Town Outplayed At The Mayplace

Pre-season friendly
Tuesday July 23 2016 19.45

Ryman North division side Phoenix Sports were comfortable winners of the latest pre-season fixture on a pleasant evening at the Mayplace Ground, Bexleyheath. They played some good football and were by far the most impressive opponents Whitstable have encountered to date during this pre-season campaign.

Both goals were scored in the first half by players recently signed from Thamesmead Town. Commanding central defender Jack Barry headed the first after 11 minutes and Theo Fairweather-Johnson finished off a slick passing move 5 minutes before the break. In truth the home side should have won by a greater margin, creating numerous chances with on-loan Dartford winger Dajon Golding outstanding. Whitstable, with nine players unavailable for selection, kept going to the end, but created little to trouble the home defence.

Early Whitstable attack
Early Whitstable attack

In front of a small, but friendly crowd, the game began quietly. An early pass from Liam Newton saw the Phoenix goalkeeper come out to intercept; his clearance hit Craig Thompson, but rebounded to safety. The home side soon began to dominate possession, passing the ball through midfield to the dangerous Golding, who continually caused problems for the Whitstable defence, Fairweather-Johnson and Jordan Campbell. In the 9th minute Golding broke through again on the right before cutting inside and his shot from the edge of the box struck the angle of the post and crossbar with the rebound falling to Campbell whose shot was too high. The first goal followed shortly afterwards as defender Barry played the ball out to Campbell and continued his run into the box, meeting Campbell’s cross with a powerful header into the top corner.

Phoenix score first goal
Phoenix score their first goal

After 16 minutes Whitstable had their best chance of the night, as the hard-working Charlie Smith played the ball through to Harris Rodgers who got into the box before his shot was saved. The next 15 minutes or so passed with few alarms as Whitstable kept the ball better – Lee Winfield being a calming influence in the midfield. Phoenix though gradually started to pose more problems and after a good move involving Russell Bedford and Jack Hopkins, Campbell passed the ball into the box where Fairweather-Johnson was able to finish unchallenged in the 40th minute.

Rodgers shot saved
Rodgers sees his shot saved

The second half was largely a succession of chances for the home side. Fairweather-Johnson had an early shot deflected over the bar. Golding then shot just wide, as did Fairweather-Johnson and Campbell. Jason Fragene just denied Fairweather-Johnson with a good challenge as he broke clear. Just before the hour mark, Dan Eason managed to tip a header from a long throw over the bar. The Whitstable keeper was soon in action again saving twice from Golding and then from substitute Malik Ouani. The chances continued for the home side with several more efforts just off target. Centre backs Joe Kennett and Ollie Lee had a busy evening, but their efforts together with Eason helped keep the second half goalless. At the other end Whitstable did win a few corners, Lee heading one just over and substitute Newman Poku got into a good position, but his shot was easily saved.

The final whistle came with the score still at 2-0. Two pre-season games remain before the early FA Cup fixture.

Phoenix Sports
Steve Phillips, Ryan Andrews, Lewis Mingle, Russell Bedford (c), Jack Barry, Aaron Sekhon, Jack Hopkins, Zac Bryon, Jordan Campbell, Theo Fairweather-Johnson, Dajon Golding.
Subs: Jason Goodchild, Aaron McCallum, Rion McParland, Steve Carvell, Malik Ouani.
Goals: Jack Barry 11, Theo Fairweather-Johnson 40

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Ollie Brown, Scott Punton, Ollie Lee, Joe Kennett (c), Jason Fregene, Lee Winfield, Charlie Smith, Liam Newton, Craig Thompson, Harris Rodgers.
Subs: Newman Poku, Connor Ives, Francis Nye, Harry Brooks.

Attendance: 47
Referee: Piotr Zachwieja
Assistants: Wally James & Billy Woods