WHITSTABLE TOWN 2 SITTINGBOURNE 1
Tuesday July 18 2017 19.45
Whitstable enjoyed a second successive 2-1 win over Bostik League opposition, this time against a slow starting Sittingbourne side, who improved in the latter stages of what turned out to be a good game of football. The home side largely dominated the first half and headers by Ricky Freeman and Tom Bryant gave them a two goal lead at the break. There were the usual multiple substitutions in the second half and it seemed to inspire the visitors who caused the Whitstable defence more problems and Ben Gorham nodded in a long throw to pull a goal back. Former Whitstable goalkeeper Harry Brooks came on for his Sittingbourne debut for the last 20 minutes and made a couple of good saves. Despite some late pressure and a couple of close shaves, the Brickies were unable to beat Dan Eason again.
The Sittingbourne team contained a number of new players, including the Whitstable top scorer of last season, Kane Rowland. Whitstable gave another game to nineteen members of their pre-season squad. Most of the chances in the first half were created by the home side, with Freeman, Harry Goodger and Danny Williams proving a constant threat to the Sittingbourne defence. An early Goodger free kick was fired wide and Williams shot at Darren Hawkes after the referee had played an advantage. Louis Sprosen shot over after being set up by Williams. On 11 minutes Whitstable took the lead when Williams did well on the right to send over a cross that was headed in at the far post by Freeman.
Good play by Goodger in midfield released Williams and he was too quick for the last defender who pulled him back, but Hawkes saved the free kick by Aaron Quain. The Brickies got forward a couple of times, but the Whitstable defence was quick to block the danger and Eason then saved comfortably from Chris Elliott. On 29 minutes a flick on by Goodger found Williams who was fouled and the resultant free kick by Quain was headed in by Bryant to double the lead.
Goodger then played in Freeman and his effort was blocked for a corner, which was then volleyed wide by the same player. The most disappointing part of the evening came in the 32nd minute as home captain Craig Cloke had to be helped off the pitch with a nasty looking foot injury after landing awkwardly. Hawkes made a good save to prevent Freeman scoring again from close range. There were a couple of late chances for Sittingbourne. Miles Cornwell had their best effort of the half as he shot just over from 25 yards and a free kick on the left was rolled back for Lawson, but his effort ended in the housing estate behind the goal.
Early in the second half, a good move down the right involving Harris Rodgers, Sprosen and Goodger earned a free kick, which Harry Brown curled in and Hawkes got down well to save at his near post. Kane Phillip made a good run down the left and his chipped effort was well tipped over the bar by Eason. Sittingbourne did get on the scoresheet in the 61st minute when a long throw by Elliott was met by a stooping Gorham as the home defence failed to react quickly enough.
At the other end James Morrish had a shot deflected for a corner following a cross by Williams. Goodger headed one cross into the hands of Hawkes and then flicked another by Savage just over the bar. A mix up in the Sittingbourne defence let Morrish in, but substitute keeper Brooks reacted well to block and he was soon in action again, denying Williams with the rebound falling safely. The last quarter of the game was the best spell for the visitors as their substitutes seemed to add more pace and direct running which caused some problems for the home side. They won several corners and one spell of pressure ended with the ball being fired over the bar. An equaliser looked certain in the 86th minute when the ball was stabbed towards the goal, but Eason scrambled back and the ball was somehow deflected wide for a goal kick.
The match ended shortly afterwards and probably both teams will have reason to be pleased with some of their play in these early stages of pre-season. Whitstable are at home again on Saturday, as Ramsgate visit the Belmont.
Dan Eason, Jack West (George Savage 52), Aaron Quain (Harry Brown 52), Ashley Brown, Craig Cloke (c) (Stuart West 32), Tom Bryant (Sam Brown 65), Louis Sprosen (Charlie Smith 69), Ollie Lee (James Morrish 52), Ricky Freeman (Harris Rodgers 52), Harry Goodger (Calvin Sedenu 81), Danny Williams.
Goals: Ricky Freeman 11, Tom Bryant 29.
Darren Hawkes, Chris Webber, Chris Elliott, George Blake, Ben Gorham (c), Lawrence Ball, Kane Phillip, ? Lawson, Kane Rowland, Miles Cornwell, Ty Guthrie.
Subs: Chris Manangu, Lex Allen, Jake Sweeney, ? Abraham, Best Toke, David Adekoya, Harry Brooks (GK).
Goal: Ben Gorham 61
Referee: Jack Fagg
Assistants: Simon Cutler & Kieran Cox