Bostik League South East
Saturday December 1 2018 15.00

In form Horsham moved into the play off places as they strolled to a sixth win in their last seven league matches against a severely depleted Whitstable team that offered little on a miserable, wet afternoon on the south coast. There were very few goal attempts in a poor first half, although Horsham looked the more likely to break the deadlock. The Sussex team improved after the interval  and were soon ahead, when Stuart West unfortunately headed a corner past his own goalkeeper and it was soon 2-0 as the Whitstable defence stood and watched a Charlie Harris cross curl straight in at the far post. Substitute Lee Harding crashed a shot against the bar, before adding a third when his cross sailed into the net and the impressive Harvey Sparks completed the scoring in added time. Whitstable failed to register a single shot on target and it might have been worse, but for some good saves by Eason.

Whitstable had been without a game for two weeks, but the break since the game at Hastings did not seem to have helped much, as they arrived here with only thirteen players, to the disappointment of those supporters that had made the long journey on a gloomy afternoon. The two new signings, Michael Jenner from Faversham and Sam Welch from Chatham, both started. Captain James Morrish and striker Stephen Smith were both suspended, Tom Bryant was unwell, John Walker and Louis Sprosen were still side-lined through injury and Chris Saunders was away. Horsham play on a 3G pitch at Lancing, the Sussex FA headquarters, whilst they await the completion of their new ground. They are one of the form sides of the division and also had a good run in the FA Trophy, before losing 2-1 to Bath City. Their new loan signing from Dorking Wanderers, Kieran Lavery, started, but was unable to partner the absent Chris Smith, who is currently Horsham’s top scorer. The two prolific strikers previously played together at South Park.

This game was played in persistent misty drizzle and started quietly, with too many long balls from both teams not hitting the right areas. There was an early booking for Rob O’Toole for a bad challenge on the touchline, just before Whitstable had their best chance of the half when a weak back pass was collected by Ricky Freeman, but after taking the ball past goalkeeper Josh Pelling, he could only hit the side netting from a tight angle. At the other end, Tyrell Richardson-Brown was making a few threatening runs without really finding an end product, but he did combine with O’Toole to set up Jack Brivio, who lifted his shot well over the bar.

Ricky Freeman intercepts a back pass and takes the ball around the goalkeeper
The attempt goes into the side netting

Horsham were beginning to settle and had the majority of the possession, but the Whitstable defence were coping reasonably well. On 30 minutes a good low cross by Sparks was parried by Eason and then Richardson-Brown sent over a low ball from the right that was pushed out at the far post by the Whitstable goalkeeper. As half time approached, Jenner became the first Whitstable player to be cautioned for a foul, then a flick on by Richardson-Brown found O’Toole, whose shot was well saved by Eason and Will Hoare could only strike the rebound straight at the goalkeeper. A late Whitstable corner was safely gathered by Pelling and the teams went off with the score still 0-0.

New signing Sam Welch sends the ball into the box

The home team started the second half brightly and a great 25 yard strike by Steve Metcalf was brilliantly tipped around the post by Eason and from the resultant corner curled in from the left by Harris, West jumped with O’Toole at the near post, only to divert the ball into his own net to give Horsham the lead in the 48th minute. Lavery then created some space for himself on the right and curled a good effort just wide. The pressure was all coming from Horsham and when one of several corners was headed out by Welch, the ball came back to the taker Harris and his right footed cross bounced past everyone in the box and found the far corner of the net, much to the annoyance of the Whitstable bench. A struggling Freeman then had to be replaced by Kyran Connolly, no doubt with upcoming games to consider. A Harry Brown free kick was only cleared as far as Jenner, whose shot from outside the box curled wide and that was as close as Whitstable were to get to pulling a goal back.

Horsham get their first goal as Stuart West (obscured) heads into his own net
Michael Jenner has Whitstable’s only shot in the second half

A good sequence of passes by Horsham ended with a shot by Sparks that sailed over the bar and the home side then introduced Harding from the bench and he was soon to cause more problems for the overworked visiting defence. On 70 minutes, a ball played in from the right by Harris was headed past the near post by O’Toole. Harding then fired in a powerful rising drive from the right edge of the box that crashed back off the bar, but when he next whipped over a cross, the ball flew straight into the roof of the net to make it 3-0 in the 79th minute. Horsham continued to look for more goals and after Whitstable had cleared a couple of corners, Sparks played a one-two before bringing another good save out of Eason and then Brivio headed over the top. Sparks was determined to get in on the goal action and in stoppage time, he had another shot blocked by Eason before the offside flag came to the rescue as the ball rebounded into a dangerous area. He finally got his reward in the last added minute, when a good pass from substitute Joey Taylor found him in the box again and he fired in off the legs of Eason to wrap things up at 4-0.

A busy Dan Eason saves this effort
Harvey Sparks makes it 4-0 in added time

Horsham deservedly took the points to move up the fifth, but Whitstable will hope to have a much stronger squad to choose from for their next match, which is the big local derby against Herne Bay, who themselves will be desperate for something from the game after a terrible recent run of results.

Horsham Whitstable
22 Attempts 2
11 On Target 0
9 Corners 2
3 Offside 0
17 Free Kicks Won 7

Josh Pelling, Steve Metcalf, Harvey Sparks, Charlie Harris (Joey Taylor 84), Joe Shelley, Dylan Merchant (Lewis Hyde 84), Jack Brivio, Will Hoare (c), Rob O’Toole, Kieran Lavery, Tyrell Richardson-Brown (Lee Harding 68).
Subs (unused): George Hayward, Tom Baxter.
Goals: Stuart West o.g. 48, Charlie Harris 57, Lee Harding 79, Harvey Sparks 90+4.
Yellow card: Rob O’Toole 8

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Sam Welch (Chris Elliott 75), Harry Brown, Stuart West (c), Rob Gillman, Teddy Nelson, Jordan Wright, Charlie Smith, Ricky Freeman (Kyran Connolly 60), Tom Walmsley, Michael Jenner.
Subs (unused): none
Yellow cards: Michael Jenner 41, Charlie Smith 53, Kyran Connolly 74.

Attendance: 162
Referee: Alexander Mathieson
Assistants: Garry Hodgkinson & Richard Sargeant


Date Time League Season
Sat 1 Dec 2018 3:00 pm Bostik South East 2018-2019


The Sussex County FA Headquarters
37 Culver Rd, Lancing BN15 9AX, UK


Club1st Half2nd HalfGoals
Whitstable Town000