WHITSTABLE TOWN 3 ERITH & BELVEDERE 0
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday January 7 2017 15.00
Whitstable continued their winning run with an ultimately comfortable victory, although their opponents never gave up and it needed a couple of late goals to make sure of the points. The home side had a number of attempts on goal in the first half without really testing the Erith & Belvedere goalkeeper until Kane Rowland opened the scoring on 33 minutes with a neat finish. The visitors created a few good openings themselves and went closest when Dan Eason was called upon to make a double save from Max Williams. Following some early pressure from the Deres after the break the game became a tight affair, but Francisco Javier Etame-Mbela missed a great chance to equalise after 71 minutes when he put a free header wide. The introduction of Seb Rowland seemed to give Whitstable some fresh attacking impetus and he scored the second goal after some good work by his brother. A late free kick by Tom Bryant went through everyone in a crowded box to seal the win.
With Connor Hood and Craig Thompson returning from suspension and Joe Kennett available again, Whitstable manager Scott Porter had more options for this match, although the injured Harry Brown and unwell Harris Rodgers missed out. On a misty afternoon Aaron Quain sent in a couple of early crosses from the left that caused some panic in the Deres defence, but no one could find the decisive touch in the box. The best chance of the first 10 minutes fell to Ollie Lee as Kane Rowland got past his marker on the right and pulled the ball back to him in a good position, but his shot was straight at goalkeeper Samuel l’Anson. Williams managed to work his way into the Whitstable box shortly afterwards, but Eason got down well to block. The ball came straight back to the Erith midfielder, but Eason was quickly in position to save his weak follow up attempt.
On 20 minutes the hard working Charlie Smith tried a shot from 25 yards that l’Anson parried into the path of Quain who fired over from a narrow angle. Lee then drove forward and slipped the ball to Smith who shot at l’Anson and then Lee again won the ball in midfield before setting up Thompson who saw his effort caught by the keeper. Kane Rowland then beat l’Anson to the ball as it came into the box, but he could only hook the ball over the bar. He did find the net soon afterwards though as Smith passed the ball through and he took it around the keeper and rolled it across the line as the defenders tried in vain to get back. The visitors did win two corners just before the break and from the first Kennett got up to twice head clear before the ball dropped to Aaron Leacock who blasted it over the bar.
Whitstable were slow to get going in the second half and conceded an early corner and then a free kick that was struck into the wall by Grant Brown from a dangerous position. The lively Nad Nwitua broke down the right and squared the ball for Grant who shot well over the bar. The home side gradually improved and started to create a few chances of their own. Kane Rowland was unable to connect properly after Quain played the ball across to him and then a Hood throw was helped on to Smith who fired over. Hood tried a long shot that was easily saved and some good closing down by Smith and Thompson allowed Hood to play the ball in to Kane Rowland whose shot was blocked. Another spell of pressure ended with Kane Rowland forcing l’Anson to make another save.
Erith & Belvedere made three substitutions in an effort to find a goal and their best chance came as Alex Anderson sent in a curling cross from the right onto the head of the unmarked Etame-Mbela, but he headed wide of the far post from 6 yards. Whitstable then brought on Seb Rowland for Craig Thompson and he soon registered his first goal for the club. Kane Rowland chased down the ball on the right edge of the penalty area as the goalkeeper tried to see it out for a goal kick and he managed to win the challenge and send in a low cross that his brother forced over the line as the defence tried to clear. The visitors never really threatened to reply after going two down, although the injured Quain had to be replaced by Calvin Sedenu on 82 minutes. Bryant took two late free kicks from the right with his left foot. The first was a good strike that was well saved, but the second a few minutes later was hit low and found its way past everyone and into the net to complete a 3-0 win.
A visit to Corinthian in the league cup is next on Tuesday evening. Their good FA Vase run ended this weekend with a 4-0 defeat after a long trip to Exmouth Town, but they will be tricky opponents. Whitstable go into the tie in good form though having now won eight out of nine with the defeat at Ashford the only reverse since mid-November.
Dan Eason, Connor Hood, Aaron Quain (Calvin Sedenu 82), Joe Kennett, Rob Gillman (c), Ashley Brown, Ollie Lee, Tom Bryant, Kane Rowland, Craig Thompson (Seb Rowland 71), Charlie Smith.
Subs (unused): Brendon Cass, Harry Brooks.
Goals: Kane Rowland 33, Seb Rowland 78, Tom Bryant 87.
Yellow cards: Charlie Smith 41, Ollie Lee 87.
Erith & Belvedere
Samuel l’Anson, Aaron Fray (c), Jeff Allen, Mason Simms (Trey Small 63), Yinka Salami , Aaron Leacock, Nad Nwitua (Alex Anderson 68), Max Williams, Francisco Javier Etame-Mbela, Grant Brown (George Reed 55), Anthony Adesite.
Subs (unused): Merrick Simms, Sheriff Babatunde.
Yellow card: Alex Anderson 73
Referee: Chris Myatt
Assistants: Alexander Jones & Mehdi Golchehreh