WHITSTABLE TOWN 4 CHESHUNT 3
Velocity Trophy Third Round
Tuesday November 13 2018 19.45
Whitstable continued their progress in the Velocity Trophy at the Belmont Ground, as they beat Cheshunt in a very entertaining game that produced seven goals. Stephen Smith provided a great start with two goals in the opening few minutes. On each occasion he ran through and finished coolly past goalkeeper Harry Girling. The score remained 2-0 through to half time, although Cheshunt created a number of good opportunities, but Dan Eason made three important saves and several other efforts failed to hit the target. Charlie Smith missed a good chance to put Whitstable further ahead early in the second half and shortly afterwards, Cheshunt cut the deficit when Asher Silverman curled an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Stephen Smith then completed a well-taken hat-trick, powering a shot into the far corner. Girling made two great saves to deny both John Walker and Tom Bryant and keep his side in the game, before Cheshunt fought back to level at 3-3 with two goals in five minutes. The first was a low shot by Giuseppe Re that went through the crowd into the bottom corner and then Oluwole Akinsanya scored from the penalty spot. It looked as though the tie was heading to penalties, but Chris Saunders produced a late winner when he rolled the ball past an unsighted Girling after the ball fell to him in the box.
Whitstable continue to suffer from injury and illness, with Ricky Freeman and Kyran Connolly the latest to miss out, joining Louis Sprosen on the list of absentees. Rob Gillman was also missing for this midweek fixture and John Walker once again continued his return to fitness from the bench. Jai McKinlay has departed and will look to find more regular football at a club nearer his home. Cheshunt, currently 5th in the South Central division, arrived at the Belmont for only the second time in their history. The teams met twice in the 1959-60 season in the Aetolian League, with Cheshunt winning both games. Whitstable finished bottom that season when the division also included fellow Kent clubs Deal, Faversham, Chatham, Cray Wanderers, Herne Bay, Sheppey and Snowdown Colliery. Cheshunt, the Ambers, are now managed by the experienced Craig Edwards, whose previous clubs include Billericay, Kingstonian and Dulwich Hamlet.
Whitstable made the perfect start when Stephen Smith ran from the halfway line, keeping just ahead of the last defender, before slipping the ball past the goalkeeper to open the scoring in the 2nd minute. In what was to prove an action packed game, Eason had to make an early save from Re at his near post to preserve the lead. In the 8th minute though, Stephen Smith doubled the advantage racing on to a good header by Charlie Smith and this time, when he got into the box, he checked back on to his right foot and lobbed the ball perfectly over Girling into the roof of the net. Whitstable suffered another injury blow, when Teddy Nelson had to depart after 9 minutes with a tight hamstring, to be replaced by Chris Elliott with Harry Brown moving to an unfamiliar centre back role.
Cheshunt won a couple of corners, the second of which was headed into the net, but the referee had spotted an infringement and the effort was ruled out. Cheshunt were starting to push Whitstable back and when another corner was not properly cleared, Toby Aromolaran tried an overhead kick that went over the bar. Brown was booked for a foul on the touchline and the free kick was headed just wide by David Kendall. Just after the half hour mark, a Brown free kick was flicked over the bar by James Morrish, but it was the visitors that continued to look more threatening and a through ball to Aromolaran put him clear, but Eason was quickly out to block. The two Smiths then both had half chances for Whitstable that failed to work the goalkeeper, but after a long throw by Elliott, Girling twice failed to clear and the ball eventually came back out to Elliott who lifted his shot over the bar. The last action of the half saw Eason make another good save, before Silverman put a shot wide.
After a relatively quiet start to the second half, there were a couple of yellow cards produced and then the referee played an advantage after Stephen Smith was brought down by Nick Symons and Jordan Wright laid on a great chance for Charlie Smith, but he sliced a left footed shot wide with just the goalkeeper to beat. Whitstable were made to pay for that miss when in their next attack, Silverman curled the ball into the top right corner off the post from outside the box to make it 2-1 in the 56th minute. Whitstable soon restored their two goal advantage however when Stephen Smith completed his hat-trick. He broke clear on the right and although the ball was initially blocked, the rebound struck him and he immediately thumped it across Girling and into the far corner.
Chances were now coming at both ends and after Aromolaran had headed a left wing cross just wide. Walker replaced Morrish for Whitstable just before Stephen Smith shot wide from 25 yards. Whitstable were almost punished when a rare error by Bryant left Yvan Jourdan through on goal, but Eason came to the rescue and pushed his shot around the post. Cheshunt made their first change, but it was the home substitute Walker who nearly scored the next goal after Charlie Smith caused problems for the Cheshunt defence and the ball fell to Walker, whose curling right foot shot was well stopped by the outstretched hand of Girling. Eason was almost caught out by a 40 yard attempt that flew just wide as he tried to scramble back. On 73 minutes, a ball into the Cheshunt box fell to Bryant, but his well struck shot from 12 yards was again brilliantly saved by Girling.
The Cheshunt goal scorer, Silverman was replaced by Akinsanya on 74 minutes, but it was Whitstable that created the next chance when Stephen Smith and Wright combined to give Charlie Smith another sight of goal, but he blazed his shot wide. Cheshunt won a free kick on the right that was taken by Patrick Adamson and the ball was cleared as far as Re, whose low shot from 20 yards went past everyone into the bottom right corner to make it 3-2 in the 78th minute. Eason then saved a deflected shot, as Cheshunt pressed for the equaliser, but they got their chance in the 82nd minute when Stuart West conceded a penalty and Akinsanya stepped up to beat Eason. The game had a final twist however when Whitstable swung a free kick into the box in the 87th minute and as the ball dropped to Saunders, he managed to place it into the right hand corner with Girling unable to get across. Whitstable managed to see out the remaining time, despite a late corner, to secure a thrilling 4-3 win.
Whitstable are the first team to qualify for the quarter finals, so will have to wait a while before discovering their next opponents in this competition. They return to league action, with a visit to second placed Hastings United on Saturday.
|15||Free Kicks Won||9|
Dan Eason, Tom Walmsley, Harry Brown, Stuart West, Teddy Nelson (Chris Elliott 9), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (c) (John Walker 65), Charlie Smith (Elliott Hartnell-Baker 89), Stephen Smith, Jordan Wright.
Sub (unused): Rhys Brain
Goals: Stephen Smith 2, 8, 60, Chris Saunders 87.
Yellow cards: Harry Brown 24, Stephen Smith 53.
Harry Girling, Kojo Awotwi, Patrick Adamson, Asher Silverman (Oluwole Akinsanya 74), Henry Musaj, David Kendall, Yvan Jourdan (Ali Cheranti 74), Nick Symons, Al-Hafeez Sanusi, Toby Aromolaran, Giuseppe Re.
Subs (unused): Taylor McKenzie, Mark Hughes, George Casey.
Goals: Asher Silverman 56, Giuseppe Re 78, Oluwole Akinsanya pen 82.
Yellow cards: David Kendall 53, Nick Symons 54.
Referee: Kane Dempster
Assistants: Richard Joss & Nick Dunn