Early Goals End Vase Run

WHITSTABLE TOWN 0 CHICHESTER CITY 2
Buildbase FA Vase Third Round
Saturday December 2 2017 15.00

Whitstable were dumped out of the FA Vase for the second consecutive season by Chichester City, but this time there was no extra time and replay needed as the Sussex side scored two early goals and then put in a solid defensive display to secure their place in the last 32 of the competition. Hesitant defending allowed Josh Clack the time and space to find the far corner in the 2nd minute and then Scott Jones was able to run through and double the lead after 6 minutes, as the home side waited for an offside flag. Jones put one other good chance wide and Whitstable picked up several yellow cards as they struggled to deal with the pace of the visitors in the first half an hour. Whitstable did have a goal ruled out when an assistant spotted a raised arm in the box and then missed two great chances before the interval. The Chichester goalkeeper, Anthony Ender, just managed to keep out a fierce strike from Macauley Murray at the start of the second half and Whitstable then had most of the ball, but rarely looked like scoring as Chichester held on with relative comfort to the delight of their supporters.

Whitstable came into this match following six consecutive wins, but were unable to play the cup tied Chris Saunders and injured Shaun Welford. Danny Williams and Rob Gillman returned to the squad after recovering from their injuries, but a late team change had to be made just before the kick off with the unwell James Morrish being replaced in the starting eleven by Gillman and Stuart West moving into midfield. Chichester also had a few absentees, with recent signing Scott Murfin cup tied, Lorenzo Dolcetti injured and Ellis Martin and Ruben French suspended. Their recent winning run has carried them into second place in their league.

The first chance fell to Ricky Freeman, as he ran on to a good pass from Murray, but the Whitstable striker sent his shot just over the bar. However the ball was soon at the other end and, as the home defence failed to deal with a ball into the box, Clack was allowed to collect it and shoot past Dan Eason into the bottom right hand corner to give his team a very early lead.

Ricky Freeman almost gives Whitstable a first minute lead
Josh Clack (far left) scores for Chichester

It was soon to get worse for the home team when Dave Herbert played the ball through the Whitstable defence and Scott Jones found himself with only Eason to beat and he took the ball forward and easily slotted it past the helpless keeper. Some observers felt that Jones looked offside, but there were few complaints from the Whitstable players, who were left with a mountain to climb after only 6 minutes.

A free kick was swung in from the left and met by the head of West, but the ball was beaten away from just inside the far post for a corner by Ender. Jones almost managed to reach a Clack cross at the other end, but the ball went harmlessly out for a goal kick. The game then went through a quiet spell, unlike off the pitch where both sets of supporters were doing their best to out sing each other. On 20 minutes a push by Murray in midfield led to a Chichester free kick that was taken by Clack and helped on by Hegarty, but once more just out of the reach of Jones. Whitstable thought they had pulled a goal back on 23 minutes when John Walker was chopped down on the right by Kieran Hartley, who saw the first yellow card, and a good Burchell free kick was glanced over Ender into the roof of the net. The assistant raised his flag and after some discussion a free kick was awarded to Chichester for a hand ball against Freeman, who had jumped with Hartley, both with an arm raised at the near post.

Anthony Ender keeps a header out
The ball ended in the net, but was ruled out (difficult to see who got the touch)

Whitstable then had three players booked in five minutes as frustration grew, with Freeman, West and Walker all committing fouls deemed worthy of cautions by the referee. Chichester had one further good chance to increase their lead on 33 minutes, when Jones got clear again but his right footed shot curled just wide of the right hand post. Burchell sent in a good cross that was knocked down into the path of Tom Bryant, but he dragged his shot wide with just Ender to beat and another Burchell effort was just tipped over by Ender as it was heading for the top corner. In added time a Murray free kick was headed across goal by Charlie Smith to Gillman who was not able to beat the diving Ender with a downward header from six yards.

An aerial battle
The ball goes just wide, as another chance is missed
Rob Gillman heads for goal, but can’t beat Ender

Despite the two early goals conceded, Whitstable had created several decent chances, but had not been able to take them and so came out for the second half still with a lot to do. An early swerving shot by Murray from distance was just parried by Ender and although Freeman was first to the rebound, his shot was too high.

A Murray shot is pushed away by Ender

Some good play by Freeman on the right created the space for him to deliver a cross that Smith headed wide. Whitstable were seeing a lot of the ball in the Chichester half and a useful Walker cross was headed out for a corner by Jack Lee. Whitstable then made a change, bringing on striker Danny Williams for Louis Sprosen. Burchell became the fourth home player to be cautioned, before a Gillman cross was headed just wide. Kaleem Haitham was substituted by Rob Hutchings, who set up Herbert on 74 minutes and his shot that went just over the bar was the first goal attempt by Chichester of the second half. West rode several challenges to get to the edge of the box but shot wide and shortly afterwards he tried again with a similar result. Freeman went down in the box, before a header by Williams was saved by Ender. As Whitstable pressed to try to find an elusive goal, Chichester had a couple of sights of goal on the break. Eason had to be alert to block when Herbert almost stole in and Ben Pashley was off target after a free kick had been partially cleared. Herbert went off and was replaced by Luke Killner as the game drifted to a close. In the 5 added minutes, Smith fired a shot into the side netting, prior to collecting the final booking of the match.

The FA Vase campaign is over for Whitstable after some entertaining games, three of which resulted in extra time victories. They fought hard until the end and Chichester certainly knew that they had been in a game afterwards, but somehow after the two early goals, there was an inevitable feeling about the outcome and Chichester deserved to take their place in the next round. For Whitstable, Tuesday night sees the return to action in the league, where they are still well placed. There remains the suspicion though that there are still some missing ingredients, which will be needed to get results against the best teams.

Whitstable Chichester
14 Attempts 5
6 On Target 2
5 Corners 0
1 Offside 5
8 Free Kicks Won 21

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Stuart West, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Louis Sprosen (Danny Williams 61), Rob Gillman, Ricky Freeman, Charlie Smith, Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): James Morrish, Brendon Cass, Rhys Brain, Ryan Birch.
Yellow cards: Ricky Freeman 27, Stuart West 30, John Walker 31, Josh Burchell 68, Charlie Smith 90+1.

Chichester City
Anthony Ender, Dan Watts, Kieran Hartley, Ben Pashley, Jack Lee (c), Harry Williams, Josh Clack, Dan Hegarty, Scott Jones, Dave Herbert (Luke Killner 86), Kaleem Haitham (Rob Hutchings (71).
Subs (unused): Lewis Turnbull, Sam Ndlovu, Tafadzwa Kanjanda.
Goals: Josh Clack 2, Scott Jones 6.
Yellow card: Kieran Hartley 23

Attendance: 170
Referee: Robert Claussen
Assistants: Steven Marr & Paul Humphries