Whitstable Through On Penalties

WHITSTABLE TOWN 1 VCD ATHLETIC 1 (after 90 minutes – no extra time)
Whitstable Town won 5-4 on penalties
Kent Senior Cup First Round
Tuesday October 2 2018 19.45

Whitstable earned a home tie against Tonbridge Angels, following a penalty shootout win against VCD Athletic at the Belmont Ground. Without a number of players through injury, Whitstable were also missing manager Scott Porter for this Kent Senior Cup fixture. VCD took the lead when Aymun El-Moyhalbel blocked a clearance and, despite appeals for handball from the home defence, he was able to take the ball forward and shoot past Dan Eason. A great run down the left by Jordan Wright led to the equaliser, when his cross was forced home at the far post by Kyran Connolly. Both teams had other chances in the first half, without really testing the goalkeepers. Whitstable lost three further players to injuries by half time and the second half was largely one way traffic, as VCD pressed for the winner, but a combination of good defending and poor finishing meant there were no further goals. Extra time is not played in this county competition, so the tie was decided on penalties. Eason made two good saves and when Stuart West fired home the 6th Whitstable spot kick, Whitstable were confirmed 5-4 winners.

This game was originally scheduled for 21 August, but was postponed due to traffic problems on the motorway. Having suffered a number of recent injuries, the Whitstable team contained a number of changes and Ricky Freeman, Rob Gillman, Louis Sprosen and John Walker were ruled out, Aiden Enver was unavailable under the terms of his loan and captain James Morrish was an unused substitute. The otherwise suspended Chris Saunders was able to play in this competition however. VCD, currently 4th in the league, started without their two leading goal scorers, as Charlie MacDonald and Leon Lalor-Dell sat on the bench.

The opening stages of the game saw Jonathan Adebayo shoot straight at Eason, before Chris Elliott shot over at the other end after a header down by Charlie Smith. El-Moyhalbel had a chance to test Eason from a free kick, but the Whitstable goalkeeper tipped his shot over the bar. VCD were starting to get on top and a good cross from the left found Jonathan Adebayo in space, but he shot wide when he might have done better and the same player then lifted an effort over the bar after some more pressure on the home goal. On 16 minutes Elliott tried a long throw that led to a Whitstable corner and the delivery from Wright rebounded off West at the back post, but flew over the bar. VCD took the lead in the 21st minute when an attempted clearance appeared to strike the arm of El-Moyhalbel, but he advanced towards the Whitstable penalty area and hit a good shot into the far corner.

Chris Elliott lifts an early attempt over the bar

Charlie Smith had to depart with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Elliott Hartnell-Baker, making his debut. VCD continued to threaten without testing Eason and there was another setback for Whitstable when Chris Elliott hurt his knee and was unable to continue, so Harry Brown came on for a second appearance since his knee operation. In the 34th minute, Wright made a great run down the left touchline and his low cross managed find its way to the far post, where Connolly arrived to score the equaliser. Just before the break, a Brown free kick was headed over by West and then Wright shot just wide after being found by Tom Walmsley. The final attempt of the half was a shot by Junior Baker that clipped the top of the trees behind the goal, so the teams went in with the score 1-1.

The cross by Jordan Wright goes right across the goal
Kyran Connolly scores at the far post
Whitstable have their equaliser

Stephen Smith started the second half in place of Walmsley and there was an early chance for him when he headed a good Wright cross over the bar. Eason had to make a couple of routine saves and did well to deny Courtney Barrington at the far post from one cross. Whitstable were mainly on the back foot, but a Hartnell –Baker ball in from the right was glanced just over by Stephen Smith. Alex Gaggin rolled a shot just wide when a corner was pulled back for him on the edge of the box. Stephen Smith made a strong run, before shooting into the side netting. On 79 minutes, an error by the Whitstable defence left Barrington clear, but Eason saved from a narrow angle, then Teddy Nelson cleared a low cross off the line. The last few minutes saw a succession of VCD attacks, but Eason was only once seriously tested, when he parried a fierce shot by Dominic Odusanya, before the defence hacked the loose ball away from danger. There was one attempt at the other end in the seven added minutes, but the shot by Hartnell-Baker was comfortably saved by Joe Mant.

A glancing header by Stephen Smith is just off target
A good late save by Dan Eason helps send the tie to penalty kicks

Kent Senior Cup rules meant that the tie went straight to penalty kicks and it was VCD that started. The first six were all well taken, but then Eason dived to his left to save from Jonathan Adebayo. After another successful penalty each, Saunders stepped forward with the chance to put Whitstable through, but Mant saved, sending it to sudden death. The next effort by Baker was well saved by Eason, leaving West to find the roof of the net to clinch a 5-4 win for Whitstable.

Dan Eason saves the penalty from Jonathan Adebayo
The sixth VCD penalty by Junior Baker is also saved by Dan Eason
Stuart West beats Joe Mant to send Whitstable through

It was a game that VCD will feel they should have won against a patched up Whitstable team, but they failed to take their chances, so Whitstable now face Tonbridge Angels at home in the next round.

Whitstable VCD
9 Attempts 23
2 On Target 12
1 Corners 11
1 Offside 3
8 Free Kicks Won 7

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Kyran Connolly, Chris Elliott (Harry Brown 31), Teddy Nelson, Stuart West, Tom Bryant (c), Chris Saunders, Jordan Wright, Tom Walmsley (Stephen Smith 46), Charlie Smith (Elliott Hartnell-Baker 21), Jai McKinlay.
Subs (unused): Rhys Brain, James Morrish.
Goal: Kyran Connolly 34
Yellow cards: Teddy Nelson 68, Harry Brown 89.

VCD Athletic
Joe Mant, Temi Eweka (Tyrone Guthrie 88), Jude Adebayo, Junior Baker, Jack Steventon (c), Jonathan Adebayo, Alex Gaggin, Dominic Odusanya, Ali Fuseini, Aymun El-Moyhalbel (Alastair Gordon 74), Courtney Barrington.
Subs (unused): Charlie MacDonald, Jeffrey Gyamfi, Leon Lalor-Dell.
Goal: Aymun El-Moyhalbel 21

VCD Penalties Whitstable
Jack Steventon 1-1 Harry Brown
Dominic Odusanya 2-2 Tom Bryant
Ali Fuseini 3-3 Stephen Smith
Jonathan Adebayo 3-4 Jordan Wright
Jude Adebayo 4-4 Chris Saunders
Junior Baker 4-5 Stuart West

Attendance: 100
Referee: Dan Bonneywell
Assistants: James Paternoster & Matthew Grist