The Buildbase FA Trophy Preliminary Round
Saturday October 13 2018 15.00

An impressive first half display was enough to secure Whitstable a place in the draw for the Buildbase FA Trophy First Round Qualifying on Monday. The match was played on a good artificial surface in a gusty wind and it was Whitstable that had almost all of the chances in the first half. Ricky Freeman and Rob Gillman both had efforts well saved and there were several other near misses and a header ruled out by an offside flag. Jordan Wright opened the scoring when a good shot from distance found the top corner, but the contest was effectively settled by three further goals in the final few minutes of the half. Bradley Pearce headed the ball past his own goalkeeper, then his attempted back pass was intercepted by Freeman, who was brought down by the goalkeeper as he tried to go round him and scored the resultant penalty. A clearance then struck Freeman and he shot into the net to make it 4-0 at the break. The second half was a different game, as Whitstable sat back and the home team won a succession of corners and created numerous chances. Dan Eason made a couple of good saves, but was finally beaten in the 94th minute when Abdeen Abdul nodded in a consolation from close range.

It was a second opportunity of the season for any Whitstable plane spotters to watch the activity at Heathrow, following the successful trip to CB Hounslow in the FA Cup. Bedfont Sports FC was only founded in 2002, but the chairman has developed the ground substantially and it now boasts a new 3G pitch and plenty of facilities for spectators. Whitstable had visited the neighbouring ground a number of years ago to play Bedfont, although it is now occupied by Bedfont and Feltham FC, who were about to play Erith Town in the FA Vase. Whitstable were still without the injured John Walker and suspended Chris Saunders, whilst Teddy Nelson, who had travelled, and Elliott Hartnell-Baker were both unwell. This was the first ever game in the FA Trophy for the home team, having been promoted to the Bostik South Central Division after finishing runners up in the Combined Counties League last season. They are currently 16th, although have beaten both Chipstead and Tooting and Mitcham. Their last game was a creditable 1-1 draw with Bracknell Town, who had won all of their previous games.

The first action in the Bedfont penalty area left their defender Billy Jeffreys down injured. A few minutes later, a long throw by Chris Elliott was headed on by Tom Bryant to the back post where Freeman arrived, but his shot was blocked by Matte Pierson for a corner. Jeffreys could not continue beyond the 10th minute and was replaced by Pearce. In the 15th minute, Whitstable worked the ball across from the left and when it came to Wright about 20 yards out, he struck it towards goal and it appeared to take a slight deflection off a defender and sailed over Pierson into the far corner to give Whitstable the lead. Freeman then lifted the ball across the box to Gillman, whose header was well tipped over the bar by Pierson and when Bryant caused the defence some problems from the corner that followed, Charlie Smith hooked the ball just over.

Tom Bryant gets his head to a long throw
Ricky Freeman’s shot is turned around the post by Matte Pierson
Jordan Wright scores the opening goal
The ball flies past the goalkeeper and Whitstable lead 1-0
Matte Pearson tips Rob Gillman’s header over the bar

Playing against the wind, Bedfont had created little, but when a corner was only partially cleared, Abdul tried a shot from a narrow angle on the right that was easily gathered by Eason. On 28 minutes, an Elliott throw was headed back across goal by Stephen Smith and nodded in by Freeman, but the flag was raised and it was disallowed. Stephen Smith then had a shot blocked and Wright put the rebound well wide. The chances continued to come and Freeman cut in from the left before curling a shot over the bar. Eason pushed another effort from Abdul behind, then Juan Pablo Gonzalez Velasco was booked for stopping a Whitstable break and Bryant headed the free kick wide. Whitstable then scored three times in a few minutes to give themselves a comfortable lead. A long ball forward by Gillman was met by the head of Pearce, with James Morrish in close attendance, but unfortunately for the Bedfont substitute, he glanced the ball out of the reach of Pierson and into his own net in the 40th minute. Worse was to follow in the 44th minute, when Pearce tried to play the ball back to his keeper, but Freeman nipped in and was brought down by Pierson, resulting in a penalty and a yellow card. Freeman stepped up and found the bottom right hand corner. Almost immediately afterwards, another attempted clearance struck Freeman and despite claims that it had hit his arm, he lifted the ball straight over the stranded Pierson and into the net. Just before half time, Whitstable had to bring on Tom Walmsley for Stephen Smith, who was struggling with a head injury.

Ricky Freeman heads the ball into the net, but it is ruled out for offside
Bradley Pearce (left) watches his header beat his own goalkeeper as James Morrish prepares to celebrate a 2-0 lead
Ricky Freeman takes the penalty
Whitstable are three goals ahead

Bedfont made two substitutions at the start of the second half and went straight on the attack, winning a number of corners and putting plenty of balls into the box, but they were either dealt with by Eason or his defence or headed wide. Morrish and Charlie Smith both collected cautions for challenges and Stuart West limped off to be replaced by Jai McKinlay. Louis Sprosen shot just over for Whitstable and then Charlie Postance had a low shot saved by Eason. Wright made a good run and crossed for Freeman, but his shot was comfortably saved.

Dan Eason catches safely under pressure

The final change saw Harry Brown replace Elliott, but it was still the home team pressing for a goal. Postance glanced a header wide, Simo Mbonkwi forced Eason to make a couple of saves and Callum O’Sullivan had a good long shot parried by the Whitstable keeper. A Brown free kick at the other end curled dangerously across goal with no one able to make a connection. Three added minutes were announced, but hopes of another Whitstable clean sheet were ended when a throw in was headed back across goal for Abdul to score with just under 94 minutes on the clock.

Harry Brown curls a late free kick into the box
No one can get a touch

The final whistle soon confirmed a 4-1 Whitstable win, £3,000 prize money and a place in the next round.

Bedfont Sports Whitstable
18 Attempts 12
7 On Target 7
11 Corners 3
2 Offside 3
9 Free Kicks Won 9

Bedfont Sports
Matte Pierson, Tim Pitt, Jamie Richards (c), Michael Adeyemi, Billy Jeffreys (Bradley Pearce 10), James Rogers-Oben (Callum O’Sullivan 46), Juan Pablo Gonzalez Velasco (Simo Mbonkwi 46), Jack Mills, Charlie Postance, Abdeen Abdul, Elijah Ogunseye.
Subs (unused): Gabby Adelowo, Devon Gordon.
Goal: Abdeen Abdul 90+4
Yellow cards: Juan Pablo Gonzalez Velasco 39, Matte Pierson 44.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, Chris Elliott (Harry Brown 73), Stuart West (Jai McKinlay 58), Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Louis Sprosen, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman, Stephen Smith (Tom Walmsley 45+2), Charlie Smith.
Subs (unused): Teddy Nelson, Kyran Connolly.
Goals: Jordan Wright 15, Bradley Pearce o.g. 40, Ricky Freeman 44 (pen), 45.
Yellow cards: James Morrish 56, Charlie Smith 67.

Attendance: 61
Referee: Tom Ellsmore
Assistants: John Perry & Simon Parbery


Date Time League Season
Sat 13 Oct 2018 3:00 pm Buildbase FA Trophy 2018-2019


Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground
256 Hatton Rd, Feltham TW14 9QT, UK


Club1st Half2nd HalfGoals
Bedfont Sports011
Whitstable Town404