Third League Defeat In A Row

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday October 28 2017 15.00

Despite progressing in cup competitions on the previous two Saturdays, Whitstable slumped to their third successive league defeat after a very disappointing performance at Eden Park Avenue. Beckenham fully deserved their win and might have added to their score, going close on a few occasions. Whitstable offered very little threat to the home defence, but did take the lead midway through the first half when a Macauley Murray free kick beat home goalkeeper Santiago Tuilin. Jamie Humphris equalised almost immediately, curling a shot past Dan Eason from just outside the box. They were the only efforts on target before the interval, although Carlos Branco struck the woodwork from a Beckenham free kick. Murray forced a good save out of Tuilin early in the second half, but the Beckenham keeper was not tested again. Whitstable were reduced to ten men soon afterwards, when Ricky Freeman was controversially sent off. Humphris scored his second with another good strike and Richard Atkins added a third from the penalty spot in the closing minutes after Craig Cloke had brought him down.

There was one change to the Whitstable starting eleven from the FA Vase win at Saltdean, with the suspended Stuart West being replaced by Chris Saunders in midfield. Danny Williams returned, but started on the bench, although there were only fourteen players available in a depleted squad. Beckenham came into the game in mid table, having won their previous four league matches and they are also still in the FA Vase following a 2-0 win over Sawbridgeworth Town.

The home team looked sharper from the start, drawing a number of fouls in the opening minutes as Whitstable struggled to get into the game. Eason had to be alert to punch away one dangerous free kick into a crowded area by Branco. Murray, who looked the most likely to create something for the visitors, picked up the ball in midfield before shooting wide from distance and then an attempted clearance ricocheted off Charlie Smith with the ball dropping on top of the net. Some Beckenham pressure resulted in Tom Bryant being cautioned when the ball struck his hand on 17 minutes and Branco bent the resulting free kick just wide of the post.

A Carlos Branco free kick is just wide

Shameek Farrell got free in the wide open spaces on the right and pulled the ball across goal, but there was no home player there to apply the finishing touch. Murray won the ball just outside the box, before being fouled by Adam Wadmore, who was somewhat unfortunate to be shown a yellow card. Murray picked himself up and found the bottom right hand corner from the free kick, beating the despairing dive of Tuilin to give Whitstable the lead on 24 minutes.

Macauley Murray takes a free kick…
The ball beats the diving Beckenham goalkeeper

Beckenham were soon level however as Humphris collected the ball 20 yards out and curled a left footed shot past Eason into the left hand corner. Murray and Saunders combined to send the ball into the box where it struck George Benner, but appeals for handball were waved away. Smith won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, but the ball in from Murray was headed away. Whitstable then suffered a blow when James Morrish had to leave the field with a leg injury to be replaced by Danny Williams and after that the team struggled to play with any fluency or shape. Beckenham were awarded a rather soft free kick 25 yards out and Branco curled in a great shot that had Eason beaten, but it came back off the angle of post and bar and was cleared. Rob Gillman then picked up a rare card for an innocuous looking challenge, but this time the free kick by Branco went sailing well over the bar and the Beckenham number three had one more dead ball opportunity when Louis Sprosen also picked up a booking for a foul right on half time, but the free kick was again off target.

A rare Whitstable attack

A good run and shot from outside the box by Murray in the opening minutes of the second half drew a smart save from Tuilin, but that was as good as it got for the visitors, although a couple of mistakes in quick succession by Benner led to Whitstable winning the first of their only two corners in the match. A crucial incident came in the 56th minute, when a foul was followed by a coming together of a number of players and then Hassan Oshilaja threw himself to the floor clutching his head, with Freeman being dismissed by the referee. The home team were then largely on top, playing the ball around with plenty of space out wide and they won a couple of corners that were cleared by the overworked Whitstable defence. Jack West replaced Smith, but on 67 minutes Beckenham took the lead when Humphris cleverly brought the ball under control on the edge of the box and shot past Eason into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Hassan Oshilaja is on the floor and Ricky Freeman is sent off

Branco and James Fray both tested Eason from distance and Farrell went down in the penalty area, but the referee was uninterested. Fray made a good run, but saw his shot deflected for a corner and Eason denied Humphris his hat-trick. Ashley Brown was the final Whitstable substitute, coming on for Murray and Beckenham made three substitutions of their own towards the end. In the 82nd minute, Humphris and Atkins worked another opening, but the shot went just past the far post. There was a rare sight of goal for Whitstable in the 87th minute when the ball fell invitingly in the box for the approaching Bryant, but he was unable to keep his shot down. In the last minute of normal time Atkins got into the box from the right and was brought down by Cloke as he came across to challenge. The striker got up to take the penalty himself, calmly sending Eason the wrong way to make the game safe. There was just time for Williams to pick up a booking for fouling Farrell as he chased back and the game ended shortly afterwards in a comfortable 3-1 home win.

Whitstable have played the fewest games of anyone in the league, but are already 13 points behind the leaders Sevenoaks and will soon be out of the title race if they play like this in many more games.

Beckenham Whitstable
13 Attempts 4
6 On Target 2
4 Corners 2
5 Offside 3
26 Free Kicks Won 11

Beckenham Town
Santiago Tuilin, Jack Hope, Carlos Branco, Hassan Oshilaja (Michak Stanic-Stewart 79), George Benner (c), Adam Wadmore, James Fray (Huender Santos 85), Jake Britnell, Richard Atkins, Jamie Humphris (Jerome Walker 85), Shameek Farrell.
Sub (unused): Frank Warren
Goals: Jamie Humphris 25, 67, Richard Atkins (pen) 90.
Yellow card: Adam Wadmore 23

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Louis Sprosen, Josh Burchell, Rob Gillman, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (Danny Williams 36), Ricky Freeman, Macauley Murray (Ashley Brown 77), Charlie Smith (Jack West 63).
Subs (unused): None
Goal: Macauley Murray 24
Yellow cards: Tom Bryant 17, Rob Gillman 40, Louis Sprosen 45+2, Danny Williams 90+3.
Red card: Ricky Freeman 56

Attendance: 75
Referee: Joe McKay
Assistants: Ronald Albert & Daniel Morrison