Town Complete Double Over Bears

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday November 4 2017 15.00

Whitstable beat Bearsted for the second time this season, scoring three goals without reply at the Belmont. Bearsted played some neat football at times, but Whitstable defended well and Dan Eason was rarely troubled in the home goal. Whitstable took the lead when Craig Cloke fired home after a corner fell to him in a crowded box and Charlie Smith added a second, despite appeals for offside from the visitors, with a good finish after Danny Williams had headed the ball on to him. In the second half, Whitstable missed a few opportunities before Williams ran through to score the third towards the end. Bearsted kept trying and finished quite strongly, after both teams had made some substitutions, winning a few free kicks around the edge of the box, one of which was headed just wide and from another, William Jones was denied by a good save from Eason.

A couple of changes were made to the Whitstable team from the loss at Beckenham, with Ricky Freeman joining Stuart West on the suspended list. Louis Sprosen, who is one yellow card away from a ban, started on the bench together with the two new signings, John Walker and Tijan Jadama. Bearsted started the game seven points ahead of Whitstable in the league table, although they had played five games more and lost 3-0 at Crowborough in their last game.

The home team were the first to threaten as Chris Saunders, Josh Burchell and Smith combined well on the left to create an opening for Saunders who thumped a shot into the side netting from the edge of the box. Bearsted replied with a long shot from Matt Garner that was easily caught by Eason. Williams made a good run, but shot well over and then Lucian Scarlat fizzed a low cross just past the far post after breaking forward on the left. Ryan Croucher sent a free kick over the bar after James Morrish was penalised for a foul 25 yards from goal. Neither team had seriously tested the goalkeepers until Whitstable opened the scoring on 29 minutes. Burchell sent Williams clear and he got into the box and saw his shot parried by Scott Andrews. The ball came back to Williams and this time his fierce shot on target was defected behind off what appeared to be the arm of Cameron Croucher and from the resultant corner the ball dropped nicely for Cloke who fired it low through a number of players into the net.

Chris Saunders is just wide with an early effort
Scott Andrews is first to the ball
Danny Williams has a shot deflected behind by Cameron Croucher
Craig Cloke scores the first

Williams then slipped the ball past Jones down the right, before being caught by the visiting defender who was booked. Whitstable had good spell of possession that ended with a Burchell cross being headed just over, but the second goal soon followed. On 36 minutes a long ball forward was headed on by Williams into the path of Smith and despite some vociferous appeals for offside, the assistant kept his flag down and Smith went on to finish well to the left of the diving goalkeeper.

Charlie Smith beats Scott Andrews to score the second

In the last few minutes of the half, Whitstable managed to pick up three yellow cards. Burchell was penalised for a tackle on the touchline that connected with both the ball and the opponent, Saunders then kicked the ball away after the award of a free kick and finally Murray was cautioned for a challenge after the referee had tried to play the advantage. Bearsted threatened on a couple of occasions, when firstly Ryan Croucher sent over a dangerous cross that nobody could get on the end of and then Constantin Scarlat blazed an effort well over the bar, so the home team led 2-0 at the break.

The early stages of the second half saw little in the way of clear cut chances. Saunders and Smith had efforts for Whitstable, Reece Collins shot over the bar for the visitors and then Lucian Scarlat forced Eason into a low save when he tried his luck from a narrow angle. On 67 minutes, a mistake by Jones left Smith clear, but his shot was well saved by Scott Andrews and he lifted his follow up attempt over the top. Whitstable then introduced young midfielder Jadama in place of Murray, before a ball over the top put Smith through again, but he was once more denied by Scott Andrews. The Bearsted keeper was then out again to gather the ball as Williams tried to go around him.

The goalkeeper prevents Smith from scoring another

Bearsted made their first change on 74 minutes, with Ehis Izokun replacing Garner. A short corner routine almost worked for Whitstable when a Smith cross was headed in at the near post by Jack West, but he was ruled offside and shortly afterwards the right back was replaced by John Walker, making his debut. Walker sent in a great first time cross from the right that was headed out before the visitors made their second change, with Chris Carcary coming on for Charley Epps. A poor clearance went straight to Williams who tried to lob the stranded keeper from distance, but his effort was too high. Williams then pushed the ball forward and ran through himself to go clear, but was unfortunate to be stopped by a flag raised for a team mate standing nearby in an offside position despite making no attempt to play the ball. A Bearsted free kick was headed just past the post by Collins when he looked odds on to find the net. On 83 minutes though, the win was sealed when a goal kick found Williams with a clear run on goal and he made no mistake, finding the right hand corner. Bearsted were still seeking a consolation goal, winning several free kicks around the edge of the box. A great strike from one of them by Jones was heading for the top corner, but was superbly kept out by the diving Eason.

Dan Eason is at full stretch to deny William Jones a consolation goal

Ashley Brown was a late substitute for James Morrish as Bearsted continued to press, but Eason only had one further low shot to deal with before the final whistle. It was a welcome three points for Whitstable after not taking any from their previous three matches and they can now concentrate on the FA Vase tie at home to Epsom and Ewell next weekend.

Rob Gillman had a good game at the back alongside Craig Cloke and Tom Bryant
Whitstable Bearsted
15 Attempts 12
8 On Target 5
3 Corners 2
8 Offside 0
11 Free Kicks Won 22

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jack West (John Walker 77), Josh Burchell, Rob Gillman, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (Ashley Brown 87), Danny Williams, Charlie Smith, Macauley Murray (Tijan Jadama 68).
Subs (unused): Louis Sprosen, Dean Ruddy.
Goals: Craig Cloke 29, Charlie Smith 36, Danny Williams 83.
Yellow cards: Josh Burchell 43, Chris Saunders 43, Macauley Murray 45+1.

Scott Andrews, Luke Hughes, Cameron Croucher, Graeme Andrews (c), William Jones, Charley Epps (Chris Carcary 80), Matt Garner (Ehis Izokun 74), Ryan Croucher, Reece Collins, Constantin Scarlat, Lucian Scarlat.
Subs (unused): Josh White, James Sherlock, Luke Snazel.
Yellow card: William Jones 33

Attendance: 151
Referee: Matt Charles
Assistants: Paul Franks & Michael Skerratt