Sawyer Scores Late Winner

SCEFL Premier Division
Tuesday March 21 2017 19.45

A depleted Whitstable side recorded a narrow win over Corinthian in this rearranged fixture in front of their lowest league crowd of the season. Two well taken goals by Connor Hood and Frankie Sawyer, one in each half, proved just enough. Oscar Housego had equalised for the visitors early in the second half.

The home side were without a number of players through a combination of suspension, injury and unavailability. Louis Sprosen was included in the starting eleven having been signed this week. He has played for a number of clubs and actually lined up against Whitstable at Beckenham in October. It was the first league meeting between the two teams this season, although Whitstable did win 1-0 at Corinthian in the cup in January.

The game started quietly with few chances, although Dan Eason got down to make a comfortable early save and Charlie Smith blazed a long shot well wide at the other end. The first real opening came on 11 minutes when a ball through from midfield sent Conor Johnson clear, but he shot tamely  straight at Eason. Corinthian appealed for a penalty as Aaron Quain made a challenge just inside the box, but the referee was not interested.

Whitstable had created little, but on 23 minutes some more thoughtful play down the right ended with a Hood cross being touched behind for a corner by Joseph Hagan. A few minutes later Sawyer was left clear after Marcus Evans missed a high ball, but he was delayed by Hagan and his eventual shot went wide of the far post. A brief spell of pressure by Corinthian ended with Jack Bath shooting well over from the edge of the box. A Hood throw was flicked towards goal by the head of Craig Thompson, but the ball was easily held by Hagan. As the interval approached a good run by Housego was finally halted by Calvin Sedenu as he was about to shoot and then Josh James sent in a dangerous cross but there was nobody on hand to meet it. Whitstable took the lead on 43 minutes, somewhat against the run of play. Kane Rowland, playing in a deeper role, did well in midfield and found a good pass that set Hood free and he kept his head to lob neatly over the advancing Hagan and into the net.

Connor Hood opens the scoring

Whitstable manager Scott Porter made a change at half time replacing Sprosen, who had not played much football recently, with player coach Brendon Cass. The first notable action of the second half came on 52 minutes as Corinthian brought the scores level. A good through ball split the home defence and left Housego with just Eason to beat and he made no mistake, firing the ball into the top right hand corner of the net.

No way through this time

Rowland became the first name in the notebook when he was booked for a challenge on 55 minutes and then a foul off the ball by Luke Tanner saw him booked shortly afterwards. Johnson ran on to a pass from James and almost got in on goal, but a good challenge by Sedenu saw the ball out for a corner that was headed over the bar by Sam Groombridge. The game became very scrappy and all three officials gathered on the pitch after 70 minutes to try to sort out a lot of pushing and shoving with a number of players involved. Both captains were spoken to and the referee then dismissed one of the Corinthian technical area occupants. The visitors had passed the ball around quite well earlier in the game, but became increasingly petulant and there were a number of incidents for the overworked officials to attend to.

Tanner broke through the home defence but after being forced wide by Eason was unable to hit the target. Smith was then booked after an opponent went down rather easily when challenged by the corner flag. A limping Quain was substituted by Newman Poku as the game entered the final ten minutes and then, almost unexpectedly, a bit of quality put Whitstable back in front. Rowland was the provider once again when his ball over the defence sent Sawyer clear and although initially taking it a bit wide to the right, he managed to find the far corner with a good shot back across the goal.

Frankie Sawyer scores the winner

The visitors used all three substitutes, but rarely looked like finding another goal. At the start of seven added minutes Thompson was flattened just outside the penalty area, with Bath being booked for dissent afterwards. The free kick was taken by Sawyer and deflected wide for a corner. Whitstable then kept the ball in the corner for a couple of minutes and there was little further action although Thompson was shown a yellow card for delaying proceedings and finally Bath also talked himself into the book just before the final whistle.

The game contained three very well taken goals, but not much else in the way of good quality football. Corinthian played the neater football in the first half, but rarely troubled Eason and rather lost their way as the game progressed. Whitstable will be happy enough to claim the points with so many players unavailable.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Connor Hood, Aaron Quain (Newman Poku 81), Tom Bryant (c), Calvin Sedenu, Ollie Lee, Louis Sprosen (Brendon Cass 46), Charlie Smith, Kane Rowland, Frankie Sawyer, Craig Thompson.
Subs (unused): Harry Brooks, Dean Ruddy.
Goals: Connor Hood 43, Frankie Sawyer 83.
Yellow cards: Kane Rowland 55, Charlie Smith 78, Craig Thompson 90+4.

Joseph Hagan, Bradley Large, Alexander Jack Billings, Jamie Billings, Marcus Evans, Sam Groombridge, Jack Bath (c), Josh James (Louis Clarke 87), Luke Tanner (Michael Hagan 90), Oscar Housego, Conor Johnson (Jordan Campbell 74).
Subs (unused): None
Goal: Oscar Housego 52
Yellow cards: Luke Tanner 60, Jamie Billings 90+1, Jack Bath 90+7.

Attendance: 91
Referee: Joe Kasper
Assistants: Chris Cannon & Daniel Barham