HERNE BAY 3 WHITSTABLE TOWN 1
Bostik League South East
Saturday March 2 2019 15.00
Herne Bay completed a league double over their local rivals, with few alarms, as Whitstable slumped deeper into trouble at the bottom of the table. The home side were two goals ahead at the break, although both were somewhat fortunate, with a Bradley Schafer free kick striking a defender before looping over Dan Eason in the Whitstable goal and Stuart West turning a cross into his own net. Whitstable could have few complaints however, as they offered nothing in an attacking sense in a disorganised first half performance. The second half was an improvement, but it needed a bad error by the home goalkeeper to let Whitstable back into the game, as James Trueman was left clear to roll the ball into the net to score his first goal for the club. Just as the many, long suffering visiting supporters were starting to believe their team might get something from the game, Ronald Sobowale was allowed to run through to slot the ball past Eason and restore the two goal lead. Taylor Fisher rattled the bar and Harry Brown shot just wide, but Whitstable still had Eason to thank for preventing a bigger defeat with several fine late saves.
When these two sides met at the Belmont in early December, Whitstable sat in a comfortable 11th place in the table whilst Herne Bay were bottom, but the visitors ran out 4-0 winners. Since then Whitstable have won only one game and Herne Bay, despite a mixture of good and bad performances, have steadily improved their position. Both teams went into this game with selection problems, for a variety of reasons. The home team have recently said goodbye to two of their players, with Thomas Carlton and Jake Embery moving to Hythe and Maidstone respectively. In fact they were both amongst the scorers in the reverse fixture, as was Miles Cornwell, now in the Whitstable team. The Oystermen were still without suspended strikers Stephen Smith and Ricky Freeman, while John Walker was injured. Charlie Smith and Teddy Nelson were recalled after midweek games for SCEFL teams. The attendance of 465 was one of the largest in the division this season, with only games played at Guernsey, Hastings and the Ashford v Hastings clash attracting more spectators.
The home team started better, with a weaving run from the dangerous Sobowale winning an early corner. Danny Leonard set up Sobowale a few minutes later and his deflected shot almost caught out the Whitstable goalkeeper who just managed to clear from under his crossbar. Leonard then carried the ball forward, but his shot was well closed down by the Whitstable defence. The visitors eventually got forward to win a corner, but created little of note despite the efforts of Tom Walmsley and Nick Treadwell, who tried hard to cause problems with little service. It was no great surprise when Herne Bay took the lead in the 19th minute, from a free kick awarded when Tom Bryant was penalised and cautioned for handling as he jumped for a high ball. Schafer took the kick from around 25 yards and the ball struck the defensive wall, only to loop over the stranded Eason and into the net.
Harry Miller tried a long range effort that flew well over the top, before Whitstable suffered another blow when Nelson had to limp off with a knee injury, to be replaced by Trueman. James Morrish went into the book for halting a run by Alex Mulrooney-Skinner, before Leonard and Sobowale both fired shots wide. Just before the break, Herne Bay doubled their advantage when they won a corner on the left following a spell of pressure around the Whitstable box and the ball went right across for a throw in on the other side. Eventually the ball came back into the area and a cross by Connor Wilkins was deflected into his own net by West. A deflected Fisher shot earned Whitstable a late corner that was pushed out by Simon Overland and the home team led 2-0 at the interval. Whitstable had failed to have any attempts on goal and some half time changes were certainly needed.
Charlie Smith came on as a substitute for Treadwell at the restart and gave Whitstable a bit more of a presence up front. Jordan Wright passed to Walmsley whose firm shot from the edge of the box forced Overland into his first save in the 48th minute. The Whitstable goal in the 55th minute actually started with a home corner that was cleared towards Smith, but Simon Kabamba got there first and played the ball back to Overland, who missed his attempted clearance, gifting Trueman the chance to run on to the ball and calmly slot it into the net. Cornwell shot just over from distance, before Walmsley was replaced by Harry Brown. Whitstable briefly sensed there was a chance to turn the game around, but Herne Bay all but made the points safe in the 65th minute, when Whitstable left themselves too exposed at the back and Sobowale was able to outpace the last defender, who did his best to force him wide, but he shot low past Eason to make it 3-1.
Whitstable tried to respond and Brown struck a free kick into the wall when Morrish was fouled 25 yards out. Herne Bay had a chance from a corner that was headed over, then a good run by Raphe Brown down the left created an opening for Tahjae Anderson, but he dragged his shot wide. Fisher almost scored a second for Whitstable when he broke down the left, cut inside the box and shot past Overland, but the ball came back off the bar. Cornwell released Wright and his cross from the right was volleyed just the wrong side of the post by Brown. Both teams continued to have a go in the last 15 minutes and Mulrooney-Skinner fired a bouncing ball wide and Eason denied Sobowale, making a good double save. Anderson muscled his way past Bryant and drew another save from Eason, before Overland stopped a low Smith shot at the other end. Wright picked up a soft late booking, before Brown and Fisher tried but failed to test Overland in added time and Herne Bay deservedly took the three points.
Whitstable now face home games against VCD and Guernsey in the next week and badly need to start collecting some more points. Stephen Smith should return from suspension on Tuesday.
|14||Free Kicks Won||13|
Simon Overland, Alex Mulrooney-Skinner, Raphe Brown (Lewis Risk 88), Ben Gorham (c), Simon Kabamba, Connor Wilkins, Bradley Schafer, Harry Miller, Ronald Sobowale, Tahjae Anderson, Danny Leonard.
Subs (unused): Danny Rumbol, Victor Aiyelabola, Matthew Hathaway, Emmanuel Olowasemo.
Goals: Bradley Schafer 20, Stuart West o.g. 43, Ronald Sobowale 65.
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, Teddy Nelson (James Trueman 28), Stuart West, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Nick Treadwell (Charlie Smith 46), James Morrish (c), Tom Walmsley (Harry Brown 62), Miles Cornwell, Taylor Fisher.
Sub (unused): Rhys Brain
Goal: James Trueman 55
Yellow cards: Tom Bryant 19, James Morrish 31, Jordan Wright 88.
Referee: James Simpson
Assistants: Peter Conn & Stuart Marriott