SEVENOAKS TOWN 0 WHITSTABLE TOWN 2
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday February 18 2017 15.00
Whitstable put in a good performance at third placed Sevenoaks to record their eighth straight league win and their sixth consecutive clean sheet in those games. The home side started quite brightly, sending some dangerous balls across the Whitstable box and Dan Eason had to get down well to make a couple of saves. Whitstable did come closest to scoring though in a goalless first half, as Aaron Quain hit the post and Charlie Smith fired home a rebound after former Whitstable goalkeeper Scott Chalmers-Stevens had blocked a shot from James Morrish, only to see the flag raised for offside. Whitstable took charge after the break with a commanding display and two good finishes by Kane Rowland ensured the win. Rowland might have added to the score and there were also chances for Charlie Smith, Bola Dawodu, Ashley Brown and Ollie Lee. Sevenoaks offered very little in response, as Whitstable dominated all over the pitch with James Morrish putting in a good display in midfield on his return to the club.
With Tom Bryant unavailable, Morrish came in for his first game since joining on loan from AFC Hornchurch in an otherwise unchanged line up from the cup win at Sutton Athletic. Despite losing to Corinthian in midweek, Sevenoaks were handily placed in the league table and still hoping to challenge for the title. They started promisingly and Eason had to be alert to turn an early effort around the post and soon afterwards was called upon again to save a low shot from Jimmy Rogers. In the first meaningful attack at the other end Dawodu rose to meet a cross from the left, but saw his header well saved by Chalmers-Stevens.
The home side came forward again, sending a low cross right across the face of goal and Eason punched a Mikey Dalton free kick clear. The Sevenoaks captain Corey Holder was spoken to by the referee for a poor challenge on Rowland, before Rogers shot over following a home corner. On 22 minutes good play by Dawodu and Rowland set up Quain on the left and his shot from the angle of the penalty area beat Chalmers-Stevens but came back off the far post. The rebound fell to Dawodu whose shot was blocked for a corner.
Whitstable picked up their only yellow card on 30 minutes as Dawodu talked his way into the book, presumably for complaining about a blow in the face that appeared to be missed by the officials. Rowland and Quain combined to send in a cross from the left that was swept towards goal by Morrish and Chalmers-Stevens parried the ball into the path of Smith who tucked it away, but was ruled marginally offside.
Ashley Brown, who was impressive alongside Rob Gillman and Joe Kennett at the back, made a couple of timely interceptions as the interval approached and the teams went in with the score 0-0.
If the first half had been relatively even, it was a different story in the second and a deep cross was headed just wide by Dawodu soon after the restart. On 49 minutes Whitstable took the lead as Smith battled to get on the end of a good long pass by Quain and the ball ran loose to Rowland who instantly shot low past Chalmers-Stevens.
Hood and Dawodu broke down the right and played in Smith who shot just wide. A rare Sevenoaks chance from a long range free kick was headed over the top, before another Quain cross was sliced into the hands of Chalmers-Stevens by a grateful home defender. Greg Benbow was booked for a handball as Smith tried to break clear and then Ashley Brown met a Quain corner, but his firm header went wide. Rowland and Smith did well to chase the ball down as the home defence tried to see it out for a goal kick, but the resulting shot curled just over. More good approach play allowed Lee a sight of goal, but his shot from 18 yards was saved by Chalmers-Stevens. After home number nine Byron Walker collected the third and final yellow card of the game on 72 minutes, Smith got away down the right and found Rowland who lobbed the ball over the top. Smith was replaced by Harris Rodgers on 81 minutes and soon afterwards Lee and Quain combined well on the left and as the ball came into the box, Rowland volleyed it left footed past the stranded goalkeeper to make the game safe.
The last few minutes saw another attempt by Dawodu blocked by the busy Chalmers-Stevens following a good pass by Lee and then Rowland shot just over the bar after a one-two with Quain. Craig Thompson came on for Rowland near the end, as Whitstable eased to an important win.
This was perhaps one of the best performances of the campaign by Whitstable, particularly in the second half as they outplayed their opponents on their own ground and deservedly continued their good run of form.
Scott Chalmers-Stevens, Marvin Okundalaiye, Greg Benbow, Mikey Dalton (Aiden Enver 90+1), Tom Ripley, Corey Holder (c) (Chris Edwards 70), Jimmy Rogers (Billy Bennett 74), Joe Bingham, Byron Walker, Ike Robertson, Kieron McCann.
Subs (unused): Stephen Camacho, Ola Williams.
Yellow cards: Greg Benbow 59, Byron Walker 72.
Dan Eason, Connor Hood, Aaron Quain, Joe Kennett, Rob Gillman (c), Ashley Brown, James Morrish, Ollie Lee, Kane Rowland (Craig Thompson 87), Charlie Smith (Harris Rodgers 81), Bola Dawodu.
Subs (unused): Harry Brown, Calvin Sedenu, Harry Brooks.
Goals: Kane Rowland 49, 84.
Yellow card: Bola Dawodu 30
Referee: Matthew Pollington
Assistants: Steve Roots & Shane Brown