One Magic moment lifts Toms …
Whitstable Town 1 v Beckenham 0
29th March 2003 ‘Go Travel’ Kent Premier League
First half: MattToms: “It was not pretty to watch, both teams struggled to come to terms with the bouncy pitch and it always looked as if it needed something special to win it and the move which resulted in the goal was just that… Magic” …
Matt Toms speaking at the end of a game which he described as “poor entertainment, a typical end of season game, they came for a point and made life hard for us.”
This game had more drama than you could shake a stick at, unfortunately none of it of the football variety. For a start there was almost a full scale punch up, far too many names in the referee’s book, including Whitstable sponge man for who knows what, and spats and niggles throughout the 90 minutes.
Picture: Town pressure Craig Clark’s goal
If Town play as poorly for the 89 minutes and odd seconds against next weeks visitors Maidstone, they will get nothing from their last home game of the 2002/03 season. Whitstable need to play the sort of attacking football they produced against Lordswood a few weeks ago, with the exception of the result against Ramsgate in the last game, the way they outplayed the ‘Rams’ in the previous cup and league games, passing the ball with purpose and using the width of the pitch.
As early as the 5th minute the visitors Terry Allen was thwarted by Town’s Seth Kay, saving with his legs after Allen was allowed time to shoot. Almost at once after good work down the left by young debutant Tom Parker, Town’sJohn Utterson went close with a rasping shot. The play went back up Whitstable’s end, Kay saving well from Nigel Kane. It was that sort of game, one minute the play was at one end, then the other, Town’s Mark Seager describing the game; “like playing with a hot potato, no one wanted to hold onto the ball for long.”
On 30 minutes Whitstable’s Tony Ritrovato was very lucky to stay on the pitch after he became entangled with one of Beckenham’s player after a committed tackle, the pair were joined by any number from either side in almost a mass brawl. Mr Manning the referee, after lengthy consultation with his two linesmen flashed a couple of yellows and the game was allowed to continue, it did, but much in the same vain as niggling little scraps lasted most of the game. Kay smothered shots from Kane and David Hanson, before Town’s best move, started by Utterson to Danny Bennett who slid the ball into the stride of Ritrovato, he sidestepped one player brushed aside another’s challenge and blasted his shot just over Craig Clark’s goal. Town’s young Mark Warne and Dale Wicketts mopped up Beckenham’s attacks on numerous occasions, Wicketts in particular with some timely interventions.
Half Time: Whitstable 0 Herne Bay 0
John Utterson: “Paul Gayle, who marked me like a shadow is a big guy, always right behind you, making it hard to play football, but I find tough players a challenge, I enjoyed the game.”
Whitstable could have been two nil up within minutes of the restart, Utterson going close with a snap shot, Dave Smith should have hit the target when allowed a free header from a Mark Seager corner but he headed high over the bar. Seth Kay adding to his solid first half display with some assured handling, looking untroubled by the presence of the 6ft 3 inch Gayle at every set piece Then came the first of two lucky escapes for the young keeper after he totally miss-kicked twice when under no pressure, firstly Joe Westphel was simply to stunned to react and scuffed his attempted shot well wide. Minutes later Kay repeated his fluffed kick, this time Allen failed to capitalise and blasted over the crossbar from yards out.
The breakthrough came 32 minutes into the second half of what had been a seesaw game, half chances for both sides, with the visitors the more aggrieved not to be a goal to the good. Mark Seager’s beautifully weighted ball found Bennett racing to the by-line, Bennett waited till the last moment to lay the ball into the stride of Utterson who finished well with a low shot despite the close attention from a couple of defenders.
Town should have gone further ahead after Utterson turned provider for Bennett but he failed to emulate his strike partner’s effort and struck wide. There was still time for more drama, but not of the footballing kind, Towns sponge man was booked for something he presumable said to one of the officials.
With the seconds ticking down the visitors keeper racing the length of the pitch for corners and free kicks in one last gasp attempt to grab the equalizer, from one Allen blasted the ball 20ft over the bar from less than 10 yards out. The ball, or in Seager’s words, ‘hot potato’ had pinged about Town’s six yard box until falling at the feet of Allen before his attempt at sending it into orbit. Even as the players wearily left the pitch there were still a few scuffles going on, it was that sort of game.
Full Time: Whitstable 1 Beckenham 0
Kay, Skinner, Wicketts, Warne, Keir, D. Smith, McCarthy, Seager, Ritrovato, Bennett, Utterson (77),
Subs: Burroughs, Constables, Kier, Tanner,
Report for the Web Site: © Tony Rouse