RUSTHALL 0 WHITSTABLE TOWN 3
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday November 11 2023 15.00
Whitstable bounced back from last week’s dramatic late defeat with an ultimately comfortable win at Rusthall. The home team had their best spell in the middle of the first half, winning a succession of corners and drawing one good save from Dan Eason, who was otherwise rarely threatened except by an under hit back pass just before half time. Whitstable created plenty of chances, but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept Rusthall in the game after Mikey Dalton had opened the scoring just past the half hour mark. A Josh Oliver penalty and a late solo effort by Josh Williams made sure of a well-deserved three points.
This fixture was held on the same weekend last season when two Louie Clarke goals helped Rusthall to a 2-1 win in what was just the fifth game in charge of Whitstable for Marcel Nimani. That afternoon saw a red card for Will Thomas and the two assistant referees were also back, though one with the whistle this time. This season’s earlier meeting at the Belmont was ended prematurely after the visiting goalkeeper suffered an unfortunate knee injury on the stroke of half time when Whitstable held a commanding 4-1 lead. Rusthall began this match ten points below Whitstable who were looking to get back on track after their sequence of wins was interrupted by Welling Town. Once again, Rusthall held a respectful ceremony for Remembrance Weekend prior to the kick off of the game that attracted 299 people through the gate. There were two changes to the Whitstable team that had started the previous week, with Reece Gillies and Josh Oliver replacing Liam Gillies and Josh Williams, ahead of a busy November schedule.
Tyler Anderson enjoyed a good afternoon on the left and played an early one-two with Harvey Smith before finding Emmanuel Oloyede in the box, but his shot was blocked. Rusthall were looking for a penalty in the 10th minute when Hayden Velvick went down in the box when challenged by George Sheminant, but the officials were unmoved. The game was quite even for a while, but Rusthall began to exert some pressure from around the twenty minute mark, winning four corners and having several efforts blocked by defenders before Luke Adams flicked the final corner of this spell towards goal from the near post and Dan Eason did well to save. The momentum changed in the 32nd minute when Whitstable scored, after a cross by Jake Mackenzie was punched away by Serine Sannah, under pressure from Oloyede, and Mikey Dalton fired the ball back towards goal where it was cleared off the line by Ryan Styles. Oloyede then had a go, but Sanneh pushed the ball out again and this time Dalton hit a left footed shot through the crowd into the net.
The pressure continued with two good chances falling to Oliver, the first was saved by Sanneh at his near post after a good pass by Reece Gillies had split the defence, then Oloyede slipped Oliver through again, but this time he shot just past the far post. In the 41st minute, an Anderson cross picked out Oloyede in front of goal, but his header was too close to Sanneh who made a good save, then a curling shot by Oliver was tipped around the post by the busy goalkeeper. Reece Gillies and Smith both tried their luck, then a great right wing cross by Oliver was met by the head of Oloyede, but again Sanneh kept the ball out. There were two late chances for Rusthall just before the interval when Callum Taylor headed wide, then an attempted back pass by Thomas was collected by Velvick, but Eason was able to grab the ball as he tried to go around him, so it remained 0-1 at half time.
Whitstable generally had the better of the second half, creating a number of opportunities, with just the odd threatening moment at the other end. Oliver and Thomas had early efforts well blocked, Oloyede poked the ball wide after making room for himself in the box and Dalton lifted a shot over from 18 yards. In the 61st minute, an Oliver free kick from the left edge of the penalty area was pushed away from under the bar by Sanneh. Josh Williams then replaced Anderson on the left and Rusthall made three changes. Whitstable were awarded a penalty when Oloyede did well on the right before firing the ball across and Sanneh could only push it into the path of Dalton who went down as he was challenged from behind by Jeffrey Njuguna and after consulting his assistant, referee Paul Agyei-Tabi pointed to the spot. Oliver stepped up to send Sanneh the wrong way and double the lead.
In the 86th minute, Williams was unceremoniously taken out by Styles as he tried to break away, but the referee allowed play to continue as Sheminant progressed down the left and into the area, where he squared the ball for an unmarked Smith who put it over the bar when he seemed certain to score. Styles was then shown a yellow card, one of four home players to collect late cautions. Rusthall substitute Kalani Barton ran on to a long clearance by Sanneh and blasted the ball past Eason, but the flag had already gone up so it was ruled out although most observers felt he looked onside. Any remaining doubts about the outcome were removed in the 89th minute when Williams collected a Smith pass on the halfway line, raced away down the left, twisted and turned past the defenders and fired an unstoppable shot in off the near post to make it 3-0. Just over eight minutes were added that included a very late introduction for academy goalkeeper Josh Robson to make his second first team appearance, as Whitstable completed their seventh win in eight games.
Whitstable now face a tough week with a Tuesday visit from Lydd Town, followed by a trip to London to play Fisher on Saturday.
|2||Shots on target||11|
|5||Shots off target||8|
Dan Eason (Josh Robson 90+7), Jake Mackenzie, George Sheminant, Mikey Dalton, Will Thomas, Tom Mills (c), Tyler Anderson (Josh Williams 63), Reece Gillies (Jack Palmby 90), Emmanuel Oloyede (Liam Gillies 81), Harvey Smith, Josh Oliver (Steadman Callender 77).
Subs (unused): none
Goals: Mikey Dalton 32, Josh Oliver (pen) 71, Josh Williams 89.
Referee: Paul Agyei-Tabi
Assistants: Steve Roots & Dylan Wood