Late West Goal Earns Replay

Emirates FA Cup – Extra Preliminary Round
Saturday August 11 2018 15.00

Whitstable fought back after a sluggish first half performance had threatened a first day FA Cup exit for the second successive season. Deal deservedly led at the break, as substitute and former Whitstable striker, Harris Rodgers opened the scoring after Dan Eason had parried a Sam Wilson shot and then Wilson added a second on the stroke of half time. It was a different game in the second half and Deal put the ball into their own net after James Morrish sent a header into the goalmouth. John Walker, Brett Ince, Chris Saunders and Nathan Hardwick all went close, but Deal held on to their lead and still posed a threat on the break, until Stuart West managed to force home an equaliser in the 90th minute.

With a number of newly promoted Step 4 teams having to participate in the opening round, this FA Cup tie was the first competitive game of the season for Whitstable. Charlie Smith started up front alongside Ricky Freeman, with Stuart West playing a holding role in midfield. The Southern Counties East League started a week earlier and Deal had collected 4 points from their first 2 games. They did have their captain, Luke Bigginton, sent off at AFC Croydon and he was unavailable for this match, along with several other members of the Deal squad.

It was the home team that started better and Jordan Wright made a good block in the opening minutes, then Eason saved comfortably from Ben Cardwell. Whitstable had a few promising moments, one when Smith released Freeman on the right and he put in a great low cross, but there was no one in the box to apply the finish. Ben Chapman broke down the Deal right and fired the ball just wide of the far post. Deal were awarded two free kicks just outside the penalty area, but first Alfie Foster and then Steve O’Brien shot over the bar. Eason had to save a 25 yard effort from Trinn Brisley, as Deal continued to create chances. Freeman had a couple of sights of goal at the other end and a Tom Bryant header from a long free kick sailed over the bar, but Whitstable really struggled to get into the game throughout the first half, as Deal were winning most of the loose balls and pushing their Bostik league opponents back.

Deal go close
Dan Eason sees this Deal free kick go over the bar

An injured Foster had to leave the field on 35 minutes and was replaced by Rodgers, who played 42 games for Whitstable, scoring 6 goals and showing a lot of promise, before leaving early last season after struggling with hamstring injuries. He had only been on the field a few minutes when he scored the goal that had been coming for a while. A shot by Wilson from the edge of the box was parried by Eason and Rodgers nipped in to tuck the ball into the net in the 38th minute. Deal doubled their advantage in the 45th minute, when a low cross from the left brought a great defensive tackle to deny Rodgers his second, but the ball ran loose to Wilson and he curled the ball back into the net.

It was a frustrating first half for the Whitstable bench

The Whitstable management team would clearly have had a few things to say to their players at half time, as they sought to get more from their team. Whitstable had lost in the league here early last season with a similar performance, when playing to the same end, they also found themselves two goals down at the break and, although dominating the second half, went on to lose 2-1. Once again, Whitstable came out with more urgency and an early Smith turn and shot was deflected behind for a corner. The goal they sought came in the 52nd minute, when a deep West cross from the right was headed back across goal by Morrish and as a couple of Whitstable players closed in, Brisley knocked the ball past his own goalkeeper. The Whitstable captain was shown the only yellow card of the game shortly afterwards, after being frustrated with a couple of decisions. The visitors continued to press forward looking for an equaliser and John Walker arrived in the box to meet a cross from the left, but failed to keep his shot down.

James Morrish heads a Stuart West cross towards goal
Deal concede an own goal
John Walker puts this chance over the top

Both teams made substitutions and Whitstable pushed West up front, bringing Brett Ince into midfield. Morrish rolled the ball into the path of Ince, but his fierce shot from outside the box flew over the bar. Another substitute, Chris Saunders saw his effort just miss the target, after being found by Wright. Deal had few sights of the Whitstable goal in the second half, but did threaten twice on the break when Rodgers and then substitute Troy Howard both delivered crosses that Connor Coyne just failed to connect with at the far post. As time ticked away, an Ince free kick was headed over by Nathan Hardwick, who also had a well struck 25 yard shot saved by James Tonkin. It was looking like an early cup exit, when the equalising goal finally arrived in the 90th minute. A Whitstable corner was cleared and then Rob Gillman chipped the ball back into the box, where the Deal defence managed to block a couple of attempts, but eventually the ball fell nicely for West to fire the ball into the net from 3 yards. There were 4 added minutes and Whitstable tried to find an unlikely winner, as an Ince corner was cleared and then Freeman shot just over from 20 yards. The game ended 2-2, which in the end was probably a fair result, as it was very much a game of two contrasting halves.

Stuart West scores a late equaliser

The replay will be at the Belmont Ground on Wednesday evening at 7.45 p.m. The tie will be settled on the night with extra time and penalties, if necessary and the winners will be away to CB Hounslow United in the next round, following their 2-0 win at Sutton Common Rovers on Sunday.

Deal Whitstable
10 Attempts 16
6 On Target 5
1 Corners 6
1 Offside 1
8 Free Kicks Won 8

Deal Town
James Tonkin, Liam Hark (c), Steve O’Brian, Alfie Foster (Harris Rodgers 35), Kane Smith, Connor Miller, Ben Cardwell (Troy Howard 78), Trinn Brisley (Harry Alexander 65), Connor Coyne, Sam Wilson, Ben Chapman.
Subs (unused): Danny Smith
Goals: Harris Rodgers 38, Sam Wilson 45.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Teddy Nelson, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Jordan Wright (Nathan Hardwick 78), James Morrish (c) (Chris Saunders 69), Ricky Freeman, Charlie Smith (Brett Ince 60), Stuart West.
Subs (unused): Jai McKinlay, Kyran Connolly.
Goals: Trinn Brisley (og) 52, Stuart West 90.
Yellow card: James Morrish 56

Attendance: 187
Referee: Dominic Barrow
Assistants: Jessica Storrie & Krystian Kaczala