik League South East
Monday April 22 2019 15.00

Whitstable and Hythe had to settle for a point apiece in this Easter Monday fixture in front of 307 spectators at a warm and sunny Belmont Ground. Whitstable created the best chances in a relatively quiet first half, with the big Hythe goalkeeper, George Kamurasi having to make a few saves, the best being when he touched a James Morrish shot past the post. The second half was far more eventful and Sid Sollis headed against the post when he seemed certain to score, before Harry Stannard clipped he bar with a long shot at the other end. Whitstable went close again when another effort hit the post and then Kamurasi produced a good save to deny Stannard. Dan Eason saved shots from Kieron Campbell and Tom Carlton as Hythe tried to find a way through the home defence. Whitstable had to play the latter stages with ten men when Connor Sanders was sent off for a challenge on Ryan Palmer in the 79th minute. Hythe rarely looked like taking advantage of their extra man though and it was Whitstable that almost found a winner when Nick Treadwell headed wide at the back post in added time.

The home crowd contained a number of representatives from the junior teams, ahead of the changes being made within Whitstable Town Football Club in the summer. This was the final home fixture for Whitstable in their first season back in the Bostik League and neither team had anything to play for at the top or bottom of the table. It was also the last game at the Belmont with manager Scott Porter in the dugout, before he takes up a new role at the club next season. Given his former association with Hythe, together with a number of players who have played for both teams, this meant a little more than a typical end of season game. Whitstable brought John Walker, Taylor Fisher, James Morrish and Stephen Smith back into the team, after the loss at East Grinstead. Hythe did not have a game on Easter Saturday, but fielded the same team that had drawn with Hastings the previous week.

The first real opportunity was created by the home team in the 13th minute, when a Ricky Freeman corner found Rob Gillman at the far post and his header was blocked by the goalkeeper and Sanders was unable to score from the rebound. Sanders tried a long throw in the 21st minute and when the ball came out to Stannard, he made space for himself before shooting straight at Kamurasi. Morrish then made a promising run and tried a shot from distance that was well saved by Kamurasi, who managed to turn the ball around the post for a corner that was headed over by Smith.

George Kamurasi saves from James Morrish

Dan Eason had not been troubled, but had a routine save to make in the 34th minute when former Whitstable player Kieron Campbell, who looked the principal threat for the visitors, made a good run from the left before trying a shot. Campbell then played a one-two in the box with Zak Ansah, but Eason was quickly out to thwart the danger. Tom Bryant felt he was pushed over just inside the box as he tried to get on the end of a Fisher free kick, but the referee was not interested. A couple of minutes before the break, Jordan Wright sent a long ball forward down the left to Smith and Kamurasi rushed across and brought the striker down with a reckless challenge just outside the penalty area. A yellow card was the result, but Whitstable were unable to make anything of the free kick and the score remained 0-0 at half time.

Dan Eason gathers a shot by Kieron Campbell
Stephen Smith is brought down as he tries to go past the goalkeeper

The opening minutes of the second half contained more meaningful action than the whole of the first. Smith picked up a loose ball, but dragged his long shot well wide of the Hythe goal. Former Herne Bay midfielder Tom Carlton, who had scored a spectacular goal in his last game at the Belmont, delivered a good cross from the left to an unmarked Sollis at the back post and he headed past Eason, but the ball struck the left upright and came back out. Carlton then curled a shot into the hands of Eason. Just a minute later, Smith found Stannard and he struck the ball towards goal from outside the box, but was unlucky as the ball hit the angle of post and bar and went behind. The chances continued and a long shot by Campbell was easily saved by Eason. The second half was still only 7 minutes old when a Stannard free kick was cleared out to the right, where it was sent back into the middle by Walker and a stretching Bryant saw his effort hit the near post, before a follow up attempt was blocked by the Hythe defence. Freeman was booked for a trip in midfield and the resulting free kick was headed out by Bryant. In the 55th minute, Freeman caught Kamurasi as he challenged for the ball and the big goalkeeper chased him across the pitch sparking a bit of an altercation, but both players escaped any further action by the referee.

Harry Stannard goes for goal, but his shot hits the bar
George Kamurasi saves another Harry Stannard shot

Wright and Morrish set up Stannard, who hit another good shot that was again well saved by Kamurasi and from the corner, an in-swinger by Freeman was headed clear and when the ball came back into the box, Sanders went down as he tried to turn, but his appeals were waved away. Smith helped the ball on for Freeman, who hooked the ball just past the far post. Carlton struck a low curling shot in the 66th minute that was parried by Eason, with Gillman safely clearing the loose ball for a corner. Mitchell Dickenson was cautioned for halting a good move between Freeman and Stannard, who then struck the 30 yard free kick into the safe hands of Kamurasi. Carlton fired a Hythe free kick into the wall and Palmer sliced the rebound wide. Whitstable were reduced to ten men in the 79th minute, when the referee decided a tackle on Palmer by Sanders was worthy of a red card. When play restarted, Dickenson headed the deep free kick over the bar. Tom Walmsley, who scored 5 goals in 32 appearances for Whitstable before recently joining Hythe, was introduced for the last few minutes. A late Hythe corner was well defended by Gillman and Wright, but the last chance of the game fell to Whitstable substitute Treadwell, who got his head to a Fisher free kick from the right corner, but his back post effort bounced over the bar.

Ricky Freeman’s corner is headed away
Nick Treadwell goes close with a late header
The end of another season at home

Hythe are in 7th place and Whitstable 11th with just one game remaining. The Whitstable team and management went over to thank their supporters as the season at the Belmont came to an end and their final game is at Three Bridges on Saturday.

Whitstable Hythe
14 Attempts 7
7 On Target 4
4 Corners 6
0 Offside 4
13 Free Kicks Won 17

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Taylor Fisher, Jordan Wright, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Connor Sanders, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman (Nick Treadwell 85), Stephen Smith, Harry Stannard (Miles Cornwell 77).
Subs (unused): James Trueman, Stuart West.
Yellow cards: Ricky Freeman 54, Tom Bryant 76.
Red card: Connor Sanders 79

Hythe Town
George Kamurasi, Salvyn Kisitu (Jack Smith 76), Charlie Webster, Elliott Capel (Tom Walmsley 82), Ollie Rowe, Mitchell Dickenson, Ryan Palmer (c), Tom Carlton, Zak Ansah, Sid Sollis, Kieron Campbell.
Subs (unused): Chris Kinnear, Alistair Carney.
Yellow cards: Zak Ansah 32, George Kamurasi 43, Mitchell Dickenson 73, Sid Sollis 86.

Attendance: 307
Referee: Ian Fissenden
Assistants: Joseph Mckay & Nick Dunn

Poor Display At Easter

EAST GRINSTEAD TOWN 4 WHITSTABLE TOWN 0
Bostik League South East
Saturday April 20 2019 15.00

Whitstable slumped to a heavy defeat at East Grinstead on a pleasantly warm Easter Saturday afternoon. Some changes were made to the team that had beaten Phoenix Sports, with two holiday games in three days in mind, but after a quiet first half an hour, the home team opened up a 3-0 lead by half time. Karn Miller-Neave scored from a free kick, then Greg Cundle added two more just before the break, one from the penalty spot, as Whitstable offered little in response. A couple of half time substitutions helped produce some improvement, but the game was already lost. Whitstable had the majority of the chances in the second half, but were let down by some poor finishing and it was East Grinstead that found the net once more, from their only goal attempt of the half, as Cundle completed his hat-trick when he turned in a low cross.

Whitstable travelled to play a team four points below them in the table in the first of two Easter fixtures. Both teams are set for a mid-table finish and with Whitstable seemingly having their minds on their final home game against Hythe Town on Monday, both captain James Morrish and leading scorer Stephen Smith were rested and joined John Walker and Taylor Fisher on the bench. Stuart West is out for the season, but Louis Sprosen was brought back into the team. East Grinstead had been inconsistent of late, following a 5-2 win against Hythe with 1-5 and 4-5 defeats to Phoenix Sports and VCD.

The game kicked off on the warmest day of the year so far and neither goalkeeper was really tested in the first half an hour. Nick Treadwell had a header easily held by Brannon Daly, Miles Cornwell volleyed wide and Connor Sanders sent a few dangerous long throws into the home penalty area, but Whitstable wasted several free kicks with some wayward deliveries. At the other end, Rob Gillman made two timely tackles, Dan Eason collected a couple of Cundle shots from the edge of the box and Drew Cooney headed a corner over the top. East Grinstead took the lead in the 32nd minute from a free kick. Cundle had earlier struck one into the wall from a similar distance and stood over this one alongside Miller-Neave, but this time it was the left back who curled a shot around the wall and into the bottom left corner.

Callum Emptage tries to hold Ricky Freeman back
Tom Bryant heads clear
Karn Miller-Neave puts East Grinstead ahead from a free kick

Daly just managed to get a hand to a deep Harry Stannard free kick to push the ball safely behind for a corner, which was badly overhit. It was 2-0 in the 42nd minute, when Whitstable gave the ball away in midfield and Cundle squared the ball from the right into the box where Jordan Wright and Jordan Johnson collided and the referee awarded a penalty, as the East Grinstead player ended up on the ground. Cundle easily beat Eason from the spot. Ricky Freeman then collected the ball on the left and broke into the box, where he went down as he was challenged and felt his team should have had a penalty, but the officials did not agree. Things got worse for a lacklustre Whitstable team in added time, when Ollie Boulding played the ball through for Cundle and he shot past Eason to give the “Wasps” at three goal advantage at half time.

Brannon Daly tips the ball away
Greg Cundle scores from the penalty spot

Whitstable introduced Morrish and Smith at the restart and at least produced an improved performance in the second half, having ten goal attempts without making any count however. Morrish shot over as the ball was headed down to him, Freeman was denied by the intervention of Jack Bray as he was about to shoot and Tom Bryant lashed a shot over the bar following a corner. Walker came on in place of Sanders, as Wright was moved into midfield. There were then three yellow cards shown in the space of a few minutes, with Bray for the home team and both Whitstable substitutes going into the book for fouls. In the 72nd minute, the ball was stabbed towards goal from a Freeman corner, but was cleared off the line by Boulding. Wright and Smith combined to set up Freeman who shot over. Whitstable were playing better, but were unable to find a finish and a back header by Smith from another corner was easily saved.

Nick Treadwell rises high
The home defence clear as Ricky Freeman closes in
Ollie Boulding clears the ball off the line

East Grinstead however were not having so much difficulty finding the back of the net and they made it 4-0 from their only real effort of the second half. Mitchell Chapman played the ball out to the right for Boulding and, as Whitstable appealed in vain for an offside flag, he crossed to the near post where Cundle was on hand to complete his hat-trick. Wright slipped a great ball through for Cornwell, but he shot wide with just Daly to beat. Smith then made a good run into the box and played in Morrish, who again shot over the top. In the final moments, Wright and Freeman both had chances to get a consolation, but it was not to be on the day and East Grinstead deservedly collected all three points.

James Morrish hits one over the bar

Whitstable will know that their first half display in particular was about the poorest of the season, but their focus seemed to be more on the Easter Monday fixture at home to Hythe, with so many connections between the two clubs. Hopefully the performance will be better and the season at the Belmont can finish on a positive note, although the main objective for the first campaign back in the Bostik League has already been achieved.

East Grinstead Whitstable
8 Attempts 12
6 On Target 4
5 Corners 5
4 Offside 1
7 Free Kicks Won 14

East Grinstead Town
Brannon Daly, Callum Emptage (c), Karn Miller-Neave, Jordan Johnson, Drew Cooney, Jack Bray, Leo Mazzone, Mitchell Chapman, Marcus Elliott (Jerson Dos Santos 77), Greg Cundle (Orlando Smith 82), Ollie Boulding (O’shaye Hutchinson 87).
Subs (unused): Andrew Pead, Matt Day.
Goals: Greg Cundle pen 42, 45+1, 79, Karn Miller-Neave 32.
Yellow card: Jack Bray 66

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, James Trueman, Nick Treadwell, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant (c), Connor Sanders (John Walker 63), Louis Sprosen (James Morrish 46), Ricky Freeman, Harry Stannard (Stephen Smith 46), Miles Cornwell.
Sub (unused): Taylor Fisher
Yellow cards: Tom Bryant 42, John Walker 67, James Morrish 70.

Attendance: 141
Referee: Jamaal Horne
Assistants: Joshua Godfrey & Chimango Gondwe

Sanders Hits Late Winner

WHITSTABLE TOWN 2 PHOENIX SPORTS 1
Bostik League South East
Saturday April 13 2019 15.00

Whitstable completed the league double over their opponents in an entertaining game at a bright and breezy Belmont Ground. Whitstable started well and almost took the lead from a long Connor Sanders throw, although Zak Bryon and Jeff Duah-Kessie both put good chances wide for the visitors. Ricky Freeman opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Miles Cornwell had been fouled. Phoenix improved in the second half and Solomon Taiwo equalised at the back post following a right wing cross. They continued to threaten and Dan Eason had to make a couple of saves to prevent his team falling behind, while Steve Phillips somehow managed to keep out a low strike by Stephen Smith at the other end. It was Whitstable that eventually claimed all three points, when Sanders fired home the winner in the 90th minute.

Tenth played ninth in this game and both teams were already set for a respectable finish with just four games remaining. When they met at the Mayplace Ground back in mid-September, two Freeman goals had given Whitstable the points in a confident display. Stuart West has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and Harry Stannard started on the bench, trying to shake off a niggling injury. Phoenix named an unchanged team after beating East Grinstead 5-1 in their previous game.

Whitstable spent the early stages of the game on the attack and the ball was frequently in the Phoenix penalty area from several free kicks, corners and long throws, but the closest they came to taking the lead was from a Sanders throw in the 11th minute, when the ball almost found its way into the net through a congested box. Home goalkeeper Eason was first called into action with a routine stop from Duah-Kessie on 15 minutes. After Phillips had saved a Smith shot, Kenny Aileru made a good run down the right, before sending over a low cross for Lee Bird, who miskicked the ball when well placed at the back post. Freeman had a couple of shots, as the home team continued to look the most likely to score, but a misdirected header left Bryon with a clear run at goal in the 24th minute, but he lashed the ball over the top with only Eason to beat. Jack Hopkins then set up Duah-Kessie, who controlled the ball well before slicing his shot badly wide. Freeman played the ball through to Cornwell, but his low shot lacked the power to beat Phillips.

Rising high to clear
Early pressure from Whitstable
Nick Treadwell challenges Steve Phillips for a long throw
The ball is cleared off the line

The visitors were now asking a few more questions and a Duah-Kessie cross from the left was headed wide by Bryon at the back post when he might have done better. James Morrish made a surging run forward for Whitstable, before cutting inside and trying a low shot that Phillips saved comfortably. A good ball was then played forward, releasing Cornwell into the penalty area, where he went down under the challenge of the two covering defenders and the referee had no hesitation in awarding Whitstable a penalty. Freeman stepped forward to send Phillips the wrong way and give his team a 34th minute lead. The game was now going from end to end and Morrish made a great interception and found Smith, whose cross seemed to be pushed behind for a corner although the officials gave a goal kick, to the frustration of the home bench who were spoken to by the referee. Curiously, Whitstable did not concede a foul until the 43rd minute, but Phoenix then won two late corners, the first of which Ashley Probets almost curled in before the ball was scrambled away and Whitstable went in at half time leading 1-0.

Miles Cornwell is brought down and Whitstable have a penalty
Ricky Freeman takes the spot kick
Whitstable lead 1-0

Whitstable had to make a change at the start of the second half, with Harry Brown replacing Taylor Fisher. Smith began the half brightly and played a great cross field ball to Morrish, who strode forward before shooting over. Phoenix went in search of an equaliser though and after a period of pressure Duah-Kessie was given two chances to send over a cross from the right and from the second the ball reached Taiwo at the far post and he was able to squeeze the ball past Eason to level the scores. Duah-Kessie was starting to prove a handful and was denied by a last ditch tackle as he was about the shoot. Aileru then turned and shot from the edge of the box, but Eason touched the ball over the bar and the Whitstable goalkeeper then had to save a long shot from Bryon.

Phoenix Sports equalise
A dangerous Ashley Probets corner flies across goal with nobody able to get a touch

Smith and Freeman combined well at the other end and Smith hit a low shot through the legs of a defender, but Phillips just managed to get down and deflect the ball for a corner. John Walker replaced Tom Bryant in the home defence, before Rob Gillman headed a deep Brown corner over the top. Phoenix won several corners themselves, one of which almost gave them the lead as the in-swinger by Probets missed everyone before curling just past the far post. Bird shot wide after being picked out by Duah-Kessie, then substitute George Whitelock forced a good save from Eason. Smith saw his shot blocked when Morrish found him with a good pass, then Eason denied the dangerous Duah-Kessie once more. Whitstable won a free kick in the 90th minute and Brown curled the ball towards Smith, who did well to play it back for Sanders who found the top corner from 10 yards to put Whitstable in front again. In added time, Sanders found himself in the book for taking a throw from the wrong place and Smith had a shot deflected just past the post, but Whitstable had done enough to secure the win.

Dan Eason claims this one
Connor Sanders fires in the last minute winner
The ball is in the net
Whitstable lead 2-1
A stoppage time shot by Stephen Smith is deflected past the post

Whitstable move to within one point of their opponents, but remain in tenth place. Their last three games see two visits to Sussex to face East Grinstead and Three Bridges, with a home fixture against Hythe Town on Easter Monday sandwiched in between.

Whitstable Phoenix Sports
14 Attempts 14
9 On Target 6
6 Corners 10
2 Offside 5
14 Free Kicks Won 9

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, Taylor Fisher (Harry Brown 46), Nick Treadwell, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant (John Walker 63), Connor Sanders, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman (Harry Stannard 78), Stephen Smith, Miles Cornwell.
Sub (unused): James Trueman
Goals: Ricky Freeman pen 34, Connor Sanders 90.
Yellow card: Connor Sanders 90+1

Phoenix Sports
Steve Phillips (c), Ryan Andrews, Ashley Probets, Jack Hopkins, Danny Young, Lewis Clarke, Lee Bird (George Whitelock 73), Solomon Taiwo, Jeff Duah-Kessie, Zak Bryon (Ryan Solan 81), Kenny Aileru.
Subs (unused): Oliver Andrews, Jack Barry, Andrew Dythe.
Goal: Solomon Taiwo 53
Yellow cards: Solomon Taiwo 14, Ryan Andrews 35, George Whitelock 81, Danny Young 90+2.

Attendance: 211
Referee: Peter Cruise
Assistants: Daniel Friar & Joseph Dann-Pye

Narrow Defeat In Sussex

HAYWARDS HEATH TOWN 2 WHITSTABLE TOWN 1
Bostik League South East
Saturday April 6 2019 15.00

After a good five game run that yielded four wins and a draw, Whitstable went down to a 2-1 defeat in a hard fought game at play-off chasing Haywards Heath. Whitstable had the better of the first half, despite falling behind when Tom Graves planted a firm header past Dan Eason from a good Callum Saunders cross. Nick Treadwell headed the equaliser when he was first to Ricky Freeman’s corner. Freeman then went close to giving Whitstable the lead on a couple of occasions and was unlucky when he lobbed the ball over Anthony Ender, only to see the ball bounce up and hit the bar. Neither goalkeeper was tested in the early stages of the second half, but Whitstable gradually found it harder to get up the pitch, playing against a strong breeze. Kenny Pogue headed an Omar Folkes cross past Eason to put the home side back in front and they almost added a third, but Eason just managed to touch a long range shot by Alex Laing on to the post. Some late Whitstable pressure failed to bring an equaliser and Haywards Heath held on to win 2-1 and consolidate their fifth place.

Haywards Heath, like Whitstable, were promoted to the Bostik League this season, although unlike Whitstable, this was their first time at this level. They would have been promoted the previous season, but for being deducted points due to an unfortunate administrative error. Whitstable had lost 1-0 on a previous visit to Hanbury Park in an FA Cup Preliminary Round tie in September 1980, when their team contained some well-remembered players such as Brian Gambrill, Trevor Gowan and Martin Mills. The home team have had a successful season and are looking set for a play-off place, with a good advantage over their closest challengers. They were without several players for this match, including goalkeeper Josh Heyburn, captain Nathan Cooper, Sean Roddy and Trevor McCreadie. Whitstable were missing Stuart West and John Walker though injuries.

The home team started with some hesitant defending that almost let Harry Stannard in, but the ball was pushed away for a corner, following which Miles Cornwell shot over from just outside the box. The first threat at the other end came from a right wing cross that Rob Gillman cleared as far as Karl Akehurst, whose shot was blocked in a crowded area. A long throw by Connor Sanders somehow found its way right through to the goalkeeper, Anthony Ender, with nobody able to get a decisive touch. Haywards Heath opened the scoring on 13 minutes, when a Saunders cross to the back post from the right wing was headed powerfully into the net by Graves. Whitstable tried to respond immediately as James Morrish found Freeman on the right, but his angled effort went wide of the far post. Laing always looked the biggest threat for the home team and tried a low shot that was gathered by Eason. Whitstable had a good spell, winning most of the balls in midfield, with Treadwell, Morrish and Sanders all playing well and they forced three corners in a few minutes. Freeman took the third in the 25th minutes and Treadwell rose well to head past Ender.

An early opening for Harry Stannard
The ball is cleared for a corner
Tom Graves heads past Dan Eason to give Haywards Heath the lead
Nick Treadwell heads the equaliser from a Ricky Freeman corner
Whitstable make it 1-1

Treadwell then got his head to a Stannard cross, but it went well wide. In the 31st minute, a great ball through by Jordan Wright sent Freeman clear and he just reached the ball before the advancing Ender and clipped it over him but it bounced up and came back off the crossbar. Ender had caught Freeman, so the referee brought play back, showed him a yellow card and awarded a free kick outside the box that Stannard struck into the wall. Freeman then intercepted an attempted back pass, turned and shot just past the far post, as Whitstable continued to press. Treadwell and Wright both had further attempts, but neither could find the target. Freeman then appeared to be pushed over in the box as he tried to reach a deep cross, but penalty appeals were turned down, much to his frustration. The score remained 1-1 at the interval, but Whitstable will feel they should have been ahead.

Ricky Freeeman chips the goalkeeper before being brought down, but the ball hits the bar
Another Freeman effort flies just past the far post

Jamie Weston replaced the injured Josh Spinks at the start of the second half, as the home team reorganised a little. On 57 minutes, Cornwell passed inside to Morrish, who hit a left footed shot just wide from distance. Freeman thought he had been fouled near the halfway line, but Cameron Tutt was allowed to break down the left and cross for Laing, who could not find the finish. Laing then turned provider for George Landais, but his effort was well wide and he was replaced by Folkes shortly afterwards. Stannard, who had been struggling with an injury, was also substituted and Stephen Smith came on for Whitstable. Smith almost had an immediate impact when he blocked an attempted clearance by Ender, but the ball rebounded wide of the goal and then Freeman turned and shot over the bar from around 25 yards.

Haywards Heath were seeing more of the ball in the Whitstable half and with the wind behind them, they were looking ever more dangerous. Pogue got up well to meet a deep cross, but the ball went wide. It was a warning of things to come however and in the 71st minute, Folkes did well on the right to hook over a high cross and Pogue jumped the highest, directing his header just out of the reach of Eason into the right corner to give his team the lead for the second time. Morrish and Freeman both earned bookings, as the frustration grew and James Trueman came on in place of the Whitstable captain. In the 80th minute, Laing hit a great shot from over 30 yards out and Eason appeared to just get a hand to it, before it struck the post and was cleared away. Tutt picked up the fourth card of the game as Whitstable tried to find a way through, but despite some late pressure that saw a corner, free kick and long throw all delivered into the box, a blocked shot by Taylor Fisher was as close as they came to an equaliser and the home side held on for a 2-1 win.

Dan Eason touches a long range strike on to the woodwork
Whitstable looking for a late equaliser that never came

Haywards Heath remain in the final play-off position, six points clear of VCD, with just four games left. Whitstable can no longer finish in a relegation spot after the weekend’s results and still sit in a respectable tenth position, with ninth placed Phoenix Sports the visitors to the Belmont next Saturday.

Haywards Heath Whitstable
7 Attempts 12
4 On Target 1
1 Corners 5
0 Offside 3
9 Free Kicks Won 13

Haywards Heath Town
Anthony Ender, Kieran Rowe, Cameron Tutt, Karl Akehurst, Tom Graves, Josh Spinks (Jamie Weston 46), Callum Saunders, Byron Napper (c), Kenny Pogue, George Landais (Omar Folkes 60), Alex Laing.
Sub (unused): Tyrese Gray-Branford
Goals: Tom Graves 13, Kenny Pogue 71.
Yellow cards: Anthony Ender 32, Cameron Tutt 81.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, Taylor Fisher, Nick Treadwell, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Connor Sanders, James Morrish (c) (James Trueman 78), Ricky Freeman, Harry Stannard (Stephen Smith 78), Miles Cornwell.
Sub (unused): John Walker
Goal: Nick Treadwell 25
Yellow cards: James Morrish 75, Ricky Freeman 77.

Attendance: 128
Referee: John Pike
Assistants: Ciaran Fidler & Dominic Barrow

Changes Announced At Whitstable Town

Whitstable Town Football Club’s chairman, Joe Brownett, is standing down to take up the honorary position of club president. Joe is the club’s longest serving chairman and as president will support the new chairman, Steve Clayton. Steve has been chairman of Whitstable Town Junior Football Club for the last three years and will become chairman of the overall club at the start of the 2019/20 season. This will bring the Senior club and the Junior club together in an exciting development that will hopefully lead to many more home grown players rising through the youth section and into the First Team.

Steve has taken the junior section from 4 teams to 15 over the last three years, building a fantastic team of supportive individuals along the way, ensuring the town’s oldest youth football club is thriving and is the success it is today. Both Steve and his committee are highly committed to the success of the junior section and are determined to ensure that they can provide young talented players in the future for the senior team on a regular basis.

Steve and his team will build on the great work Joe and his team have done over the years in running this club, for the good of those employed by the club and for the benefit of those that support and sponsor the club. The combination of the junior and senior clubs will provide increased stability and resources, which should better enable Whitstable Town Football Club to meet some key objectives:

  • to increase interaction with the local community,
  • continue to maintain and improve facilities, both on and off the pitch,
  • provide the necessary support to ensure the first team can compete successfully in the Bostik League,
  • provide a clear pathway for young footballers to progress to senior football.

Joe commented: “I have a lot of confidence that the club will push forward with lots of new ideas and people and a strong junior section. It was due a change I think. I’m getting a bit older now. I’m not running away from it, but modern football needs a lot of people to do different jobs. My committee are getting a bit older as well, but a lot of them will stay on and we intend to support what the junior club wants to do. It won’t be two separate clubs, but will all be one. I’m proud that we are managing to achieve a handover to people that we know well and who have similar aims for the club and youth development. We’ve got great tradition and were one of the first supporters of the Kent Youth League.”

Steve added: “I have a fantastic team to support me in bringing our vision of making Whitstable Town Football Club the best it can be, laying the foundation today to create the pathways for the juniors of today to progress and play for their hometown club. We look forward with great excitement to the season ahead, where we will be ambitious in our quest to build upon our ongoing success and with everyone’s support will continue to set the bar high.”

Further announcements will be made in due course.