Eventful Game Ends Level

Bostik League South East
Saturday September 22 2018 15.00

For the second time in five days, Whitstable faced newly promoted Sussex opponents at the Belmont and once again it ended in a draw. This game proved to be a little more eventful and with a number of senior players still unavailable, Whitstable will probably be happy with a point in the end. The home team started promisingly, but failed to make the most of a number of early set pieces. Both goalkeepers were called upon to make saves in the first half, but the main talking points were a red card for each team and a missed penalty. The referee dismissed both Chris Saunders and Alex Laing for fouls and also awarded Three Bridges a penalty that Trevor McCreadie smacked against the bar. Whitstable took the lead early in the second half following a good move that was neatly finished by Tom Walmsley, but Three Bridges equalised shortly afterwards when Joe Tennent scored from close range after a free kick was poorly defended. The visitors looked the more likely to find a winner, but were unable to beat Dan Eason again. Whitstable did have a couple of late chances, but failed to hit the target.

Whitstable once again had to cope with a number of absentees for this match. Stuart West, Ricky Freeman, Rob Gillman, John Walker and Chris Elliott were all missing through injury or unavailability and there was an additional last minute change due to the late arrival of Tom Bryant, meaning Harry Brown started his first game since a knee operation. Three Bridges, who, like Whitstable, were promoted by finishing runners up in their league last season, lost their opening four Bostik league matches before beating Sevenoaks 2-0.

Despite the patched up team, Whitstable started quite brightly in the rain, winning several corners that were swung dangerously across goal by Louis Sprosen and Jai McKinlay just failed to get his head to one of them. Bryant replaced Brown after 12 minutes, allowing Steve Smith to return to his usual role up front. Jordan Wright released Tom Walmsley, but hit shot was deflected over the bar and Teddy Nelson was just unable to connect with the corner. A shot by Tyrone Berry was then tipped over for a Three Bridges corner, before Nathan Simpson collected a booking for raising his hand and cutting out a cross. Mason Doughty sent over a good low cross that eluded everyone in the box, as Three Bridges began to threaten. Whitstable won two more corners in quick succession, one after a defender sliced the ball behind his own goal, but failed to test the goalkeeper.

Whitstable go close in the opening minutes
Louis Sprosen challenges for the ball

On 31 minutes, a good turn and shot by Steve Smith was well saved low by his near post by Giovanni Porciatti. There followed a moment of debate, when Saunders was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Lee Hall in midfield, meaning Whitstable had to continue with ten men. A few minutes of Whitstable pressure failed to produce an end product, but Eason had to make a good block to keep out a shot by Doughty. Walmsley then appeared to be hauled down on the halfway line as he tried to break clear, but play was allowed to continue and Jensen Grant had a shot deflected for a corner that led to a scramble as Laing went over in the box. In the 43rd minute, Three Bridges were awarded a penalty when the referee spotted a pull, but McCreadie wasted the opportunity by hitting the bar with his firm strike. There was just time for a bit more drama before the half time whistle, when Laing lunged in with a mistimed tackle on Bryant and given the earlier red card decision, it was no great surprise to see it produced again and both teams would have to play the second half a player short.

Dan Eason pushes the ball over the bar
Alex Laing is sent off
Jordan Wright challenges for the ball

When play restarted, both sides scored within the first few minutes. Whitstable struck in the 48th minute, when James Morrish played the ball out to the right for Sprosen and his low cross was nicely clipped into the far corner by Walmsley. The lead did not last long however and Whitstable gifted an equaliser to Three Bridges in the 51st minute. A soft free kick was conceded by Charlie Smith and the delivery by Hall was helped back across goal by Jamie Crellin and Tennent was on hand to force the ball over the line, as the defence were slow to react. Nelson had to be treated for a head injury after clashing with an opponent, then had to be substituted and he was also shown a yellow card for his part in the incident.

Tom Walmsley turns the ball towards goal
The shot beats Giovanni Porciatti to give Whitstable the lead

For the remainder of the game, it was mainly Three Bridges on the attack, with Whitstable creating little. McCreadie headed a cross straight at Eason and then curled a good effort towards the far corner, but Eason got across well to save with his left hand. The corner that followed led to a scramble, before the ball was hacked away by the home defence. A deep cross was lifted over the bar at the far post by Berry and then an attempted clearance by Wright rebounded off a Three Bridges player and flew just wide. The game got stretched towards the end, as both teams tried to find a winner. In added time, Walmsley collected a clearance and won a corner that was headed wide by Steve Smith, who went close again just afterwards when fed by Charlie Smith, but he shot over from just inside the box. The final action was at the other end when Tennent glanced a Hall corner over the bar.

Dan Eason saves from Trevor McCreadie
Steve Smith fires a late shot over the bar

The game ended 1-1 and, for different reasons, both teams will probably feel that an opportunity to pick up three points was not taken. Whitstable next face Sevenoaks in another home match

Whitstable Three Bridges
9 Attempts 12
4 On Target 5
11 Corners 7
0 Offside 4
14 Free Kicks Won 14

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Louis Sprosen, Jordan Wright, Jai McKinlay, Teddy Nelson (Kyran Connolly 55), Harry Brown (Tom Bryant 12), Chris Saunders, James Morrish (c), Tom Walmsley, Steve Smith, Charlie Smith.
Sub (unused): Elliott Hartnell-Baker
Goal: Tom Walmsley 48
Yellow card: Teddy Nelson 54
Red card: Chris Saunders 33

Three Bridges
Giovanni Porciatti, Nathan Simpson, Lee Hall, Jamie Crellin (c), Liam Collins, Jensen Grant, Trevor McCreadie (Connor French 81), Tyrone Berry, Mason Doughty (Omar Folkes 63), Alex Laing, Joe Tennent.
Subs (unused): Bradley Peters, Victor Naranjo, Daniel Da Costa e Silva.
Goal: Joe Tennent 51
Yellow card: Nathan Simpson 23
Red card: Alex Laing 45+1

Attendance: 185
Referee: Alex Bradley
Assistants: Aaron Conn & Daniel Friar