ASHFORD UNITED 4 WHITSTABLE TOWN 2
SCEFL Premier Division
Tuesday December 6 2016 19.45
Whitstable slipped to defeat in a physical match at Homelands on a foggy evening. They matched the hosts for much of the game and the result could have gone either way, but the home side finished the stronger after a couple of key decisions went their way. Shaun Welford put Ashford in front on 13 minutes as his shot from the edge of the box beat Dan Eason. Darren Marsden made a good burst from midfield but after dribbling past a couple of defenders in the box he was strangely halted by an offside flag. Kane Rowland however equalised just before half time with a good finish that beat the dive of George Kamurasi. Ollie Lee volleyed Whitstable ahead early in the second half only for Rory Hill to make it 2-2 a few minutes later, stabbing home a loose ball after Whitstable failed to clear a free kick. The Ashford goalkeeper appeared to bring down Thompson in the box after making a mess of his clearance, but the confident penalty appeals were waved away by the referee. He did point to the spot however after 78 minutes as Welford went down rather easily at the other end and he dispatched the penalty past Eason. The result was confirmed ten minutes later as substitute Luke Eldridge added a fourth with a good finish. Marsden had a couple of late chances for Whitstable, but could not beat Kamurasi.
Whitstable gave a debut to recent signing Jack Mahoney in midfield, whilst Kane Rowland returned from Margate to play in this game. The opening stages were notable only for a promising early run by Rowland and a couple of late challenges by home players in midfield. Ashford right winger Ryan Palmer who was to cause a few problems for the visiting defence throughout the evening sent in a dangerous cross that Eason was unable to gather, but Welford fired over as the ball fell invitingly for him. Welford did find the net a few minutes later from around 18 yards as his low shot beat Eason at the near post to open the scoring. Ashford then had a couple of corners, the second of which was headed just wide by Pat Kingwell. After 21 minutes, the first of several poor clearances by the home keeper went straight to an opponent, but Whitstable failed to make the most of the chance. A long range effort by George Savage was deflected straight to Eason, whilst at the other end Marsden played in Connor Hood on the right, but he shot into the side netting. On 28 minutes Marsden carried the ball forward and past a couple of challenges on the edge of the box, but he was denied the chance to shoot by a raised flag, presumably for another player being in an offside position although he had not actually passed the ball.
Harry Brown saw a free kick blocked by Hill, who then made a good run himself down the left before his shot was deflected for a corner. Whitstable had the ball in the net on 40 minutes, but the flag had already been raised and then Hood sent in a long range shot that was comfortably held by Kamurasi. On 43 minutes though Whitstable were level as Rowland ran through and his left footed shot from outside the penalty area beat Kamurasi and went in off the right hand post. Some late pressure threatened to send Whitstable in at half time with a lead, but Ashford defended well and the teams went in all square at 1-1.
The home team were on top in the first few minutes of the second half, but it was Whitstable that took the lead on 52 minutes as a Hood free kick from the left was met at the far post by Lee who volleyed the ball past the keeper and in under the bar. Almost straight from the restart Eason fouled Luke Miller on the 18 yard line as he looked well placed to score and a scuffle ensued as Ashford wanted further action taken against the Whitstable keeper, but the referee disagreed. Eason parried Hill’s free kick, but the ball fell to Stuart West who fired home from close range only to see the effort ruled offside. Ashford did not have to wait long to equalise however, as Mahoney conceded a free kick in midfield and although Rob Gillman blocked the initial attempt the ball fell kindly for Hill who scored.
Following a foul on Harry Brown, Hood saw a well struck free kick saved by the big Ashford goalkeeper, who a few minutes later scuffed his clearance straight to Craig Thompson in the area and then appeared to bring him down as he tried to go around him. The referee awarded a corner that was met by a powerful Lee header which Kamurasi could only push up in the air and the ball ended up in the net as several players challenged on the line. The “goal” was disallowed by the officials who presumably spotted an infringement.
The game threatened to boil over as both teams looked for the winner and there were a few tackles that on another day may have seen more cards handed out. Eason blocked an effort by Palmer before the decisive moment arrived 12 minutes from time. Welford jumped with a defender just inside the box, went down and the referee decided to give a penalty much to the visitors’ disappointment. He made no mistake from the spot, sending Eason the wrong way.
Palmer sent in a couple more dangerous crosses, one of which found Hill whose shot was cleared off the line by Hood. Thompson headed a corner just past the near post as Whitstable tried to find a way back into the game, but Ashford secured the points as Luke Eldridge received the ball on the edge of the box, cut in and found the bottom corner with a good finish. Ashford had one more chance as a good run and cross by Welford set up Hill, but he could not find a way past Eason. Two stoppage time shots by Marsden were saved at the other end and an eventful match ended in a 4-2 home win.
Having lost 9 out of the opening 17 games, Whitstable have a lot of work to do if they are to finish in the top six this season.
George Kamurasi, George Savage (Micky Phillips 61), Frazer Walker, Dave Botterill, Stuart West (c), Pat Kingwell, Ryan Palmer, Ben Davisson, Shaun Welford, Luke Miller (Luke Eldridge 70), Rory Hill.
Subs (unused): Danny Lye, Adrian Stone, Owen McLeod.
Goals: Shaun Welford 13, (pen) 78, Rory Hill 56, Luke Eldridge 89.
Yellow card: George Savage 57
Dan Eason, Scott Punton, Harry Brown, Ashley Brown, Rob Gillman (c) (Charlie Smith 67), Ollie Lee, Connor Hood, Jack Mahoney, Craig Thompson, Darren Marsden, Kane Rowland.
Subs (unused): Aaron Quain, Brendon Cass, Harry Brooks.
Goals: Kane Rowland 43, Ollie Lee 52.
Yellow cards: Kane Rowland 34, Jack Mahoney 56, Harry Brown 83.
Referee: Paul Greenfield
Assistants: Jamie Eacott & Dan Friar