WHITSTABLE TOWN 3 AFC CROYDON ATHLETIC 0
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday August 13 15.00
Whitstable started the new league season with a 3-0 home win against AFC Croydon Athletic. The first half was a mainly disappointing affair with few notable incidents, although Scott Punton saw his 16th minute penalty saved by Daniel Burnett and Warren Mfula hit the outside of the post for the visitors just before the break.
The game seemed to change with the introduction of Harris Rodgers in the 56th minute and Whitstable immediately began causing more problems for the Croydon Athletic defence. In an eight minute spell shortly after the hour mark, Whitstable scored three good goals through Darren Marsden, Rodgers and Aaron Quain, whilst the visitors’ Bradley Wilson was dismissed for picking up two quick yellow cards.
In the end, Whitstable ran out comfortable winners as the ten men from Croydon tired. There were a number of unnecessary cards collected by both sides, with Whitstable picking up six – five in the last twenty minutes, after the game was effectively won.
New signing Aaron Quain made his debut for Whitstable, replacing the injured Charlie Smith in the starting eleven. The first effort on goal was from the visitors as a long ball forward reached Morgan Jenden, whose low drive from the edge of the box was pushed away by Dan Eason. The Croydon Athletic defence then failed to cut out a ball forward by Lee Winfield and Newman Poku found himself clear, but his shot from just outside the box was too high. Then in the 16th minute, some good approach play by Winfield, Jamie Collado and Marsden resulted in the award of a penalty after a clumsy challenge just inside the area. Punton stepped forward to take the kick, but his shot was saved by the keeper low to his right. A few minutes later Joe Kennett beat the advancing keeper to a Callum Wraight free kick, but his header was cleared by a defender on the line.
Croydon Athletic tried to respond and the ball was won by Warren Mfula on the halfway line and he skipped past several challenges before being unceremoniously stopped on the 18 yard line by Collado, who was shown a yellow card by the referee. The resulting free kick was struck way over the bar. Some further pressure was put on the home defence, as the Croydon side had a good spell. Mfula shot wide when in a good position and Eason had to make a couple of saves. After 40 minutes Punton and Winfield combined to release Wraight and his good cross found Quain, but he couldn’t get it under control and the ball bounced just wide. The last action of the half was at the other end as Wilson passed to Mfula and his curling shot hit the outside of the far post.
There were a few substitutions early in the second half. Croydon Athletic made a couple of changes, one due to an injury to defender Adam Broomhead. Manager Scott Porter took off Collado who had worked hard in midfield and replaced him with Harris Rodgers and both he and Poku started to cause problems with their runs. Quain also began to see more of the ball after a relatively quiet first half. Eason still had to be alert to save from Mfula at the other end. Winfield, Rodgers and Poku were all involved as Whitstable pressed and as the ball came out to Marsden, his well struck shot from just outside the box seemed to take a deflection, but found the net to give the home side the lead in the 61st minute. Shortly afterwards Wilson picked up a second yellow card for dissent, having just been cautioned for preventing a free kick being taken and the game had taken a decisive turn.
Just a couple of minutes later Rodgers controlled the ball out on the right, got himself into a good position and finished well to double the lead. Then in the 68th minute, Punton and Poku did well on the right and as the ball came into the box it fell nicely for Quain’s left foot and he struck it perfectly across the goal and into the far corner of the net to make it three goals in eight minutes.
There were a couple of good late runs by Poku, one ended with a foul on the edge of the box and another with his shot just wide. The visitors had little left to offer at this point and Whitstable saw out the game with few alarms for their first three points of the season, but might reflect on why they collected so many late cards. A trip to Deal awaits on Tuesday evening.
Dan Eason (c), Scott Punton, Callum Wraight, Ollie Lee, Joe Kennett, Lee Winfield, Nick Treadwell (Ollie Brown 82), Jamie Collado (Harris Rodgers 55), Newman Poku, Darren Marsden (Grant McIlheron 86), Aaron Quain.
Subs (unused): Reiss Crimmen, Harry Brooks.
Goals: Darren Marsden 61, Harris Rodgers 65, Aaron Quain 68.
Yellow cards: Jamie Collado 24, Nick Treadwell 73, Harris Rodgers 77, Callum Wraight 80, Aaron Quain 90, Ollie Brown 90.
AFC Croydon Athletic
Daniel Burnett, Tom Penson, Jaydan Thomas-Willis, Simon Cooper (c), Adam Broomhead (Kevin Domoraud 49), Emanuel Oloyede (Nahum Green 73), Morgan Jenden, Jack Guilford (Chevan Xavier 56), Warren Mfula, Bradley Wilson, Ben Rayner.
Subs (unused): Daniel Boateng, Kristian Mole
Yellow cards: Adam Broomhead 32, Tom Penson 36, Bradley Wilson 58, 63.
Red card: Bradley Wilson (two yellows) 63
Referee: Peter Conn
Assistants: Daniel Barham & Darren Wilson