WHITSTABLE TOWN 0 GILLINGHAM XI 1
Tuesday July 17 2018 19.45
Gillingham won this entertaining pre-season game thanks to a very early goal, when Dan Derbyshire reacted the quickest to fire a loose ball into the far corner after the home defence failed to clear. The young Gillingham team had a few good chances to increase their advantage in the first half, but were denied by Whitstable goalkeeper Dan Eason on three occasions, including a good penalty save from Miguel Scarlett. Whitstable had a great chance to equalise at the start of the second half when Teddy Nelson shot over after the ball had come back off the bar. Home captain James Morrish, who worked hard in midfield throughout, created a chance for George Goodwin, but his shot was too high and Ricky Freeman fired a free kick just wide. The Whitstable defence prevented the visitors extending their lead, with Eason making a couple more saves, but the one goal proved sufficient.
Whitstable made four changes to their starting eleven from the opening game, but were still missing a few regulars. Gillingham had two matches on the night with the majority of their first team playing against Dartford, but they arrived at the Belmont with several first team squad members and trialists. The game was only 2 minutes old when Whitstable failed to deal with a ball into the box from the right and Derbyshire took the opportunity to shoot across goal and into the bottom left hand corner, giving Eason no chance. The Whitstable defence looked a little hesitant on a couple of occasions in the first 20 minutes, but Eason saved well each time. Whitstable rarely threatened, but did send a few dangerous balls into the box, although nobody managed to get a decisive touch. The visitors won a series of free kicks, giving Darren Oldaker some opportunities, but he failed to really test Eason. The best chance for a second Gillingham goal came after 34 minutes, when the referee awarded a penalty after Nelson halted a promising attack with a mistimed tackle. Scarlett stepped up, but Eason got down well to his left to make the save.
Whitstable started the second half brightly and Freeman was left in a good position following a mistake and he tried to set up his fellow striker, but the ball was cleared. A few minutes later, a ball in from the right dropped onto the bar and was played back across goal where the unmarked Nelson lifted his shot over the bar from close range. After Goodwin had shot over from the edge of the box, Eason had to be alert to keep out a good effort at the other end. Both teams made a number of changes during the second half. On 70 minutes Whitstable did well to block a number of attempts in quick succession as Gillingham tried to get a clear shot on goal. A good one-two between substitute Rhys Brain and Freeman won Whitstable a late opportunity when the Gillingham goalkeeper fouled Brain as he raced into the box. The referee awarded the free kick right on the 18 yard line and Freeman curled the ball just wide of the left hand post. A final chance for the Gills followed a misplaced back header, but Eason deflected the shot behind for a corner. There were to be no further goals though and Gillingham finished 1-0 winners, but the game which was watched by 180 people was a good early pre-season work out for the players of both teams.
Kent County League team Ashford FC are the next opponents for Whitstable, making a first visit to the Belmont on Saturday.
|17||Free Kicks Won||17|
Dan Eason, Kyran Connolly, James Webb, Stuart West, Teddy Nelson, Tom Bryant, Dan Stubbs (Josh Spencer 77), James Morrish (c) (Rhys Brain 80), Ricky Freeman, George Goodwin (Nathan Hardwick 73), Jordan Wright (Chris Saunders 73).
Subs (unused): John Walker, Mark Sipton.
Louie Catherall, Miguel Scarlett, Ryan Huckle, Jack Tucker, Jack Morrell, Darren Oldaker, Ben Chapman, Henry Woods, Dan Derbyshire, Noel Mbo, Jordan Brown.
Subs: Leroy Hlabi, Roman Campbell, TJ Bramble, Charles Noyelle, Emmanuel Yeboah.
Goal: Dan Derbyshire 2
Referee: Isaac Searle
Assistants: Tom Chivilo & Lou Saunders
Fourth Official: Tom Fennelly