WHITSTABLE TOWN 1 BECKENHAM TOWN 1
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday April 21 2018 15.00
Charlie Smith came off the bench to score a late goal and earn Whitstable a point for the second time in three days, after ten man Beckenham Town had taken the lead in 72nd minute. Whitstable had a couple of early chances, with Tyler McCarthy doing well to tip a Ricky Freeman header over the bar. A strong Beckenham side then went on to have the better of the first half, although despite having numerous corners and free kicks in attacking positions, Dan Eason was only called upon to make a couple of saves. Whitstable improved after the interval and had a confident penalty claim turned down when a Shaun Welford header appeared to be handled in the box, before the visitors had Fred Parker sent off for a high challenge on Josh Burchell in the 65th minute. Tom Bryant then hit the bar with a header, before Jamie Humphris netted after a goalmouth scramble to give Beckenham the lead with their only effort on target of the second half. Despite a lot of late pressure, it looked as though the long unbeaten run was about to end until Smith planted a firm header into the top corner in stoppage time.
There was only one change to the Whitstable team that had drawn with Canterbury in midweek, as Danny Williams returned from suspension to replace Shaun Welford up front, although Rob Gillman was available again and named as a substitute. Beckenham, who had won the reverse fixture back in October when Whitstable had performed poorly on the day, had maintained their challenge at the top of the table for most of the season, although arrived at the Belmont having suffered several recent defeats.
The game started quite brightly, with five early corners and it was Whitstable that had the two best chances to take the lead. A long punt up field by Eason was missed by the last defender and the ball reached Burchell, whose shot from the left of the penalty area was saved by McCarthy. Then, after Ike Robertson had shot over from a Beckenham corner, Williams flicked the ball over the defence and it dropped perfectly for Freeman who tried to find the net with a header, but McCarthy managed to tip the ball over the bar.
Bryant was caught in the face by the hand of Richard Atkins, who was spoken to by the referee whilst the Whitstable player received some attention. Beckenham started to push Whitstable back and won a number of free kicks that were mostly taken by Marvin Alebiosu, but the home defence generally managed the threat quite well, considering the height of several of the players in blue. Junior Kaffo headed a corner over the bar and Eason had to tip one curling Alebiosu free kick over the top after John Walker had been booked for a challenge on the touchline. Just before half time, Craig Cloke slipped over and brought down his opponent as Beckenham tried to break clear down their right. The Whitstable captain was shown a yellow card and Adam Wadmore struck the free kick well from around 30 yards, but Eason was able to push the ball over for a corner. The last action before the interval resulted in a booking for Dan Fleming, when he fouled Freeman, who was trying to race on to a clearance from Eason.
In the 50th minute, Chris Saunders was pushed over just outside the penalty area, but Freeman failed to beat the wall from the free kick. At the other end, an Alebiosu set piece was glanced just wide by the head of Parker. Whitstable introduced Welford for the last half an hour as a substitute for Freeman and his aerial threat gave the tall Beckenham team a different challenge as he started to win a number of high balls. A corner swung dangerously across goal by Burchell just missed everyone in the box and then Williams did well on the right and sent over a deep cross for Welford, who headed the ball into the middle where it seemed to be cut out by the arm of a Beckenham player, but the officials waved away the penalty appeals. Parker then caught Burchell in the head after a challenge in the centre circle and the referee decided to show him a straight red card. Atkins was also shown a card, this time yellow, for a late tackle on James Morrish and Welford headed the free kick well over the bar. Bryant well much closer when he rose highest to meet a Burchell corner, but his header struck the top of the bar.
Just as it looked as though Whitstable might be about to take advantage of the extra man, a Beckenham free kick reached Atkins in the box and he turned to try to shoot. A couple of attempts were blocked, before the ball ran loose to Humphris and he fired the ball high into the net from close range despite the attempts of Bryant on the line. The goal came against the run of play, stunning the home crowd and the Whitstable manager reacted by sending on Smith in place of Saunders.
Stefan Wright was booked for fouling Walker by the corner flag, as Whitstable started to press forward again. The free kick was followed by two corners, but there was no end product as the game entered the final 10 minutes. Welford headed the ball into the path of Stuart West on the edge of the box, but he was unable to keep his shot down. Another Welford header led to some last ditch defending as Beckenham managed to clear the ball away after the goalkeeper was beaten. A rare attack by the visitors saw Atkins collect the ball just outside the penalty area, but his shot went wide. The goal scorer Humphris was replaced by James Duckworth for the last few minutes.
Wadmore went into the book as the game entered added time for complaining about a corner awarded to Whitstable, but it came to nothing. After a Williams shot had flown well wide, the equaliser finally came in the 93rd minute. A curling ball in from the left was met by Smith about 12 yards out and he powered a great header over the defenders and into the top corner out of the reach of McCarthy to much relief around the ground. Whitstable had a couple of minutes left to try to find a winner, but a final corner kick was cleared by Beckenham and the teams each had to settle for a point.
Scott Porter received the March Manager of the Month award from Tony Day after the match. The unbeaten run has now reached 25 matches. Given results elsewhere, there was little change at the top of the table and still everything to play for in a busy final 10 days of the season.
|16||Free Kicks Won||15|
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Stuart West, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders (Charlie Smith 76), James Morrish, Ricky Freeman (Shaun Welford 59), Danny Williams, Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Rob Gillman, Louis Sprosen, Teddy Nelson.
Goal: Charlie Smith 90+3
Yellow cards: John Walker 40, Craig Cloke 44.
Tyler McCarthy, Adam Wadmore, Jack Hope, Stefan Wright (c), Dan Fleming, Ike-Robertson Feehi, Junior Kaffo, Marvin Alebiosu, Richard Atkins, Fred Parker, Jamie Humphris (James Duckworth 87).
Subs (unused): Jake Britnell, Jason Clews, Ricky Bennett, Frank Warren.
Goal: Jamie Humphris 72
Yellow cards: Dan Fleming 45, Richard Atkins 69, Stefan Wright 77, Adam Wadmore 90.
Red card: Fred Parker 65
Referee: Dan Doyle
Assistants: Brian Woodhouse & Jak Hill