HOLLANDS AND BLAIR 2 WHITSTABLE TOWN 3
SCEFL Premier Division
Monday April 10 2023 15.00
Whitstable bounced back from the home defeat by Fisher on Saturday to win their Easter Monday fixture at Hollands and Blair. This was an entertaining game that Whitstable should have wrapped up long before the end having created so many chances, but somehow Blair, to their credit, managed to stay in the game even after being reduced to ten men and they went close to a stoppage time equaliser. Sam Wright gave the home team the lead at the end of a first half dominated by Whitstable who were unable to find a way past Dan Ellis. The pattern continued after the break with the woodwork being rattled several times, but Harry O’Donnell and a Rob Gillman own goal eventually turned things around. Blair had Danny Walder sent off, but Ben Brown briefly levelled the scores before a Harry Gamble penalty gave Whitstable maximum points.
The pitch at Star Meadow has recently joined the 3G revolution and there were some familiar faces among the opposition, now managed by former Whitstable boss Scott Porter. The Blair team included ex-Oysters Danny Walder, Harry Brown, John Walker, Rob Gillman, Sam Stace, Tom Loynes and reserve goalkeeper Lewis Mitchell. They will return to the Belmont on May 1st to face Fisher in the SCEFL Challenge Cup Final, but their recent league form has not been so good. Jake Mackenzie, Ashley Sains and Liam Gillies returned to the Whitstable team and Jeffrey Oredein was given his first start. Will Thomas moved to left back in the continuing absence of George Sheminant and with Dan Eason injured, Leighton Fanshawe made his debut, the former Millwall under 18 goalkeeper having recently signed on dual registration from Faversham Town.
A squally shower passed over around 3pm sending many of the 205 crowd to look for cover, but the game itself began quietly with two Walder free kicks the only notable action until the 12th minute when Jefferson Aibangbee made a good run from the centre circle before sending Dean Grant through on goal, but his low shot was saved by Dan Ellis. From the throw in that followed, the ball was worked across by Aibangbee and Oredein to Harry Gamble whose shot was also saved. Some patient Whitstable possession led to a deflected Harry O’Donnell strike being gathered by Ellis. Lewis Allan was the first into the referee’s book following a late challenge on Mackenzie in the 25th minute. A loose pass by Elbie-Joe Boichat was collected by Oredein who released Aibangbee, but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper’s legs.
Walder was having problems at right back against the pace of Aibangbee and earned a yellow card for bringing him down, but for all of the promising play by Whitstable there was no reward and Ellis safely gathered another Aibangbee shot. Blair finally created a little pressure as half time approached and when the ball was cleared to Harry Brown, he hit a great first time shot from 25 yards that was beaten away by Fanshawe. Oredein went into the book for a pull, then Blair opened the scoring in the 43rd minute. A Harry Brown cross from the left was helped on by the head of Gillman and the arm of Ben Brown to Sam Wright at the back post and his low shot back across goal went into the far corner, as Whitstable appealed in vain for a handball decision. An overhead attempt by Ben Brown went just over and Blair went into the break ahead despite not really playing that well.
Blair started the second half brightly, with Stace curling a shot over and Harry Brown attempting an audacious strike from 40 yards that flew well wide. The chances started to return for Whitstable and Oredein shot wide, then Grant did well on the left before cutting in and hitting the post with a firm shot. The game was tied at 1-1 in the 58th minute when a long diagonal pass by Mackenzie found Aibangbee near the left corner and his cross went over Harry Brown to O’Donnell who forced the ball in at the far post. Sains headed an O’Donnell corner just over the bar, then another cross caused problems before Oredein missed the target. Walder went close at the other end with a 20 yard free kick that flew just wide after Sains had been booked for a foul on Allan. Gillies shot narrowly over before James Jeffrey replaced Oredein. Whitstable scored again in the 72nd minute when O’Donnell swept the ball across to Aibangbee whose cross was glanced into his own net by the head of the unfortunate Gillman.
When Walder fouled Aibangbee again in the 77th minute, having received a final warning a few minutes earlier, the inevitable happened and he was sent off for a second yellow card. There followed some amazing misses as Whitstable tried to put the game to bed. Gamble won possession and set up Aibangbee whose shot rebounded off the post to Grant who managed to hit the bar from about 2 yards. In a similar incident, Gamble played in Gillies who also hit the post and this time the rebound was lifted over the open goal by Jeffrey. When you don’t take your chances, you are often punished and Whitstable were in the 83rd minute. Harry Brown curled a good ball down the left to Stace and he cut back before finding an unmarked Ben Brown who made no mistake from close range, making it 2-2. The drama continued and when Gillman fouled Jeffrey in the box, Gamble calmly tucked the penalty past Ellis to restore Whitstable’s lead in the 86th minute. There was another penalty shout when a threatening Aibangbee run was halted, but this one was waved away. The match concluded in end-to-end fashion, with an opportunity for Blair to claim a point in added time falling to Billy Horley, but after receiving a pass from Stace, his shot on the turn rolled agonisingly wide.
Two games remain for Whitstable who entertain play-off chasing Phoenix Sports on Saturday in the last home fixture.
|4||Shots on target||8|
|6||Shots off target||12|
Hollands and Blair
Dan Ellis, Danny Walder, Harry Brown, Elbie-Joe Boichat (Alfie Hawkins 88), John Walker, Rob Gillman, Lewis Allan (Tom Loynes 79), Jack Simon, Sam Stace, Ben Brown (c), Sam Wright (Billy Horley 73).
Subs (unused): Richard Davies, Lewis Mitchell.
Goals: Sam Wright 43, Ben Brown 83.
Yellow card: Lewis Allan 25
Red card: Danny Walder (two yellows 33,77)
Leighton Fanshawe, Jake Mackenzie, Will Thomas, Harry Gamble, Ashley Sains, Tom Mills (c), Harry O’Donnell (Neil Spencer 90+2), Liam Gillies, Dean Grant, Jeffrey Oredein (James Jeffrey 71), Jefferson Aibangbee.
Subs (unused): Gus Barnes, Alfie Giles, Cameron Chamberlain.
Goals: Harry O’Donnell 58, Rob Gillman o.g. 72, Harry Gamble (pen) 86.
Yellow cards: Jeffrey Oredein 41, Ashley Sains 68.
Referee: Richard Myers
Assistants: Joseph Neanor & Joshua Cloake