Derby Day Blues For Town

Bostik League South East
Saturday December 8 2018 15.00

Whitstable failed to turn up for this long anticipated derby against Herne Bay and were deservedly beaten by a team that had struggled in the league all season, but are better than their lowly position would suggest. There was little goalmouth action in a poor first half, but Whitstable did actually go closer to taking the lead on a couple of occasions, despite looking second best for most of the game. Simon Overland made a great save to prevent what would have been an own goal and Rob Gillman hit the woodwork. Herne Bay had created a few decent chances that they failed to take, but they were given a boost just before the break when a reckless tackle by Harry Brown brought a red card and Bradley Schafer headed in the resultant free kick. Jake Embery added a good second soon after the restart as the visitors grew in confidence. Whitstable did have a better spell as they tried to get back into the game, but it was Herne Bay that scored two more late goals through Miles Cornwell and Thomas Carlton, who was the best player on the pitch and his long distance effort was a reward for his performance in midfield.

This was the first game between the two local rivals since Whitstable won 2-0 at Herne Bay in December 2015, during a season that was to end in relegation for the Oystermen. The visitors arrived in bottom place, apart from the sadly defunct Thamesmead Town, having lost their last eight league games. Whitstable had lost their previous two matches, both tricky away fixtures in Sussex. James Morrish, Stephen Smith, Tom Bryant and Chris Saunders returned after missing the defeat at Horsham, but John Walker and Louis Sprosen remain out and were joined by Ricky Freeman, who needed to rest his injury, although Danny Williams made his first start of the season, having taken some time away from Saturday football. Herne Bay made four changes from their previous game and included new signing Ole Bankole.

Chairman Joe Brownett presents a Whitstable Town shirt to long time supporter Micky Dye prior to the game

An early run by Saunders was ended by a foul and Brown’s free kick was met by the head of Bryant at the far post, but it was easily gathered by Overland. Herne Bay broke quickly, but the ball was eventually overhit and Dan Eason was able to collect. Whitstable won a corner, but as with a number of set pieces throughout the game, failed to make the most of it. The two Smiths, playing up front for the home team, combined well and the ball dropped to Brown just outside the box, but he shot well wide. The Herne Bay defender and captain, Matt Fry, limped off with an injury on 13 minutes, to be replaced by Jamie Chamberlain. Simon Kabamba galloped down the right and sent over a cross that just dropped on top of the goal, as Herne Bay started to see more of the ball, after what had been a scrappy opening to the game. They won a corner when a shot from distance by Carlton took a slight deflection and Danny Rumbol met the ball at the near post, but his wayward effort failed to test Eason. On 24 minutes, some clever play by Stephen Smith on the edge of the box saw him flick the ball over his marker and volley it just wide of the far post.

Tom Bryant tries with an early header
Herne Bay go close as this Simon Kabamba cross just clears the bar

Carlton went close when he shot powerfully just past the left post from 25 yards, following a strong run from midfield. Whitstable nearly took the lead in the 32nd minute when Bryant and Bankole jumped to meet a Brown free kick and the ball came off the Herne Bay player and looked like finding the top corner, but Overland managed to get a hand to it and turn it around the post. Herne Bay broke quickly from the resulting Whitstable corner kick, but the cross by Kabamba was headed wide by Cornwell, who should really have hit the target. Charlie Smith was forced to leave the field with a foot injury on 35 minutes and Williams came off the bench for his seasonal debut. Whitstable again went close to claiming the vital first goal just afterwards, when a Brown free kick was helped towards goal and only cleared as far as Gillman, who turned and hooked the ball past Overland, but it came back off the bar. The game took a decisive turn on 40 minutes when Embery broke down the right and Brown caught him with a poor challenge that brought an instant red card from the referee. The free kick was clipped in by Carlton and glanced past Eason by the head of Schafer. In added time, Carlton tried another shot, but Eason was able to get down to make the save, so the teams went in with Herne Bay 1-0 ahead.

Whitstable trying for the important first goal
Dan Eason is beaten as Bradley Schafer heads Herne Bay in front

Whitstable manager Scott Porter made a change for the second half, with Teddy Nelson replacing Michael Jenner. After an early home corner came to nothing, Schafer shot just wide after playing a one-two with Carlton. Herne Bay did double their advantage in the 54th minute when they won the ball in midfield and Leonard sped forward before slipping the ball to his right for Embery, whose shot gave Eason no chance. Leonard did pick up a booking as he celebrated a vital second goal for his team. Carlton had a great game in midfield and forced Eason to make two more saves in the space of a few minutes.

Jake Embery makes it 2-0

Whitstable did play with a bit more promise for a period of time and Morrish was at the heart of most of this. He set up Williams who tried his luck from distance, but Overland was able to save. The Whitstable captain then shot just past the post himself after receiving a pass from Stephen Smith. Whitstable were not helped by some inaccurate set pieces, but were still looking for a way back into the game and a good run by Jordan Wright led to his cross being fired just wide by Williams at the near post. Saunders and Stephen Smith both had efforts that were comfortably dealt with by Overland, before Herne Bay made the game safe on 80 minutes with a quick break. Carlton crossed from the right and Cornwell collected the ball and curled a good shot into the top right corner, as Whitstable defended poorly. Things got worse in the 86th minute when a mishit clearance by Eason went straight to Carlton and although he was about 40 yards from goal, he drove the ball perfectly back into the unguarded net to make it 4-0 and that was the end of the meaningful action.

Herne Bay celebrate their third goal
The returning Danny Williams tries a late header

It was a poor performance all round from Whitstable, despite a few first half chances to get in front, and Herne Bay were good value for the three points that they badly needed in their battle to get away from the foot of the table. Whitstable face the long trip to Guernsey next week and will need to get back to their early season form in they wish to halt their slide down the table.

Whitstable   Herne Bay
11 Attempts 13
6 On Target 7
5 Corners 2
1 Offside 1
9 Free Kicks Won 14

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, Harry Brown, Stuart West, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (c), Charlie Smith (Danny Williams 35), Stephen Smith, Michael Jenner (Teddy Nelson 46).
Subs (unused): Tom Walmsley, Sam Welch, Chris Elliott.
Yellow cards: Stephen Smith 42, Danny Williams 47, Chris Saunders 67.
Red card: Harry Brown 40

Herne Bay
Simon Overland, Simon Kabamba, Danny Rumbol, Matt Fry (c) (Jamie Chamberlain 13), James White, Ole Bankole, Bradley Schafer, Thomas Carlton, Jake Embery (Connor Wilkins 76), Miles Cornwell, Danny Leonard.
Subs (unused): Raphe Brown, Michael Freiter, Leshawn Clifford-Awoyemi.
Goals: Bradley Schafer 41, Jake Embery 54, Miles Cornwell 80, Thomas Carlton 86.
Yellow card: Danny Leonard 54

Attendance: 368
Referee: Jack Packman
Assistants: Nick Dunn & George Lowe