Southern Counties East League Challenge Cup 2017-18
Tunbridge Wells 0-1 Whitstable Town
Longmead Stadium, 5th May 2018
Referee: Val Anekwe
Assistant 1: Jerry Annandale
Assistant 2: Steve Roots
Reserve Referee: Matthew Pollington
For an e-copy of the Cup Final programme click here
1 min - Danny Williams shoots just over from distance. 0-0
5 mins - Jarred Trespaderne heads just over 0-0
10 mins - James Morrish lays the ball off to Ricky Freeman on the edge of the area but his hsot can only shave the post. 0-0
20 mins - Whitstable have the best of the first 20 minutes yet are still to have a clear goal scoring chance 0-0
27 mins - Jon Pilbeam runs and shoots but the Keeper tips his effort over the bar 0-0
44 mins - Both sides waste chances from Free-Kicks just outside the area 0-0
45 mins - HALF TIME 0-0
60 mins - Danny Williams heads against the post for Whitstable 0-0
66 mins - Ricky Freeman scores a stunning volley from outside the box to give Whitstable the lead. 0-1
90 mins - 4 minutes of injury time to be played 0-1
Tunbridge Wells 0-1 Whitstable Town
Whitstable Town win the SCEFL Challenge Cup 2017-18
Photo: The Club Captains get their hands on the Challenge Cup - Credit: Alan Coomes - Gallery
The Journey to the Final
1st Round - (H) - Rochester United - 2-1 - Nwoko, Harris
The Wells set up a home tie with neighbours Rusthall in the next round thanks to goals from Joe Nwoko and Jack Harris. Joe Nwoko set a new club record as he found the net after just 13 seconds when his looping shot gave The Wells the lead. Rochester equalised through Adam Saunders on 24mins. Jack Harris however secured a Wells win when he netted with 3mins of normal time remaining.
2nd Round - (H) - Rusthall -3-2 aet - Harris, Parsons, Pilbeam
The Wells progressed into the 3rd round after a pulsating extra time win against neighbours Rusthall. Jack Harris volleyed The Wells into a 30th minute lead only for a Stephen Harper double either side of half time to give the Rustics a 2-1 lead. Ian Parsons levelled for The Wells on 71 minutes to send the game into extra time where Jon Pilbeam netted to send The Wells through to the next round.
3rd Round - (A) - K Sports - 0-1 Kendall
The Wells progressed to the quarter final stage after Alexx Kendall's 16th minute goal was enough to knock out Division One leaders K Sports.
Quarter Final - (H) - Cray Valley PM - 2-1 - Pilbeam x2
The Wells progressed to the semi finals of the SCEFL Challenge Cup thanks to an injury time winner. The Wells took the lead after just 6 minutes when Josh Biddlecombe's superb cross into the area was met by Jon Pilbeam who duly headed home. Ryan Flack equalised for The Millers with a blistering strike on 22mins. The game looked to be heading towards extra time until Jon Pilbeam raced through and coolly slotted home and send the 137 Wells supporters delirious.
Semi Final 1L- (H) - Crowborough Ath - 3-0 - Harris, Trespaderne x2
The Wells put one foot into The SCEFL Challenge Cup final with a dominating performance against A26 rivals Crowborough Athletic. Jarred Trespaderne gave The Wells the lead after 9mins as he reacted quickest when Jack Harris met Jon Pilbeam's cross who headed against the Crow bar and into the path of Trespaderne who slotted home. Jack Harris doubled The Wells lead when he was left unmarked to head home from Tom Davey's free kick. The Wells capped a superb performance when Trespaderne broke the Crows offside trap and raced through to give The Wells a deserved 3-0 lead going into the 2nd leg the following week at Alderbrook.
Semi Final 2L - (A) - Crowborough Ath - 0-2 - Harris, Mici
The Wells progressed to the SCEFL Challenge Cup final thanks to a dominant 2-0 2nd leg win at Crowborough Athletic. Jack Harris headed home after 10mins in a copy of his first leg goal. Despite a timid attempt at a Crows fight back Franco Mici put the tie to bed when he slotted home after good work from Jon Pilbeam in the 90mins. The Wells will face Whitstable Town in the final.
1st Round - Bye
2nd Round - (H) - Holmesdale - 2-0 - Welford, Goodger
Whitstable eased through to the third round of the SCEFL Challenge Cup with victory against Division One opponents Holmesdale at the Belmont. Harry Goodger and Shaun Welford, on debut, both found the net with their heads to put the game out of reach for the visitors. The home team always looked the likely winners, but Dan Eason had to be alert on a couple of occasions to preserve the clean sheet.
3rd Round - (H) - Croydon - 4-0 - Cloke x2, Smith, Freeman
Whitstable comfortably beat Croydon in this third round Challenge Cup tie. The visitors, who knocked Whitstable out of the FA Cup at the Belmont in the first game of the season, never looked likely to repeat that result. They did win three early corners and from the third of them Nathan Campbell missed the target when well placed, but that was as good as it got for the team from South London. Charlie Smith, who later had to go to hospital with an eye injury, headed the opening goal after 8 minutes before Craig Cloke added a second just before half time. Substitute Ricky Freeman scored the third after being set up by Macauley Murray and James Morrish on the hour mark then Cloke blasted in a free kick towards the end.
4th Round - (H) - Deal Town - 1-0 - Williams
Whitstable overcame the absence of several key players to progress to the last four of another cup competition with a deserved win over Deal Town. In a one sided first half during which Whitstable won eleven corners, some committed defending by the visitors kept the score goalless. Goalkeeper James Tonkin and his defence made sure they were first to most of the balls into their box, although Ricky Freeman was just off target after being sent clear by Teddy Nelson and Tonkin managed to deny Danny Williams from close range. Deal offered little threat apart from an Alfie Foster header that went wide from a free kick and one deflected long range shot that was easily saved by Dan Eason. The second half continued in similar fashion, although Deal did see a little more of the ball. Louis Sprosen chipped a great chance just wide and Tonkin made a good save from a Macauley Murray free kick, before a rash challenge by Luke Bigginton on John Walker gave Williams the opportunity to calmly put Whitstable ahead from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute. The introduction of three substitutes injected a bit more urgency into the Deal attacks late on and Eason had to make a couple of saves, whilst at the other end Tonkin prevented firstly Williams and then Shaun Welford from making the game safe.
Semi Final 1L - (A) - Lordswood - 2-3 -Gillman x2, Freeman
Whitstable will start the second leg of this semi-final with a single goal advantage after Lordswood fought back to score two late goals in a match that looked like ending in a comfortable away win until the last 15 minutes. In a one sided first half, two Rob Gillman goals from corners gave Whitstable a deserved lead and when Ricky Freeman headed a third soon after the restart, they appeared to be cruising towards a second cup final of the season. The game was more evenly contested in the second half, but it was only after Jordan Wells had fired home a loose ball on 75 minutes that Lordswood started to play with any real belief and suddenly Whitstable struggled to keep any meaningful possession. Joe Kane nodded in a second following a corner to set up a frantic finish, but the Whitstable defence withstood some late pressure to take a 3-2 lead back to the Belmont next week.
Semi Final 2L - (H) - Lordswood - 1-0 - Nelson
A cup double is still on for Whitstable, following a 4-2 aggregate victory over Lordswood in this SCEFL Challenge Cup semi-final. With a single goal advantage and three away goals from the first leg, Lordswood knew that they needed to win and score at least two goals to go through to the final. The first half was fairly comfortable for Whitstable, as they allowed their opponents no shots on goal or corners, but Dan Eason did have to be alert to beat Bradley Webb to a low cross just before the interval. Whitstable should really have been ahead, as Danny Williams grazed the top of the bar when he looked certain to score and Joe Kane cleared a deflected Josh Burchell cross off the line. Lordswood gave it a go in the second half, although their task was made more difficult when Teddy Nelson nodded in at the far post following a free kick in the 59th minute. Eason was called upon to make a few saves, but substitute Jack Mahon came closest to pulling a goal back when his header hit the post. There were to be no further goals however, as Whitstable extended their unbeaten run to sixteen games and booked their place in the final against Tunbridge Wells, who completed a 5-0 aggregate win over Crowborough.