Whitstable Town 6-5 Lancing - You'll be in an early grave if you have games like that every week, says Whitstable Town boss Scott Porter

Saturday 23rd September 2017
Whitstable Town 6 – 5 Lancing
Location The Belmont, Belmont Road, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1QP
Kickoff 23/09/2017 15:00

(after extra time)
The Buildbase FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
Saturday 23rd September 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Belmont Road

WHITSTABLE TOWN manager Scott Porter says he may suffer from heart failure if he watches a repeat of this 11-goal thriller.

Whitstable Town needed extra-time to book their place in The Buildbase FA Vase First Round, courtesy of hat-tricks from Danny Williams and Shaun Welford to defeat an impressive footballing Lancing side.

The Oystermen went into this game on the back of four clean sheets at home on the bounce but both sides forgot about the art of defending during this crazy game.

Porter’s side were in the top-three in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 15 points from six games, while Lancing were in the bottom five in the Southern Combination Premier with seven points from as many games.

Whitstable Town got off to a flying start through Williams’ close range header, before Lancing levelled through winger Lewis Finney.

The home side then raced into a 3-1 lead inside 22 minutes, courtesy of Welford’s low drive and another close range header from Williams.

But Lancing were the better side and Finney tucked home the rebound after Dan Eason had parried his penalty, before Alex Fair looped in a header to bring them back from the dead after 36 minutes.

Visiting keeper Tyler D’Cruz then made amends by holding Welford’s driven penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Lancing took the lead for the first time through Alex Bygraves’ close range header before Williams tucked home his hat-trick from the penalty spot to make it 4-4 after 57 minutes.

There were three goals during the first period of extra time. Welford scored from a trademark header from a corner with 100 minutes on the clock, before Fair beat Eason with a daisy-cutter from 35-yards.

But Whitstable Town grabbed the winner through Welford’s hat-trick goal, naturally a header and there were no thrills during the second period.

“I don’t think I can take much of these games, we got away with it to be fair,” admitted Porter, after his side’s ninth win of the season.

“We were not good today, defensively we’ve been good all season. We’ve been a hard team to break down but today we’ve given away some shocking goals.  You score six at home and concede five.

“It’s a strange game but the bottom line is we’re in the hat. We’ve got away with it. We’re in the draw and we’ve won another home game but some of the performances today we’re not good. 

“We switched off and we just didn’t do the hard stuff.  We didn’t work hard off the ball, we didn’t put our head on the line where it hurts and we gave away five shocking goals to be fair.”

This game will live long in the memory of the 119 fans that were at The Belmont on this warm and sunny September day.

“It was a crazy game but our plus side has been our back five really with Dan (Eason) but to give five goals away at home is not what I expect and I’ve just said that to be boys. We’ve got to learn from it – today, defensively wasn’t good enough!”

Whitstable Town opened the floodgates by scoring the first goal with four minutes and 45 seconds on the clock.

Tom Bryant swung in their first corner from the right and Welford guided his header towards goal.  D’Cruz put it on a plate for Williams to rise and nod in from underneath the crossbar.

“We’re good from set-pieces, we’ve got some big lads there.  I think you can score a goal sometimes too early, it’s a strange saying but as soon as we’ve scored, we probably thought we won it,” admitted Porter.

Lancing were the better side.  They had acres of space in midfield to get the ball out wide, where they were a threat. Whitstable lacked width out wide and played a narrow formation, with Stuart West sitting in front of the back four.

Lancing levelled as the clock struck the 13th minute, courtesy of a well-worked goal.

Luke Donaldson played the ball out of his half and Mike Williamson played the ball out to right winger George Rudwick, who was given plenty of space by left-back Bryant to whip in a quality cross into the corridor of uncertainty towards the far post where Lewis Finney ghosted in to rifle his shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle.

“I expected the full-back (Jack West) to get that to be fair,” said Porter.

“It’s come across the whole of the back four, but it’s just one of them, every goal we gave away today was poor and it could’ve been dealt with but it was one of those games.  These games happen but I don’t want these games too happen too often.”

Clinical Whitstable Town made the score 2-1 with 16 minute and 33 seconds on the clock.

Central defender Rob Gilman played the ball out of defence up to Louis Sprossen, who swept forward a precise first time pass to put Welford through on goal and the former Ashford United striker let the ball roll across him before driving his right-footed shot across the keeper into the bottom far corner from 20-yards.

Porter heaped plenty of praise on Welford.

“That’s what Shaun does, he plays on the shoulder and he’ll polish that all day long and he was immense all day, the man. He’s 38 years-old and he absolutely ran his nuts off for 120 minutes, scored a hat-trick. Ok, he missed a penalty but he’s got that character, that experience to go on and get us the winner at the end. He was a credit to watch today.”

Lewis Finney swung in Lancing’s first corner of the game but his captain Bygraves rose and failed to steer his header on target.

Whitstable Town had one step in the First Round when they scored their third goal with 21 minutes and 17 seconds on the clock.

The finger of blame must go down to goalkeeper D’Cruz, who was rubbish at collecting balls into his box.

Bryant swung in his second corner, from the right, and the keeper failed to gather and Cloke guided his header back across goal at the far post for poacher Williams to nod over the line from underneath the crossbar, again.

“Then you think, again, we’ll push on from there and it was just a strange afternoon,” admitted Porter.

“There were phases in the game when we could’ve pushed on and I back our defence to keep us in the game and keep people frustrated but it didn’t happen that way today.”

Eason was made to work to keep out Lancing by making a superb double save.

Rudwick played the ball down the right channel for Donaldson, who hooked his shot across Eason towards the bottom far corner, forcing the keeper to dive full-stretch to his right to push the ball towards safety.  Seconds later, Williamson, who was bossing the middle of the park, hit a low drive towards the same corner from 22-yards and Eason stretched again to his right to push away beside the foot of his post.

Porter did well to recall every major incident during the game but he almost forgot about Eason’s heroics at this stage.

“Another scenario, we just haven’t defended well, all goals, that’s the problem.  It’s gone back that far I can’t even remember it now! At the time we spoke about it and the defending wasn’t great!”

Lancing showed character and pulled a goal back with 25 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock.

Donaldson was allowed to run into the penalty area and went to ground too easily as Cloke challenged and referee Thomas Nicholls pointed to the spot.

Eason dived to his right to parry Lewis Finney’s right-footed penalty kick but the impressive winger showed the most desire to latch onto the rebound, to slot underneath the keeper from eight-yards, scoring his tenth goal of the season.

Porter added: “I keep saying it, it’s another poor scenario. We gave the ball away and Dan made the save and we haven’t followed up so it’s 3-2. They’re back in it and they’re on top at that stage. It was a good save and he's tucked it home, it summed it up really.”

Whitstable Town were not pressing Lancing in the middle of the park and this gave John Sharman’s side time and space to dictate play.

“They’re a footballing side, they pop it about a bit but if you don’t get close to people, they just play around you and we were too far off the pace all game to be fair, which allowed them to pop it about us,” added Porter.

Lancing were deservedly level with 36 minutes on the clock.

Lewis Finney swung in a right-footed free-kick from the left and Whitstable failed to mark Fair, who looped his free-header from 12-yards over Eason’s outstretched fingertips, the ball dropping in to the middle of the goal, making it 3-3.

“A misunderstanding from a centre half and the goalkeeper, poor, poor again,” said an upset Porter.

“Every goal you’ve mentioned, it’s poor and we’ve gifted them goals, which I don’t expect with the players’ I’ve got, so it’s a big wake-up call to the back four and everyone what happened today.”

Elliot Finney played the ball inside to Williamson, who swept his shot from eight-yards into Eason’s grateful hands at his near post for a comfortable save.

Ollie Lee played the ball on the outside to striker Ricky Freeman, whose low shot flashed past an uncertain keeper and past the far post.

Welford launched a long throw from the left and David Sharman was penalised for handball but Whitstable Town missed the 43rd minute spot-kick.

Welford stepped up and drove his right-footed penalty straight down the middle but D’Cruz held the ball, low to his right.

“It’s one of them.  I put money on him scoring it but he didn’t and then he goes and gets a hat-trick and gets the winner, that’s typical of the man,” came Porter’s reply.

The Oystermen created one more chance before the interval when Eason’s big kick was knocked down by Williams and Freeman’s swept shot on the turn lacked power and D’Cruz easily gathered.

Both sides went in at the break with the score tied at 3-3.

“We had to get back to doing the hard stuff, the stuff that is effective and that’s working hard off the ball, getting close, but if teams are going to pop it about you, you’ve got to squeeze together, press together and we’ve got to deal with it and to be fair we still didn’t do it and we got away with it!

“I thought get us in and we could re-group and then we gave away a poor goal.”

Lancing showed more desire to take the lead for the first time in the 51st minute

Elliot Finney, who stayed up for a corner, floated in a deep cross from the right, the ball was met by Lewis Finney’s free header, which clipped the underside of the crossbar and Bygraves headed home from a yard.

Porter said: “Poor, poor again!  Every scenario. I expect us to deal with it, put our head where it hurts and clear our lines with the first header and then people get around and get the second balls and we didn’t do any of that today. We didn’t win enough first balls and we definitely didn’t get enough second balls, disappointing again.”

Fair twisted and turned three Whitstable Town defenders and all that was lacking was a goalscoring shot, instead his left-footed shot rolled into Eason’s gloves.

Sprosen floated in a right-footed free-kick from the left which was met by Bryant’s downward header at the far post, which failed to test the keeper from a tight angle.

Whitstable Town were back on level terms with 57 minutes on the clock when Sprosen’s driven shot was handled and Williams held his nerve from the spot sending the keeper the wrong way with his right-footed penalty, which nestled into the bottom right-hand corner to score his ninth of the season.

Porter revealed that Welford should have taken the penalty.

He said: “Danny’s got a hat-trick, he’s in a rich vein of form. He’s put the ball away nicely and he puts us back in the game again so fair play to Danny, he’s taken it off Shaun and he’s put it in there for his hat-trick.”

When asked about his thoughts at this stage of the game, Porter revealed that his heart could not take it.

“In these games, I’ve not been in them before and I don’t think the heart can take it to be fair.  I just said to my assistant Brendon Cass, you’ll be in an early grave if you have games like that every week!

“We were looking to make a couple of subs and we couldn’t because of extra-time. We’ve got some old legs in there but they were tiring as well, they didn’t come at us as effective.”

Whitstable went close following their fifth corner, Welford looping his header past the post after Bryant swung in another corner from the right.

Rudwick hit a speculative left-footed shot from 25-yards, which was caught by Eason.

It appeared that the referee had awarded Whitstable Town their second penalty in the 64th minute after D’Cruz pushed Williams on the left by-line but assistant referee Daniel Sanchez flagged from the other side of the pitch. The two officials consulted and referee Nicholls changed his mind.

“How far is the linesman away? Sixty yards? He’s got to look through a goal. They’re never up that far with play anyway, not at this level, so I don’t know how he’s given it but that’s the standard of officials you get at this level,” contested Porter.

Freeman went for goal from the left-hand side of the penalty area which was gathered by D’Cruz as this game was coming towards the final 20 minutes.

Rudwick’s corner from the right was cleared out to Lewis Finney, who cracked his right-footed volley, which screamed just past the post from 25-yards.

Whitstable Town were to be denied the winner with nine minutes remaining.

Sprosen turned his man inside the Whitstable half and released Freeman with a long ball straight through the heart of the pitch.  Freeman cut into the box and cut across the box before powering his right-footed drive towards goal from 12-yards, the keeper pushing over his bar with a strong right-hand.

Whitstable Town keeper Eason pulled off a world-class save to deny Lancing scoring the winner.

Lancing produced a slick move which included Rudwick, Lewis Finney, Fair and Lewis Broughton and Lewis Finney’s flicked pass set up Williamson, who unleashed a right-footed drive from 35-yards, which was screaming into the top right-hand corner, but Eason dived high to his left to tip around the post.

Porter added: “Dan was at fault for a couple of goals today along with the back four but at times he’s made some decent saves, so that’s the way of the game today, it’s just an absolutely crazy game!”

Whitstable finished normal time playing with a 4-1-2-3 formation as they went in search for a late winner.

They went agonisingly close to snatching it at the death. Substitute Charlie Smith bent his right-footed free-kick around the wall from 26-yards, the ball bouncing off the foot of the far post.

“It would’ve been nice if it had gone in but I couldn’t see us getting that at that stage with extra-time looming,” said Porter.

The score was 4-4 after 90 minutes, so the game went into extra-time.

“We had to re-group a little bit because of the old legs and the last half-hour of extra-time, that was the best part of it because we managed the game ok,” said Porter.

“We told them to just manage it better. We were going to make a couple of subs because we had a couple of tired legs but we wanted to give them the ball a little bit more in the back line and we had to pack the midfield and try to hit them on the break really, which we did a few times but it’s just hang in there and we didn’t get beat, that was the main thing.”

Rudwick’s cross was knocked down by Lewis Finney and Fair twisted and turned but his shot from the edge of the six-yard box deflected agonisingly past the far post after 87 seconds.

Freeman whipped in a low shot from the left-hand side of the penalty area, which forced D’Cruz to get down low to his right beside the foot of his post, but he spilt the ball and was relieved when the ball rolled behind for a corner, only just though.

Lewis Finney was allowed to run through the Whitstable defence and his left-footed shot was tipped around the post by Eason, diving to his left.

Rudwick swung in their eleventh corner of the game and Fair took a touch before stroking his shot wide from 25-yards.

Whitstable Town grabbed a 5-4 lead with 100 minutes on the clock as Welford scored from a trademark header.

Freeman swung in a corner from the left and Welford rose to glance his header in off the underside of the crossbar from 10-yards.

“That’s what Shaun does, it’s a great header, a good delivery from Ricky and then you go let’s shut up shop and it’s done and we did do that and there was another twist in the game,” said Porter.

Porter was certainly not pleased in the manner that Lancing levelled again, 13 minutes and 40 seconds on the clock.

Once again, Whitstable Town failed to press in midfield and gave Fair acres of space to run forward before drilling a low right-footed drive into the bottom far corner from 35-yards to score his ninth of the season.

“Goalkeeper’s are goalkeepers, they make these errors but they pull off decent saves but yes, I haven’t spoken to Dan yet, but I’m pretty sure he’ll hold his hands up.  You don’t see things like that go in, not past Dan anyway, but it was the way the afternoon went that summed it up how that goal went in when you earnt the right to go 5-4 up in extra-time.”

The last thing that Porter now wanted was a Tuesday night replay at Culver Road.

“That’s the one thing I didn’t want!  As a manager you want to win the game on Saturday because it makes everything enjoyable through the rest of the week and that would’ve been a long trek down there on a Tuesday, especially they would’ve had an early kick-off there with the floodlights, so then again you don’t want to lose and go out of the tie, especially when you’re playing so badly because you have another crack of it.”

Striker Fair, who was keen to drop deep to collect balls at his feet, went close with another screamer from 25-yards out, this time the ball screamed just past the far post.

Whitstable Town grabbed the winner by scoring the sixth goal with one minute and 43 seconds into injury time at the end of the first period.

Whitstable Town didn’t get the ball out wide like Lancing, but when they did, Welford headed in his seventh goal of the season.

An unmarked Sprosen floated in a deep cross in from the right and Welford ran to the excellent vocal home fans after scoring with a downward header from four-yards.

Whitstable Town shut up shop for the entire second period as there were no more thrills for the crowd.

“We went 4-4-2, Sprosen got the ball out wide, he’s put a hell of a ball in to Welford, that’s Welford isn’t it? He just keeps going. He’s 38-years-old and he gets the winner. It was perfect.

“We’ve had a bad day at the office, score six goals, concede five at home but you’re in the hat.  You want a home draw, of course you do, against a lesser side really so everyone wants that but we need to improve.”

Whitstable Town: Dan Eason, Jack West, Tom Bryant, Stuart West, Craig Cloke, Rob Gilman, Ollie Lee (Charlie Smith 67), Louis Sprosen, Ricky Freeman (Nick Treadwell 101), Shaun Welford, Danny Williams (Harris Rodgers 93).
Sub: Dean Ruddy

Goals: Danny Williams 5, 22, 57 (penalty), Shaun Welford 17, 100, 105

Booked: Jack West 39, Louis Sprosen 81, Charlie Smith 86

Lancing: Tyler D’Cruz, David Marsh, Lewis Broughton (Magic Sibanda 120), Elliot Finney (William Berry 99), David Sharman (Alex Spinks 115), Alex Bygraves, George Rudwick, Mike Williamson, Alex Fair, Luke Donaldson, Lewis Finney.
Sub: Michael Platt

Goals: Lewis Finney 13, 26, Alex Fair 36, 104, Alex Bygraves 51

Attendance: 119
Referee: Mr Thomas Nicholls (Lewisham, London SE13)
Assistants: Mr Anjam Mirza (Heathrow, Middlesex) & Mr Daniel Sanchez (Camberwell, London SE17)

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