Town Ease Through In FA Vase

Buildbase FA Vase First Round Qualifying
Saturday September 9 2017 15.00

Whitstable booked their place in the next round of the FA Vase with a comfortable 5-1 win at FC Elmstead. The returning Ollie Lee created the opening goal when he struck the post and the rebound went into the net off the unfortunate home goalkeeper. Dan Eason denied Lekan Bakare with a good save when he looked set to equalise, shortly before Louis Sprosen curled in a free kick to double the lead. Danny Williams headed a third before the break to all but settle the tie. Shaun Welford made it four early in the second half with a clever finish after his first effort was saved. FC Elmstead made a couple of substitutions and produced a spirited response in the last half an hour, playing their best football of the afternoon and they were rewarded with a consolation goal when Steve Strotten scored from the penalty spot. Whitstable added a fifth through Stuart West near the end. Lancing FC, of the Southern Combination Football League Premier Division, will visit the Belmont in the next round after winning 5-3 at Rochester United.

This game was played on an afternoon of sunshine, blustery thundery showers and rainbows at the ground of Holmesdale FC in the Bromley countryside. Following the defeat at Deal, Tom Bryant, James Morrish and Nick Treadwell were all side-lined through injury. Rob Gillman started his first game of the season and Ollie Lee returned having not played since the FA Cup tie against Croydon. FC Elmstead came into the game with seven points from seven games in the division below Whitstable, although they did reach the first round proper of the FA Vase last season.

The home team were almost gifted an early chance when a Harry Brown pass went astray, but the danger was averted. Williams forced the first save from Dan Teeley after a Welford cross. Craig Cloke got his head to a Harry Brown corner on 5 minutes, but Strotten was on hand to clear from under the bar. Ashley Brown had started at right back, but lasted only 12 minutes before being forced off with an injury to be replaced by Jack West. Williams and Ricky Freeman both had further attempts for Whitstable before they took the lead on 21 minutes. Lee and Jack West combined on the right with Lee sending the ball across the area where it hit the far post and bounced back into the net off the diving Teeley.

Craig Cloke has a header cleared off the line by Steve Strotten
Ollie Lee strikes the post
The ball is deflected back into the net by Dan Teeley

Williams shot over from the edge of the box following a good build up on the right. The best chance for Elmstead came after 27 minutes when their big striker Strotten flicked a header into the path of Bakare, who raced clear only for Eason to get down and make a good save to deny him. Sprosen was fouled about 25 yards out and took the free kick himself, finding the bottom right hand corner with Teeley rooted to the spot, doubling the lead on 29 minutes.

Louis Sprosen takes the free kick
The goalkeeper sees the ball in the corner of his net

The lively home forward Bakare was lectured by the referee following his second late challenge. Williams made a good run down the left before going down in the box under the challenge of Joe Hart, but appeals were waved away and then Lee did well to play in Freeman, but the Elmstead defence managed to block. In the 42nd minute it was 3-0 when a long Harry Brown cross found Williams coming in from the right and he outjumped Teeley to head the ball towards the unguarded net with the defender on the line unable to prevent it crossing the line.

Danny Williams climbs high to win the header
The ball beats the defender and it is 3-0

Lee drove forward into the box before passing to Freeman who shot over the bar. Strotten won a late free kick for Elmstead, which he struck into the wall and the rebound was lashed over by Dexter Babalola, so Whitstable went into the break with a three goal advantage.

Welford headed a Harry Brown cross over the bar from close range straight after the restart, but he was on the scoresheet in the 52nd minute. Stuart West played the ball into his path and his first effort was saved, but he reacted quickly as the ball came back to him and headed the ball back into the net with Teeley still on the ground.

Shaun Welford scores the fourth goal

Both teams then made substitutions as it began to look as though there might be a few more goals to come for the visitors, but Elmstead started to play the ball around with more confidence and created a few chances for themselves. The impressive Christian Howell hit a swerving shot from outside the box that was saved by Eason and he then slipped the ball through to Strotten who flicked it just past the post. Substitute Jordan Samuel caused Jack West a few problems down the left and one cross picked out Strotten, but he lifted a left footed shot over the bar. On 69 minutes Bakare was pulled back as he was about to shoot and although he managed to test Eason, the referee pulled play back and pointed to the spot and Strotten stepped up to beat the Whitstable keeper making it 4-1.

Steve Strotten scores from the penalty spot

Thunder and lightning arrived, causing a few more spectators to seek cover in the old stand as Elmstead won a couple of corners, the second taken short before being headed just over by Strotten. The officials failed to take action when Harry Brown was caught, leading to some words from the Whitstable bench that the referee then spoke to the manager about. On 81 minutes a right wing cross was met by Strotten whose header was tipped over the bar by Eason. A poor cross field free kick by Christian Howell sent Welford away, but his shot was deflected for a corner. Jack West broke into the box from a free kick in the 85th minute and had three shots blocked in quick succession before his brother Stuart found the net as the ball came out to him.

Stuart West (6) scores the fifth goal

Welford became the only player booked, for something he said, with a few minutes left. Harris Rodgers made a good run but was unable to beat Teeley and Welford was also denied as he followed in. Welford then had another shot deflected for a corner from which Charlie Smith saw his header saved by Teeley. The last action was a shot on the turn by Tunde Aderonmu that was just off target and Whitstable were through for a home tie on the 23rd September.

FC Elmstead Whitstable
11 Attempts 22
5 On Target 14
3 Corners 5
0 Offside 4
14 Free Kicks Won 13

FC Elmstead
Dan Teeley, Joe Hart, Mark Axell, George Bryan (Kamal Charles-Reid 73), Reece Barrett, Marcus Howell, Ben Lockett (Jordan Samuel 56), Christian Howell (c), Lekan Bakare, Steve Strotten, Dexter Babalola (Tunde Aderonmu 56).
Sub (unused): Ali Fevzi
Goal: Steve Strotten (pen) 69

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Ashley Brown (Jack West 12), Harry Brown, Rob Gillman, Craig Cloke (c), Stuart West, Louis Sprosen, Ollie Lee (Charlie Smith 73), Ricky Freeman, Shaun Welford, Danny Williams (Harris Rodgers 56).
Subs (unused): Carl Harrold, James Morrish.
Goals: Dan Teeley (o.g.) 21, Louis Sprosen 29, Danny Williams 42, Shaun Welford 52, Stuart West 85.
Yellow card: Shaun Welford 86

Attendance: 61
Referee: Timothy Dowdeswell
Assistants: Wayne Ingram & Bethany Archer