WHITSTABLE TOWN 4 GLEBE 2
SCEFL Premier Division
Tuesday April 10 2018 19.45
Whitstable claimed their 7th successive win, in what is now a 20 match unbeaten run, on their return to league action at the Belmont. This fixture was sandwiched between the Kent Senior Trophy final and an away trip to Crowborough in a week containing 4 games in 7 days, so manager Scott Porter rested four of the players that took part in the cup final. Whitstable made an impressive start, piling the pressure on the Glebe goal and Josh Burchell opened the scoring from a free kick in the 12th minute. Peter Sweeney equalised with a superbly taken free kick, but Danny Williams restored the Whitstable lead before half time. Glebe did themselves no favours in a bad tempered display and were somewhat fortunate that their card count was only six yellows and one red. Sweeney was sent off before the break and the visitors also lost the unfortunate Laurent Hamici with a dislocated shoulder. In the second half, the ten men got an unusual equaliser when a Dan Eason clearance rebounded into the net off Steve Smith, but further goals by Stuart West and Louis Sprosen secured the three points.
With the away fixture at Crowborough just two days away, James Morrish, Rob Gillman, Chris Saunders and Ricky Freeman were all left out of the Whitstable starting eleven, with each having featured in the cup win on Sunday. Glebe were the first league opponents for Whitstable this season, but only substitute Fred Obasa was in their squad that day and they are now managed by Anwar Uddin, a former professional player with several clubs including Bristol Rovers and Dagenham and Redbridge.
Whitstable looked confident from the start and the Glebe penalty area saw a lot of action in the early minutes. Shaun Welford had a shot deflected over the bar and shortly afterwards, a series of goal attempts were blocked in quick succession, with Williams, Sprosen and Charlie Smith all having a go, before Macauley Murray lifted a shot over the bar. Williams then cut in from the right and shot firmly, but Patrick Ohman made a good block and when the ball was returned into the box, Welford headed it over the top. A Williams cross was headed down by Welford, but Ohman got across to save. It seemed as though a goal was coming and in the 12th minute, it did. Derek Duncan was booked for a foul by the right corner flag and the free kick taken by Burchell went straight in at the near post.
The home goal was threatened when Steve Smith found himself in space on the right edge of the box. He struck the ball well towards the bottom right corner, but Eason managed to turn it past the post. Max Fitzgerald was booked for a foul as the corner was delivered into the box. Sweeney, the former Millwall and Stoke City player, was eventually spoken to by the referee after a stream of complaints directed at the officials, but immediately afterwards committed an unnecessary foul on Charlie Smith that earned him a yellow card. In the 26th minute, Sprosen appeared to win the ball in a challenge around 25 yards from goal, but the referee decided that he had caught his opponent, so awarded Glebe a free kick and produced another yellow card. Sweeney stepped forward and found the top right corner, just out of the reach of Eason to make it 1-1. The game was becoming very scrappy, as Glebe started to take issue with every decision. Whitstable got themselves back in front on 36 minutes, when Burchell swung over a deep corner from the right and Welford headed the ball back across goal, where Williams turned and fired it into the net. Before the game restarted, Sweeney was shown another card and ordered off, leaving his team to carry on with ten men for the rest of the match.
Steve Smith then got his name in the book for a poor off the ball challenge. There was a long delay when Hamici fell awkwardly, causing a painful shoulder injury and sadly he had to be helped off the pitch to seek further medical attention. He was replaced by Bryan Zepo. During the 7 added minutes, Welford headed a corner into the net from close range, but the effort was ruled out for a foul as the goalkeeper found himself entangled in the net, so the teams went in at half time with Whitstable leading 2-1.
Zepo made a good run down the right in the early minutes of the second half and a little later went over in the box after another promising piece of play. Shortly afterwards, Glebe were level again, as Whitstable got themselves in a bit of a muddle following a long ball forward. Eason tried to clear, but the ball hit Steve Smith and bounced back past the stranded goalkeeper before rolling into the net. Despite being a man short, Glebe continued to offer an attacking threat when they concentrated on playing football, but often seemed more interested in trying to referee the game. A few minutes later though, Whitstable took the lead for a third time following a Macauley Murray free kick. Several players had shots blocked, before the ball came out to Sprosen and he tried his luck from outside the box. Ohman managed to parry his shot, but West followed in to slam the ball home. There followed another delay as Glebe protested about the goal, with Ohman inevitably being cautioned as he continued his complaints.
Sam Edwards struck a free kick a long way over the bar and then made a late tackle on Burchell near the touchline, for which he was also booked. Whitstable next had two corners, the first of which was headed towards goal by Williams but cleared off the line and the ball was scrambled clear from the second. On 70 minutes, a good low cross by Burchell was headed just wide by a Sprosen.
Freeman replaced Welford for Whitstable, with Glebe introducing Obasa for the closing minutes. Zepo was the next Glebe player to be cautioned, as their card count continued to rise. In the 84th minute, Sprosen received the ball just outside the penalty area and struck a left footed shot past Ohman into the far corner to wrap up the victory. Williams had one final effort that just cleared the bar and a late Glebe free kick was well defended by Whitstable.
Glebe had some talented footballers in their team, but might reflect on the behaviour of several of their players that probably cost them any chance of a win on the night. Everyone at the Belmont wishes for a speedy recovery from injury for Laurent Hamici. For Whitstable, it was a case of doing what was necessary to keep their great run going, before moving on to the next game as their congested end of season schedule continues.
|19||Free Kicks Won||16|
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Teddy Nelson, Stuart West, Tom Bryant (c), Louis Sprosen, Charlie Smith, Shaun Welford (Ricky Freeman 74), Danny Williams, Macauley Murray (Owen Fitt 87).
Subs (unused): Chris Saunders, Rob Gillman, Dean Ruddy.
Goals: Josh Burchell 12, Danny Williams 36, Stuart West 57, Louis Sprosen 84.
Yellow cards: Louis Sprosen 26, Stuart West 31.
Patrick Ohman, Aaron Fray, George Savage, Derek Duncan (c), Max Fitzgerald, Joe Tennant, Steve Smith (Fred Obasa 79), Toch Singh, Laurent Hamici (Bryan Zepo 42), Peter Sweeney, Sam Edwards.
Subs (unused): Luke Miller, Daniel McCulloch, Fin Bryan.
Goals: Peter Sweeney 26, Steve Smith 52.
Yellow cards: Derek Duncan 11, Max Fitzgerald 15, Steve Smith 37, Patrick Ohman 57, Sam Edwards 60, Bryan Zepo 81.
Red card: Peter Sweeney 36 (two yellows 25, 36)
Referee: Richard Joss
Assistants: Ryan Chantril-Smith & Nick Derrane