Penalties End Perfect Month

Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Second Round
Saturday November 25 2017 15.00

Whitstable made in six wins in a row during November as they progressed into the last eight of the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy. Division One opponents Stansfeld put in a spirited performance, but never looked like creating an upset at the Belmont. The home side started well and created a number of early chances, but had to wait until the 24th minute to open the scoring when Ricky Freeman scored from the penalty spot after being fouled. Stansfeld conceded another penalty in the second half when Freeman was pulled down and Charlie Smith beat Lewis Collier. Whitstable looked sharper and fitter, especially in midfield, and there might have been a few more goals, but for some missed chances and good saves by Collier. Jake Williams showed a few flashes of quality for the visitors, but Dan Eason had a comfortable afternoon in the Whitstable goal.

Whitstable initially planned one change to their starting eleven, with Louis Sprosen coming in for Chris Saunders, who had taken a fitness test alongside Rob Gillman. Macauley Murray however had to withdraw just before the kick off with a chest injury, so Saunders came back in to replace him. Gillman, Danny Williams and Shaun Welford remained on the injury list and recent academy signing Teddy Nelson was cup tied. Chislehurst based Stansfeld made their first visit to the Belmont sitting in mid table in the division below Whitstable, but had won their previous two games.

Visiting goalkeeper Collier was busy in the opening minutes as Whitstable attacked. He had to be alert in the 1st minute when a back header by Greg Summersby almost went past him and he then managed to push a Stuart West header from a free kick out for a corner, which was swung in by Sprosen and just tipped over the bar. Smith found space in the box, but was unable to find a teammate as he tried to lay the ball off, but soon afterwards Freeman had a chance with a header that went over Collier but wide. Stansfeld had their first sight of goal on 7 minutes, when Williams set up Billy Shinners, but his low shot was an easy save for Eason. Whitstable continued to press though and Smith hooked the ball just over the bar following a good sequence of passing. A Josh Burchell cross reached Smith, whose effort was blocked and Craig Cloke headed the resultant corner over the bar. A Burchell free kick was helped on to Smith and his close range header was saved by Collier and another corner by Sprosen was headed off the line.

Lewis Collier keeps an early Stuart West header out
Charlie Smith is closed down as he is about to shoot
Another good save from a Smith header

A rare break by Stansfeld looked promising when Whitstable were outnumbered at the back, but they failed to make the most of the opportunity. The opening goal arrived just afterwards when Tom Bryant played the ball into the box and although it was partially cleared, it was accidentally sliced back in the air by Summersby towards his own goal. George Martin was able to head it out from under the bar, but the referee spotted a pull by Jesse Thackham on Freeman as he tried to challenge. The Stansfeld number four was booked and Freeman found the right hand corner with a well taken penalty.

Ricky Freeman is pulled back and a penalty is given
Freeman takes the penalty
Collier is beaten and it is 1-0

James Morrish played a one-two with Freeman, but was just unable to find the finish from a few yards out. Michael McKenna sent a long range shot into the hands of Eason and Saunders fired wide from distance. Shinners was allowed to break clear despite looking offside, but the home defence managed to prevent him getting a shot away. There were a few more half chances for Cloke, Smith and Freeman, but Whitstable went in at the break just the one goal in front.

The second half started with shots by Freeman and Bryant both being saved by Collier, but then Freeman was pulled down in the penalty area as he tried to get on the end of a cross and after a discussion between the match officials another penalty was given. This time Smith stepped forward and shot down the middle as Collier went to his right and it was 2-0 after 50 minutes.

Smith takes the second penalty
Whitstable lead 2-0

It felt like that was the end of the match from a competitive point of view and the result was never really in doubt from that point. West, who had a good game on the right of the back three, found Smith and he showed good control to knock the ball over the last defender, but his shot hit the frame of the goal. Saunders and Smith had further attempts as Whitstable remained largely in control. Williams had made a couple of promising runs for Stansfeld, but he was replaced in the 65th minute, as both teams started to make substitutions. Whitstable took off Freeman and Burchell, with the FA Vase game next week in mind, and Rhys Brain and Brendon Cass, for his first appearance of the season, came on. Bryant got his head to a Cloke free kick, but was off target. West was robbed in his own half and the ball was played up to Shinners in a good position in the box, but he could not get a clean shot and the ball just bobbled back to Eason. Smith had a low shot deflected into the hands of Collier and in the closing minutes the two Whitstable substitutes combined, with Cass heading the ball into the path of Brain, but he could not find a shot to test Collier.

The final whistle blew and Whitstable were safely through to the quarter finals of the trophy. Next Saturday is the FA Vase third round and for the second consecutive season, Chichester City will visit. They are currently in second place in the Southern Combination Football League, having scored 48 goals in 18 matches, and will provide a stern test as Whitstable bid to reach the last 32 of the national competition.

Whitstable Stansfeld
19 Attempts 5
9 On Target 3
7 Corners 2
2 Offside 1
15 Free Kicks Won 7

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell (Brendon Cass 79), Stuart West, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Louis Sprosen, James Morrish, Ricky Freeman (Rhys Brain 70), Charlie Smith, Chris Saunders.
Sub (unused): Dean Ruddy
Goals: Ricky Freeman (pen) 24, Charlie Smith (pen) 50.

Lewis Collier, Joe Borland (Joe Brown 65), Greg Summersby, Jesse Thackham, George Martin, Adam Ball, Billy Jolley, Michael McKenna, Billy Shinners, Jake Williams (Nathan Flaher 65), Mark McKenna (Ryan Hassan 75).
Subs (unused): None
Yellow card: Jesse Thackham 24

Attendance: 120
Referee: Paul Franks
Assistants: John Baigan & Max Sollis