WHITSTABLE TOWN 3 K SPORTS 1
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday March 4 2023 15.00
Whitstable returned to the Belmont and eventually completed a comfortable win, despite a lively start from K Sports. Dean Grant scored two first half goals to give his team the advantage at the break. K Sports did pull one back in the second half through James Huggins, but Whitstable created a number of chances towards the end. Liam Northwood saved Rodney Eruotor’s penalty, but Jefferson Aibangbee finished a well-worked move to ensure there would be no late drama.
When the two teams met in October, Whitstable enjoyed a 4-0 away win in what was manager Marcel Nimani’s second game in charge and his team came into this return fixture sitting in sixth place with the season entering its last two months. The visitors, K Sports, have had an inconsistent campaign, with several big wins but also some heavy losses, resulting in a battle to avoid the relegation places. Their team was much changed from earlier in the season, but experienced defender George Crimmen remains and they also included two players who have featured for Whitstable this season, James Huggins and Sammi Takaloo. Dean Grant and James Jeffrey returned to the home starting eleven for this game.
Whitstable were slow to get into their stride and most of the early threat was at the other end, with the closest effort being a back post header from a right wing cross that Takaloo was just unable to direct on target. K Sports continued to push forward, benefitting from a few stray passes by the home team, with a Jamie McGeoghegan shot being deflected wide by Will Thomas before Huggins had a low shot saved by Dan Eason. The mood changed when Whitstable took the lead in the 18th minute. Aibangbee slipped the ball through to Grant who was played onside by the left back and raced forward before placing his low shot just inside the left post. Eruotor then curled a shot wide after collecting a return pass from Grant and Helge Orome had an opportunity from a free kick 22 yards out, but his effort was easily saved by Northwood. Whitstable were starting to pass the ball around more confidently, but Jake Mackenzie just managed to intercept a dangerous cross by Jordan Sarfo as the visitors looked to respond. A patient Whitstable build up containing over twenty passes led to Liam Gillies finding Grant who was denied by a good save, but Whitstable recycled the ball and when Aibangbee played the ball into the box, it was deflected off a defender into the path of Grant who made no mistake from close range to make it 2-0 in the 30th minute. A couple of last ditch tackles by K Sports defenders, firstly on Jeffrey and then Eruotor, kept their team in the game. As half time approached, there was a yellow card for each team and a couple of wayward shots, but Whitstable led by two when the teams left the pitch.
Whitstable were temporarily reduced to ten men early in the second half when George Sheminant was sent to the “sin bin”. A K Sports free kick in a threatening position was chipped straight to Eason by Theo Osinfolarin. An Aibangbee pass sent Grant away, but this time he shot over the bar. Whitstable were still at a numerical disadvantage when K Sports reduced the deficit on 60 minutes. Substitute Dieko Falade won the ball in midfield, received a return pass from Osinfolarin and crashed a shot off the crossbar, with the ball falling nicely for Huggins to score. Gillies was unable to keep his shot down when released by a great ball from Tom Mills, then in the 68th minute Aibangbee was brought down in the box by Crimmen and Whitstable had a chance to extend their lead from the penalty spot, but Northwood pushed away Eruotor’s shot. A quick break saw a shot blocked before Osinfolarin headed wide at the other end. Whitstable scored their third in the 70th minute as Grant and Harry Gamble combined well to give Aibangbee the chance to steer the ball past Northwood. The game then swung end to end, but with Whitstable having the majority of the chances. Northwood saved well from Aibangbee after some good work by Gillies and Gamble, then Grant shot wide from outside the box. Kevin Dance shot over for K Sports, then Aibangbee went close again following some neat approach play. Both teams used all five substitutes contributing to a number of added minutes. McGeoghegan lifted a shot just over the bar and Gus Barnes made a good run into the box, but Cameron Chamberlain, playing up front at the end, saw his shot blocked in a crowded area and the game ended in a 3-1 home win, which kept Whitstable in sixth place and K Sports with just Canterbury City below them.
Whitstable are back on the road on Wednesday when they make another attempt to play the twice rearranged game at Holmesdale before returning to the Belmont on Saturday to face Lordswood.
|7||Shots on target||3|
|8||Shots off target||11|
Dan Eason, Jake Mackenzie, George Sheminant, Helge Orome, Will Thomas, Tom Mills (c), James Jeffrey (Harry Gamble 56), Liam Gillies (Caoilte Deakin 90), Dean Grant (Cameron Chamberlain 90+2), Rodney Eruotor (Victor Aiyelabola 74), Jefferson Aibangbee (Gus Barnes 86).
Subs (unused): none
Goals: Dean Grant 18, 30, Jefferson Aibangbee 70.
Yellow card: Rodney Eruotor 44
Sin bin: George Sheminant 51
Liam Northwood, Ayo Lugboso (Harry Bradford 86), Mohammed Dabo, Jamie McGeoghegan, George Crimmen (c), Callum Rollings, Theo Osinfolarin (Billy Lewins 84), James Huggins (Kevin Dance 69), Andrew Dalhouse (Stuart Mortimer 74), Jordan Sarfo, Sammi Takaloo (Dieko Falade 52).
Subs (unused): none
Goal: James Huggins 60
Yellow cards: James Huggins 40, Mohammed Dabo 90+2, Stuart Mortimer 90+4.
Referee: Freddie Young
Assistants: Kevin Greenhead & Mitchell Jukes