Year Ends With Defeat

HYTHE TOWN 2 WHITSTABLE TOWN 0
Bostik League South East
Saturday December 29 2018 15.00

Whitstable finished 2018 with a defeat, as Hythe Town ended their winless run. Zak Ansah gave the home side a perfect start with a good finish from outside the box, after a right wing cross. The key moment came just after the 20 minute mark, when Stephen Smith was sent off by the referee for a foul on the big Hythe goalkeeper George Kamurasi, after he had blocked a shot. Whitstable managed to stay in the game after that, with a good defensive performance, although Hythe looked like a team short on confidence following four consecutive losses and they struggled to add to their lead. Things were made even more difficult for Whitstable when James Morrish received a second yellow card late in the game, but strangely they looked the better side after being reduced to nine men. It was Hythe that had the final say however when a defensive mix up gifted Kieron Campbell the opportunity to walk the ball into an empty net and make it 2-0 with the last meaningful kick of the match.

Whitstable manager Scott Porter took his team back to play his former club for the first time at a moment when ambitious Hythe were in a poor run of form, having lost their previous four games and conceded thirteen goals in the process. Whitstable themselves had taken four points from their last two games following a bad run prior to that. Yet again though, Whitstable had to reshuffle due to injury problems, with Rob Gillman and Chris Elliott now joining the list of absentees. John Walker, Ricky Freeman, Teddy Nelson and Harry Brown were still unavailable to play, although two were named amongst the substitutes. This meant a change of formation at the back and a first start for recent signing James Trueman. Hythe welcomed back Kamurasi in goal, having used several goalkeepers in recent weeks.

The game kicked off in front of a reported crowd of 407 on a mild afternoon, with the pitch in reasonably good condition. After a quiet opening, the home side suddenly opened the scoring in the 5th minute with an instinctive finish from Ansah, as he received the ball from Ryan Palmer to his right and hit a first time strike from just outside the box into the top right hand corner out of the reach of Eason. Salvyn Kisitu, who had a good game on the right, sent in a low cross that was met by former Whitstable player Campbell, who sent his stooping header wide. Eason turned an effort by Junior Aikhionbare away for a corner, as Hythe tried to extend their lead. Whitstable were starting to create some opportunities of their own, with Stephen Smith and Danny Williams causing a few problems for the home defenders. A right wing cross by Jordan Wright was met on the volley by an unmarked Louis Sprosen, but he hit it straight at Kamurasi. Wright then released Williams who struck a low shot from 20 yards that was fumbled by Kamurasi and with Stephen Smith being held off by Kisitu trying to prevent him following in, the Whitstable striker caught the goalkeeper as he stretched for the ball and the referee deemed the challenge worthy of a straight red card. The actions of the big goalkeeper certainly failed to endear him to the visiting fans standing nearby. Whitstable were left to try to find their way back into the game with ten men and it was no surprise that Hythe saw the majority of the ball for long periods, although they found it difficult to add to the score and kill the game off.

The shot from Zac Ansah beats Dan Eason to give Hythe an early lead

A strong tackle by Morrish on Chris Kinnear in midfield earned him a yellow card that would later prove costly to the Whitstable captain. Palmer sent over a low drive from the right that was pushed out by Eason and then Stuart West managed to clear the ball as Aikhionbare glanced a header towards the back post from a Palmer corner in the 32nd minute. Ansah and Charlie Webster both tried shots, with the latter forcing Eason into a good save. At the other end, Williams controlled a ball sent over by West, before shooting wide from the edge of the area. Aikhionbare broke into the box as half time approached, but Eason got down well to block at his near post. In added time there was a controversial moment that could have led to a second Hythe goal. After clearing a back pass, Eason was caught by a late challenge from Aikhionbare, leaving him with a bruised foot after the game, but the referee waved play on with the Whitstable goalkeeper lying injured and the ball was eventually played through to Ansah whose shot was just kept out as Eason struggled to his feet and the follow up attempt was off target.

Dan Eason pushes a good shot by Charlie Webster around the post
Danny Willams tries a shot
The ball goes wide of the left post as George Kamurasi tries to get across

The second half was mainly played out with Whitstable defending well and hoping to catch Hythe on the break. Following a couple of wild attempts on goal, one at each end, the ball was played down the right to Palmer, who escaped the challenge of Trueman, but dragged his shot past the far post. Whitstable did earn a couple of corners, but could only muster a weak Morrish shot that was easily saved by Kamurasi, before the ball was hooked well over the bar from the next. Campbell broke through with a promising run on the hour mark, but shot wide. Ansah was cautioned for dissent, before both teams made a change, with Tom Walmsley coming on for Sprosen and Jack Sammoutis replacing Palmer, whose crossing accuracy had deserted him after the break. Ansah curled a shot well over the bar, before Whitstable won another corner. Tom Bryant, who had a great game at the back alongside Stuart West in a reshaped defence, headed the ball back across goal, where it was met by Morrish at the back post, but his header was blocked on its way to goal by Webster.

Tom Bryant heads the ball back across the goal
James Morrish heads it towards goal, but the effort is blocked by the Hythe defence

In the 76th minute, a shot from a tight angle by Campbell was pushed out for a Hythe corner and the next effort was blocked by the near post, as Whitstable continued to frustrate the home team. A lively looking Nassim Dukali was introduced for Hythe and Whitstable sent on Michael Jenner and Charlie Smith for the last few minutes. Sammoutis had a low shot saved, before an unwise tackle by Morrish on Kinnear earned him a second yellow card, leaving his team to finish the game with nine men. Ansah fed Campbell, but his shot lacked the necessary power. At this stage though, Whitstable were playing some of their best football of the game and winning a lot of balls in midfield despite their numerical disadvantage. Charlie Smith was hauled down in a dangerous position, but his free kick went just wide of the post and then in added time, he got his head to another free kick, but directed the ball straight at Kamurasi. After defending really well, the game ended with a rare error at the back as West attempted to head a long ball by Kisitu back to Eason, but the chasing Campbell was able to get between them, knock it past the goalkeeper and tap it over the line to make it 2-0 and the final whistle blew as the game restarted.

Charlie Smith wins a late free kick
Charlie Smith takes the kick himself
It goes just the wrong side of the post

Whitstable will probably feel this was a game they could have got something from, against a team looking short on confidence, but although they fought really well to stay in the game, the combination of several key absentees and the two red cards, ultimately proved too big a handicap.

Hythe Whitstable
22 Attempts 9
12 On Target 5
5 Corners 6
3 Offside 2
8 Free Kicks Won 11

Hythe Town
George Kamurasi, Salvyn Kisitu, Elliott Capel, Chris Kinnear, Nathan Daly, Mitchell Dickenson, Ryan Palmer (Jack Sammoutis 67), Charlie Webster, Zak Ansah, Junior Aikhionbare (Nassim Dukali 79), Kieron Campbell.
Subs (unused): Zach Fagan, Jack Negus, Henry Newcombe.
Goals: Zak Ansah 5, Kieron Campbell 90+4.
Yellow card: Zak Ansah 66

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Sam Welch, James Trueman, Stuart West, Louis Sprosen (Tom Walmsley 67), Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders (Michael Jenner 80), James Morrish (c), Stephen Smith, Danny Williams (Charlie Smith 80), Jordan Wright.
Subs (unused): John Walker, Ricky Freeman.
Red cards: Stephen Smith 20, James Morrish (two yellows 27, 83)

Attendance: 407
Referee: Scott Rudd
Assistants: Matt Charles & Jamie Eacott