Eason Saves Penalty In Draw

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday January 6 2018 15.00

Whitstable earned a point at Erith Town on a chilly afternoon in a game that started quite well, but ended with numerous stoppages and cards and neither team able to find a winner. Stuart West headed just over and Rob Gillman struck the outside of the post for Whitstable, but it was the home side who generally had the better of things during the first half and poor defending allowed Stuart Zanone a simple finish to open the scoring in the 41st minute. Erith could have been two up at the break, but Dan Eason saved a Daniel Palfrey penalty after James Morrish was penalised for holding in the box. Whitstable were better in the second half and pushed Erith back for long periods, but were unconvincing in front of goal, although West turned the ball in at the far post to equalise after 52 minutes. Craig Cloke went close with a couple of efforts and there were loud shouts for a penalty when Charlie Smith was knocked over, but Whitstable were reduced to ten men late on when Morrish was sent off and the game ended scrappily with a series of yellow cards for minor offences and little goalmouth action.

There were a few changes to the Whitstable starting eleven, with Morrish and John Walker returning, but Louis Sprosen was ruled out through injury and Danny Williams started on the bench having been unwell during the week. Shaun Welford continues his recovery from long term injury and was also named as a substitute. Erith Town had drawn 2-2 at the Belmont in December with Stuart West earning Whitstable a point, scoring two late goals.

A good effort by Adem Ramadan won Erith an early corner, as his shot was deflected wide, but it was Whitstable that had the first real chance when West outjumped the home defence to meet a deep Walker cross, but his header just missed the top corner. There was a corner at each end before Macauley Murray tried his luck with a shot from just outside the box that forced Adam Molloy into a low save by his post. Tom Bryant was unable to keep his header down from the next Whitstable corner and then an unnecessary foul by Palfrey on Ricky Freeman gave Murray an opportunity, but his free kick was comfortably held by Molloy. The game was flowing backwards and forwards for most of the first period, although Whitstable were almost caught out a couple of times, being outnumbered on the break and Sidney Warden found himself clear of the defence in the 14th minute, but took too long and the chance was gone. A few minutes later another quick attack by the home side was just cleared for a corner.

Stuart West heads for goal
The ball drops just wide

On 21 minutes, Walker became the first of many names to go into the referee’s book and Zanone struck the resultant free kick straight at Eason. After Osman Proni was cautioned for kicking the ball away, Whitstable won a couple more corners and then West was wrestled over on the edge of the box. Josh Burchell took the free kick, which was saved by Molloy, and he then became the second Whitstable player to go into the book for a foul. The game began to suffer from a few stoppages, but Burchell and Freeman set up West, who saw his shot blocked and then from a rather soft free kick a long ball into the area by Burchell was touched on by the fingertips of Molloy to the back post where Gillman arrived but just failed to divert it inside the post.

A stretching Rob Gillman hits the outside of the post

As half time approached, Whitstable conceded possession in midfield and once again were short at the back as Proni raced free down the right and crossed to Zanone who had plenty of time and space to shoot past Eason from close range. Just a couple of minutes later, as the ball was delivered into the Whitstable penalty area, the referee spotted a foul by Morrish and pointed to the spot. Palfrey stepped up, but Eason made a good save low to his right to keep the deficit to a single goal at the break.

Dan Eason gets down to save the penalty

From the restart, West played the ball through to Morrish, who flicked it just wide. West was then booked by the referee, who had spoken to him previously a few times for earlier challenges, none of which seemed particularly bad individually. It was West though that brought Whitstable level when the ball came across from the right and he was able to force it home at the far post.

Stuart West brings the scores level

Freeman and West caused a few more problems before West was spoken to again by the referee and immediately signalled to the bench to be substituted and Smith took his place up front. Whitstable were now in control as Erith struggled to keep hold of the ball for any length of time and they won a succession of corners, but the delivery was mostly disappointing, although Cloke did go close from one, with his header going just past the post.

Craig Cloke heads just wide

On 70 minutes, Williams came on for Freeman. Zanone then made a good run forward, but shot straight at Eason and this was the first of only two goal attempts by the home side in the second half. Smith went down as he challenged for a high ball in the box, but the referee waved away penalty appeals. Erith sent on Jack Hooper for Lewis Scotter as they reorganised at the back and then a long range, low strike by Cloke just skipped past the post. On 83 minutes a rash challenge by Morrish on Jack Duffy saw the red card brandished and the visitors were down to ten men. Erith replaced Proni with Ken Charles, who had scored in the reverse fixture at the Belmont. There was little action of note for the remaining minutes, except for a succession of yellow cards and the final whistle came as some relief, as a game that started in entertaining fashion ended in near farce and a draw was probably a fair result.

Erith Town Whitstable
9 Attempts 11
7 On Target 4
4 Corners 11
1 Offside 4
21 Free Kicks Won 15

Erith Town
Adam Molloy, Lewis Scotter (Jack Hooper 74), Daniel Palfrey, Harrison Hume, Ben Fitchett, Tamer Bilal, Osman Proni (Ken Charles 86), Jack Duffy (c), Stuart Zanone, Sidney Warden, Adem Ramadan.
Subs (unused): Lewis Risk, James Day, Peter Dale.
Goal: Stuart Zanone 41
Yellow cards: Osman Proni 23, Daniel Palfrey 87, Harrison Hume 90+4.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Rob Gillman, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish, Ricky Freeman (Danny Williams 70), Stuart West (Charlie Smith 60), Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Teddy Nelson, Shaun Welford, Dean Ruddy.
Goal: Stuart West 52
Yellow cards: John Walker 21, Josh Burchell 31, Stuart West 48, Danny Williams 87, Craig Cloke 89, Charlie Smith 90+1.
Red card: James Morrish 83

Attendance: 82
Referee: Kane O’Beirne
Assistants: Brian Wheatley & Ben Rathe