Whitstable Win In The Wind

Bostik League South East
Saturday March 16 2019 15.00

Whitstable completed the league double over Sittingbourne, winning by the same score as in the earlier meeting back in November, on a very blustery afternoon at the Belmont. It was Whitstable who showed more intent for the majority of the first half and they were rewarded when Harry Stannard scored with a great strike from around 25 yards to give them a single goal advantage at the break. Jordan Wright added a second early in the second half, when his ball in from the left sailed into the top corner over the Sittingbourne goalkeeper Patrick Lee. Stannard then had a good opportunity to extend the lead following a poor clearance from Lee, but lifted his shot over the bar. Almost immediately though at the other end, Timmy Babbington beat Dan Eason with a good dipping shot into the far corner from just outside the box to give Sittingbourne hope. Miles Cornwell was twice sent clear by Stannard, but could not find the finish that would have made the game safe and it needed a good save by Eason to deny Roman Campbell a stoppage time equaliser to ensure his team claimed the win that their overall performance deserved.

Since the two teams last met, Sittingbourne have appointed a new manager, Chris Lynch, and his team have gradually been climbing the table. They arrived at the Belmont, having won their last five games, with only Chris Webber and Lewis Chambers remaining in their starting eleven from the reverse fixture. Miles Cornwell replaced Taylor Fisher in the Whitstable team, but otherwise there were no changes from the team that beat Guernsey 3-1 the previous week. There were some major problems on the Kent roads and with the wind gusting at over 50 mph, the crowd of 177 was probably a little lower than might otherwise have been anticipated.

Seeking shelter from the gusty wind

The home side started in confident fashion, presumably helped by the success against Guernsey in the previous game, after a long run without a win. Stuart West shot over from distance in the opening minutes and then provided a good right wing cross to the near post for Cornwell, but his header was off target. There were a couple of scrambles in the Sittingbourne area leading to corners, but the visiting goalkeeper was not really tested. Cornwell made a promising run, but his left footed shot went over the bar and then Stannard ran on to a good through ball before volleying just wide from 20 yards. Sittingbourne were slow to get into the game and rarely threatened in the first 30 minutes, although Chris Webber shot wide from distance and Babbington made room for himself before shooting straight at Eason.

Harry Stannard tries to break through
Whitstable go close, but the ball goes behind for a corner

The visitors made an early change with Johan Caney-Bryan replacing Izzy Adebayo, but Whitstable took the lead on 33 minutes when Stephen Smith and Wright combined well to set up Stannard, whose shot from 25 yards curled in off the far post. Campbell cut in from the right, but could only hit a weak shot that failed to trouble Eason. Whitstable won two late corners, the second of which came out to Harry Brown and he crossed for Tom Bryant, who was unable to direct his header on target, but it did not matter as an offside flag was raised. Whitstable were well worth their 1-0 lead at the interval, but with conditions making things a little unpredictable, a tricky second half seemed quite likely.

Harry Stannard hits a great shot towards goal to put Whitstable ahead
The home bench celebrate

Sittingbourne introduced Henry Woods at the restart to give them an extra option up front and they were awarded an early free kick for a handball on the edge of the box, but Campbell hit it straight into the defensive wall. Connor Sanders was having a good game in midfield, but needed some treatment after a challenge by Lewis Chambers, for which he was booked. Whitstable found themselves 2-0 ahead in the 54th minute when Wright delivered a ball from the left and it curled right into the top corner just out of the reach of Lee. Sittingbourne almost pulled a goal back straightaway when Campbell made a good run down the right and his cross almost brought an own goal, but Eason was able to push the ball to safety. At the other end, Lee kicked the ball straight to Smith, who passed to Stannard and he took a touch before lifting his shot over the top. What might have been a three goal lead was soon only one, as Sittingbourne immediately made it 2-1 when Babbington stepped past his marker and found the top right corner with a good shot from just outside the area.

Jordan Wright’s effort beats the Sittingbourne goalkeeper and Whitstable lead 2-0
Timmy Babbington’s shot makes it 2-1

Smith then headed a West cross wide, as the game became a little more open. On 76 minutes, Caney-Bryan sent a dangerous ball into the box that caused a few problems before being cleared to Stannard, who did well to send Cornwell clear, but he was stopped by Lee as he tried to take the ball around him. Ricky Freeman made his return from suspension on 80 minutes, replacing the hard working Smith. Bryant was cautioned for a foul, but from the resulting Sittingbourne free kick, Stannard did well to bring the ball out and once again release Cornwell, who ran through only to drag his shot the wrong side of the post as Lee came out to close him down. Some good work by West got him into the box, but nobody could get on the end of his cross. A throw in then reached Freeman who tried to turn the ball in from a tight angle on the right, but his shot was blocked by a defender on the ground and the referee waved away appeals for handball. In added time, a quick turn and low shot by Campbell was saved low to his left by Eason and the follow up attempt went wide. It was the last meaningful action and Whitstable had done enough to secure their second consecutive win.

Miles Cornwell tries to take the ball past Patrick Lee, but the goalkeeper makes the save
Miles Cornwell runs through again, but this time shoots wide
Penalty appeals are turned down, as Ricky Freeman’s shot from a narrow angle is blocked
Dan Eason gets down well in added time to deny Roman Campbell a late equaliser

Next up for Whitstable is the rearranged home game against VCD that has already suffered one postponement and one abandonment, so the teams will be hoping for better luck on Tuesday evening. This is followed by a trip to Whyteleafe at the weekend.

Whitstable Sittingbourne
12 Attempts 7
4 On Target 5
7 Corners 2
3 Offside 1
15 Free Kicks Won 8

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Stuart West, Harry Brown, Jordan Wright (Nick Treadwell 84), Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant, Connor Sanders, James Morrish (c), Harry Stannard (James Trueman 88), Stephen Smith (Ricky Freeman 80), Miles Cornwell.
Subs (unused): Taylor Fisher, John Walker.
Goals: Harry Stannard 33, Jordan Wright 54.
Yellow card: Tom Bryant 82

Patrick Lee, Chris Webber (c), Kwasi Amoah (Henry Woods 46), Jack Morrell, Harry Barkaway, Lewis Chambers, Izzy Adebayo (Johan Caney-Bryan 31), Chris Barnard, Roman Campbell, Billy Lewins, Timmy Babbington (Liam Middleton 71).
Subs (unused): Rob Lofting, Frankie Phipps.
Goal: Timmy Babbington 57
Yellow card: Lewis Chambers 50

Attendance: 177
Referee: Isaac Searle
Assistants: Chris Price & Andy Simmonds