Cup Run Ends In Essex

Velocity Trophy Quarter Final
Tuesday January 15 2019 19.45

Whitstable departed their last cup competition of the season at Bostik Premier League team, AFC Hornchurch. The result was rarely in doubt after an early goal for the home side, but Whitstable kept going and were eventually rewarded with a consolation goal for their efforts. Some hesitant defending allowed Ronnie Winn to open the scoring and Hornchurch always looked likely to add further goals with their neat approach play. Whitstable did win five first half corners, but suffered from the poor delivery of set pieces throughout. James Trueman hit the post with a far post header and the hard working Tom Walmsley forced a good save from Callum Chafer. Dan Eason and his defence were frequently under pressure at the other end though and after a good double save by the Whitstable goalkeeper from the dangerous George Purcell, he was beaten by Sean Marks, who glanced in a good cross to double the advantage before the break. Hornchurch struck the post twice early in the second half, but their third goal was somewhat fortunate when a clearance rebounded of Marks and into the net. Purcell finally got the goal he deserved when meeting a good cross by substitute Charlie Stimson. Whitstable showed some spirit towards the end, with John Walker making a welcome return to action and when Charlie Smith was pushed in the penalty area, Ricky Freeman beat Chafer from the spot to make the final score 4-1. Hornchurch will host Bracknell Town in the semi-finals, who perhaps surprisingly beat Folkestone by the same score.

After winning three games in the league cup competition, the Velocity Trophy, against Ramsgate, Greenwich Borough and Cheshunt, Whitstable travelled to meet Hornchurch in the quarter final. The home team, the Urchins, were sitting in 18th place in the Bostik Premier League and are now managed by former Gillingham manager, Mark Stimson, who took over when long serving manager, Jim McFarlane, resigned a couple of months ago. They were looking to recover from a 5-0 loss at Folkestone in their previous game. James Morrish returned from suspension to play against his former club, whilst another ex-Hornchurch player, Ricky Freeman, had recovered sufficiently from recent injury problems to play. Stephen Smith was serving the last of his three game ban, Teddy Nelson is currently having a trial at Fleetwood Town and Chris Elliott, Rob Gillman and Michael Jenner were also missing.

An early Whitstable corner was headed over the bar by Morrish, but Hornchurch were ahead in the 7th minute. The ball came in from the right and while several Whitstable players hesitated at the near post, the ball was poked across goal by Purcell for Ronnie Winn to slot home. Purcell then turned and shot from the edge of the area, but Eason was able to save comfortably. In the 15th minute, Whitstable won another two corners, the second of which was headed onto the top of the net by Tom Bryant and they went even closer when a right wing cross was met at the far post by Trueman, but his header hit the outside of the post. The lively Purcell then had a penalty appeal waved away when he went down following a Stuart West challenge, then on 26 minutes he was almost in again after playing a one-two with Jordan Clark, but the Whitstable defence did well to block.

James Morrish sends an early header over the bar
James Trueman sees his header hit the upright

Taylor Miles helped Purcell to fashion another opening, but Eason made a great double save and then George Saunders, who was causing problems on the right, crossed for Purcell who scooped his shot well over the bar. Whitstable’s luck ran out in the 33rd minute when another Saunders cross was placed past Eason by Marks, the former Maidenhead and Braintree striker. Whitstable forced a good save from Chafer, when the ball fell to Walmsley on the edge of the box, but his low drive was pushed around the right post by the diving goalkeeper. Walmsley was then blocked as he tried to break through again and Brown saw his free kick rebound off the defensive wall, before putting his follow up attempt wide. At the other end, Purcell was sent clear by a flick on, but after going round Eason, the angle was too narrow to find the net. The last chance of the half was from a Whitstable corner that was headed over by Bryant and Hornchurch went in 2-0 ahead.

Sean Marks scores the second for Hornchurch
Callum Chafer gets across well to push Tom Walmsley’s shot past the post
The wall blocks Harry Brown’s free kick

While some of the 88 crowd were still returning to their seats, Clark beat Eason with a great strike that cannoned off the inside of the post and Saunders tried to follow up, but failed to hit the target. A long free kick sent up field by Eason was just out of reach of a stretching Walmsley. It was then the turn of Purcell to rattle the post, after Miles had threaded a good pass through the Whitstable defence. The third Hornchurch goal arrived in the 56th minute, when Whitstable thought they had cleared a Saunders cross, only for the ball to hit Marks and rebound into the net. Both teams then made a change, with the manager’s son, Charlie Stimson, coming on for Hornchurch and Charlie Smith was introduced, making his 200th Whitstable appearance.

Jordan Clark beats Dan Eason, but hits the inside of the post at the start of the second half
The ball rebounds off Sean Marks and into the net to make it 3-0

The home substitution soon had an impact, as Stimson ran down the right and sent over a good cross for Purcell, who finished clinically at the near post. Walker replaced Sam Welch, but it looked like Purcell would score again as he raced clear, but Brown made a great tackle to deny him. The home team made another two changes, with the game safe. Whitstable won several free kicks in threatening positions, although were unable to get the delivery right, but then the referee spotted a push on Smith as he rose to meet a Jordan Wright free kick and Freeman stepped up to drive the penalty down the middle for a consolation goal in the 81st minute. There was little further action of note, apart from a booking for each team, although Whitstable continued to battle to the end, which was appreciated by their supporters who had made the trip to Essex.

George Purcell adds the fourth
Charlie Smith wins a late penalty for Whitstable
Ricky Freeman scores from the spot
“Always look on the bright side of life”

So, Hornchurch ran out the comfortable 4-1 winners to progress to the last four and Whitstable are left to focus on the league, starting with a local derby at home to Faversham on Saturday.

Hornchurch Whitstable
12 Attempts 7
6 On Target 2
1 Corners 6
1 Offside 0
10 Free Kicks Won 11

AFC Hornchurch
Callum Chafer, Alex Bentley (c), Jay Porter, Jordan Clark, George Winn, Taylor Miles, George Saunders (Lee Prescott 71), Jamie Hursit, Sean Marks (Charlie Stimson 59), George Purcell (Sonny Dutton 75), Ronnie Winn.
Sub (unused): Harvey Wright
Goals: Ronnie Winn 7, Sean Marks 33, 56, George Purcell 63.
Yellow card: Lee Prescott 85

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Sam Welch (John Walker 64), Harry Brown, Jordan Wright, Stuart West, Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders (Charlie Smith 60), James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman, Tom Walmsley, James Trueman.
Sub (unused): Louis Sprosen
Goal: Ricky Freeman pen 81
Yellow card: Tom Walmsley 90+1

Attendance: 88
Referee: Andreas Anastasiou
Assistants: James Keane & Elliott Mayer