Cup Run Ends In Essex

AFC HORNCHURCH 4 WHITSTABLE TOWN 1
Velocity Trophy Quarter Final
Tuesday January 15 2019 19.45

Whitstable departed their last cup competition of the season at Bostik Premier League team, AFC Hornchurch. The result was rarely in doubt after an early goal for the home side, but Whitstable kept going and were eventually rewarded with a consolation goal for their efforts. Some hesitant defending allowed Ronnie Winn to open the scoring and Hornchurch always looked likely to add further goals with their neat approach play. Whitstable did win five first half corners, but suffered from the poor delivery of set pieces throughout. James Trueman hit the post with a far post header and the hard working Tom Walmsley forced a good save from Callum Chafer. Dan Eason and his defence were frequently under pressure at the other end though and after a good double save by the Whitstable goalkeeper from the dangerous George Purcell, he was beaten by Sean Marks, who glanced in a good cross to double the advantage before the break. Hornchurch struck the post twice early in the second half, but their third goal was somewhat fortunate when a clearance rebounded of Marks and into the net. Purcell finally got the goal he deserved when meeting a good cross by substitute Charlie Stimson. Whitstable showed some spirit towards the end, with John Walker making a welcome return to action and when Charlie Smith was pushed in the penalty area, Ricky Freeman beat Chafer from the spot to make the final score 4-1. Hornchurch will host Bracknell Town in the semi-finals, who perhaps surprisingly beat Folkestone by the same score.

After winning three games in the league cup competition, the Velocity Trophy, against Ramsgate, Greenwich Borough and Cheshunt, Whitstable travelled to meet Hornchurch in the quarter final. The home team, the Urchins, were sitting in 18th place in the Bostik Premier League and are now managed by former Gillingham manager, Mark Stimson, who took over when long serving manager, Jim McFarlane, resigned a couple of months ago. They were looking to recover from a 5-0 loss at Folkestone in their previous game. James Morrish returned from suspension to play against his former club, whilst another ex-Hornchurch player, Ricky Freeman, had recovered sufficiently from recent injury problems to play. Stephen Smith was serving the last of his three game ban, Teddy Nelson is currently having a trial at Fleetwood Town and Chris Elliott, Rob Gillman and Michael Jenner were also missing.

An early Whitstable corner was headed over the bar by Morrish, but Hornchurch were ahead in the 7th minute. The ball came in from the right and while several Whitstable players hesitated at the near post, the ball was poked across goal by Purcell for Ronnie Winn to slot home. Purcell then turned and shot from the edge of the area, but Eason was able to save comfortably. In the 15th minute, Whitstable won another two corners, the second of which was headed onto the top of the net by Tom Bryant and they went even closer when a right wing cross was met at the far post by Trueman, but his header hit the outside of the post. The lively Purcell then had a penalty appeal waved away when he went down following a Stuart West challenge, then on 26 minutes he was almost in again after playing a one-two with Jordan Clark, but the Whitstable defence did well to block.

James Morrish sends an early header over the bar
James Trueman sees his header hit the upright

Taylor Miles helped Purcell to fashion another opening, but Eason made a great double save and then George Saunders, who was causing problems on the right, crossed for Purcell who scooped his shot well over the bar. Whitstable’s luck ran out in the 33rd minute when another Saunders cross was placed past Eason by Marks, the former Maidenhead and Braintree striker. Whitstable forced a good save from Chafer, when the ball fell to Walmsley on the edge of the box, but his low drive was pushed around the right post by the diving goalkeeper. Walmsley was then blocked as he tried to break through again and Brown saw his free kick rebound off the defensive wall, before putting his follow up attempt wide. At the other end, Purcell was sent clear by a flick on, but after going round Eason, the angle was too narrow to find the net. The last chance of the half was from a Whitstable corner that was headed over by Bryant and Hornchurch went in 2-0 ahead.

Sean Marks scores the second for Hornchurch
Callum Chafer gets across well to push Tom Walmsley’s shot past the post
The wall blocks Harry Brown’s free kick

While some of the 88 crowd were still returning to their seats, Clark beat Eason with a great strike that cannoned off the inside of the post and Saunders tried to follow up, but failed to hit the target. A long free kick sent up field by Eason was just out of reach of a stretching Walmsley. It was then the turn of Purcell to rattle the post, after Miles had threaded a good pass through the Whitstable defence. The third Hornchurch goal arrived in the 56th minute, when Whitstable thought they had cleared a Saunders cross, only for the ball to hit Marks and rebound into the net. Both teams then made a change, with the manager’s son, Charlie Stimson, coming on for Hornchurch and Charlie Smith was introduced, making his 200th Whitstable appearance.

Jordan Clark beats Dan Eason, but hits the inside of the post at the start of the second half
The ball rebounds off Sean Marks and into the net to make it 3-0

The home substitution soon had an impact, as Stimson ran down the right and sent over a good cross for Purcell, who finished clinically at the near post. Walker replaced Sam Welch, but it looked like Purcell would score again as he raced clear, but Brown made a great tackle to deny him. The home team made another two changes, with the game safe. Whitstable won several free kicks in threatening positions, although were unable to get the delivery right, but then the referee spotted a push on Smith as he rose to meet a Jordan Wright free kick and Freeman stepped up to drive the penalty down the middle for a consolation goal in the 81st minute. There was little further action of note, apart from a booking for each team, although Whitstable continued to battle to the end, which was appreciated by their supporters who had made the trip to Essex.

George Purcell adds the fourth
Charlie Smith wins a late penalty for Whitstable
Ricky Freeman scores from the spot
“Always look on the bright side of life”

So, Hornchurch ran out the comfortable 4-1 winners to progress to the last four and Whitstable are left to focus on the league, starting with a local derby at home to Faversham on Saturday.

Hornchurch Whitstable
12 Attempts 7
6 On Target 2
1 Corners 6
1 Offside 0
10 Free Kicks Won 11

AFC Hornchurch
Callum Chafer, Alex Bentley (c), Jay Porter, Jordan Clark, George Winn, Taylor Miles, George Saunders (Lee Prescott 71), Jamie Hursit, Sean Marks (Charlie Stimson 59), George Purcell (Sonny Dutton 75), Ronnie Winn.
Sub (unused): Harvey Wright
Goals: Ronnie Winn 7, Sean Marks 33, 56, George Purcell 63.
Yellow card: Lee Prescott 85

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Sam Welch (John Walker 64), Harry Brown, Jordan Wright, Stuart West, Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders (Charlie Smith 60), James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman, Tom Walmsley, James Trueman.
Sub (unused): Louis Sprosen
Goal: Ricky Freeman pen 81
Yellow card: Tom Walmsley 90+1

Attendance: 88
Referee: Andreas Anastasiou
Assistants: James Keane & Elliott Mayer

Town Slip To Defeat At Ashford

ASHFORD UNITED 2 WHITSTABLE TOWN 0
Bostik League South East
Saturday January 12 2019 15.00

Ashford moved up to fourth after easing to a 2-0 win at Homelands, but were made to wait until late by a resolute Whitstable defence, before finally sealing the three points. The home team always looked the more likely winners, but despite having nine corners and conceding none in the first half, neither goalkeeper had a save to make before the interval. Things livened up in the second half and a well worked move was finished by the much travelled Trey Williams to give Ashford the lead in the 57th minute. Dan Eason made several good saves to keep Whitstable in the game and a couple of substitutions brought a little more threat to the relatively untroubled home defence. The game was settled in added time when Whitstable were left exposed at the back as they sought an equaliser and Danny Parish broke away down the right and finished well to secure his team a deserved win.

When Ashford visited the Belmont at the start of September for the reverse fixture, a late Tom Walmsley goal was enough to give Whitstable their first win since returning to the Bostik League. Only five players that started that day were in the Whitstable eleven this time, but that was more than Ashford, for whom only Sam Mott, Josh Wisson and Sam Corne started both games. Ashford have also changed their manager, with Tommy Warrilow having replaced Gary Alexander, but they were in good form winning seven and drawing one of their last nine games. Whitstable were without the suspended James Morrish and Stephen Smith and several others were still nursing injuries. Young defender Teddy Nelson was on the bench ahead of his trial at Fleetwood Town.

Chris Elliott swing in an early free kick, but Tom Bryant was unable to get his back post header on target. The first Ashford corner on 10 minutes led to a Parish shot being blocked by Bryant. Ashford spent most of the first half pushing forward, but Bryant, Rob Gillman and Stuart West did a good job of protecting goalkeeper Eason. From the last of three successive corners, Corne’s delivery was volleyed over by Afolabi Coker. Chris Saunders was shown a yellow card on 29 minutes for halting a run by Theo Fairweather-Johnson on the halfway line with a challenge that eventually saw the Ashford player limp off a few minutes later.

Tom Bryant clears the ball

The home team had four more corners in a row, but they were all dealt with by the Whitstable defence. As half time approached, Charlie Smith won a free kick that was taken by Elliott, but was a shade too high for Bryant at the far post. Toby Ajala got into a promising position for Ashford, but his cross was overhit and went out for a goal kick. The interval arrived with the game still 0-0 after a comfortable 45 minutes for both goalkeepers.

Whitstable attack a free kick just before half time

The opening minutes of the second half brought a corner at each end and then in the 50th minute, there was finally a shot on target, when an Elliott free kick was saved low at the near post by Mott. Then it was the turn of Eason, who had to be alert to touch a long shot by Ajala over the bar. The Whitstable goalkeeper was almost embarrassed a couple of minutes later when his attempted clearance hit Usman Adeniji, but the ball rebounded just wide of the goal. Ashford were starting to cause more problems and a fierce Adeniji cross from the left was parried by Eason, but Wisson put the follow up wide. The opening goal arrived in the next attack however, when some neat play by Corne on the left pulled the defence out of position and when the cross came in, Williams, who had already played for Whyteleafe and Ramsgate against Whitstable in recent weeks, was left with a simple finish from close range.

Charlie Smith tries to get a shot in
Sam Mott gets across to save a Chris Elliott free kick

In the 62nd minute, another left wing cross picked out Parish, but Eason did well to save his effort. Ajala tried another strike from 25 yards, but it was off target. Whitstable made two substitutions in the 68th minute, introducing strikers Walmsley and Ricky Freeman in an attempt to get back into the game and they did at least inject a little more pace and asked a few different questions of the Ashford defence. West headed a free kick wide, before Ashford brought on Clark Woodcock. Parish had a shot deflected for a corner and then Eason caught an attempted overhead kick. Bryant headed an Elliott long throw over the top and then, back at the other end, Eason did well to tip a good curling shot by Wisson over the bar. With time running out, another long throw by Elliott almost fell to a Whitstable boot in the box, but Ashford managed to scramble the ball clear. As the game moved into stoppage time, a Whitstable corner was cleared and the ball was played to Parish just inside his own half on the right, as Ashford suddenly found themselves breaking with four players against two defenders. Parish drove on, but did not need his supporting team mates as he took the ball across the six yard line before firing the ball into the net for a great solo goal. A late, late substitution saw an Ashford debut for Kundai Munyama, who was only on the field for a few seconds before the referee brought the game to an end.

Dan Eason under pressure
Stuart West heads wide
A last attack for Whitstable before Ashford break to score their second

Whitstable now have a break from league action, with a midweek Velocity Trophy quarter final at AFC Hornchurch. Their following two league fixtures are against the two bottom sides, so they will be hoping to return to some more consistent form, after a number of recent injuries and suspensions have done them no favours.

Ashford Whitstable
18 Attempts 4
8 On Target 1
14 Corners 4
2 Offside 2
11 Free Kicks Won 12

Ashford United
Sam Mott, Jerald Aboagye, Tom Carlse, Josh Wisson, Afolabi Coker, Mohammed Kamara, Sam Corne (c), Toby Ajala, Danny Parish (Kundai Munyama 90+3), Usman Adeniji (Clark Woodcock 71), Theo Fairweather-Johnson (Trey Williams 35).
Subs (unused): Tony Oladipupo, Charlie Wealands.
Goals: Trey Williams 57, Danny Parish 90+1.
Yellow card: Josh Wisson 86

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Sam Welch, Chris Elliott, Stuart West, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant (c), Chris Saunders (Tom Walmsley 68), Michael Jenner, Charlie Smith (Ricky Freeman 68), Jordan Wright, James Trueman.
Subs (unused): Harry Brown, Teddy Nelson, Louis Sprosen.
Yellow cards: Chris Saunders 29, Charlie Smith 63.

Attendance: 333
Referee: Jack Fagg
Assistants: Jak Hill & Richard Joss

Late Penalty Rescues A Point

WHITSTABLE TOWN 1 EAST GRINSTEAD TOWN 1
Bostik League South East
Saturday January 5 2019 15.00

A headed goal by Greg Cundle following a long throw put Whitstable behind in the opening minutes for the second consecutive game. East Grinstead had the better of the first half and Whitstable had Dan Eason to thank for keeping his team in the game at the break. Whitstable did improve in the second half, without creating many clear cut chances, as East Grinstead defended well against a number of corners and long throws into their box. The pressure finally told in the closing minutes, when Charlie Smith was brought down unnecessarily in the box following a corner and Chris Elliott tucked away the penalty. Either team could have found a winner in stoppage time, as Whitstable threw bodies into the box, but the visitors stood firm and went close themselves when the ball struck the bar and rebounded to safety as Whitstable struggled to clear a free kick.

East Grinstead arrived at the Belmont just one place and one point behind Whitstable in the league table, with both teams having played 18 games. The visitors were in fact the only team that Whitstable had not yet played in the league this season. Ricky Freeman returned up front for Whitstable alongside Charlie Smith, with both Stephen Smith and Danny Williams unavailable. Skipper James Morrish was serving the first of a two game ban, whilst John Walker remained sidelined. East Grinstead had recently raced into a 4-0 lead after 24 minutes on their way to a 5-2 win at Herne Bay, the week after Whitstable had lost heavily to their local rivals. Former Gillingham striker Greg Cundle, in good goal scoring form, was partnered by Marcus Elliott, a new loan signing from Lewes.

The game started with a soon familiar sight, as Chris Elliott launched a long throw into the East Grinstead penalty area that caused a few problems before being cleared to Louis Sprosen, who hooked the ball wide. It was at the other end though, that a throw in led to the opening goal in the 4th minute. Jack Bray sent the ball to the near post, where it was flicked on by Mitchell Chapman and Cundle headed it past Eason from close range. It nearly got worse for Whitstable just afterwards when a cross from the left by Karn Miller-Neave was met by Marcus Elliott, but Eason managed to block on the line and the resulting corner fell to Dean Gunner, who shot wide. Whitstable did create an opening in the 11th minute, when Tom Bryant picked out Freeman with a ball into the box, but he could only flick the ball into the hands of Sheikh Ceesay. The next throw in by Chris Elliott was cleared as far as Sprosen, whose cross was headed wide by Smith. Chris Elliott then curled a free kick from the right towards the far corner, but it was caught by Ceesay. The home defence was in trouble again when Marcus Elliott ran on to a long ball and forced Eason into another save low to his right. Smith and Freeman then made a promising break, but Leo Mazzone got back to prevent Smith finding his colleague.

Dan Eason somehow keeps out this close range effort by Marcus Elliott

East Grinstead continued to look dangerous and in the 25th minute, Mazzone rose to glance a free kick towards goal, but Eason dived to his left to make a good save. They then almost scored from a well worked corner in the 33rd minute, when the ball was played across the 18 yard line and after a couple of players stepped over it, Miller-Neave lifted his shot over the bar. An injured Mazzone then had to be replaced by Jordan Johnson, before another two long throws by Whitstable came to nothing. Just before the break, Cundle and Bray both went close, without working Eason, with shots from the edge of the box. Sprosen was another injury victim and had to be substituted on 45 minutes, with Sam Welch coming on. Whitstable were probably pleased to hear the half time whistle blow, with just the one goal deficit.

Dan Eason saves well from Leo Mazzone’s glancing header
One of many long throws by Chris Elliott

Soon after the restart, Michael Jenner swung in a free kick and Bryant rose highest, but his header was saved by Ceesay, who carried the ball behind for the first of seven second half Whitstable corners. Chris Elliott delivered several more long throws into the box and Freeman, Rob Gillman and Smith each had goal attempts, with Gillman seeing his header deflected over the bar by Ryan Johnson and Miller-Neave heading Smith’s effort off the line. The first yellow card of the afternoon was shown to Dan Pearse on the hour mark and Eason saved from Bray, before Jenner also saw yellow. Whitstable were spending more time in the East Grinstead half and during a spell of pressure, Ceesay hit a clearance straight to Smith, but he lost his footing at the crucial moment.

Tom Bryant’s header is saved at the near post
Charlie Smith heads towards goal
Karn Miller-Neave on the line heads the ball away
Rob Gillman’s header is deflected over by Ryan Johnson

Smith then had another shot blocked and Whitstable introduced Tom Walmsley and James Trueman. When Ceesay rose above the crowd to punch away another home corner, it seemed as though there would be no way through, but Smith collected the ball and was clumsily brought down as he was moving away from goal and Whitstable had a penalty in the 88th minute. Chris Elliott stepped up and found the bottom right corner, just out of the reach of the diving goalkeeper. Whitstable pushed forward looking for an unlikely winner, until after a bit of a scramble, Pearse broke away, but shot straight at Eason. In the final minute of stoppage time, an East Grinstead free kick was headed on by Drew Cooney and Gillman tried to clear, but the ball looped over Eason and struck the bar before bouncing away for a corner that was safely cleared and the game finished 1-1.

Sheikh Ceesay pushes another corner away from goal
Chris Elliott takes the penalty
The ball beats the dive and it’s 1-1
East Grinstead survive some late pressure as Whitstable try for a winner
The frame of the goal saves Whitstable in added time

Whitstable will take the point and move on to two challenging away games at Ashford and AFC Hornchurch, in the Velocity Trophy quarter final. Finally, a special mention for Tom Bryant, who had an excellent game at the back whilst deputising as captain, on what was his 100th appearance for Whitstable.

Whitstable East Grinstead
10 Attempts 12
5 On Target 7
9 Corners 5
2 Offside 1
11 Free Kicks Won 12

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Stuart West, Chris Elliott, Michael Jenner, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant (c), Chris Saunders (James Trueman 83), Louis Sprosen (Sam Welch 45), Ricky Freeman (Tom Walmsley 79), Charlie Smith, Jordan Wright.
Subs (unused): Harry Brown, Teddy Nelson.
Goal: Chris Elliott pen 88
Yellow cards: Michael Jenner 66, Tom Bryant 78.

East Grinstead Town
Sheikh Ceesay, Dean Gunner, Karn Miller-Neave, Dan Pearse, Drew Cooney (c), Ryan Johnson, Leo Mazzone (Jordan Johnson 39), Mitchell Chapman, Marcus Elliott, Greg Cundle, Jack Bray.
Subs (unused): Ollie Boulding, George Landais, Abodje Yao, Matt Day.
Goal: Greg Cundle 4
Yellow card: Dan Pearse 61

Attendance: 145
Referee: Kirsty Dowle
Assistants: Joe Kasper & Chris Price

Year Ends With Defeat

HYTHE TOWN 2 WHITSTABLE TOWN 0
Bostik League South East
Saturday December 29 2018 15.00

Whitstable finished 2018 with a defeat, as Hythe Town ended their winless run. Zak Ansah gave the home side a perfect start with a good finish from outside the box, after a right wing cross. The key moment came just after the 20 minute mark, when Stephen Smith was sent off by the referee for a foul on the big Hythe goalkeeper George Kamurasi, after he had blocked a shot. Whitstable managed to stay in the game after that, with a good defensive performance, although Hythe looked like a team short on confidence following four consecutive losses and they struggled to add to their lead. Things were made even more difficult for Whitstable when James Morrish received a second yellow card late in the game, but strangely they looked the better side after being reduced to nine men. It was Hythe that had the final say however when a defensive mix up gifted Kieron Campbell the opportunity to walk the ball into an empty net and make it 2-0 with the last meaningful kick of the match.

Whitstable manager Scott Porter took his team back to play his former club for the first time at a moment when ambitious Hythe were in a poor run of form, having lost their previous four games and conceded thirteen goals in the process. Whitstable themselves had taken four points from their last two games following a bad run prior to that. Yet again though, Whitstable had to reshuffle due to injury problems, with Rob Gillman and Chris Elliott now joining the list of absentees. John Walker, Ricky Freeman, Teddy Nelson and Harry Brown were still unavailable to play, although two were named amongst the substitutes. This meant a change of formation at the back and a first start for recent signing James Trueman. Hythe welcomed back Kamurasi in goal, having used several goalkeepers in recent weeks.

The game kicked off in front of a reported crowd of 407 on a mild afternoon, with the pitch in reasonably good condition. After a quiet opening, the home side suddenly opened the scoring in the 5th minute with an instinctive finish from Ansah, as he received the ball from Ryan Palmer to his right and hit a first time strike from just outside the box into the top right hand corner out of the reach of Eason. Salvyn Kisitu, who had a good game on the right, sent in a low cross that was met by former Whitstable player Campbell, who sent his stooping header wide. Eason turned an effort by Junior Aikhionbare away for a corner, as Hythe tried to extend their lead. Whitstable were starting to create some opportunities of their own, with Stephen Smith and Danny Williams causing a few problems for the home defenders. A right wing cross by Jordan Wright was met on the volley by an unmarked Louis Sprosen, but he hit it straight at Kamurasi. Wright then released Williams who struck a low shot from 20 yards that was fumbled by Kamurasi and with Stephen Smith being held off by Kisitu trying to prevent him following in, the Whitstable striker caught the goalkeeper as he stretched for the ball and the referee deemed the challenge worthy of a straight red card. The actions of the big goalkeeper certainly failed to endear him to the visiting fans standing nearby. Whitstable were left to try to find their way back into the game with ten men and it was no surprise that Hythe saw the majority of the ball for long periods, although they found it difficult to add to the score and kill the game off.

The shot from Zac Ansah beats Dan Eason to give Hythe an early lead

A strong tackle by Morrish on Chris Kinnear in midfield earned him a yellow card that would later prove costly to the Whitstable captain. Palmer sent over a low drive from the right that was pushed out by Eason and then Stuart West managed to clear the ball as Aikhionbare glanced a header towards the back post from a Palmer corner in the 32nd minute. Ansah and Charlie Webster both tried shots, with the latter forcing Eason into a good save. At the other end, Williams controlled a ball sent over by West, before shooting wide from the edge of the area. Aikhionbare broke into the box as half time approached, but Eason got down well to block at his near post. In added time there was a controversial moment that could have led to a second Hythe goal. After clearing a back pass, Eason was caught by a late challenge from Aikhionbare, leaving him with a bruised foot after the game, but the referee waved play on with the Whitstable goalkeeper lying injured and the ball was eventually played through to Ansah whose shot was just kept out as Eason struggled to his feet and the follow up attempt was off target.

Dan Eason pushes a good shot by Charlie Webster around the post
Danny Willams tries a shot
The ball goes wide of the left post as George Kamurasi tries to get across

The second half was mainly played out with Whitstable defending well and hoping to catch Hythe on the break. Following a couple of wild attempts on goal, one at each end, the ball was played down the right to Palmer, who escaped the challenge of Trueman, but dragged his shot past the far post. Whitstable did earn a couple of corners, but could only muster a weak Morrish shot that was easily saved by Kamurasi, before the ball was hooked well over the bar from the next. Campbell broke through with a promising run on the hour mark, but shot wide. Ansah was cautioned for dissent, before both teams made a change, with Tom Walmsley coming on for Sprosen and Jack Sammoutis replacing Palmer, whose crossing accuracy had deserted him after the break. Ansah curled a shot well over the bar, before Whitstable won another corner. Tom Bryant, who had a great game at the back alongside Stuart West in a reshaped defence, headed the ball back across goal, where it was met by Morrish at the back post, but his header was blocked on its way to goal by Webster.

Tom Bryant heads the ball back across the goal
James Morrish heads it towards goal, but the effort is blocked by the Hythe defence

In the 76th minute, a shot from a tight angle by Campbell was pushed out for a Hythe corner and the next effort was blocked by the near post, as Whitstable continued to frustrate the home team. A lively looking Nassim Dukali was introduced for Hythe and Whitstable sent on Michael Jenner and Charlie Smith for the last few minutes. Sammoutis had a low shot saved, before an unwise tackle by Morrish on Kinnear earned him a second yellow card, leaving his team to finish the game with nine men. Ansah fed Campbell, but his shot lacked the necessary power. At this stage though, Whitstable were playing some of their best football of the game and winning a lot of balls in midfield despite their numerical disadvantage. Charlie Smith was hauled down in a dangerous position, but his free kick went just wide of the post and then in added time, he got his head to another free kick, but directed the ball straight at Kamurasi. After defending really well, the game ended with a rare error at the back as West attempted to head a long ball by Kisitu back to Eason, but the chasing Campbell was able to get between them, knock it past the goalkeeper and tap it over the line to make it 2-0 and the final whistle blew as the game restarted.

Charlie Smith wins a late free kick
Charlie Smith takes the kick himself
It goes just the wrong side of the post

Whitstable will probably feel this was a game they could have got something from, against a team looking short on confidence, but although they fought really well to stay in the game, the combination of several key absentees and the two red cards, ultimately proved too big a handicap.

Hythe Whitstable
22 Attempts 9
12 On Target 5
5 Corners 6
3 Offside 2
8 Free Kicks Won 11

Hythe Town
George Kamurasi, Salvyn Kisitu, Elliott Capel, Chris Kinnear, Nathan Daly, Mitchell Dickenson, Ryan Palmer (Jack Sammoutis 67), Charlie Webster, Zak Ansah, Junior Aikhionbare (Nassim Dukali 79), Kieron Campbell.
Subs (unused): Zach Fagan, Jack Negus, Henry Newcombe.
Goals: Zak Ansah 5, Kieron Campbell 90+4.
Yellow card: Zak Ansah 66

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Sam Welch, James Trueman, Stuart West, Louis Sprosen (Tom Walmsley 67), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders (Michael Jenner 80), James Morrish (c), Stephen Smith, Danny Williams (Charlie Smith 80), Jordan Wright.
Subs (unused): John Walker, Ricky Freeman.
Red cards: Stephen Smith 20, James Morrish (two yellows 27, 83)

Attendance: 407
Referee: Scott Rudd
Assistants: Matt Charles & Jamie Eacott

Christmas and Stand Draw Results

The winning tickets in the Christmas Draw were chosen after the Ramsgate game in the Belmont Ground clubhouse. The draw this year was the most successful yet for the club and thank you to everyone who took part, helped to sell tickets or donated prizes. We would also like to thank Chantelle and the bar staff for arranging the buffet and ensuring everything went smoothly on a busy day at the club.

The winners are listed below. Most of the prizes have been collected, but we will try to contact the remaining few in the next couple of days. If you are one of the winners and we have not been able to get in touch, please call the club or email whitstabletown@gmail.com.

Drawn Ticket Winner Prize
1st 219 R Stiff £250
2nd 474 Paul James Luxury hamper
3rd 569 Stuart West 12 assorted wines
4th 1478 Kristian Anderson Selection of Christmas ales
5th 1274 Jackie Brown Fruit hamper
6th 1422 D Brennan Bottle of whisky
7th 356 George Corney Box of chocolates
8th 1285 Debbie Browne Tin of shortbread biscuits
9th 1453 Steve Cooper Selection of classic ales
10th 772 Charlie Smith Sparkling wine
11th 1098 Joe Brownett 2 WTFC engraved glass tankards
12th 647 Chris Saunders 2 WTFC engraved glasses
13th 187 Ship Centurion Large stollen

There was also a draw made for three prizes from all of the tickets that were sold during the past couple of years to help raise funds for the improvements to the seating and walkways in the main stand. This work has now been completed thanks to the generosity of our supporters, a grant from the Premier League Football Stadia Improvement Fund and not forgetting those that helped with the work.

The cash winners were Dave Reynolds, Tony Rouse and Wally Brown and once again, for those that were not at the ground for the draw, the club will be in touch shortly.

Boxing Day Win For Whitstable

WHITSTABLE TOWN 1 RAMSGATE 0
Bostik League South East
Wednesday December 26 2018 15.00

A Stephen Smith goal on the half hour mark was enough to earn three points for Whitstable in this Christmas fixture against Ramsgate. On a sticky pitch, there were not too many clear cut chances, but Dan Eason saved an early shot by Aaron Millbank. After George Crimmen had denied Smith with a great block, the Whitstable striker flicked a header past Luke Watkins from a Chris Elliott long throw. The Ramsgate goalkeeper made a great save to keep out an Elliott free kick just before the interval. Whitstable saw out the second half in relative comfort, as the visitors failed to offer any serious threat to Eason.

With some clubs preferring to play their Christmas fixtures during the preceding weekend, this was one of only three Boxing Day games in the Bostik South East division. Neither team was in the best of form, with each having taken only one point from their previous four games and both managers had to cope with the unavailability of several players. Whitstable had earned a valuable draw in Guernsey with a severely depleted squad, but had a few players back for this game, although Teddy Nelson, Charlie Smith and Harry Brown were out and John Walker and Ricky Freeman continued their recovery from injury on the bench. New signing James Trueman, a left sided player from Greenways, was named as a substitute. Ramsgate, who had won the reverse fixture 4-1 back in August, have since had some boardroom changes and a new manager in former Sittingbourne boss Nick Davis. They were missing Tom Chapman, Harry Stannard and Charlie Dickens due to injury, but included Luke Watkins, Jake Mackenzie, George Crimmen, Ollie Gray and Tijan Jadama, who had all previously played for Whitstable. Trey Williams also started, having just signed from Whyteleafe.

The game started quietly on a cold, fine day, but the pitch was quite heavy after the recent rain. Jordan Wright made a good run down the left and sent over a low cross that eluded everyone in the box. Ramsgate however looked the brighter team in the early stages and Mackenzie crossed for Millbank at the near post, but his low shot was parried by Eason and Rob Gillman did well to clear the danger. Rory Smith then headed a left wing cross well over the bar. The main Whitstable threat was coming from the long throws of Elliott and in the 20th minute, one fell to Stephen Smith in the box, but his fierce strike was blocked by Crimmen who threw himself in the way. It was another Elliott throw that led to Whitstable taking the lead in the 30th minute, as Stephen Smith rose to glance a header past Watkins and into the net.

An early Jordan Wright cross is just out of the reach of Stephen Smith
Rob Gillman clears well after Aaron Millbank’s shot is pushed out by Dan Eason
Luke Watkins is first to a long throw
Stephen Smith gets his head to a Chris Elliott throw in
The header gets past Luke Watkins
The ball finds its way into the net

A Ramsgate free kick from their own half took a deflection before being safely gathered by Eason and then Rory Smith shot over after a throw in had only been partially cleared. Ramsgate forced Eason into another save, when Millbank broke away following a Whitstable free kick at the other end. On 38 minutes, Sam Welch was tripped around 25 yards from goal and Elliott struck a great free kick towards the top left corner, but Watkins managed a great one handed save and when the ball came out to Louis Sprosen, his shot from a narrow angle was turned around the near post for a corner. Sprosen then chased a long ball down the left, before curling his shot wide of the far post. In added time, a sequence of robust challenges from several players was eventually ended by the referee, who showed the only yellow card of the game to James Morrish and Whitstable went into the break leading 1-0.

Chris Elliott takes a free kick
The Ramsgate goalkeeper just manages to get a hand to the free kick
Louis Sprosen tries a shot from the rebound
The shot is pushed behind for a corner

The holiday crowd of around three hundred might have expected a challenging second half for the home defence, but Ramsgate failed to really test Eason and with the pitch becoming trickier as time went by, it looked more likely that the one goal would be enough to secure the points. Stephen Smith tried an early shot that went straight to Watkins and then Jack Penny chipped a tame effort into the hands of Eason. A short spell of Ramsgate pressure finished with a low shot being gathered just outside the post by the Whitstable goalkeeper. Whitstable made a double change, with Sprosen and an injured Gillman and being replaced by Trueman, who came on for his debut, and Michael Jenner. The visitors had a couple of corners and then Luke Wheatley turned and shot well over the top.

Dan Eason enjoyed a quiet second half as Ramsgate struggled to break through the home defence

Ramsgate introduced Sam Lawford and Jadama in an attempt to find a goal, but their more direct approach was on the whole comfortably dealt with by the Whitstable defence. Stephen Smith made a good run and saw his deflected shot blocked by Watkins, before he was replaced by Tom Walmsley for the last few minutes. Elliott tried a late long throw that was cleared back to him and he struck a long range shot that was saved by Watkins. There was a last opportunity for the Rams to claim a point with a free kick on the left edge of the penalty area in added time, but with everyone going up for the set piece, Millbank curled the ball disappointingly wide of the far post.

After a difficult few games, it was a welcome three points for Whitstable, who now move five points ahead of Ramsgate and with more players set to return shortly, they will hope for some more consistency as they head into the New Year. Next up is a trip to Hythe on the final Saturday of 2018.

Whitstable Ramsgate
9 Attempts 11
7 On Target 3
5 Corners 2
6 Offside 8
10 Free Kicks Won 15

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Sam Welch, Chris Elliott, Stuart West, Rob Gillman (Michael Jenner 52), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (c), Stephen Smith (Tom Walmsley 83), Jordan Wright, Louis Sprosen (James Trueman 52).
Subs (unused): Ricky Freeman, John Walker.
Goal: Stephen Smith 30
Yellow card: James Morrish 45+1

Ramsgate
Luke Watkins, Jake Mackenzie, George Crimmen, Jacob Mensah, Luke Wheatley (c), Connor Sanders, Trey Williams (Tijan Jadama 78), Ollie Gray, Aaron Millbank, Rory Smith (Sam Lawford 71), Jack Penny.
Subs (unused): Damon Todd, Matthew Bone.

Attendance: 296
Referee: Ben Bowles
Assistants: Joe Mckay & Joe Dann-Pye