WHITSTABLE TOWN 3 DEAL TOWN 0
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday March 31 2018 15.00
Whitstable extended their unbeaten run to seventeen games with a routine win over Deal Town at the Belmont Ground. The wet pitch passed a morning pitch inspection and fortunately any further rain held off until the game had finished. Shaun Welford gave Whitstable an early lead from the penalty spot after Deal goalkeeper James Tonkin had brought down the impressive John Walker. Welford, who is looking sharper with each game after a long injury lay off, might have scored a couple more, shooting just wide after a good move a few minutes later and then heading a Ricky Freeman cross over the bar in the second half. Two goals from Louis Sprosen corners eventually made sure of the points, as firstly Rob Gillman and then Stuart West finished from close range. Deal offered little threat to a defence that have now conceded only 8 goals in 15 home league games, despite a tidy performance in midfield by Andy Miller and a few promising runs from Jack Paxman.
The Whitstable manager Scott Porter took the opportunity to rotate his squad a little, given the pitch and the number of games to be played in the closing weeks of the season. Louis Sprosen replaced Josh Burchell on the left, Stuart West started in midfield in place of Macauley Murray and Shaun Welford took the place of Danny Williams up front. Deal had been beaten by a Williams penalty in the Challenge Cup quarter final at the Belmont in early March and made six changes to their starting eleven from that game. The pitch was quite heavy and did cut up during the game, but actually played a little better than might have been anticipated.
An early Whitstable cross by Freeman was nodded wide by Welford, before Joe Reeves and Miller combined to send a dangerous ball into the Whitstable box that led to two early Deal corners. The majority of the play was at the other end though and Welford got his head to another Freeman cross, giving Sprosen a chance to shoot wide of the Deal goal. On 10 minutes, Freeman released Walker who galloped down the right and into the box, where Tonkin slid into him and brought him down as he tried to send the ball into the middle. The referee, who had awarded three penalties on his last visit to Whitstable in the high scoring FA Vase tie against Lancing, had no hesitation in pointing to the spot again and the goalkeeper was shown a yellow card. Welford found the bottom right hand corner, beating the dive of Tonkin and Whitstable were ahead.
Teddy Nelson defended well to stop a threatening Deal break down the right. Welford won a challenge on the left and curled a nice pass into the box, but Tonkin was just able to reach the ball before Freeman. A great through ball by Saunders gave Freeman the chance to pull the ball back for Welford, who turned and shot just wide.
Reeves missed the target from 20 yards and then Sam Wilson had a brief sight of goal, but Eason remained relatively untroubled. Paxman made a forward run and played the ball inside to Foster, who curled his shot wide. Walker and Sprosen were getting forward well for the home side, with Walker sending over some dangerous crosses from the right. Saunders broke into the box to set up Freeman, who was unable to get enough power in his shot to beat Tonkin. Foster became the second Deal player to be cautioned on 30 minutes for a foul. Sprosen had a shot deflected behind and he struck the outside of the post from the resulting corner. Just before the break, Freeman shot over and then a bit of late possession for Deal failed to disturb the solid defensive trio of Gillman, Nelson and Tom Bryant.
Freeman and James Morrish both had early attempts in the second half, before the Whitstable skipper was replaced by Charlie Smith. It was the Whitstable substitute who won a corner shortly afterwards, from which the second goal came. Sprosen swung over the corner and an under pressure Tonkin dropped the ball onto the outstretched leg of Gillman, who had some Deal arms around him in a congested goalmouth, with the ball going into the net to double the lead.
A slip by Dean Hill let Freeman in to win another corner and this time West had a header blocked by the Deal defence. West then fed the ball to Freeman in space on the right, and his cross found the head of Welford, but he was unable to keep his firm header down and it flew over the bar. Deal introduced Connor Coyne on 62 minutes and then, from the next Whitstable free kick, Nelson fired the ball into the net, but the whistle had already blown for an infringement. Good play between West, Williams and Walker earned another corner and this time the ball in by Sprosen was helped towards goal, where West finished from close range to make it 3-0.
Sprosen had a shot caught under the bar by Tonkin, as Whitstable continue to press. Deal never looked likely to get back into the game, but Eason did have to make a save from a Steve Butcher shot following a Deal corner. Both teams made further changes and Smith, Williams and Freeman each had efforts blocked. Steve King, was asked to leave the Deal bench in the 84th minute for comments made to the match officials. Freeman had a glancing header easily saved and in stoppage time, a good low cross by Deal substitute Euan Sahadow was well cut out by Eason. The final attempt of the game was a wayward shot by Coyne and Whitstable had another three points safely in the bag.
Whitstable now face a run of 12 games in 28 days as they continue to chase success in three competitions, so the existing squad will be fully tested, with the deadline for new player registrations now passed.
|6||Free Kicks Won||13|
Dan Eason, John Walker, Louis Sprosen, Teddy Nelson, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders (Macauley Murray 73), James Morrish (c) (Charlie Smith 50), Ricky Freeman, Shaun Welford (Danny Williams 59), Stuart West.
Subs (unused): Josh Burchell, Dean Ruddy.
Goals: Shaun Welford (pen) 10, Rob Gillman 53, Stuart West 68.
James Tonkin, Jack Paxman, Harry Alexander, Dean Hill (c), Lee Scott, Alfie Foster (Connor Coyne 62), Steve Butcher, Joe Reeves, Sam Wilson (Euan Sahadow 73), Andy Miller, Ben Chapman (Danny Smith 82).
Sub (unused): John Brayne
Yellow cards: James Tonkin 10, Alfie Foster 30.
Referee: Tom Nicholls
Assistants: Jack Mottram & Matt Laing