Town Win At Star Meadow

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday August 26 2017 15.00

Whitstable claimed all three points in a workmanlike performance at a sunny and warm Star Meadow. Hollands and Blair showed the neater approach play in the first half, although Whitstable had a couple of good chances in the opening minutes. Some sloppy play by the home side led to a penalty that was comprehensively despatched by Harry Goodger just before half time. An early, well taken goal by Tom Bryant in the second half appeared to deflate Hollands and Blair and Whitstable then looked to be in control until a typical James McDonald header led to a nervous last ten minutes.

Shaun Welford, James Morrish and captain Craig Cloke all made their first competitive starts of the season for Whitstable. Aaron Quain and George Savage left the club in the week, with the latter having signed for Glebe. Hollands and Blair did the double over Whitstable last season, but had been beaten by Beckenham in their only league fixture to date. Young Whitstable Academy player Ted Nelson lined up in the home defence.

Welford was brought down on the edge of the penalty area in the 2nd minute, but the free kick by Goodger was saved by Tom Benham in the home goal. On 10 minutes a miskick by Benham went straight to Goodger who went round the stranded keeper, but Anthony Jeffers was able to deflect the ball for a corner to deny the big striker.

Harry Goodger sees his attempt deflected for a corner

Bryant fed Welford down the left and he sent a dangerous ball across the box, but there was nobody to apply the finish. The first threat at the other end came after a corner was played back into the box, but Cloke was alert to the danger. Ricky Freeman then crossed for Welford, whose shot was blocked by the home defence.

Shaun Welford tries a shot

On 20 minutes some neat play down the left wing by Hollands and Blair led to a couple of successive corners that were well defended by the visitors, with Cloke having a good debut game. Welford headed over after Bryant had set him up following another Whitstable corner. Just after the half hour mark, the home team had their best chance of the half when a good cross from the left by Lewis Taylor found its way to the feet of Lee Farrell, but he shot well over from close range. George Keen was then fouled by Louis Sprosen just outside the box and Jack Simon struck a good free kick that clipped the top of the bar. Louis Valencia, who had shown some promise running at the Whitstable defence, got into a good position but hit a weak shot straight at Dan Eason. The home team were looking the most likely to break the deadlock, but in the 40th minute a poor throw by Jeffers sold Benham short and Goodger nipped in and was brought down by the keeper as he tried to go past him. Benham was shown a yellow card and Goodger made no mistake from the spot, thumping the ball into the right hand corner of the net to send Whitstable in 1-0 up at the interval.

Harry Goodger scores from the spot

An early Harry Brown corner in the second half was headed over by Goodger, but on 49 minutes it was 2-0. A free kick just inside his own half by Cloke was headed on by Goodger to Bryant who did well to direct his header over Benham and into the far corner of the net.

Tom Bryant heads the second goal
Tom Bryant and Ricky Freeman celebrate

A curling effort by Freeman was easily saved by Benham and Sprosen tried his luck from the halfway line, but was well off target. Another Goodger shot was gathered at the second attempt by Benham. In the 61st minute, a good through ball reached McDonald whose shot was deflected into the hands of Eason. Both teams then started to make substitutions and Danny Williams who had replaced Goodger won a corner, but as on several occasions the delivery was not quite right. Welford and Williams combined to release Freeman, who went down in the box, but play was waved on. Farrell, Simon and Morrish all found their way into the notebook of the referee in the space of a few minutes as the play became scrappier. Cloke was then replaced by Rob Gillman who was making his first appearance of the season after suspension.

On 80 minutes a left wing cross by Valencia was headed in at the near post by McDonald, giving Hollands and Blair renewed hope of salvaging something from the game. Simon hit a free kick over the bar and in the closing minutes the ball was whipped in by McDonald for Simon who glanced his header well wide. Substitute Nick Treadwell was shown a late yellow card for a foul as Whitstable tried to run down the clock and the final whistle followed shortly afterwards.

Whitstable were happy to collect a win at a ground that is generally not an easy place to visit, but it was not the best of games and some improvement will be required in the matches to come.

Hollands & Blair
Tom Benham, Anthony Jeffers, Lewis Taylor (c), Ted Nelson, Tom Staff, George Keen (Mark Chiverton 83), Brad Webb (Archie Miller 62), Jack Simon, James McDonald, Lee Farrell (Rob Denness 75), Louis Valencia.
Sub (unused): Bryan Greenfield
Goal: James McDonald 80
Yellow cards: Tom Benham 39, Lee Farrell 70, Jack Simon 74.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Stuart West, Harry Brown, Ashley Brown, Craig Cloke (c) (Rob Gillman 75), Tom Bryant, Louis Sprosen, James Morrish , Ricky Freeman, Harry Goodger (Danny Williams 64), Shaun Welford (Nick Treadwell 83).
Subs (unused): Charlie Smith, Jack West.
Goals: Harry Goodger (pen) 40, Tom Bryant 49,
Yellow cards: James Morrish 76, Nick Treadwell 90+1.

Attendance: 85
Referee: Richard Joss
Assistants: Tom Burman & Harry Graham