VCD Comeback Ends Run

Bostik League South East
Saturday October 20 2018 15.00

Whitstable were eventually beaten by VCD, despite taking an early lead on a warm afternoon at Oakwood. After an even start, Aiden Enver nodded Whitstable in front when a free kick was headed back across goal. Home goalkeeper Joe Mant then made two good saves, tipping a Stephen Smith header over the bar and keeping out a vicious shot by Enver. Although they had some good possession, VCD only had their first effort on target just before the break, when Dan Eason pushed a shot over the bar, but they equalised shortly afterwards when Ali Fuseini finished a move down the right to send the teams in all square at half time. VCD had the better of the second half and went close several times in the opening minutes, although Jordan Wright and Stuart West both had shots saved by Mant at the other end. Fuseini scored his second with a good finish after being set up by the dangerous Aymun El-Moyhalbel. Ricky Freeman had a chance to pull it back to 2-2, but saw his shot well blocked by Mant before putting the follow up into the side netting. The home team always looked the more likely to score again though and Charlie MacDonald wrapped things up with a stoppage time goal, to ensure a deserved three points.

Whitstable started the game with one change to their starting eleven from the FA Trophy win at Bedfont Sports, as the injured Louis Sprosen was replaced by Enver. John Walker was fit to return as a substitute after missing a number of games with an ankle injury, but Teddy Nelson and Chris Saunders were suspended. Their unbeaten run of nine games included a Kent Senior Cup win on penalties against VCD, on a night at the Belmont when both teams had a few key players absent. The two clubs have both started their league campaigns well and a fair number of Whitstable supporters were in attendance on a sunny afternoon amongst an otherwise sparse crowd.

The opening stages of the game saw both teams have a couple of attempts that failed to test the goalkeepers, although VCD did win three corners that were easily cleared. A spell of pressure around the Whitstable box led to a low shot by MacDonald that went wide of the far post, but then in the 18th minute Whitstable won a free kick just inside the VCD half that brought the opening goal. Freeman played the ball to the back post, where it was headed across goal by Tom Bryant, then headed back by Stephen Smith for the arriving Enver to head it into the net from close range.

Stuart West rises high, but his header goes over the top
Aiden Enver heads the ball into the net
Whitstable lead 1-0

Temi Eweka made a strong run from midfield before shooting over from 20 yards and Chris Elliott struck a free kick into the hands of Mant at the other end. On 28 minutes another Whitstable free kick was curled into the box, where Stephen Smith connected with a great stooping header that Mant did well to tip over for a corner. Eweka was then booked for a foul on Morrish, but Elliott struck the free kick over the bar. VCD won a couple more corners, one of which was headed over by Jack Steventon. As half time approached, Enver collected the ball outside the penalty area and did well to bring it under control and hit a powerful, swerving shot that was well saved by Mant. Eason was then tested for the first time as he pushed a shot from the edge of the box over for a corner. In the 44th minute, VCD broke down the right and although Elliott committed a foul, for which he was later booked, the referee played a good advantage and the ball was eventually crossed low into the centre, where Fuseini got the decisive touch to level the scores. Whitstable had shaded the first half on chances, but it was 1-1 when the teams made the long walk back to the changing rooms with the warm sun still shining.

Joe Mant tips a good Stephen Smith header over the bar
Dan Eason makes his first save of the game

The home team came out for the second half and immediately pushed Whitstable back, as a long range shot by Alastair Gordon was saved by Eason and then two efforts in quick succession were somehow kept out by the Whitstable defence. Jeffrey Gyamfi made a good run and played in Gordon, who shot wide. El-Moyhalbel ghosted in to the box and forced Eason into another save, when his rising shot was tipped over. Elliott was then replaced by Walker, who made a great saving tackle shortly after his introduction. Whitstable had struggled to get out, but on 56 minutes Freeman crossed for Jordan Wright, whose low shot was saved by Mant. Fuseini had a shot saved by Eason, following a free kick conceded by Stephen Smith that earned him a caution. A through ball then split the home defence leaving West with just Mant to beat, but the goalkeeper did enough to keep the ball out. VCD brought on Malachi Hudson, who was shown a yellow card a couple of minutes later for a poor challenge on James Morrish. In the 65th minute, VCD took the lead when El-Moyhalbel, who had made several threatening runs from midfield, slipped the ball through to Fuseini and he curled a shot out of the reach of Eason into the top right corner.

This effort from VCD goes just wide of the post

Elliott Hartnell-Baker came on for Whitstable to give them a different option up front, but the impressive West had to be alert to stop another promising VCD attack. Whitstable had a good chance on 78 minutes, when the hard working Freeman found himself in space on the right of the box, but his shot was too close to Mant and the goalkeeper managed to block the ball and he could only find the side netting from a narrow angle from the rebound. Tom Walmsley was the final Whitstable substitution, but VCD went close again after Bryant was booked for conceding a free kick 30 yards out and the ball was rolled across to El-Moyhalbel whose shot was turned around the post by Eason. As Whitstable tried to press forward, they were almost caught on the break, but VCD failed to make the most of the opportunity. Charlie Smith won a free kick, but Mant easily saved the attempt by Freeman. Fuseini became the last name into the notebook for preventing a Whitstable break and VCD made a late substitution. After a stoppage time delay for the injured West to receive treatment, MacDonald added a third goal for VCD when the ball was played through a crowded area and he forced the ball in from a couple of yards out.

Ricky Freeman fires in a shot
Joe Mant prevents Whitstable making it 2-2
The follow up shot hits the side netting

The final whistle sounded just afterwards to confirm a 3-1 home win, which was a fair result on the balance of play, but Whitstable will feel that they might just have got something out of a tough game had they managed to convert another of the chances they created. Both teams return to FA Trophy action next weekend as VCD entertain Suffolk club Leiston and Whitstable visit Brentwood Town in Essex.

VCD Athletic Whitstable
16 Attempts 11
9 On Target 7
10 Corners 3
2 Offside 5
11 Free Kicks Won 12

VCD Athletic
Joe Mant, Jeffrey Gyamfi, Ricardo Joseph,  Aymun El-Moyhalbel (Jonathan Adebayo 89), Temi Eweka, Jack Steventon, Alex Gaggin (Malachi Hudson 59), Alastair Gordon, Ali Fuseini, Charlie MacDonald, Courtney Barrington.
Subs (unused): Moses Ashikodi, Tyrone Guthrie, Jude Adebayo.
Goals: Ali Fuseini 44, 65, Charlie MacDonald 90+3.
Yellow cards: Temi Eweka 31, Malachi Hudson 62, Ali Fuseini 88.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, Chris Elliott (John Walker 54), Stuart West, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Aiden Enver (Elliott Hartnell-Baker 75), James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman, Stephen Smith (Tom Walmsley 78), Charlie Smith.
Subs (unused): Jai McKinlay, Kyran Connolly.
Goal: Aiden Enver 18
Yellow cards: Chris Elliott 44, Stephen Smith 58, Tom Bryant 80.

Attendance: 120
Referee: Jack Fagg
Assistants: David Lunani & Harry Phillips