Report courtesy of Stephen McCartney

Whitstable Town 2 Horsham 2

Whitstable Town got off to a flying start, taking the lead with only 132 seconds on the clock, with a fine sweeping passing move which resulted in Jake Beecroft playing the ball into the Horsham penalty area and Vahid got a  break off a defender before turning and stroking a right-footed shot from 12-yards across visiting keeper Michael Hunter and the ball nestled inside the bottom far corner. Hitting Horsham on the break, Southall swept the ball forward to his central midfield partner Micheal Everitt and the former Folkestone Invicta skipper played the ball back to Southall, who looked up and noticed Hunter off his line before cracking a stunning right-footed dipping drive from 35-yards, which dipped underneath the crossbar into the top right-hand corner leaving the gobsmacked Horsham keeper rooted to the spot

And they squandered an excellent chance to double their lead when Everitt’s quickly taken free-kick on the edge of the box played in Vahid but the ball ricochet off defender Jamie Brockhurst and Hunter was able to make a comfortable save. There was concern for Horsham stalwart Charman after he was left flat out inside the Whitstable Town penalty area after Shaw clattered with the number 8 after both players rose to meet Simpson’s free-kick into the area. With the injury time, 64 minutes were played in the first half.

Whitstable Town created three decent chances to put the game beyond Horsham’s reach during that extended period. Southall’s long ball picked out Dane Luchford out on the right and he cut the ball back to right-back Scott Heard, whose right-footed angled drive was plucked out of the air by Hunter at his near post. A long punt up field from Shaw resulted in striker Damian Abel setting up Beecroft, whose right-footed drive screamed wide of the far post. And Beecroft played in Abel but the hardworking striker lacked the killer instinct after he rounded the keeper but his shot lacked power and failed to cross the line.

Horsham came out for the second half and in contrast to the first half put Whitstable to the sword and put constant pressure on Shaw’s goal. Whitstable thought they had weathered that early storm and Vahid’s header found Beecroft, who hooked the ball forward for Abel to cut inside before sending his right-footed curler just over Hunter’s crossbar from 20-yards. But Horsham pulled a deserved goal back in the 59th minute.  Marriott delivered a free-kick into the penalty area from the left touch-line and Medlock played the ball towards goal and Lok applied the finishing touch from close range. Horsham should have equalised when the impressive Lok was freed down the right channel and he played a delicious low ball across goal towards the far post but all Marriott could do was guide his left-footed shot straight at Shaw at his near post from a tight angle. However, the inevitable happened in the 72nd minute when Horsham secured a point that their second half performance deserved. Once again it was Lok that caused Whitstable right-back Scott Heard problems as he burst down the left channel before whipping in another dangerous cross, which bounced off Gillman’s leg and found the far corner.

Whitstable should have won their first game of the season in the final six minutes when Everitt’s hooked pass put Vahid through on goal but Hunter advanced swiftly off his line to nod the ball away but the ball was put back into the box by Vahid and Abel stooped at the near post and headed the ball agonisingly wide of the foot of the near post from two-yards.

But it was not to be and Town had to settle for a point.

Team:  Shaw, Heard, Parter, Everitt, Hare, Gillman, Southall, Beecroft, Vahid, Abel (MacKenzie), Luchford (Morrish)