WHITSTABLE TOWN 2 PHOENIX SPORTS 1
Bostik League South East
Saturday April 13 2019 15.00
Whitstable completed the league double over their opponents in an entertaining game at a bright and breezy Belmont Ground. Whitstable started well and almost took the lead from a long Connor Sanders throw, although Zak Bryon and Jeff Duah-Kessie both put good chances wide for the visitors. Ricky Freeman opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Miles Cornwell had been fouled. Phoenix improved in the second half and Solomon Taiwo equalised at the back post following a right wing cross. They continued to threaten and Dan Eason had to make a couple of saves to prevent his team falling behind, while Steve Phillips somehow managed to keep out a low strike by Stephen Smith at the other end. It was Whitstable that eventually claimed all three points, when Sanders fired home the winner in the 90th minute.
Tenth played ninth in this game and both teams were already set for a respectable finish with just four games remaining. When they met at the Mayplace Ground back in mid-September, two Freeman goals had given Whitstable the points in a confident display. Stuart West has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and Harry Stannard started on the bench, trying to shake off a niggling injury. Phoenix named an unchanged team after beating East Grinstead 5-1 in their previous game.
Whitstable spent the early stages of the game on the attack and the ball was frequently in the Phoenix penalty area from several free kicks, corners and long throws, but the closest they came to taking the lead was from a Sanders throw in the 11th minute, when the ball almost found its way into the net through a congested box. Home goalkeeper Eason was first called into action with a routine stop from Duah-Kessie on 15 minutes. After Phillips had saved a Smith shot, Kenny Aileru made a good run down the right, before sending over a low cross for Lee Bird, who miskicked the ball when well placed at the back post. Freeman had a couple of shots, as the home team continued to look the most likely to score, but a misdirected header left Bryon with a clear run at goal in the 24th minute, but he lashed the ball over the top with only Eason to beat. Jack Hopkins then set up Duah-Kessie, who controlled the ball well before slicing his shot badly wide. Freeman played the ball through to Cornwell, but his low shot lacked the power to beat Phillips.
The visitors were now asking a few more questions and a Duah-Kessie cross from the left was headed wide by Bryon at the back post when he might have done better. James Morrish made a surging run forward for Whitstable, before cutting inside and trying a low shot that Phillips saved comfortably. A good ball was then played forward, releasing Cornwell into the penalty area, where he went down under the challenge of the two covering defenders and the referee had no hesitation in awarding Whitstable a penalty. Freeman stepped forward to send Phillips the wrong way and give his team a 34th minute lead. The game was now going from end to end and Morrish made a great interception and found Smith, whose cross seemed to be pushed behind for a corner although the officials gave a goal kick, to the frustration of the home bench who were spoken to by the referee. Curiously, Whitstable did not concede a foul until the 43rd minute, but Phoenix then won two late corners, the first of which Ashley Probets almost curled in before the ball was scrambled away and Whitstable went in at half time leading 1-0.
Whitstable had to make a change at the start of the second half, with Harry Brown replacing Taylor Fisher. Smith began the half brightly and played a great cross field ball to Morrish, who strode forward before shooting over. Phoenix went in search of an equaliser though and after a period of pressure Duah-Kessie was given two chances to send over a cross from the right and from the second the ball reached Taiwo at the far post and he was able to squeeze the ball past Eason to level the scores. Duah-Kessie was starting to prove a handful and was denied by a last ditch tackle as he was about the shoot. Aileru then turned and shot from the edge of the box, but Eason touched the ball over the bar and the Whitstable goalkeeper then had to save a long shot from Bryon.
Smith and Freeman combined well at the other end and Smith hit a low shot through the legs of a defender, but Phillips just managed to get down and deflect the ball for a corner. John Walker replaced Tom Bryant in the home defence, before Rob Gillman headed a deep Brown corner over the top. Phoenix won several corners themselves, one of which almost gave them the lead as the in-swinger by Probets missed everyone before curling just past the far post. Bird shot wide after being picked out by Duah-Kessie, then substitute George Whitelock forced a good save from Eason. Smith saw his shot blocked when Morrish found him with a good pass, then Eason denied the dangerous Duah-Kessie once more. Whitstable won a free kick in the 90th minute and Brown curled the ball towards Smith, who did well to play it back for Sanders who found the top corner from 10 yards to put Whitstable in front again. In added time, Sanders found himself in the book for taking a throw from the wrong place and Smith had a shot deflected just past the post, but Whitstable had done enough to secure the win.
Whitstable move to within one point of their opponents, but remain in tenth place. Their last three games see two visits to Sussex to face East Grinstead and Three Bridges, with a home fixture against Hythe Town on Easter Monday sandwiched in between.
|14||Free Kicks Won||9|
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, Taylor Fisher (Harry Brown 46), Nick Treadwell, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant (John Walker 63), Connor Sanders, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman (Harry Stannard 78), Stephen Smith, Miles Cornwell.
Sub (unused): James Trueman
Goals: Ricky Freeman pen 34, Connor Sanders 90.
Yellow card: Connor Sanders 90+1
Steve Phillips (c), Ryan Andrews, Ashley Probets, Jack Hopkins, Danny Young, Lewis Clarke, Lee Bird (George Whitelock 73), Solomon Taiwo, Jeff Duah-Kessie, Zak Bryon (Ryan Solan 81), Kenny Aileru.
Subs (unused): Oliver Andrews, Jack Barry, Andrew Dythe.
Goal: Solomon Taiwo 53
Yellow cards: Solomon Taiwo 14, Ryan Andrews 35, George Whitelock 81, Danny Young 90+2.
Referee: Peter Cruise
Assistants: Daniel Friar & Joseph Dann-Pye
WHITSTABLE TOWN 1 CRAY WANDERERS 0
Bostik League South East
Saturday March 30 2019 15.00
Whitstable edged out the long-time pacesetters in the division thanks to a well taken second half goal by Harry Stannard, his fifth in five games since his move from Ramsgate. In a game where both teams defended well and neither goalkeeper had much to do, Cray had plenty of possession in the first half, although a Mitchell Nelson header that went over the bar and a Joe Taylor shot straight at Dan Eason was as close as they came to scoring. The game opened up a little after the break, as Whitstable started to get forward more and Miles Cornwell played in Stannard, who shot past Nick Blue for the decisive goal. Tom Phipp went close when his dipping shot flew just over the bar and then another effort from an indirect free kick was blocked, but Whitstable held on for the win without Eason having to make a serious save.
Cray Wanderers away was the first league game of this season for Whitstable, following their promotion back to Step 4 football, but despite some resolute defending, Cray dominated that game and eventually scored a couple of late goals to seal a 2-0 win. Since then Cray have gone on to establish a large lead at the top of the table and could have sealed an early promotion at a sunny Belmont Ground, had results gone their way. Their only league defeats to date had been by Horsham and Hastings. Whitstable had collected ten points from their last twelve, but suffered some selection headaches with the late withdrawals of Stephen Smith and Stuart West through illness and injury. Rob Gillman was also unavailable, so John Walker was given an unfamiliar role alongside Tom Bryant in central defence and Ricky Freeman started upfront alongside the in-form striker, Stannard.
Whitstable might have taken a shock early lead when some casual play by the visitors saw the ball fall to Stannard, but he curled his shot high and wide. Cray soon started to push Whitstable back, with Ben Mundele and Junior Dadson seeing a lot of the ball on the right. The defence dealt well with a couple of Cray corners, but then a poor pass left Joe Taylor with an opportunity to run towards goal, but he was closed down on the edge of the box. Cray won a free kick on the left edge of the penalty area after 14 minutes and Karl Dent sent over a testing cross for Nelson, who rose above Connor Sanders, but was unable to keep his header down and the ball went over the bar. Dadson put in a low cross from the right, but Phipp was not able to find the power and the ball was hacked away by the defence. Former Ashford United left back Tom Carlse was the next to try his luck, but crashed his long range shot well over the top.
Mundele made another good run down the right and went down on the edge of the box by the goal line. The Whitstable players felt that it might not have been a foul, whilst Cray appealed for a penalty. The referee consulted his assistant and the result was a Cray free kick just outside the box, which was wasted. Cray won two more corners that were taken by Dent, but the home defence were able to clear. In the final few minutes of the half, Cray suddenly became sloppy at the back and as Freeman chased down a through ball, Blue’s clearance went straight to Stannard who lifted the chance over the bar from around 25 yards. A back pass then almost let Whitstable in again and when it was cleared, the ball reached Freeman whose shot was saved by Blue. At the other end, Taylor tried a shot on the turn from 18 yards that was comfortably held by Eason and the teams went in at the break with the score 0-0.
Cray brought on Archie Johnson for Freddie Parker at the start of the second half. Freeman and Cornwell tried to set up Nick Treadwell, but his attempted shot looped harmlessly off target. Johnson then tried a shot following a Cray corner, but it was blocked. Dent lashed a shot over the top after a partial clearance, but Whitstable were starting to win more challenges in midfield and create a few half chances. Freeman’s shot was blocked, following some pressure caused by a long Sanders throw. Cornwell had an effort deflected for Whitstable’s only corner of the game, but it was overhit. Cray introduced Jordan Clarke and then three players collected yellow cards in quick succession. Taylor Fisher hit a free kick high over the bar and Mundele cut in, before also shooting way over the top. The key moment of the game arrived in the 69th minute, as Whitstable won a challenge in midfield and Cornwell collected the ball, then played a good pass through to Stannard on the left side of the penalty area and he shot past Blue to the delight of the home fans behind the goal.
Cray won two free kicks, as they tried to get back on terms and from the second, the ball was cleared as far as Carlse and his pass was volleyed just over the bar by Phipp from the edge of the box. James Trueman replaced the Whitstable goal scorer, before Taylor tried a chip, but it went wide of Eason’s left hand post. In the 78th minute, the referee penalised Sanders for an overhead clearance from his own penalty area and awarded Cray an indirect free kick that Dent rolled to Phipp, but his shot struck the defensive wall and was cleared as Cray appealed in vain for a handball. Both teams made further substitutions, and there was a stoppage time booking for Joe Vines, who had been sent on as Cray looked for a more direct approach in the final minutes, but the home defence stood firm to claim a hard earned three points.
Whitstable now find themselves up to tenth place and all but mathematically safe from relegation, after finding some recent good form. Cray are still ten points clear of the chasing pack and will surely go on to deservedly clinch the title in the coming weeks.
|12||Free Kicks Won||13|
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, Taylor Fisher, Nick Treadwell (Harry Brown 90), John Walker, Tom Bryant, Connor Sanders, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman, Harry Stannard (James Trueman 75), Miles Cornwell.
Sub (unused): Stuart West
Goal: Harry Stannard 69
Yellow card: Connor Sanders 63
Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Tom Carlse, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson (c), Tom Phipp, Sean Roberts, Karl Dent (Joe Vines 85), Joe Taylor, Freddie Parker (Archie Johnson 46), Junior Dadson (Jordan Clarke 60).
Subs (unused): Jerome Frederico, Charles Etumnu.
Yellow cards: Sean Roberts 64, Jay Leader 66, Karl Dent 81 Joe Vines 90+1.
Referee: Ricky Adams
Assistants: Nick Dunn & George Lowe
WHITSTABLE TOWN 4 VCD ATHLETIC 1
Bostik League South East
Tuesday March 19 2019 19.45
After going almost 11 weeks without a win, this result gave Whitstable their third in 11 days. A bright start saw Harry Stannard go close, before a great Stephen Smith strike gave Whitstable an early lead. Stannard then lifted another good chance over the bar, before VCD struck back through Ali Fuseini, who curled the ball into the net as Whitstable appealed in vain for a free kick. Stannard put the home team back in front, before a poor tackle by Malachi Hudson sparked a mass confrontation in front of the VCD bench, after which the referee sent off Hudson and his team mate Usman Adeniji, leaving Whitstable with a two man advantage. The remaining nine VCD players gave a spirited display, as Whitstable struggled to make sure of the win, despite Stannard, Miles Cornwell and Jordan Wright all having chances. Fuseini clipped the top of the bar from a free kick, as the home crowd grew frustrated. Nick Treadwell eventually headed the third Whitstable goal from a Wright cross and although Junior Baker shot over after a promising VCD break, it was Ricky Freeman who had the last word, making it 4-1 in the closing minutes.
Whitstable were beaten 3-1 in the reverse fixture back in October, but the scheduled games between the two teams at the Belmont this season have been eventful for a variety of reasons. The Kent Senior Cup tie was postponed on the evening because a number of VCD players were delayed in heavy traffic, before Whitstable won the rearranged tie after a penalty shootout. The league game was first postponed due to the weather, then the next attempt was abandoned after 8 minutes awaiting an ambulance for the injured Dominic Odusanya, so it was good to see him back playing in this game. Whitstable had to make a change to the team that beat Sittingbourne, as Rob Gillman was unable to play due to family reasons, so there were a couple of positional changes and Nick Treadwell started in midfield.
The home team began on the front foot and Stannard made space for himself on the right before curling his shot wide of the far post. Whitstable continued to press forward and when the ball fell to Smith, his shot from outside of the box beat Jordan Beeney and went in off the post to give his team the perfect start after just 2 minutes. A long throw by Connor Sanders caused some problems for the VCD defence, but when the opportunity arrived for Stannard, his shot was too high. The visitors had taken some time to get into the game, but when Harry Brown failed to cut out a long ball, Aymun El-Moyhalbel was able to deliver a cross from the right. A couple of players ended up on the ground in the box following a collision, creating the perfect opening for Fuseini to fire the ball into the net from 20 yards, as Whitstable looked for a free kick. Shortly afterwards Fuseini tried his luck again, but only succeeded in sending the ball high into the night sky. Miles Cornwell then shot just past the post following a good through ball and Stannard hit a free kick straight at Beeney after Alastair Gordon had been booked for a foul on James Morrish, who also went into the book shortly afterwards for a foul. Whitstable were ahead again in the 26th minute, when Brown sent over a low cross from the left that was helped on by Sanders into the path of Stannard, who finished well from inside the box.
Any hopes VCD may have had of another comeback were severely dented around the half hour mark when Hudson lunged in on Morrish, leaving the Whitstable captain on the floor and sparking a reaction, with a number of other players getting involved. When things eventually calmed down and the officials compared notes, there was a red card for Hudson and also Adeniji for stamping on an opponent. Smith was shown a yellow card for his part in the aftermath. Smith had the ball in the net again a few minutes later, but the whistle had already blown for offside. Brown and Smith had further attempts before half time, which arrived with Whitstable leading 2-1 and having a two man advantage.
Thoughts of a comfortable second half were soon dispelled as the nine VCD players put in a determined performance, although Whitstable went close in the 49th minute when the initial attempt from a corner was blocked and the ball came out to Cornwell, but Beeney did well to push his shot around the post for a corner that Tom Bryant then headed wide. Smith next created a good chance when he headed the ball down for Stannard, but he put his shot wide and then Wright had a shot blocked. Whitstable continued to press without being able to find a way through, but VCD were doing enough to still be a threat, with Fuseini seeing a lot of the ball in midfield. They won a couple of corners and then a missed clearance by Brown led to them being awarded a free kick right on the edge of the penalty area. As the home crowd held their breath, Fuseini curled the ball over the wall, but it just grazed the top of the bar and went over.
The nerves continued for a few more minutes, until a cross from Wright was met by the head of Treadwell on 71 minutes and the ball flew into the net to give Whitstable a two goal cushion. All three substitutions were made by the home team, with James Trueman, Freeman and Taylor Fisher introduced. There was one more good chance for VCD, when Bradley Simms made a good burst down the right and crossed for Baker, but he scooped his shot well over the bar. The final goal was scored by Whitstable, when a Morrish cross somehow found its way to Freeman and he diverted the ball towards goal, where despite the efforts by Joe Denny to clear, the assistant ruled that it was over the line and with little further action, 4-1 was the final score.
Overall, it had been a good display by Whitstable, although for a time they appeared to find it more difficult playing against nine than they did eleven, until the decisive third goal. The table is looking healthier now for Whitstable after three consecutive wins, although some tough fixtures remain, starting with a visit to Whyteleafe, before the champions elect Cray Wanderers visit the Belmont.
|21||Free Kicks Won||13|
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, Harry Brown (James Trueman 68), Nick Treadwell, Stuart West, Tom Bryant, Connor Sanders, James Morrish (c), Harry Stannard (Ricky Freeman 75), Stephen Smith (Taylor Fisher78), Miles Cornwell.
Sub (unused): John Walker
Goals: Stephen Smith 2, Harry Standard 26, Nick Treadwell 71, Ricky Freeman 87.
Yellow cards: James Morrish 23, Stephen Smith 31.
Jordan Beeney, Bradley Simms, Dominic Odusanya, Junior Baker, Joe Denny, Jack Steventon (c), Aymun El-Moyhalbel, Alastair Gordon, Ali Fuseini, Malachi Hudson, Usman Adeniji.
Subs (unused): Victor Caicedo, Alex Gaggin, Liam Rosenfield, Dominic Vincent, Ricardo Joseph.
Goal: Ali Fuseini 10
Yellow cards: Alastair Gordon 20, Joe Denny 58.
Red cards: Malachi Hudson 30, Usman Adeniji 30.
Referee: Kane Dempster
Assistants: Harry Wager & Simon Cutler
WHITSTABLE TOWN 2 SITTINGBOURNE 1
Bostik League South East
Saturday March 16 2019 15.00
Whitstable completed the league double over Sittingbourne, winning by the same score as in the earlier meeting back in November, on a very blustery afternoon at the Belmont. It was Whitstable who showed more intent for the majority of the first half and they were rewarded when Harry Stannard scored with a great strike from around 25 yards to give them a single goal advantage at the break. Jordan Wright added a second early in the second half, when his ball in from the left sailed into the top corner over the Sittingbourne goalkeeper Patrick Lee. Stannard then had a good opportunity to extend the lead following a poor clearance from Lee, but lifted his shot over the bar. Almost immediately though at the other end, Timmy Babbington beat Dan Eason with a good dipping shot into the far corner from just outside the box to give Sittingbourne hope. Miles Cornwell was twice sent clear by Stannard, but could not find the finish that would have made the game safe and it needed a good save by Eason to deny Roman Campbell a stoppage time equaliser to ensure his team claimed the win that their overall performance deserved.
Since the two teams last met, Sittingbourne have appointed a new manager, Chris Lynch, and his team have gradually been climbing the table. They arrived at the Belmont, having won their last five games, with only Chris Webber and Lewis Chambers remaining in their starting eleven from the reverse fixture. Miles Cornwell replaced Taylor Fisher in the Whitstable team, but otherwise there were no changes from the team that beat Guernsey 3-1 the previous week. There were some major problems on the Kent roads and with the wind gusting at over 50 mph, the crowd of 177 was probably a little lower than might otherwise have been anticipated.
The home side started in confident fashion, presumably helped by the success against Guernsey in the previous game, after a long run without a win. Stuart West shot over from distance in the opening minutes and then provided a good right wing cross to the near post for Cornwell, but his header was off target. There were a couple of scrambles in the Sittingbourne area leading to corners, but the visiting goalkeeper was not really tested. Cornwell made a promising run, but his left footed shot went over the bar and then Stannard ran on to a good through ball before volleying just wide from 20 yards. Sittingbourne were slow to get into the game and rarely threatened in the first 30 minutes, although Chris Webber shot wide from distance and Babbington made room for himself before shooting straight at Eason.
The visitors made an early change with Johan Caney-Bryan replacing Izzy Adebayo, but Whitstable took the lead on 33 minutes when Stephen Smith and Wright combined well to set up Stannard, whose shot from 25 yards curled in off the far post. Campbell cut in from the right, but could only hit a weak shot that failed to trouble Eason. Whitstable won two late corners, the second of which came out to Harry Brown and he crossed for Tom Bryant, who was unable to direct his header on target, but it did not matter as an offside flag was raised. Whitstable were well worth their 1-0 lead at the interval, but with conditions making things a little unpredictable, a tricky second half seemed quite likely.
Sittingbourne introduced Henry Woods at the restart to give them an extra option up front and they were awarded an early free kick for a handball on the edge of the box, but Campbell hit it straight into the defensive wall. Connor Sanders was having a good game in midfield, but needed some treatment after a challenge by Lewis Chambers, for which he was booked. Whitstable found themselves 2-0 ahead in the 54th minute when Wright delivered a ball from the left and it curled right into the top corner just out of the reach of Lee. Sittingbourne almost pulled a goal back straightaway when Campbell made a good run down the right and his cross almost brought an own goal, but Eason was able to push the ball to safety. At the other end, Lee kicked the ball straight to Smith, who passed to Stannard and he took a touch before lifting his shot over the top. What might have been a three goal lead was soon only one, as Sittingbourne immediately made it 2-1 when Babbington stepped past his marker and found the top right corner with a good shot from just outside the area.
Smith then headed a West cross wide, as the game became a little more open. On 76 minutes, Caney-Bryan sent a dangerous ball into the box that caused a few problems before being cleared to Stannard, who did well to send Cornwell clear, but he was stopped by Lee as he tried to take the ball around him. Ricky Freeman made his return from suspension on 80 minutes, replacing the hard working Smith. Bryant was cautioned for a foul, but from the resulting Sittingbourne free kick, Stannard did well to bring the ball out and once again release Cornwell, who ran through only to drag his shot the wrong side of the post as Lee came out to close him down. Some good work by West got him into the box, but nobody could get on the end of his cross. A throw in then reached Freeman who tried to turn the ball in from a tight angle on the right, but his shot was blocked by a defender on the ground and the referee waved away appeals for handball. In added time, a quick turn and low shot by Campbell was saved low to his left by Eason and the follow up attempt went wide. It was the last meaningful action and Whitstable had done enough to secure their second consecutive win.
Next up for Whitstable is the rearranged home game against VCD that has already suffered one postponement and one abandonment, so the teams will be hoping for better luck on Tuesday evening. This is followed by a trip to Whyteleafe at the weekend.
|15||Free Kicks Won||8|
Dan Eason, Stuart West, Harry Brown, Jordan Wright (Nick Treadwell 84), Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Connor Sanders, James Morrish (c), Harry Stannard (James Trueman 88), Stephen Smith (Ricky Freeman 80), Miles Cornwell.
Subs (unused): Taylor Fisher, John Walker.
Goals: Harry Stannard 33, Jordan Wright 54.
Yellow card: Tom Bryant 82
Patrick Lee, Chris Webber (c), Kwasi Amoah (Henry Woods 46), Jack Morrell, Harry Barkaway, Lewis Chambers, Izzy Adebayo (Johan Caney-Bryan 31), Chris Barnard, Roman Campbell, Billy Lewins, Timmy Babbington (Liam Middleton 71).
Subs (unused): Rob Lofting, Frankie Phipps.
Goal: Timmy Babbington 57
Yellow card: Lewis Chambers 50
Referee: Isaac Searle
Assistants: Chris Price & Andy Simmonds
WHITSTABLE TOWN 3 GUERNSEY 1
Bostik League South East
Saturday March 9 2019 14.30
The long wait is over, as Whitstable picked up three points for the first time since Boxing Day with a deserved win over their visitors from the Channel Islands. Despite looking the better team in the first half, a number of missed opportunities left the home supporters fearing the worst when Guernsey took the lead, very much against the run of play, from the penalty spot to give them a half time lead. Whitstable continued to press after the break, but had Dan Eason to thank for a good double save to prevent Guernsey doubling their advantage. That proved crucial, as Stuart West then equalised from close range following a Stephen Smith cross. Another Smith shot from the right reached Harry Stannard, who turned the ball in at the back post to put Whitstable ahead and Smith wrapped things up himself, cleverly heading home after a sliced clearance by Frank Tobin looped back to him in the box.
Both teams came into this game badly needing a win, following poor runs of form that had seen them fall dangerously close to the bottom of the table. In fact, since the reverse fixture, which finished 1-1 in Guernsey on December 15th, the teams had identical league records of one win, four draws and five defeats. Whitstable were able to field their two recent signings from Ramsgate, Harry Stannard and Connor Sanders. The “Green Lions” arrived with a fourteen man squad, but they were without Tom De La Mare and Charlton Gauvain and target man William Fazakerley only started on the bench.
Whitstable showed more determination from the start and a long throw by Sanders bounced across the box before being nodded wide at the back post by Stannard, then a one-two between Jordan Wright and Smith won a corner from which a Tom Bryant header grazed the top of the bar. Smith was next to try to get on the end of a West cross, but could only head over the top at full stretch. James Morrish then tried a shot, but was off target, before Wright threaded a pass through to Smith, but Callum Stanton was able to make a save as the Whitstable striker tried to flick the ball past him. Guernsey were struggling to get any meaningful possession, but on 20 minutes Dave Rihoy tried a shot from 25 yards that was deflected for a corner. This was headed behind for a second corner that was glanced wide by Glyn Dyer. Whitstable still looked the more likely to score though and some casual play at the back allowed West to step in and win possession, before driving forward and trying a shot that was well saved by Stanton.
Harry Brown fired a free kick well over, then a poor header back by Tobin was collected by Stannard, who tried to lift the ball over Stanton, but he got a hand to it before it was headed behind for a corner by Dyer. The referee took a tumble in the box following the corner, before the ball was safely gathered by Stanton. Tobin was booked for bringing down Stannard, Smith had a shot blocked and Stanton saved a low shot by Bryant. Despite almost constant pressure from the home side, it was Guernsey who opening the scoring in the 33rd minute from the penalty spot. Rihoy ran on to a long ball and shot into the side netting as Eason raced out to block, but a collision followed, leaving the Guernsey player seeking treatment and the referee decided to bring play back to award the penalty and Loaring stepped forward to shoot confidently into the roof of the net. Whitstable went close just afterwards from a Sanders throw, but the ball was scrambled clear and then Morrish again shot wide from distance. Guernsey won a late corner that was cleared and then Carlos Canha shot well over after a promising run. Dyer collected a booking for fouling Stannard after initially losing possession in midfield, but the free kick by Brown was comfortably saved by Stanton, so Whitstable trailed 0-1 at half time, although could certainly consider themselves a little unfortunate.
Whitstable won a couple of early second half corners, the first of which was stabbed just wide by a Whitstable boot as Guernsey struggled to clear and the second was headed over by Bryant. Eason came to the rescue in the 55th minute, when a strong run by Loaring created an opening and his shot was pushed out by the goalkeeper to Canha, whose follow up was also saved and turned behind for a corner. Canha then held the ball up, before playing it into the path of Paris Pereira who shot over. Guernsey were having their best spell of the game and then introduced Fazakerley to give them a different option up front. Whitstable got back on track though and good play by Stannard gave Morrish another chance, but he curled his shot wide from 20 yards. Finally on 62 minutes, Whitstable found the net when a good build up saw Smith cross from the right and West was on hand to provide the finish.
A mistake by Brown led to a chance for Canha, but his shot was well blocked by Sanders. Whitstable brought on Miles Cornwell and Nick Treadwell, as they went in search of the win. Bryant found Smith in the box, but Stanton denied him. A quick Guernsey break saw Fazakerley knock the ball wide after a cross by Canha and then Morrish did well to clear a corner. Whitstable got their second on 75 minutes, when Bryant found Smith on the right and his shot travelled across the box and was turned in by Stannard from just outside the far post. Morrish and Cornwell both had attempts that went wide, before the win was confirmed on 88 minutes. Tobin tried to clear, but only succeeded in slicing the ball high and back into his own penalty area, where Smith was able to head the ball over Stanton into the net for a really well controlled finish. In stoppage time, an attempted clearance struck the referee and rebounded to substitute James Trueman, but his shot was saved, leaving the final score at 3-1.
It was the first time that the lowest goal scorers in the league had scored three goals in a game this season, but more importantly the points lifted Whitstable above Guernsey and further away from the relegation spot. The next league game sees in-form Sittingbourne visit the Belmont on Saturday.
|16||Free Kicks Won||16|
Dan Eason, Stuart West, Harry Brown, Jordan Wright (Nick Treadwell 70), Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Connor Sanders, James Morrish (c), Harry Stannard (James Trueman 90), Stephen Smith, Taylor Fisher (Miles Cornwell 66).
Sub (unused): Tom Walmsley
Goals: Stuart West 62, Harry Stannard 75, Stephen Smith 88.
Yellow cards: Stephen Smith 59, Nick Treadwell 83.
Callum Stanton, Thomas Dodds, Jamie Dodd (c), Kieran Mahon, Frank Tobin, Liam Mahon (Sebastian Skillen 86), Glyn Dyer (Keanu Marsh 81), Paris Pereira (William Fazakerley 56), Dave Rihoy, Carlos Canha, Matt Loaring.
Subs (unused): none
Goal: Matt Loaring pen 33
Yellow cards: Frank Tobin 29, Glyn Dyer 45, Jamie Dodd 47, William Fazakerley 86.
Referee: Alexander Emery
Assistants: Josh Smith & Dan Friar