WHITSTABLE TOWN 2 CHATHAM TOWN 3
Saturday July 30 15.00
Ryman South team Chatham finished 3-2 winners of this pre-season fixture. The game, particularly in the second half was an end to end affair, with plenty of action to keep the crowd of 133 entertained. There seemed to be a more competitive edge to this game compared to the previous friendlies, with a few minor incidents between opposing players for the officials to sort out. The visitors also had an early penalty saved, before Whitstable took a 1-0 lead into the half time interval. Chatham though hit back after the break to seal the victory.
Whitstable manager Scott Porter was still suffering from the unavailability of a number of his squad and named goalkeeper Harry Brooks as the only substitute. There was an early chance for Whitstable as Craig Thompson headed the ball into the path of Newman Poku, who got clear of the defence but his shot was easily dealt with by the visitors’ young professional goalkeeper Henry Newcombe, who recently joined them on loan from Gillingham for the season. Aaron Rhule, previously with Merstham, looked dangerous on the ball all afternoon and in the 13th minute he made a good run into the box where Ollie Lee was adjudged to have brought him down and Chatham were awarded a penalty. Ade Yusuff placed his shot low to Dan Eason’s left, but he got down well to make the save.
Chatham had a spell of pressure on the home side’s goal without creating many clear chances, then Whitstable started to threaten and after 33 minutes Charlie Smith won the ball in midfield, turned past several opponents before advancing and shooting low into the corner of the net from 25 yards. It was a great piece of play, but perhaps Newcombe could have dealt with it better.
As the interval approached, Scott Punton played the ball through to Thompson, just inside the penalty area, but his shot was blocked by Newcombe. At the other end, Chatham, who had been caught offside on numerous occasions, had a shot cleared off the line by Lee just before the half time whistle.
During the second half Chatham began to make changes to their team – something that Whitstable were not able to do – and the game became very open with both sides playing some good football. Rhule broke forward and his low shot was saved by Eason, but in the 53rd minute, the ball was played in from the left and Ricky Gundry finished well at the far post. Shortly afterwards Whitstable left back Sam Davison won the ball and put in a good cross but Poku was just unable to climb high enough to make contact. Then a Yusuff cross from the right was bundled into the net by Gundry to give Chatham the lead after 57 minutes.
Whitstable tried to hit back, but a Thompson effort from a corner was deflected over the bar. They did equalise in the 68th minute as a clearance from Eason was headed forward by Thompson and with Poku and Punton both running through, it was Punton who won the race and he finished calmly into the corner of the net. Just two minutes later however, Eason did well to keep out a curling shot from Yusuff, but the corner was hooked in at the far post by Liam Hickey to restore Chatham’s lead. Another Thompson attempt was cleared and then came an excellent trio of saves by Eason as he kept out Rhule’s shot after a good run and was quickly up to prevent two follow up efforts finding the net.
In the last ten minutes, a Jamie Collado pass was collected by Thompson by the corner flag and he did well to send in a cross that was headed into the side netting by Smith. A Junior Kaffo effort in the last minute was just wide, but the visitors had done enough to earn a win.
With no outfield substitutes to call on and a few tired legs towards the end, Whitstable had played their part in an entertaining match. With just one friendly left before the FA Cup match next week, hopefully there will be a larger squad available for selection.
Dan Eason, Ollie Brown, Sam Davison, Ollie Lee, Grant McIlheron, Scott Punton, Jamie Collado, Charlie Smith, Craig Thompson, Newman Poku, Liam Newton.
Sub: Harry Brooks.
Goals: Charlie Smith 33, Scott Punton 68
Henry Newcombe, Billy Parkinson, Lee Radford, Ross Morley, Liam Hickey, Jon Difford, Ricky Gundry, Sam Staunton, Ade Yusuff, Austin Edwards, Aaron Rhule.
Subs: Junior Kaffo, Joe Loft, Mac Murray, Charlie Holness, Tom Webb, Freeman Rogers, Sam Ribbens.
Goals: Ricky Gundry 53 & 57, Liam Hickey 70
Referee: Jak Hill
Assistants: Joe Stokes & Joe Dan-Pye