Deal Town v Whitstable Town

Emirates FA Cup – Extra Preliminary Round
Saturday August 11 2018 15.00

Whitstable fought back after a sluggish first half performance had threatened a first day FA Cup exit for the second successive season. Deal deservedly led at the break, as substitute and former Whitstable striker, Harris Rodgers opened the scoring after Dan Eason had parried a Sam Wilson shot and then Wilson added a second on the stroke of half time. It was a different game in the second half and Deal put the ball into their own net after James Morrish sent a header into the goalmouth. John Walker, Brett Ince, Chris Saunders and Nathan Hardwick all went close, but Deal held on to their lead and still posed a threat on the break, until Stuart West managed to force home an equaliser in the 90th minute.

With a number of newly promoted Step 4 teams having to participate in the opening round, this FA Cup tie was the first competitive game of the season for Whitstable. Charlie Smith started up front alongside Ricky Freeman, with Stuart West playing a holding role in midfield. The Southern Counties East League started a week earlier and Deal had collected 4 points from their first 2 games. They did have their captain, Luke Bigginton, sent off at AFC Croydon and he was unavailable for this match, along with several other members of the Deal squad.

It was the home team that started better and Jordan Wright made a good block in the opening minutes, then Eason saved comfortably from Ben Cardwell. Whitstable had a few promising moments, one when Smith released Freeman on the right and he put in a great low cross, but there was no one in the box to apply the finish. Ben Chapman broke down the Deal right and fired the ball just wide of the far post. Deal were awarded two free kicks just outside the penalty area, but first Alfie Foster and then Steve O’Brien shot over the bar. Eason had to save a 25 yard effort from Trinn Brisley, as Deal continued to create chances. Freeman had a couple of sights of goal at the other end and a Tom Bryant header from a long free kick sailed over the bar, but Whitstable really struggled to get into the game throughout the first half, as Deal were winning most of the loose balls and pushing their Bostik league opponents back.

Deal go close
Dan Eason sees this Deal free kick go over the bar

An injured Foster had to leave the field on 35 minutes and was replaced by Rodgers, who played 42 games for Whitstable, scoring 6 goals and showing a lot of promise, before leaving early last season after struggling with hamstring injuries. He had only been on the field a few minutes when he scored the goal that had been coming for a while. A shot by Wilson from the edge of the box was parried by Eason and Rodgers nipped in to tuck the ball into the net in the 38th minute. Deal doubled their advantage in the 45th minute, when a low cross from the left brought a great defensive tackle to deny Rodgers his second, but the ball ran loose to Wilson and he curled the ball back into the net.

It was a frustrating first half for the Whitstable bench

The Whitstable management team would clearly have had a few things to say to their players at half time, as they sought to get more from their team. Whitstable had lost in the league here early last season with a similar performance, when playing to the same end, they also found themselves two goals down at the break and, although dominating the second half, went on to lose 2-1. Once again, Whitstable came out with more urgency and an early Smith turn and shot was deflected behind for a corner. The goal they sought came in the 52nd minute, when a deep West cross from the right was headed back across goal by Morrish and as a couple of Whitstable players closed in, Brisley knocked the ball past his own goalkeeper. The Whitstable captain was shown the only yellow card of the game shortly afterwards, after being frustrated with a couple of decisions. The visitors continued to press forward looking for an equaliser and John Walker arrived in the box to meet a cross from the left, but failed to keep his shot down.

James Morrish heads a Stuart West cross towards goal
Deal concede an own goal
John Walker puts this chance over the top

Both teams made substitutions and Whitstable pushed West up front, bringing Brett Ince into midfield. Morrish rolled the ball into the path of Ince, but his fierce shot from outside the box flew over the bar. Another substitute, Chris Saunders saw his effort just miss the target, after being found by Wright. Deal had few sights of the Whitstable goal in the second half, but did threaten twice on the break when Rodgers and then substitute Troy Howard both delivered crosses that Connor Coyne just failed to connect with at the far post. As time ticked away, an Ince free kick was headed over by Nathan Hardwick, who also had a well struck 25 yard shot saved by James Tonkin. It was looking like an early cup exit, when the equalising goal finally arrived in the 90th minute. A Whitstable corner was cleared and then Rob Gillman chipped the ball back into the box, where the Deal defence managed to block a couple of attempts, but eventually the ball fell nicely for West to fire the ball into the net from 3 yards. There were 4 added minutes and Whitstable tried to find an unlikely winner, as an Ince corner was cleared and then Freeman shot just over from 20 yards. The game ended 2-2, which in the end was probably a fair result, as it was very much a game of two contrasting halves.

Stuart West scores a late equaliser

The replay will be at the Belmont Ground on Wednesday evening at 7.45 p.m. The tie will be settled on the night with extra time and penalties, if necessary and the winners will be away to CB Hounslow United in the next round, following their 2-0 win at Sutton Common Rovers on Sunday.

Deal Whitstable
10 Attempts 16
6 On Target 5
1 Corners 6
1 Offside 1
8 Free Kicks Won 8

Deal Town
James Tonkin, Liam Hark (c), Steve O’Brian, Alfie Foster (Harris Rodgers 35), Kane Smith, Connor Miller, Ben Cardwell (Troy Howard 78), Trinn Brisley (Harry Alexander 65), Connor Coyne, Sam Wilson, Ben Chapman.
Subs (unused): Danny Smith
Goals: Harris Rodgers 38, Sam Wilson 45.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Teddy Nelson, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Jordan Wright (Nathan Hardwick 78), James Morrish (c) (Chris Saunders 69), Ricky Freeman, Charlie Smith (Brett Ince 60), Stuart West.
Subs (unused): Jai McKinlay, Kyran Connolly.
Goals: Trinn Brisley (og) 52, Stuart West 90.
Yellow card: James Morrish 56

Attendance: 187
Referee: Dominic Barrow
Assistants: Jessica Storrie & Krystian Kaczala


Deal Town v AFC Croydon Athletic


Deal Town v Cray Valley PM


Canterbury City v Whitstable Town

SCEFL Premier Division
Wednesday April 18 2018 19.45

A great overhead kick by Charlie Smith in the closing minutes rescued a point for Whitstable after a determined Canterbury City had threatened to end their long unbeaten record. A large number of travelling supporters, who helped Canterbury to their highest attendance of the season, saw their team start slowly after a punishing schedule of games. In a physical game of few chances, Canterbury took an early lead with their best move of the evening when Jordan Casey fired the ball past Dan Eason, who just managed to deflect a Wayne Wilson free kick on to the bar a few minutes later. Whitstable gradually got into the game and Shaun Welford equalised from the penalty spot after he was fouled in the box. A dreadful tackle by Jamie Maxted sparked an angry confrontation just before the break, as things threatened to boil over. Whitstable put Canterbury under pressure for most of the second half without creating many clear chances, as former Oysterman Laurence Harvey stood firm at the back, although Tom Bryant hit the post following a free kick. It was the home team however that took the lead again when a free kick eventually fell to Wilson and he flicked the ball over Dan Eason and just under the bar. Louis Sprosen went close to an equaliser before Smith had the final say to produce probably a fair result on the night.

Dan Eason, John Walker, Tom Bryant and Shaun Welford returned to the Whitstable team, having missed the game against Rochester 48 hours earlier. Danny Williams was still suspended and Rob Gillman was away. Canterbury had several ex Whitstable players in their team, including former manager Wayne Wilson, whilst striker Jordan Casey was making his first appearance for several months.

Canterbury had the better of the first 25 minutes, as Whitstable started poorly and it looked as though the number of recent games was perhaps catching up with the players. There were no real chances in the opening stages, but Wilson sent a free kick over the bar from 30 yards. In the 12th minute, Canterbury opened the scoring with a neat piece of play and Luke Griffiths slipped the ball through for Casey to shoot low past Eason.

Dan Eason is beaten as Canterbury take the lead

There was almost an instant response, as Welford helped the ball on for Freeman and with Delo off his line, the striker chipped the ball over him and the last defender, but it went over the unguarded net. Stuart West then headed a Macauley Murray free kick right across goal, but it went just past the far post with no other Whitstable player close enough to get a touch. Canterbury were still causing problems at the other end and on 22 minutes, Wilson swung over another long dipping free kick from the left and Eason just managed to get a touch on the ball to push it on to the bar. Casey went close again, but shot wide and then Wilson had an effort saved by Eason low down, just inside the post.

Ricky Freeman sees his lob go over the bar
Dan Eason touches a Wayne Wilson free kick on to the bar

Whitstable were slowly improving and after a good move down the right, Chris Saunders shot wide when under pressure from the last defender. Josh Burchell delivered another cross and Welford challenged for the ball and then chased after it as it ran away to the left, where he was brought down and the referee gave a penalty. Welford took it himself, firing the ball into the bottom left hand corner just out of reach of the diving Delo and Whitstable were back on terms after 33 minutes. There was little further action of note for the remainder of the half until the 42nd minute when Maxted jumped into a dangerous challenge on Murray right in front of the away bench. Following the inevitable bout of pushing and shoving that followed as Murray received treatment, the referee showed the Canterbury left back a yellow card, when many felt it should have been a straight red. The teams went in at half time with the scores level, with everything to play for after the break.

Shaun Welford was brought down for the Whitstable penalty
Welford takes the spot kick
Jack Delo is beaten in the bottom corner
The players discuss the foul by Jamie Maxted on Macauley Murray

The visitors started better in the second half and several long throws by Welford gave Canterbury some defending to do in the first few minutes, with Delo getting his hand to one header across the box. Whitstable twice went close following a Murray free kick as Bryant and West challenged at the far post, with the former appearing to get to the ball first, but the header rebounded off the post and as he followed in, the ball just went the wrong side of the post. Murray delivered another free kick straight into the hands of Delo, as Whitstable continued to press forward. Saunders became the only Whitstable player to be cautioned when Rob Lawrence was brought down in the 64th minute.

Jack Delo gets a hand to this header
Whitstable hit the post
Tom Bryant tries to tuck the rebound away
The ball goes just wide

The game became a bit of an aerial battle, as both teams seemed happy to launch the ball backwards and forwards, with Harvey winning a lot of headers in the home defence. Canterbury had created little since the restart, but a rebound off Matt Martin fell to Wilson on the left of the box, but his shot flew right across towards the far corner flag from a narrow angle. It was the Canterbury midfielder though who put them back in front on 71 minutes when a deep free kick was not properly cleared and Wilson flicked the ball back towards goal and it dropped over Eason and into the net. Shortly afterwards, Welford went down in the box as he challenged for a cross, but the referee waved away the appeals for a second penalty. Pat Nzuzi was booked for a poor challenge on the touchline as Whitstable continued to look for a second equaliser.

Another Wilson free kick from 25 yards sailed over the bar, before Whitstable brought on Smith for Welford. On 81 minutes, a snap shot by Lawrence from the edge of the box went wide of the left post. Whitstable sent on Sprosen and then Teddy Nelson, with the tall, young defender being given an unfamiliar role up front. With a couple of minutes remaining, Sprosen picked up a loose ball just outside the box and fired a shot just over the bar. Whitstable won a series of free kicks around the box and from one of these, Murray curled the ball in from the left and West rose with Maxted at the near post. As the ball came across goal, Smith tried an overhead kick and connected perfectly to send the ball into the back of the net, sparking celebrations behind the goal and around the ground by the numerous visiting supporters. Whitstable continued to throw everything forward in added time, with Canterbury doing their best to wind down the clock and making a late substitution. When a Burchell free kick was cleared, the final whistle sounded and the teams had a point each.

A late free kick is flicked on
Charlie Smith gets a perfect connection on his overhead kick
It’s 2-2 and the unbeaten run continues

The result felt about right on the night and Whitstable were happy to remain unbeaten in 2018, despite the loss of two important points in what was always likely to be a tricky fixture. They now face 5 games in the final 10 days of the season, but will have Williams and Gillman back to boost the squad for the final push.

Canterbury Whitstable
9 Attempts 10
4 On Target 2
0 Corners 1
3 Offside 1
15 Free Kicks Won 17

Canterbury City
Jack Delo, Gary Sayer, Jamie Maxted, Wayne Wilson, Laurence Harvey (c), Will Hadler, Pat Nzuzi, Luke Griffiths, Jordan Casey, Rob Lawrence, Matt Martin (Tom Barton 90+3).
Subs (unused): Robel Grant, Billy Lewins, Josh McCallum, Ryan Catmull.
Goals: Jordan Casey 13, Wayne Wilson 71.
Yellow cards: Jamie Maxted 43, Pat Nzuzi 75.

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Stuart West, Craig Cloke (c), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders (Louis Sprosen 82), James Morrish (Teddy Nelson 85), Ricky Freeman, Shaun Welford (Charlie Smith 78), Macauley Murray.
Subs (unused): Owen Fitt, Nick Shaw.
Goals: Shaun Welford 33, Charlie Smith 89.
Yellow card: Chris Saunders 64

Attendance: 149
Referee: Daniel Procter
Assistants: Daniel Barham & Andrei Neda


Deal Town v Tunbridge Wells


Deal Town v Rochester United