WHITSTABLE TOWN 1 ERITH TOWN 0
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday April 15 2017 15.00
An early moment of farce when Whitstable were gifted an own goal was enough to secure three points in a very poor game. Whitstable created a few other chances, but managed only a couple of shots on target. Relegation threatened Erith Town looked a little more composed on the ball and did cause some problems for the home defence, particularly in the first half, but their finishing lacked quality. Whitstable goalkeeper Dan Eason had to make a couple of excellent saves though to preserve the lead and earned himself the man of the match award. The final piece of action in stoppage time summed up the afternoon as the Erith goalkeeper went up into a packed box for a free kick, but the delivery went high and wide and the referee mercifully called a halt to proceedings.
Rob Gillman and Ashley Brown both returned to the heart of the Whitstable defence after injury absences, but James Morrish was unwell. Manager Scott Porter shuffled the team around with Harry Brown starting and Connor Hood, Ollie Lee and Calvin Sedenu on the bench. Erith Town are one of five teams realistically battling to avoid filling the two relegation places.
In the second minute Luqman Adesina played the ball back to his goalkeeper Rilwan Anibaba from a very tight angle after Whitstable had pressed down the right, but the goalkeeper seemed to slip and allow the ball to roll past him. He tried to get back, but the ball had already crossed the line.
Charlie Smith rode a couple of challenges before shooting well off target from outside the box. Erith then attacked, sending in a dangerous cross from the left that Gillman rose to head clear, but the ball was diverted and heading towards the top corner until Eason managed to get across to push away. Frankie Sawyer almost got through following some hesitation between Warren Carver and Anibaba and then Aaron Quain sent the ball forward to Sawyer who controlled it and laid it off for Harry Brown to hit a curling shot that was saved by Anibaba. On 20 minutes, Erith twice appealed for a penalty after successive challenges in the box, but the well placed referee only awarded a corner.
After Quain and Harry Brown had swapped sides of the pitch in a tactical switch, Ryan Mascharenhas whipped it a great left footed cross from the right that picked out an unmarked Nathan Palmer on the six yard line, but he was unable to bring the ball under control and Eason was out to collect it. Quentin Conteh then sent the ball across the box, but nobody was able to get a touch. Jack Mahoney won the ball on the halfway line and tried to thread a pass through for Sawyer, but he was crowded out before being able to get a shot away. Harry Brown was booked for stopping a break with a pull back on 37 minutes. As half time approached, Anibaba punched clear under pressure from three red shirts and Sawyer shot wide after receiving a cross from Smith. Whitstable went into the break 1-0 ahead, but the visitors had looked marginally the better team.
In the early moments of the second half, Kane Rowland broke clear but his attempted pass was over hit and then a Mahoney pass over the top was cleared by the head of Anibaba out of his area. Chris Michael tried a snap shot for Erith that flew just wide from 20 yards. Rowland then had one shot deflected for a corner and another that went wide as the home side tried to extend their lead. Hood replaced Quain at right wing back and Erith brought on Liam Birks for Carver. On 66 minutes Erith won a free kick 25 yards from goal and Ola Giwa rolled the ball to the right where Palmer struck a fierce shot that Eason just managed to push away.
Lee was introduced for Mahoney on 68 minutes and was soon involved, shooting just wide after Bola Dawodu and Sawyer had combined to set him up. Rowland was fouled right on the edge of the penalty area when jumping for a header and after Anibaba was booked for his protests, he just managed to block as Smith thumped the set piece through the wall.
The visitors made their second substitution on 83 minutes with Jack Mahon replacing Palmer and their captain Lee Coburn was pushed forward. It was Coburn that sent a dangerous header back across the box with a couple of minutes left, but it was well defended by Tom Bryant. In the fourth minute of added time a foul by Smith gave Erith a final opportunity and with everyone in the box, including their goalkeeper, Conteh curled the ball harmlessly over the top.
Given the lack of goalmouth action to report, here are a few match statistics.
(Whitstable-Erith) corners 2-3, free kicks won 9-17, offside 5-3
This was not a good performance by Whitstable, although they did manage to pick up the win. Three games remain to decide their final league position, which will be between fourth and eighth. They travel to Lordswood on Easter Monday and can do Erith Town a favour by beating one of their rivals at the foot of the table.
Dan Eason, Harry Brown, Aaron Quain (Connor Hood 62), Tom Bryant, Rob Gillman (c), Ashley Brown, Jack Mahoney (Ollie Lee 68), Bola Dawodu, Kane Rowland, Frankie Sawyer, Charlie Smith.
Subs (unused): Craig Thompson, Calvin Sedenu, Seb Rowland.
Goal: Luqman Adesina (o.g.) 2.
Yellow card: Harry Brown 37
Rilwan Anibaba, Ryan Mascharenhas, Bradley Simms, Luqman Adesina, Warren Carver (Liam Birks 62), Lee Coburn (c), Nathan Palmer (Jack Mahon 83), Chris Michael, Quentin Conteh, Ola Giwa, Clinton Sunshine.
Subs (unused): Dennie Aris, Osman Proni, Ian Jenkins.
Yellow card: Rilwan Anibaba 71
Referee: Joe McKay
Assistants: Matt McCaughan & Matt Williams