Sun 22 May 2022
Herne Bay FC U15
Whitstable Town Football Club
A Brownett (15'), J Salisbury (19')
U15 champions finish the season in style with victory at Herne Bay

U15 champions finish the season in style with victory at Herne Bay

Joel Derby23 May 2022 - 12:41
Share via

First half flourish and thirteenth clean sheet of the season secure the points for the U15s

Kent youth league champions Whitstable completed their season in style as they won two nil at Winch’s field finishing the season four points above second place Margate and earning yet another clean sheet. The result meant the team had only conceded 12 games in the 20 game season - 16 goals less than runners up Margate.

And by netting a further two goals in the game Whitstable ended up tied with Herne Bay as fourth placed highest scorers in the division with 54. Sunday’s result also meant that the U15s have scored in every single league game this season and only suffered one defeat throughout the whole campaign. Some achievement.

The team and coaches have had a stellar season and following their presentation night earlier this week where they received their Kent youth league medals and shield as champions (having already secured the title before Sunday’s game), they could have been forgiven for taking their feet off the gas. But that was clearly not the case and despite being down to a bare bones squad due to illness and absence, the team put in a commanding performance playing with a style and pace that Herne Bay could not handle. The end result meant Whitstable had completed the double over their rivals this season as the home tie had finished 2-1 back in February.

As soon as the first half began, Whitstable raced into a strong start which continued for the whole 40 minutes as they dominated proceedings. Striker Jake Salisbury and winger Dylan Richards proved a real menace to Herne Bay and their persistence and pressure led to an early miscommunication between the Bay backline and their keeper although they somehow managed to scramble it clear before Whitstable could capitalise.

Whitstable created a number of additional chances in the first ten minutes including some great footwork by Sonnie Hemmings that unfortunately led to a cross that Richards couldn’t quite connect with, a free kick from Will Derby (who deputised admirably in the centre back position in the first half) and some strong running and play by midfielder Alex Brownett that the Bay defenders struggled with.

And it was Brownett who broke the deadlock in the 15th minute as he tore through the Herne Bay defence and lifted the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper to give Whitstable the lead. It had come following a series of excellent passes from the U15s who barely put a foot wrong in the first half. It was an excellent finish and the team were very much deserving of their lead.

Herne Bay were finding their chances limited such was Whistable’s dominance but centre back Ollie Bunn (who won the team’s player’s player award this season) had to make an important tackle in the box after a long ball from Bay had caused momentary confusion in the box.

But it wasn’t long before Whitstable got their second goal of the game.

In fact, just before the second goal Salisbury worked himself into a good position following a cross from Brownett but Herne Bay’s keeper denied him with a really good save. In the 19th minute however, when Salisbury found himself free and received a ball from Richards, he finished superbly blasting the ball beyond the keeper and into the roof of the Herne Bay net.

In truth, the U15s could have scored several more goals in the first half as Salisbury went close again with a header from a Derby cross, Richards shot wide, defender Will Knoupe’s free kicks caused panic, a shot from Callum Groom (who replaced Brownett after 20 minutes) and an attempt from Hemmings that the keeper missed but the shot just trickled wide. Hemmings proved a problem all game for Herne Bay as his skill, pace and agility left several of the home team’s players on the floor as they attempted to make a challenge.

Whitstable showed their prowess at the back too when occasionally called upon with midfielder Alfie Hill making a strong and important tackle and keeper Stanley Allom showing his worth for his Manager’s player of the season award by bravely saving at the feet of a Herne Bay striker after a rare Bay shot had rattled the crossbar.

Half time: 0-2

The second half showed a more resilient Herne Bay side (who finished fourth in the division) and they fashioned a few openings as they looked to claw their way back into the game. They had several chances to reply to Whitstable’s two goal lead with an early free kick and then a cross that Town managed to deal with. Keeper Allom once again showed his worth as he made a wonderful finger-tipped save onto the post and away for a corner.

But Whitstable kept on threatening and Bay had their keeper to thank again as he pulled off a wonderful double save from Richards and Salisbury when it looked certain to go in. He then repeated a similar feat as he saved from a fantastic Salisbury shot only minutes later. Whitstable threatened from several corners as well but Bunn’s header flashed just wide and the Herne Bay keeper collected comfortably from the others.

Captain Archie Rumball (who finished as the top scorer for the team this season and also came fourth in the race for the golden boot across the league netting 16) was excellent again in midfield working well alongside Hill and Brownett in the first half and then Derby (who won the parents’ player of the season award) in the second.

Whitstable illustrated why they had such an outstanding defensive record as Knoupe made a brilliant tackle inside the box to deny the home side. Right back Leo Cornhill displayed another mature and commanding performance providing cover at the back and delivering a number of excellent corner kicks.

The game had been getting gradually more feisty and although the officials may have wanted to keep the game as free flowing as possible, waving away challenges that could have led to cautions, this became to the detriment of the quality on the pitch as a number of lunges, cynical tackles and other theatricals began to pervade and disrupt the game. The referee eventually resorted to his pocket and, in quick succession, booked Town’s Salisbury for retaliation after a poor challenge from a Bay player and then a yellow for the home side for a reckless challenge.

Chances for Whitstable to extend their lead were fewer in the second half but they almost made it three nil from a Cornhill cross but Rumball couldn’t quite get the right connection on it.

The team showed their versatility in the second period as the coaches made a number of changes to the formation moving Richards, Hemmings and Rumball around at the top of the pitch and Groom, Brownett (who returned to the game later in the half), Hill and Derby at the back and in the middle. The team coped admirably with the changes and showed what a strong team spirit they have developed this season as they worked together to see out the game and secure what became their 16th victory of the league season.

Full time: 0-2

A guard of honour hadn’t been provided for the champions so the Whitstable parents and the coaches provided one at the end. The team and coaches have had a fantastic season and will be looking forward to some pre-season games in the coming months and continued training sessions ahead of next season when they will be playing as U16s.

Rumball (captain)


Adam Knoupe
Steve Rumball
Michael Groom

Match details

Match date

Sun 22 May 2022



Meet time



Red home kit please. Winch's Field, MBS Stadium, Stanley Gardens, Herne Bay CT6 5SG
Team overview
Further reading