This match was one of the most eagerly awaited confrontations of
Whitstable Town's 2010/2011 Ryman League Division 1 (South) campaign. Near neighbours
Faversham Town gained promotion from the Kent League in the Spring
and arrived at the Belmont on August Bank Holiday Monday after taking 4 points from their opening two league
The sun shone, the pitch resembled an emerald mat,
blue skies arched above the old ground... and shadows of Peter
Vanderpeer, Frank Cox, John Connelly and Paddy Maher filled the
memories of those who lived through the halcyon days of the 1950s.
Here, we present a few photos of the match and
explain why it didn't turn out quite as expected... much to the
disappointment of a crowd of nearly 300.
1: The Cameras
Like the rest of us, someone felt that it would be
an event worth capturing on video....
.... but it all turned out to be a dreary affair
that lacked passion, creativity and incision. Put simply.... its
was dire stuff.
2-3: Early Warning
The opening minutes were pretty much a trailer for
the entire match - a midfield muddle of lamentable control and
Faversham simply heaved the ball forward in the
air in the hope that the footballing Gods might help them out with
a bit of luck. They earned the occasional corner kick which caused
a flurry of arms and legs in the penalty area at the gasworks end
However, they achieved nothing and never looked
like doing so.
4-6: "Much Ado About Nothing"
To their credit, Whitstable did try to play the
ball on the ground but a firm pitch, poor control and a multitude
of misdirected passes meant that they rarely threatened to open up
the Faversham defence.
They did manage to work a few forays down the
flanks as the first half progressed but the build up was painfully
slow, lacking movement and devoid of invention. The outcome
amounted to no more than a few hopeful crosses into penalty area.
These were either headed over....
.... or dealt with by a defence that remained
totally untroubled by the delayed delivery of the ball (below).
Shots on goal were few and far between. At this point,
Faversham had managed nothing of note and Whitstable had amassed just a
couple of weak, hesitant efforts. The one below was blocked by a
7: The Gift of a Goal
The match had all the hallmarks of a goalless
encounter until Faversham's ecclesiastical tactics finally bore
fruit... with the Footballing Gods answering their prayer.
A speculative punt to the edge of the Whitstable penalty area led
to hesitancy between goalkeeper and central defender
whereupon the visitor's No. 9 (Hunt) swooped in to flick the ball past the keeper before being sent tumbling a
yard inside the box.
The same player took the spot kick and he planted
the ball into the bottom right corner of the net with the goalkeeper
diving the wrong way (see below).
It was just reward for him if not for his team. He had been the only live wire amidst a complete fuse box of
"earths" and "neutrals" that desperately
needed someone with the "know how" to link them
8-10: Around the Ground
Whitstable continued to huff and puff and, with
half time approaching, it gave me time to look around the ground.
Our ex-pat Natives may be interested in a new development at
the Gorrell Stream end where a neat new stand has been erected
Oh, how welcome that would have been back in the
days of John Connelly, Frank Cox and Paddy Maher!!!!
The Belmont Ground is a real credit to all the
club's hardworking officials and, with trees in full leaf around
the perimeter, it all makes for an attractive setting
I can also highly recommend the snack bar at the
old gasworks end (below) as it produces the best hot dogs in town. I know...
because I have one every time I visit the Belmont!!!!
In saying "The Gasworks End" I had
better update ex-pat Natives.... because there is NO gasworks
anymore. It has all been replaced by a substantial housing
However, the familiar old changing rooms remain on
the north side of the ground....
11-12: Second Half but More of the Same
The second half was "more of the same".
Devoid of ideas, Whitstable continued their excruciatingly slow
build up and chipped crosses into a crowded penalty where
defenders and goalkeeper coped with consummate ease
It was an approach that hadn't worked in the first
half and wasn't working in the second.. and, yet, it still kept
To be honest, the Reds really didn't have a clue.
Players seemed to want the ball played to their feet based on some
misguided idea that possession alone wins matches rather than
testing the speed and agility of the Faversham defence with
movement. When they did move, they did so in straight lines rather
than laterally or diagonally. There was no interchange of
positions and no attempt by midfield players to get beyond the
strikers. There was also no attempt to shoot or cross on sight.
promising situations faded amidst slow build up, delayed delivery
and hesitant finishing.
In summary, their system was so rigid, slow and
cumbersome that the Faversham defenders could pretty much remain
static and wait for the ball to come to them. Were the visitor's
defenders quick? Could they cope if they were turned and forced to
face their own goal? Was the goalkeeper any good? Well, we won't
actually find out until the teams meet again at Salters Lane later
in the season. That's a long, long wait to test out a defence!
What we do know is that they can cope with balls
crossed aimlessly into the penalty area. So, why keep doing it to
the exclusion of everything else?
13-14: And It Could Have Been Worse
Untroubled by Whitstable's efforts and content
with a 0-1 scoreline, Faversham sat back and restricted their
attacking ambitions to the odd foray downfield - usually under the
supervision of air traffic control. Even so, it could
easily have paid dividends. A 20 yard shot beat the Reds' keeper
and clipped the bar (below).....
Minutes later, the Faversham No 11 appeared to
curl a close
range shot inside the post... only to have the effort disallowed
15: Death Throes
Whitstable pressed in the final moments and they
did finally attempt a few opportunistic shots on goal. The one
below was palmed over the crossbar......
The photo pretty much sums up the situation. There
are just four red-shirted players in view.... and NINE Faversham
defenders including THREE on the goal line.
For over a century, the slopes of Duncan Downs
have peered down on the Belmont and witnessed many epic derby
matches between the two clubs.... but this, most definitely,
wasn't one of them!
Although they achieved less possession, Faversham
probably deserved the points on the basis that they created the only clear
cut opportunities of the game.... albeit via air transport and
divine intervention. Some may criticise their unsophisticated and
dreary approach but it has to be remembered that they are still
finding their feet at the higher level and they are desperately
trying to safeguard their investment in promotion. Their defence will probably secure Ryman
League safety at the end of the season.... but don't expect their
current lofty "third place" position to be sustained by
their limited attacking options. Somewhere down the line,
they will need to come out and play some football.
As for Whitstable, the Reds need to sort
their problems quickly.... or face yet another long, tiring
relegation battle. As they displayed in the final matches of last
season, they have talent but it needs to be used to better effect.
To use the 'orrible terminology of the Sky Sports team - when Plan
A doesn't work, there has to be a plan B.... and a Plan C etc!!!!!
On Bank Holiday Monday, there wasn't.
16-17: Lighter Moments
It's necessary to take a lot of photos during a
game and some just don't turn out as they should. For a start,
there are those moments when there is time for the hokey-cokey...
... and times when a tight defence just gets a bit
If anyone can think of captions, write to the