Three Goals And Three Points

Bostik League South East
Saturday March 9 2019 14.30

The long wait is over, as Whitstable picked up three points for the first time since Boxing Day with a deserved win over their visitors from the Channel Islands. Despite looking the better team in the first half, a number of missed opportunities left the home supporters fearing the worst when Guernsey took the lead, very much against the run of play, from the penalty spot to give them a half time lead. Whitstable continued to press after the break, but had Dan Eason to thank for a good double save to prevent Guernsey doubling their advantage. That proved crucial, as Stuart West then equalised from close range following a Stephen Smith cross. Another Smith shot from the right reached Harry Stannard, who turned the ball in at the back post to put Whitstable ahead and Smith wrapped things up himself, cleverly heading home after a sliced clearance by Frank Tobin looped back to him in the box.

Both teams came into this game badly needing a win, following poor runs of form that had seen them fall dangerously close to the bottom of the table. In fact, since the reverse fixture, which finished 1-1 in Guernsey on December 15th, the teams had identical league records of one win, four draws and five defeats. Whitstable were able to field their two recent signings from Ramsgate, Harry Stannard and Connor Sanders. The “Green Lions” arrived with a fourteen man squad, but they were without Tom De La Mare and Charlton Gauvain and target man William Fazakerley only started on the bench.

Whitstable showed more determination from the start and a long throw by Sanders bounced across the box before being nodded wide at the back post by Stannard, then a one-two between Jordan Wright and Smith won a corner from which a Tom Bryant header grazed the top of the bar. Smith was next to try to get on the end of a West cross, but could only head over the top at full stretch. James Morrish then tried a shot, but was off target, before Wright threaded a pass through to Smith, but Callum Stanton was able to make a save as the Whitstable striker tried to flick the ball past him. Guernsey were struggling to get any meaningful possession, but on 20 minutes Dave Rihoy tried a shot from 25 yards that was deflected for a corner. This was headed behind for a second corner that was glanced wide by Glyn Dyer. Whitstable still looked the more likely to score though and some casual play at the back allowed West to step in and win possession, before driving forward and trying a shot that was well saved by Stanton.

Tom Bryant heads for goal
The ball clips the top of the bar
Stephen Smith is denied by Callum Stanton
Stuart West shoots
The Guernsey goalkeeper makes a good save

Harry Brown fired a free kick well over, then a poor header back by Tobin was collected by Stannard, who tried to lift the ball over Stanton, but he got a hand to it before it was headed behind for a corner by Dyer. The referee took a tumble in the box following the corner, before the ball was safely gathered by Stanton. Tobin was booked for bringing down Stannard, Smith had a shot blocked and Stanton saved a low shot by Bryant. Despite almost constant pressure from the home side, it was Guernsey who opening the scoring in the 33rd minute from the penalty spot. Rihoy ran on to a long ball and shot into the side netting as Eason raced out to block, but a collision followed, leaving the Guernsey player seeking treatment and the referee decided to bring play back to award the penalty and Loaring stepped forward to shoot confidently into the roof of the net. Whitstable went close just afterwards from a Sanders throw, but the ball was scrambled clear and then Morrish again shot wide from distance. Guernsey won a late corner that was cleared and then Carlos Canha shot well over after a promising run. Dyer collected a booking for fouling Stannard after initially losing possession in midfield, but the free kick by Brown was comfortably saved by Stanton, so Whitstable trailed 0-1 at half time, although could certainly consider themselves a little unfortunate.

This time Harry Stannard’s effort is saved
This shot is blocked
Matt Loaring scores from the spot to give Guernsey the lead

Whitstable won a couple of early second half corners, the first of which was stabbed just wide by a Whitstable boot as Guernsey struggled to clear and the second was headed over by Bryant. Eason came to the rescue in the 55th minute, when a strong run by Loaring created an opening and his shot was pushed out by the goalkeeper to Canha, whose follow up was also saved and turned behind for a corner. Canha then held the ball up, before playing it into the path of Paris Pereira who shot over. Guernsey were having their best spell of the game and then introduced Fazakerley to give them a different option up front. Whitstable got back on track though and good play by Stannard gave Morrish another chance, but he curled his shot wide from 20 yards. Finally on 62 minutes, Whitstable found the net when a good build up saw Smith cross from the right and West was on hand to provide the finish.

Close at the start of the second half
Stuart West makes it 1-1

A mistake by Brown led to a chance for Canha, but his shot was well blocked by Sanders. Whitstable brought on Miles Cornwell and Nick Treadwell, as they went in search of the win. Bryant found Smith in the box, but Stanton denied him. A quick Guernsey break saw Fazakerley knock the ball wide after a cross by Canha and then Morrish did well to clear a corner. Whitstable got their second on 75 minutes, when Bryant found Smith on the right and his shot travelled across the box and was turned in by Stannard from just outside the far post. Morrish and Cornwell both had attempts that went wide, before the win was confirmed on 88 minutes. Tobin tried to clear, but only succeeded in slicing the ball high and back into his own penalty area, where Smith was able to head the ball over Stanton into the net for a really well controlled finish. In stoppage time, an attempted clearance struck the referee and rebounded to substitute James Trueman, but his shot was saved, leaving the final score at 3-1.

Another save by Stanton
Harry Stannard puts Whitstable 2-1 ahead from a tight angle
Smith heads a high ball towards goal
It’s perfectly judged and drops into the net to seal a 3-1 win

It was the first time that the lowest goal scorers in the league had scored three goals in a game this season, but more importantly the points lifted Whitstable above Guernsey and further away from the relegation spot. The next league game sees in-form Sittingbourne visit the Belmont on Saturday.

Whitstable Guernsey
21 Attempts 8
10 On Target 3
7 Corners 5
3 Offside 5
16 Free Kicks Won 16

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Stuart West, Harry Brown, Jordan Wright (Nick Treadwell 70), Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Connor Sanders, James Morrish (c), Harry Stannard (James Trueman 90), Stephen Smith, Taylor Fisher (Miles Cornwell 66).
Sub (unused): Tom Walmsley
Goals: Stuart West 62, Harry Stannard 75, Stephen Smith 88.
Yellow cards: Stephen Smith 59, Nick Treadwell 83.

Callum Stanton, Thomas Dodds, Jamie Dodd (c), Kieran Mahon, Frank Tobin, Liam Mahon (Sebastian Skillen 86), Glyn Dyer (Keanu Marsh 81), Paris Pereira (William Fazakerley 56), Dave Rihoy, Carlos Canha, Matt Loaring.
Subs (unused): none
Goal: Matt Loaring pen 33
Yellow cards: Frank Tobin 29, Glyn Dyer 45, Jamie Dodd 47, William Fazakerley 86.

Attendance: 170
Referee: Alexander Emery
Assistants: Josh Smith & Dan Friar