Chatham Town Under 18s 2 Whitstable Town U18s 4
Kent Youth League Under 18 South
Sunday 18th October 2015

Whitstable U18’s continued their winning run by beating Chatham by four goals to two. Playing on a 3G pitched gave the Oysters plenty of confidence to play their passing game as they looked to move the ball around the high pressing of Chatham.

However it was Chatham who took the lead on 7 minutes after a great strike from Jordan Friend, who controlled the ball on his thigh before lashing the ball into the bottom corner. Not a lot Town keeper Ryan Birch could do about this one. This early strike served as a wake-up call to Whitstable, who to their credit began working harder to find the gaps in the Chatham defence. On 12 minutes Town finally got their reward when a well hit free kick from Jordan Bartlett was parried by the Chatham keeper straight to the feet of Keegan Wickham, who at the second attempted slotted the ball in the bottom corner to make the score 1-1. An unfortunate mistake by the McGrath in the Chatham goal then gifted Whitstable a 2-1 lead, as a back pass bobbled over his foot and rolled into the empty net. A lot of the football for the remainder of the first half was played in the Chatham half, but Whitstable were unable to build on their lead despite having some very good chances. On the stoke of half time Chatham got a goal back after another great strike which went in off the bar, meaning the sides went in with the scores level at the break.

Chatham came out in the second half and got more of a foot hold in the game, although without putting the Whitstable goal under too much threat. Whitstable were able to take the lead for the second time through Josh Howland on 57 minutes who calmly slid the ball past the on rushing keeper after some good work from Bartlett. The game became quite scrappy after that with neither side controlling the game for long periods. Town extended their lead and finished the game off on 79 minutes through big centre half Joe Fairweather. A corner was whipped in from the right hand side by Kailan Webb and found its way to Joe Remington around the back post, who took his time and brilliantly rolled the ball back for Fairweather top open his body up and guide the ball into the top corner. Who says defenders can’t finish! A great way to cap Fairweather’s return to the team.

U18’s assistant manager Tom Weal added, ‘That wasn’t us at our best, but it’s encouraging to see that the boys are learning how to see out games even when we may only be performing at a 6 or 7 out of 10. It’s also good to see the confidence growing throughout the team. Everybody wants the ball, even in dangerous areas and that what we’re after. It’s a process, but we are starting to play without fear of making a mistake and that’s how we’ll get the best out of this team. I’d also like to say how good it was to see Kailan (Webb) on the bench for the u21’s the other night. Progress and development is what we are all about.’

TEAM: Birch, Allen, Fairweather, Wickham, Dale, Fitt, Remington, Dale, Bartlett, Webb, Howland SUBS: Black, Davies, Foulger