Whitstable Beaten At Home

SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday October 7 2017 15.00

On Non-League Day, in front of a good crowd, Whitstable slumped to a second consecutive defeat after a very disappointing display against a hard working Chatham Town, who went home with a deserved three points. The home side were handicapped by the unfortunate loss of two players to nasty looking injuries during the first half, but in truth created very few chances in a scrappy encounter. Lee Friend scored the only goal in the 58th minute when Whitstable failed to deal with a long free kick into their box. Ryan Nicholls, the Chatham goalkeeper, was rarely troubled despite Whitstable winning a few late corners.

Prior to the kick off there was a game between Whitstable Town Junior Under 9s and Real 60 Lions Under 8s, who are managed by Whitstable assistant manager Brendon Cass. A collection was also held for Prostate Cancer UK, the official charity supported by Non-League Day, which raised the sum of £120.

New signing Macauley Murray started in midfield for Whitstable and other recent additions to the squad, Josh Burchell and Chris Saunders made their home debuts. Tom Bryant was serving a one game ban, whilst in other player news, Ollie Lee has joined Faversham Town and Harry Goodger has finally signed for Wealdstone following an agreement by Whitstable to release him from his contract. Chatham recently appointed former Cray Valley boss James Collins as manager after a poor start to their season and he is starting to rebuild the team with Dajon Golding a new addition from Phoenix Sports.

An early free kick was headed just wide by Danny Williams and then a defensive mix up gifted Whitstable a corner, but the home side were nearly caught out by a quick break when Chatham found themselves two on one and as the ball was passed to Friend, he shot over when he should probably have done better. Ricky Freeman tried his luck with a long shot that was easily saved by Nicholls. Golding broke clear again down the left for Chatham, but could only find the side netting. On 20 minutes a good cross by Freeman was collected by Nicholls, but a couple of players ended up on the ground with Shaun Welford sustaining a knee injury and after a delay he had to be helped off and was substituted by Charlie Smith. The injury will have to be assessed in the next few days and hopefully will not be too serious.

Shaun Welford is injured as the goalkeeper collects a cross

A poor clearance by the Whitstable defence allowance Justin Ascheri a sight of goal, but he shot straight at Dan Eason. Freeman Rogers was booked for bringing down Williams on the left wing, but like a number of dead ball situations, the delivery from the resulting free kick was not accurate enough. In the 27th minute, Saunders was caught on the head as he challenged for the ball in the Chatham penalty area and, after a lengthy delay, had to leave the pitch with a bandaged head. The wound later needed eight stitches at the local medical centre. Louis Sprosen came on to replace him.

Chris Saunders gets a nasty head injury

Ascheri stabbed a half chance just wide and Sprosen then tried a shot that was caught by Nicholls at the other end. Chatham were having the better possession in a half of little goalmouth action and one effort went well over the bar, then Eason saved a long shot from Friend. Deep into stoppage time, Chatham right back Danny Grant, fresh from his recent appearance on the BBC show The Apprentice, was shown a yellow card.

Almost straight from the restart, Williams, who looked the most likely to create something for Whitstable, cut in from the right after a good run and shot just over the bar from the edge of the box. Eason did well to tip a header over the bar and from the resulting corner, a Grant header was comfortable for the goalkeeper. Williams headed a cross at Nicholls after a Whitstable break down the left, then Murray won the ball 20 yards out and curled a shot just over the bar.

Williams was booked for a challenge near the corner flag and then in the 58th minute another Chatham free kick from just inside the Whitstable half was not properly cleared by Eason and his defence and the ball came out to Friend and he thumped it into the net off the underside of the bar.

A Chatham free kick causes problems for the Whitstable defence
Lee Friend pounces to score the only goal

Reece Butler was the second Chatham player to go into the book on 62 minutes, before Smith won a corner for Whitstable that went over the heads of those waiting in the box. Murray tried a shot from distance that Nicholls saved easily. Burchell was booked for a late challenge on Chatham substitute Billy Brown as he sped down the right. Harris Rodgers came on for Freeman in the last change for the home side and Ryan Flack replaced the Chatham goal scorer. On 82 minutes Williams hit a good shot just past the post from outside the box, with Nicholls scrambling to get across his goal. Billy Brown made a few good runs for Chatham as the time ticked away and Eason had to make a couple of routine saves from Grant Brown and Rogers. Whitstable won three late corners, but failed to test Nicholls as Chatham held on for the win.

Dan Eason gathers this header
Late pressure is not enough to rescue a pont

There is a long way to go, but Whitstable are in danger of being left behind in the title race if they continue to play in this way. The squad may look as good as any in the league on paper, but on the pitch improvement is needed. There is now a break from league action with cup games on the next two Saturdays.

Whitstable Chatham
12 Attempts 13
4 On Target 7
7 Corners 3
3 Offside 0
15 Free Kicks Won 18

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Stuart West, Josh Burchell, Rob Gillman, Craig Cloke (c), Chris Saunders (Louis Sprosen 32), Macauley Murray, James Morrish, Ricky Freeman (Harris Rodgers 81), Shaun Welford (Charlie Smith 22), Danny Williams.
Subs (unused): Jack West, Nick Treadwell.
Yellow cards: Danny Williams 56, Josh Burchell 72.

Chatham Town
Ryan Nicholls, Danny Grant, Danny Smith, Josh Bray, Freeman Rogers, Reece Butler, Justin Ascheri (c) (Billy Brown 64), Grant Brown, Lee Friend (Ryan Flack 82), Michael Habte (Josh Gibson 69), Dajon Golding.
Subs (unused): Joe Smith, Billy Nourse.
Goal: Lee Friend 58
Yellow cards: Freeman Rogers 25, Danny Grant 45+6, Reece Butler 62.

Attendance: 204
Referee: Notis Liappis
Assistants: Nick Derrane & Jack Mottram