WHITSTABLE TOWN 1 FOLKESTONE INVICTA 1
Tuesday August 2 19.45
Whitstable ended their pre-season campaign with a good display against Ryman Premier League newcomers Folkestone Invicta at the Belmont. There was an early setback as the visitors took the lead with just 2 minutes played through the prolific Ian Draycott. Whitstable though fought back to deservedly equalise in the 23rd minute, as Charlie Smith scored for the second game running with a good finish.
Whitstable played some good football and the midfield, strengthened by the return of former favourite Nick Treadwell dominated possession for long spells in the first half. Folkestone applied more pressure on the Town goal in the second half, but the defence held firm to secure the draw.
There were several familiar faces in the Folkestone line up, among them long time Oyster favourite Scott Heard making a return to the Belmont. The game was just a couple of minutes old when Jordan Wright skipped past a couple of home defenders and although Dan Eason managed to block his shot, the ball fell nicely for Ian Draycott, Folkestone’s top scorer from last season, who finished calmly. For the next few minutes, it looked as though Whitstable were in for a difficult night as they struggled to get any sort of control on the game.
The home side gradually got going and after 15 minutes, a Lee Winfield pass found Newman Poku, a willing runner all match, who was bundled over on the edge of the box as he tried to break through, but the officials saw nothing wrong. Shortly afterwards some good possession released Scott Punton whose cross was met by a glancing header from Craig Thompson that forced Tim Roberts to turn the ball past the far post for a corner. In the 23rd minute though the equaliser came after Poku chased a long ball into the corner, managed to get around the defender to put the ball into the box. It eventually came to Charlie Smith who got over the ball as it bounced up and beat Roberts with a well struck shot. Just after the half hour mark, one of Reiss Crimmen’s long throws found a tightly marked Smith on the edge of box and he managed to return the ball to Crimmen, whose dangerous cross was headed wide by Nick Treadwell. Whitstable continued to press as half time approached, without seriously threatening Roberts in goal. Apart from the first ten minutes, the home team had more than matched their opponents, now from two leagues higher, with the midfield of Winfield, Treadwell and Jamie Collado looking strong.
After the interval, an early attack by Poku found Treadwell who was closed down by the defence before he could trouble Roberts. Folkestone had brought on Jon Pilbeam for Draycott at half time and he saw a lot of the ball as the visitors tried to regain the lead, but although the pressure increased on the home defence, it held firm and Eason dealt comfortably with anything that came his way. There was a penalty shout for handball as a low cross from Pilbeam struck a defender on the ground, but it was waved away by the referee. Former Whitstable player Ashley Miller won a couple of free kicks just outside the area, but they came to nothing. At the other end a couple of late runs by Poku continued to keep the Folkestone defenders occupied, but the game finished with no further goals.
It was probably Whitstable’s best pre-season performance and most of the home supporters would have gone home feeling a bit more optimistic about the season, which starts with the FA Cup on Saturday.
Dan Eason, Scott Punton, Reiss Crimmen, Ollie Lee, Joe Kennett, Lee Winfield, Nick Treadwell, Jamie Collado, Craig Thompson, Newman Poku, Charlie Smith.
Subs: Grant McIlheron, Ollie Brown, Harry Brooks.
Goal: Charlie Smith 23
Tim Roberts, Josh Vincent, Sam Davison, Matt Newman, Frankie Chappell, Ronnie Dolan, Phil Starkey, Scott Heard, Ian Draycott, Ashley Miller, Jordan Wright.
Subs: Jon Pilbeam, Euan Sahadow, Jarred Trespaderne, Sam Beale, Ashis Tamang, Scott Chalmers-Stevens.
Goal: Ian Draycott 2
Referee: Jack Fagg
Assistants: Mike Marsh & Ryan Chantril-Smith