Toms; utterly chuffed at result …
Whitstable Town 4 v Beckenham 2
5th April 2003 ‘Go Travel’ Kent Premier League
UTTERSON 37 (PEN), 48, 92 ASLETT 59 EDWARDS 10, KAY (OG)
First half: Matt Toms: “Despite my strong connections at Maidstone, previously as a player and manager, and still working for their chairman, I am utterly chuffed at beating them today, what a great result for Whitstable’s last home game of the season.” …
Before the game manager Toms was overheard giving Tony Ritrovato last minute instruction, “Firstly I want you to stay on the pitch” said Toms in reference to Ritrovato’s unseemly involvement in what almost turned into a full scale punch up last week. “Second, keep tight on Neil Davey, he wont like you in his face all afternoon, but above all keep your cool, let them get rattled.”
But if Maidstone’s Davey, who despite one first half chance hardly, had a sniff at goal was earmarked by Toms as the danger man; judging by Davey’s below par performance Ritrovato did his job to the letter. The 450 odd crowd including guest and both sets of committee members inside Whitstable’s Belmont Road ground basked in warm spring sunshine were understandably expectant at the prospect of the outcome of the match, not least the visitors manager Jim Ward, who’s side has beaten Town in all five of their last meetings. Indeed it was the visitors who started much the brighter, Richard Sinden should have done better on 5 minutes after Adrian Webster’s hard driven cross evaded all in Town’s box and Sinden failed to get the touch needed. Five minutes later the visitors found themselves ahead with a typically quickly taken free kick after Ade Burroughs was adjudged to fouled just on the edge of the area. “I never fouled him” said Burroughs; “we just got tangled together going for the ball.” Using Webster as the decoy who ran to his right, Ross Edwards sweetly struck left foot shot stung the fingertips of Seth Kay but ended up in the back of the net.
Now the visitors found their voice, “United…United” rang round the ground as the visitors orange tide threaterned to sweep Whitstable out to sea. A great bock from Kay denied Edwards again after Town’s defence failed to clear a corner, Ritrovato attempted headed clearance fell to Sinden but the big striker’s goal bound shot was tipped onto the post by Kay.
It was not totally one way traffic but despite keeping the ball for long periods Town lacked the cutting edge to test Kevin Hudson in the ‘Stones’ goal with a worthwhile shot. Whitstable’ man of the match Dale Wicketts made yet another timely tackle to deny the lively Adrian Webster when he was poised to shoot; Webster who had tormented Burroughs before the big Whitstable defender was able to come to grips with this tricky style of play.
Town’s Tom Parker on the left and Danny Bennett on the right belatedly started to test the visitor’s defence, which looked unusually shaky, particularly finding the excellent John Utterson, Town’s front man difficult to control. After Steve Coatham attempted control of the ball of a difficult bouncing ball into the rate with more arm than body the linesman instantly raised his flag to signal penalty. Up stepped Utterson with Town’s nominated taker Billy McCarthy unavailable through suspension, the young striker blasted the ball low and hard to Hudson’s right, the keeper getting a touch but unable to keep the ball out of his net.
Half Time: Whitstable 1 Maidstone 1
John Utterson: Interviewed on BBC Radio Kent after the match: “I was pleased to get the hat trick, any striker would be but I thought defensively we grew the longer the game when on. The younger player’ some just 16 and 17 were tremendous, the lads who came on kept the pressure up and it’s a great result against the Leagues best side. ”
Utterson scoring the penalty had given Town a measure of belief in themselves which they brought with them into the second half, on 52 minutes a simple Andy Skinner ball to Utterson caught the visitors napping. With the ‘Stones’ Hudson a yard or so further off his line than was prudent Utterson’s sublime lob over his fingertips into the far corner silenced the large travailing contingent for the first time during the game.
“At first I was going to blast it” said Utterson. “but looked up saw that Kevin was a pace or two out of potion and thought why not, and took the chance.”
The moment was now with Town, young Steve Aslett, starting to look accomplished and assured in his central role after and initial period early in the game when he seemed off the pace of the game. In what was perhaps Towns best move of the match Whitstable worked the ball from Wickets in defence, all the way through the midfield, Mark Seager finding Parker who was unable to finish the good move off.
Just over five minutes later after some good Whitstable pressure Andy Skinner dished out a taste of their own medicine to the visitors who speed of thought at set pieces sets them apart from any side in the Kent League. Skinner’s trademark throw caught the visitors napping, not young Aslett who seemed to walk the ball into the net past a furious Kevin Hudson.
The anticipated response from Maidstone was not long in coming even if it did not arrive in quite the expected manner. Ross Edwards long cross field ball deceived Kay who despot catching the high ball tumbled backwards into his net with the ball still clasped to his chest to give the visitors hope at 3-2 down.
Previously Kay had made a great double save denying Jamie Kempster with a low down save, and Webster’s teasing cross flying from one side of the six yard box to the other evaded all attempts at a final touch by any of the massed orange hoard. Wickett’s came to the rescue on a number of occasions with some timely tackles inside Town’s box, just when Whitstable needed a very cool head.
Town were now under siege, Kay coping well with a number of corners, I counted six in as many minutes, before Tom’s made a couple of substitutions, Andy Constable on for Bennett, Jack Tanner for Parker and the pressure swayed back towards Hudson’s goal.
Utterson and Constable immediately combined, Utterson’s inch prefect cross met well by a firm Seager downward header, Hudson flying full stretch to make a great save just turning the ball out for a corner. Although in obvious discomfort after falling awkwardly after his header Seager’s made good space down the left to deliver an exact copy of Kempster’s low drive at the other end, once again no forward managed a touch.
With the clock ticking down Contestable raced into the area choosing to shoot at goal instead of finding his partier Utterson at the far post. But Constable atoned with a super run to the by-line leaving it till the last possible moment before his pinpoint cross found Utterson who coolly slotted the ball in off the post for goal number four for Whitstable.
Full Time: Whitstable 4 Maidstone 2
Kay, Skinner, Wicketts, Burroughs, Aslett, Seager, Bennett (Constable 71), Smith, Ritrovato, Utterson, Parker (Tanner 81)
Sub not used: Knight
Hudson, Kempster, Ribbens, Coatham (Foley 55), Davis, Edwards, Webster, Hogg (Morrish 63), Sinden, Davey, Lacy
Subs: (not used) McCabe, Chainey
Report for the Web Site: © Tony Rouse