SNODLAND TOWN 0 WHITSTABLE TOWN 1
SCEFL Premier Division
Wednesday January 31 2024 19.45
For the second time in January, Whitstable met league newcomers Snodland Town, both games having been rearranged from earlier in the season, and once again it was Whitstable that earned the three points with a gritty, hardworking performance at the Potyns Sportsground. There were few chances in a relatively even first half, with the home team having plenty of possession and coming closest to breaking the deadlock when Taylor Fisher’s free kick was well saved by Jordan Perrin. Whitstable were the better team in the second half and took the lead when Harvey Smith headed in a Mikey Dalton corner. Whitstable defended well and rarely looked like conceding, so sent their travelling supporters home happy.
The first meeting between the teams was only just over three weeks earlier when Whitstable won 3-1 at the Belmont, helped by a couple of defensive blunders by Snodland. Both have ambitions of reaching the playoffs, although neither has been in the best of form in recent weeks, so this was an opportunity to get back on track after most of their rivals dropped points on the previous evening. Recent signings Jordan Perrin and Ollie Gray were again in the Whitstable team and James Jeffrey made his first start since returning to the club. The two fullbacks swapped positions from the previous match, with Jake Mackenzie returning to his usual role on the right and Will Thomas operating on the left in the continued absence of the injured George Sheminant. On a reasonably pleasant January evening, there were 148 in attendance at the ground, which has a significant slope on the grass pitch.
Whitstable were playing up the slope in the first half and it was Snodland that had the first attempt on goal when Francis Babalola sent in a cross from the right that was steered wide of the near post by Matt Gething. An opportunity at the other end soon followed, but Emmanuel Oloyede headed a Jeffrey cross over the top. From the second Snodland corner in the 14th minute, Jack Bath got his head to the ball and when his effort was blocked, another Snodland boot lifted the ball over the bar. Snodland were awarded a free kick about 28 yards from goal in the 34th minute and former Oysterman Taylor Fisher struck it well, but Perrin managed to get across to tip the ball around his right hand post and he got down quickly to smother the loose ball from the resulting corner. Jeffrey then delivered a great cross from the left for Oloyede who planted his header just wide of the near post from 8 yards. Jeffrey then tried to lob goalkeeper Scott Andrews from distance, but his shot landed on top of the goal. Neither team managed to find the net, so they left the pitch with the score still 0-0 at half time.
Whitstable began the second half positively and got the breakthrough in the 51st minute after a long range effort by Harvey Smith was deflected for a corner on the left, Mikey Dalton swung the ball over and Smith made a good run to the near post to head the ball firmly past Andrews. There was a lengthy delay for an injury to George Monger who was then replaced by Connor Pring in the 59th minute. Smith shot again from distance, but the ball went just wide. Snodland tried hard to find an equaliser, but an organised Whitstable team worked hard to deny them time on the ball and the defence generally dealt well with any balls into the box. There was one good chance for Snodland in the 78th minute when a Tom Mills header under pressure dropped kindly for Babalola just inside the box, but he turned and shot over the top. Smith lifted a free kick over the bar after Jeffrey had been fouled, then Perrin’s long kick was flicked on by substitute Eniye Amgbaduba to Smith who volleyed just wide. With just a few minutes of added time remaining, Snodland were reduced to ten men when Babalola was sent to the sin bin for dissent. Amgbaduba burst through, but failed to get any power in his shot so Andrews gathered the ball safely and the final chance fell to the hardworking Liam Gillies, but his shot found the muddy car park. Whitstable had done enough to win the game and keep themselves in the top six with thirteen games to play.
Whitstable have another away game on Saturday when they travel to play Bearsted who are enjoying a good run of form with five successive wins.
|Shots on target
|Shots off target
Scott Andrews, Taylor Fisher (Nathaniel Olawole 73), Robbie Bissett, Jack Bath (c), Jordan Wells (Ainsley Linton 77), Ryan Sawyer, Henry Muggeridge, Ben Davisson, Matt Gething, Francis Babalola, George Monger (Connor Pring 59).
Subs (unused): Isaac Thompson, Jeff Duah-Kessie.
Yellow card: Ryan Sawyer 89
Sin bin: Francis Babalola 90+3
Jordan Perrin, Jake Mackenzie, Will Thomas, Mikey Dalton, Ollie Gray, Tom Mills (c), Harvey Smith, Liam Gillies, Emmanuel Oloyede (Eniye Amgbaduba 78), James Jeffrey (Reece Gillies 85), Josh Williams (Tyler Anderson 85).
Subs (unused): Ed May, Jabari Christmas.
Goal: Harvey Smith 51
Yellow cards: Mikey Dalton 19, Josh Williams 71.
Referee: Sam Hall
Assistants: Steven Tunnicliffe & Darren Stock