Whitstable Win First Friendly

Pre-season friendly
Saturday July 16 2016 15.00 (at Homelands Stadium, Ashford)

Whitstable came away from Homelands with a 1 0 win over Canterbury City in their first pre-season friendly. The only goal, scored after 18 minutes, was a Craig Thompson header from Stuart King’s cross following a short corner.

In a game of few clear chances, Whitstable largely controlled the first half. There were numerous substitutions for both sides after the break on a warm afternoon and the game became a more even affair, although the goalkeepers were rarely tested.

On a warm, humid afternoon at Ashford on the artificial surface, notable also for a plague of tiny thunderflies,

Stuart King crosses
Stuart King crosses

Whitstable had most of the early possession, creating a couple of chances. Canterbury goalkeeper Shannon Harris had to be quick to come out and clear a through ball in the first few minutes, injuring himself in the process and after 15 minutes Harris Rodgers shot over after some good approach play from Craig Thompson. Rodgers then won a corner on the right, which was played short and a good cross from Stuart King was met by Thompson, who placed his header into the net to score what turned out to be the decisive goal in the 18th minute.

Craig Thompson scores the winner
Craig Thompson scores the winner

Grant McIlheron, Scott Punton and Charlie Smith were winning the battle in midfield and it was McIlheron who forced Harris into a low diving stop with a shot from distance in the 20th minute.

The referee stopped the game midway through the half so that the players could have a drink in the warm conditions. Shortly afterwards a long ball by Callum Wraight was picked up by King, who twisted and turned before managing to get in a lob which was just too high.

Canterbury managed a couple of deep crosses later in the half that were comfortably dealt with by the Whitstable goalkeeper Harry Brooks.

Grant McIlheron in midfield
Grant McIlheron in midfield

There were a couple of fouls in dangerous positions at both ends, but the resulting free kicks came to nothing. Half time arrived with the Whitstable defence relatively untroubled as John Walker, Joe Kennett, Wraight and Sam Davison, who had to be replaced by Connor Ives shortly before the break, dealt calmly with any threats from the home side.

In the second half, both teams took the opportunity to use their substitutes and made regular changes. The game became more even and Canterbury won their first corner in the 55th minute. Dave Pilcher then shot low across the Whitstable goal, but just wide.

After another drinks break, King had an effort blocked. Canterbury substitute Matt Martin, one of a number of ex Whitstable players in their squad, made several good runs at the Whitstable defence and created a couple of chances, but their efforts were not finding the target. A Whitstable free kick after 84minutes was headed away from danger and in the last minute, Canterbury were awarded a free kick of their own in a dangerous position, but it was struck into the Whitstable wall.

Post match analysis
Post match analysis

The final whistle followed and the Whitstable management team would have been reasonably happy with the performance in their first pre-season game, particularly in the first half. With some players unavailable, it was also an opportunity for a number of others to get some time on the pitch.

The next fixture is on Tuesday evening at home to local rivals Herne Bay.

Canterbury City
Shannon Harris, Liam Hrehorow, Jack North, Chris Webber, Ben Gorham, Ollie Lee, Sam Conlon, Brad Dale, Dave Pilcher, Jordan Casey, Henry Dasofunjo.
Subs: Rob Lawrence, Ryan Philpott, Dan Tanner, Matt Blackmore, Matt Martin, Ben Kitcherside, Raheem Sterling, Mark Sitton.

Whitstable Town
Harry Brooks, John Walker, Sam Davison, Callum Wraight, Joe Kennett, Scott Punton, Grant McIlheron, Charlie Smith, Craig Thompson, Stuart King, Harris Rodgers.
Subs: Ollie Brown, Jason Fregene, Toby Heydon, Liam Newton, Francis Nye, Charlie Manning, Patrick Lee, Connor Ives, Brendon Cass.

Goal: Craig Thompson 18

Attendance: 80
Referee: Kirsty Dowle
Assistants: Simon Jackson & Connor Stacey..