Whitstable Win At Woodstock

Bostik League South East
Saturday November 10 2018 15.00

Whitstable collected three valuable points on the road, beating Sittingbourne 2-1 at Woodstock Park. Whitstable looked the most likely to open the scoring in the early stages, pushing forward and winning a number of corners and free kicks in dangerous areas. The pressure finally told when Stuart West rose to head in a corner, but the goal seemed to change the momentum and Sittingbourne started to threaten. Ira Jackson equalised with a good shot past Dan Eason and the home team finished the first half in the ascendancy. Both teams were reduced to ten men when James Morrish and Dan Parkinson were dismissed by the referee after an incident in the 59th minute. Whitstable gradually regained some control of a somewhat scrappy game and Jordan Wright scored a good goal to put them back in front. Stephen Smith nearly added a third when he thumped a header against the post from a corner. Sittingbourne did create a couple of opportunities to come back for a second time, but Nathan Elder shot straight at Eason and a couple of late headers from set pieces were off target and Whitstable held on for the win.

This Bostik League fixture for Whitstable was sandwiched between two midweek Velocity Trophy games and Rob Gillman and Stephen Smith returned to the starting eleven. John Walker continues his recovery and had a place on the bench, but Louis Sprosen is still troubled by his ankle injury and Elliott Hartnell-Baker has joined Lordswood on loan to get some additional game time. Old rivals Sittingbourne started this season with four wins in their first six league games, but had not won in the league since September 23rd. Their squad contained former Whitstable players Reiss Crimmen, Ira Jackson, Tom Loynes and Bola Dawodu, whilst back in September 2012, player coach Nathan Elder scored four headed goals for Ebbsfleet in a 5-1 Kent Senior Cup win at the Belmont. There was a short ceremony for Remembrance Sunday, featuring the British Legion, in the centre of the pitch prior to kick off.

The ceremony before the game for Remembrance Sunday.

Whitstable began well, causing the home team some problems by getting the ball forward down the wings and winning several free kicks. A long throw by Chris Elliott led to a header being deflected behind for a corner that resulted in the ball going just wide after a sequence of headers. Crimmen was then cautioned for conceding another free kick that was cleared by Sittingbourne after being headed down into the crowded box. Another free kick in the 13th minute was only partially dealt with and Kyran Connolly planted a header just over the bar. Ricky Freeman had to be substituted in the 22nd minute due to injury and was replaced by Tom Walmsley. Whitstable did eventually make the most of a set piece on 29 minutes, when West was first to an Elliott corner and headed the ball past Matt Funnell.

Matt Funnell takes the ball off the head of Ricky Freeman
Stuart West rises to meet a corner
The ball finds the net and Whitstable lead 1-0
Celebrating the opening goal

Sittingbourne had not really got going at all in an attacking sense, but suddenly Loynes did well to make the space for himself to test Eason, but his shot was straight at the Whitstable keeper. Smith latched on to a long ball at the other end and shot just wide of the near post, but the home team were improving and in the 36th minute Tommie Fagg played a good ball out to Jackson on the right, giving him the chance to take it just inside the box and unleash a powerful drive that beat Eason and found the far corner to make it 1-1. Sittingbourne then tried another long throw that was misjudged by Eason, who came out but was unable to reach the ball, although Rob Gillman was on hand to clear the danger. Jackson had another chance when a clearance by Eason went straight out to him, but his shot was deflected for a corner. The last action of the half saw a decent strike by Fagg parried by Eason before the ball was cleared away.

Stephen Smith is just off target with this effort

Sittingbourne had an early opportunity in the second half after Connolly was booked for a foul by the corner flag, but the free kick was headed wide. Gillman then suddenly departed the action after being informed of a family emergency, which thankfully was nothing too serious, with Teddy Nelson coming on to replace him. Tom Bryant was clumsily knocked over in the box when challenging for the ball, but the referee waved away penalty claims. Neither team was really playing with any consistency and there were too many aimless balls being given away. A challenge by Morrish led to a reaction by Parkinson that eventually resulted in both players being shown a straight red card. After things had calmed down, it was Whitstable who began to play with a little more composure and a period of possession and close passing around the home penalty area led to Wright collecting the ball and firing it into the net past Funnell and Loynes, who made an unsuccessful attempt to clear off the line.

Jordan Wright (obscured) scores the second for Whitstable
The shot beats the goalkeeper and Tom Loynes on the line

Sittingbourne almost struck back quickly when a Loynes shot was defected into the path of Elder, but he shot directly at a grateful Eason. Both teams made further changes before Wright swung over a corner from the left that was headed against the far post by Smith in the 83rd minute.  Walmsley then played the ball into the path of Chris Saunders, who curled a shot wide from outside the box. West was booked for a foul on the left edge of the area and the free kick by Jackson was headed wide at the back post. Wright and Saunders combined well to win a late Whitstable corner that was scrambled away and the last chance of the afternoon came in added time, when a Sittingbourne corner was headed over the bar by Bola Dawodu, leaving Whitstable 2-1 winners.

Dan Eason holds on to this low shot
Stephen Smith heads against the post

Whitstable had started and finished the better, although there was a period either side of the break when Sittingbourne had threatened to get something out of the game that was often scrappy. The attendance of 198 was the highest for a league game at Woodstock Park so far this season. Whitstable are next in Velocity Trophy action on Tuesday evening when Cheshunt make the long trip to the Belmont.

Sittingbourne Whitstable
9 Attempts 8
4 On Target 2
3 Corners 7
1 Offside 2
10 Free Kicks Won 14

Matthew Funnel, Chris Webber (c), Reiss Crimmen, Dan Parkinson, Lex Allan, Ben Fitchett (Johan Caney-Bryan 87), Ira Jackson, Lewis Chambers, Nathan Elder (Bola Dawodu 76), Tommie Fagg, Tom Loynes.
Subs (unused): Josh Dorling, Harrison Hatfull, Patrick Lee.
Goal: Ira Jackson 36
Yellow cards: Reiss Crimmen 11, Tommie Fagg 40.
Red card: Dan Parkinson 59

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Kyran Connolly, Chris Elliott (Harry Brown 78), Stuart West, Rob Gillman (Teddy Nelson 50), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman (Tom Walmsley 22), Stephen Smith, Jordan Wright.
Subs (unused): Charlie Smith, John Walker.
Goals: Stuart West 29, Jordan Wright 71.
Yellow cards: Kyran Connolly 47, Stuart West 86.
Red card: James Morrish 59

Attendance: 198
Referee: Simon Finnigan
Assistants: Jak Hill & George Lowe