TOWN’S BATTLING POINT AT CRAWLEY DOWN

Sean Raggett heads home equaliser

Crawley Down Gatwick 1

Whitstable Town 1

Ryman Football League Division One (South)

8th December 2012

Whitstable gained a hard fought point on Saturday at Crawley Down Gatwick to stop the rot of recent defeats. This was Nicky Southall’s first game officially in charge and he made a number of changes most notably including new signings Danny Williams and Daniel Hanshaw up front.  The early exchanges created a number of chances with the hosts shading the first half. As early as six minutes Crawley Down found the net only for striker Gabriel Odunaike’s strike to be ruled out for offside. Six minutes later Scott Heard had the first opportunity for Whitstable but sent his shot high and wide. Another six minutes and the former Tonbridge Angels striker Luke Blewden sent in a speculative shot which drifted wide.  After 24 minutes Blewden sent in another shot which hit the underside of the cross bar falling to the ever dependable Laurence Harvey to clear his lines.  After 29 minutes Williams sent in a tame header which was easily saved and five minutes later Miles Mitchell should have done better for Crawley Down when he broke free but sent his shot looping well over the bar.

Crawley Down clear off the line

After 35 minutes Heard had another opportunity for the Town when he found himself one on one with Anthony Di Bernardo in the home goal but lofted his shot over the bar. A minute later, Nick Shaw saved well to keep the scores level.  A minute before half time Southall sent in a cheeky free kick which lopped over the bar. Half time came with the scores level.

The second half started with Town on the front foot and after 49 minutes James Morrish sent in a shot that just missed the target. Two minutes later there was a goal mouth melee which ended with Buster Smissen sending a shot straight at the keeper.  After 53 minutes, Town thought they may have scored when Sean Raggett climbed to head the ball goal bound. The ball was cleared off the line with claims that it may have been a goal. The referee#s assistant was well up with play and ruled that the ball had not crossed the line.

Town pressuring Crawley Down goal

Then after 60 minutes against the run a of play the Town defence was left standing as Blewden got clear and fired past Shaw to give Crawley Down the lead. A minute later Harvey should have done better when sending in a header from a Southall corner but he skewed the ball well wide. Town continued to press and Heard again sent in a shot that went wide after 69 minutes.  Then after 80 minutes Town got their just reward when the ball looped over goalkeeper Di Bernardo and Raggett headed the ball past the home players on the line to bring the scores level.

The game then drifted with neither side looking like getting the winning goal and as the final whistle was blown Town could be happy with the point which they fully deserved for a dogged performance.

Team: Shaw, Beecroft (Ellett 79mins), Crimmen, Heard, Harvey, Raggett, Southall (Delaney 76 mins), Morrish, Smissen (Everitt 62mins), Williams, Henshaw.