Worthing Hit Seven To Go Through
Worthing 7 - Hythe Town 0
Ryman League South - 26/04/16
Andy Short reports from Worthing...
Hythe Town were swept aside by an exhilarating performance by Worthing in a 7-0 defeat in the Ryman League Division One (South) Play-Off Semi-Final on Tuesday evening.
However it was Hythe who were first to create an opportunity as Connor Hood hit in a searching ball from the right that Alfie May could not quite reach before it was cleared away.
Worthing now piled on the pressure and after ten minutes they went ahead. Gary Elphick headed against the bar and Omar Bugiel was able tap in the rebound. Hythe keeper Joe Mant was able to keep the score down to one just two minutes later when he pushed a shot from Jordan Maguire-Drew around the post.
However Maguire-Drew was not to be denied as on nineteen minutes he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the area and hit an exquisite lob over Mant and into the net. The impetus was well and truly with the hosts as Bugiel rifled a shot over the bar and then Ben Pope looped a shot over with the same result.
James Morrish did have an opportunity at the other end but his attempt went high. Maguire-Drew again forced a save out of Mant as he turned and shot.
The pattern of the play remained the same in the second half and Worthing all but sealed the game four minutes into the half as they surged through the Hythe defence, with Zak Newton pushing the ball under Mant’s body to make it 3-0.
Man of the Match, Maguire-Drew, was next to threaten as he weaved his way through but shot wide before Bugiel brought out a great save from Mant. Worthing were to extend their lead just before the hour when Gary Elphick forced the ball home through a crowd of players.
Hythe did create a couple of chances to narrow the gap as Jack Harris headed over from a cross and then Jon Pilbeam had a shot tipped over the bar by Worthing keeper Rikki Banks. Maguire-Drew was next in the action as he fed the ball to Bugiel but Mant pushed the ball wide.
However on seventy-eight minutes Ben Pope surged through the Hythe defence to be brought down by Nick Reeves who earned a red card as the referee adjudged him to be the last man. Pope was to send Mant the wrong way from the penalty spot as he buried the ball into the right hand side of the net.
Maguire-Drew was to rub further salt in the Hythe wounds as he curled a free-kick into the corner of the Hythe net to make it six on eighty-two minutes. The Cannons' woe was completed with six minutes to go as defender Will Hendon fed a neat ball through to Bugiel who slotted the ball home to make it seven.
A resounding win for the hosts who now take on Faversham Town in the final on Saturday. The defeat however should not deflect from Hythe’s achievement in reaching the final after such a poor start to the season.
Scorers - Worthing - Omar Bugiel 19, 84 mins - Jordan Maguire-Drew 19, 82 mins - Zak Newton 49 mins - Gary Elphick 59 mins - Ben Pope 78 mins (pen)
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Connor Hood, Josh Burchell, Jack Mahoney (Dave Botterill - 60 mins), Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish (Jon Pilbeam - 62 mins), Frankie Sawyer (Ben Wilson - 71 mins, Alfie May, Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Louis Sprosen, John Walker
Attendance - 948
Cannons On Their Travels For Play-Offs
Faversham Town 4 - Hythe Town 0
Ryman League South - 23/04/16
Andy Short reports from Faversham...
Hythe Town produced a disappointing performance as they went down 4-0 at Faversham Town on Saturday afternoon.
The game started evenly with Faversham threatening after six minutes as Charley Robertson sent in a dangerous cross from the right but the ball went across the face of goal with nobody available to turn the ball into the net.
However after eleven minutes former Hythe striker Luke Harvey pounced as Mant dropped the ball under pressure and was able to slot the ball home and give the hosts the lead. Hythe were lucky not to go further behind on a quarter of an hour as Liam King fired wide.
Hythe were then unlucky not to get back on even terms on eighteen minutes as Alfie May fired a shot from close range which was well saved by Faversham keeper Will Godman. The rebound fell to May but his second attempt was cleared off the line.
Hythe did continue to look for the equaliser as Dave Cook fired a shot off balance over the target. Hythe were to fall further behind on forty minutes as Dan Carrington was brought down in the penalty area and up stepped Robertson who slotted the ball home.
A couple of efforts to narrow the gap failed as firstly Nick Reeves shot over the bar and then Sawyer had a shot tipped over by Godman. The second half started with an early chance for Robertson who found himself one on one but was denied by Mant and then at the other end May fed Sawyer but his attempt went over the bar.
Another effort from Cloke went just over the bar before Faversham as good as sealed the result just after the hour mark as Harvey headed in from a deep Ryan Cooper cross. Faversham were now fully in charge and with a quarter of an hour to go Dean Grant found himself one on one with Mant but fired wide.
Cloke did have one more attempt for the visitors as he sent a dipping shot just over the bar. However, Faversham continued to press as Renford Tenyue ran onto the ball but shot wide. Faversham finally put the icing on the cake with a minute to go as substitute Keiron Campbell had a shot blocked and the loose ball fell to Stanford who fired home.
One sour note arrived on eighty-three minutes as Craig Cloke received a second yellow card and was shown red to reduce Hythe to ten men. The result means Hythe will now have to visit Worthing this Tuesday in the play-off semi-final and Faversham Town will now visit Dorking Wanderers in the other fixture.
Scorers - Faversham Town - Luke Harvey 11, 63 mins - Charley Robertson 40 mins (pen) - Josh Stanford 89 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Ben Wilson, Josh Burchell, Dave Botterill (Jon Pilbeam - 45 mins), Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook (Jack Mahoney - 74 mins), James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May (Will Thomas - 83 mins), Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Louis Sprosen, John Walker
Attendance - 368
We Did It!
Hythe Town 3 - Chipstead 0
Ryman League South - 16/04/16
Andy Short reports from Reachfields...
Hythe Town cruised into the Ryman League Division One (South) play-offs as they brushed aside a bright Chipstead side 3-0 at Reachfields on Saturday afternoon.
The goalmouth action started as early as the first minute as Hythe’s Jon Pilbeam forced his way through, rounding Chipstead keeper Alex Kozakis, but his attempt was pushed wide. Chipstead played some enterprising football and created some good chances as in the second minute Dan Summers shot high over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.
On six minutes a Sam Charles cross was volleyed by Charlie Carter but that went wide and then Hythe keeper Joe Mant was put to the test as he palmed a Summers shot wide of the target. However it was the hosts who took the lead after a quarter of an hour as a Nick Reeves shot took a deflection off a Chipstead defender and looped over Kozakis into the net.
The ever lively Alfie May created a great chance on the half-hour mark as he weaved in and out of the visitors defence but his final shot from the left went just over. Chipstead captain, Francis Quarm hit a long range shot wide but it was Hythe who were now creating the better chances as May sent in a dangerous cross that Jack Harris could not quite send goal bound.
Pilbeam was then to come into the game as he firstly sent a shot dipping over the crossbar and then provided a searching cross that Frankie Sawyer could not pull back to threaten. Right on the stroke of half-time May gave Hythe a boost as he gave them a two goal lead, blasting the ball home from inside the area after being found by Sawyer.
Chipstead started the second half on the front foot as Saidou Khan shot over from twenty-five yards. At the other end a Sawyer cross was powerfully volleyed over the bar by Craig Cloke who then sent a ball through to Pilbeam but he fired straight into Kozakis’ arms.
May was next to threaten as he pounced on some indecision in the Chipstead defence but he side-footed just wide of the target. However Chipstead looked capable of narrowing the deficit as on seventy minutes Sam Charles crossed clipping the far post and away.
Within six minutes they hit the woodwork again as Sol Pinnock beat Joe Mant but the ball bounced back off the inside of the upright. However it was Dave Cook who rose above the Chipstead defence to head home from a Jack Mahoney corner with nine minutes remaining on the clock to seal the points.
There were a couple more chances for Hythe as firstly May fired just wide from the right and then Mahoney hit a curling shot wide from distance but Chipstead had the last chance of the game as they hit the woodwork for the third time as Carter headed a corner against the post, but Hythe already had the points in the bag and held on to their 3-0 win.
The win ensures a play-off place for the Cannons and three points next Saturday at Faversham will secure a home tie in the semi-final which is scheduled for Tuesday 26th April.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Nick Reeves - 15 mins - Alfie May - 45 mins - Dave Cook - 81 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Connor Hood (Will Thomas - 82 mins), Josh Burchell, Dave Botterill, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, Jon Pilbeam, Frankie Sawyer (Louis Sprosen - 82 mins), Alfie May, Jack Harris (Jack Mahoney - 68 mins) - Unused Subs - John Walker, Charlie Hills
Attendance - 304
Cook & May On Target Again
Sittingbourne 0 - Hythe Town 2
Ryman League South - 09/04/16
Andy Short reports from Sittingbourne...
Hythe Town came away from Sittingbourne with three points in the bag after an efficient 2-0 win on Saturday afternoon.
The Cannons were to dominate the first-half but had to wait until the tenth minute before their first opportunity, as Alfie May broke in from the left but his shot from a narrow angle was pushed wide by Sittingbourne keeper Adam Molloy.
Hythe broke the deadlock on twenty-one minutes as a Jack Mahoney corner found its way to Dave Cook who deftly back heeled the ball into the net from close range. Hythe continued to have all the chances and Frankie Sawyer was next to have an attempt but his snap shot went wide.
May was in the action again, five minutes before the break as he got a toe to the ball from close range but his effort was deflected over the bar. Hythe were to increase their lead on forty-one minutes as a Sawyer cross was flicked on by Dave Botterill who found May on the far post to head home.
The second-half started with Hythe continuing to dominate as Mahoney shot just wide. As the half progressed Sittingbourne began to create some chances as Steven Ita had a free-kick from the edge of the area which went straight into Joe Mant’s arms in the Hythe goal.
However Hythe continued to have the best chances as Sawyer fed the ball to Connor Hood who sent his shot wide. Mant had to be at his best to tip the ball over the bar on sixty-six minutes as Tom Brunt hit a dipping free-kick from twenty-five yards.
Ben Wilson was next to make an attempt as he fired high over on seventy-four minutes. Hythe still had to be on their guard as Hitcham Akhazzan hit a curling shot just wide of the target. A couple of Hythe chances followed as both Jon Pilbeam and Sawyer shot straight at Molloy.
Sittingbourne were denied twice at the end to narrow the deficit, as first Tom Carlse lobbed the ball straight into Joe Mant’s arms and then Ita broke free from defender Craig Cloke but his attempt was hooked wide.
Hythe were to hold on to their two goal lead reinforcing their place in the play-off positions. This was the Cannons fourth win in a row and their eighth away win on the spin.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Dave Cook - 21 mins - Alfie May - 41 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Connor Hood (Will Thomas - 88 mins), Josh Burchell, Dave Botterill, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, Jack Mahoney (Ben Wilson - 52 mins), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Jack Harris (Jon Pilbeam - 68 mins) - Unused Subs - John Walker, Louis Sprosen
Attendance - 136
Crucial Strike From Cook
Hythe Town 3 - Chatham Town 1
Ryman League South - 02/04/16
Andy Short reports from Reachfields...
Hythe eventually came from behind to finish off Chatham Town in a 3-1 win that flattered the hosts in a challenging encounter at Reachfields on Saturday afternoon.
It was a tight first half in which both sides created very few chances. It was Hythe who had the majority of the possession, creating their first chance after five minutes as Frankie Sawyer passed the ball to Dave Cook who fired wide.
Sawyer was to act provider again on eighteen minutes as he fed Nick Reeves whose header thumped against the top of the crossbar and away. It was then Alfie May who passed the ball to Sawyer but his attempt went over the top of the woodwork.
Chatham had to wait until the thirty-sixth minute before they created their first effort as the experienced Luke Medley hooked a shot just wide.
It was a slow start to the second half, but on fifty-one minutes Jon Pilbeam sent in a cross that went dangerously close to the Chatham goalmouth but with no Hythe man to divert the ball into the net.
The home side should have taken the lead on fifty-eight minutes as firstly a Craig Cloke header was cleared away but with the ball coming out to Dave Botterill who with the goal gaping fired against the crossbar.
Then came the moment that seemed to open up the game as Chatham took the lead. Hussan Ibraham put in a throughball to George Humber who slipped his effort past Hythe keeper Joe Mant into the net.
This seemed to spark some urgency into Hythe and it was a free-kick from the edge of the Chatham area that brought the equaliser four minutes later. Alfie May slotted his kick around the wall and despite Chats keeper Jack Bradshaw getting both hands to the ball, he could not prevent it crossing the line.
Sawyer had two opportunities to give the hosts the lead as he shot wide and then was denied by Bradshaw. With ten minutes to go May at full strength at the far post couldn’t quite get to the ball to divert it home, whilst on the break Chatham substitute Ricky Gundry turned in and then out but shot just wide.
With two minutes to go the decisive moment arrived as a Ben Wilson cross was converted by Dave Cook who headed home his first goal of his third spell at Reachfields at the far post to give Hythe the lead.
Hythe settled the points right on full time as Sawyer slid the ball into the path of May and he made no mistake slamming the ball into the back of the net.
It had been a hard earned three points that keeps the Cannons on track for the play-offs as they go into the next fixture at Sittingbourne next Saturday.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Alfie May - 66, 90 mins - Dave Cook - 88 mins - Chatham Town - George Humber - 62 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Ben Wilson, Josh Burchell, Dave Botterill (James Morrish - 64 mins), Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, Jon Pilbeam (Jack Mahoney - 88 mins), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May (Louis Sprosen - 90 mins), Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Connor Hood, Will Thomas
Attendance - 241
Pilbeam Brace On Debut!
Hythe Town 4 - Ramsgate 2
Ryman League South - 28/03/16
Andy Short reports from Reachfields...
Hythe Town fought their way to a well-earned 4-2 win against Ramsgate on Easter Monday to send them up to third place in the table.
There was a cagey start to the match as both sides spent the first ten minutes testing each other out. However, Hythe broke the deadlock on thirteen minutes as new signing, Jon Pilbeam, curled a shot into the top corner of the Ramsgate net to give the hosts the lead.
Ramsgate had their first opportunity on seventeen minutes as free kick specialist Wayne Wilson fired his kick wide of the target. Hythe then increased their lead on twenty-four minutes as Frankie Sawyer got onto a loose ball. The normally reliable Ramsgate goalkeeper Luke Watkins blocked but then spilled the ball into the path of Pilbeam who fired home his second.
Ramsgate striker Ian Pulman then had a shot from distance that went over the bar. However it was Hythe who were now in control as on the half hour Alfie May fed the ball to Pilbeam but the ex-Folkestone midfielder fired wide. Dave Cook was then to have a header cleared off the line and away and from the resulting corner Sawyer hit a snap shot just wide.
Ramsgate were slowly coming back into the game and on forty-three minutes a neatly taken free kick from the edge of the penalty area saw Aaron Quain thread a shot into the corner to give Hythe keeper Joe Mant no chance and bring Ramsgate back into the game. The Rams could have been level a minute before the break as Joe Taylor forced a save from Mant.
The second half started cautiously with few chances. On fifty-one minutes Taylor fired wide and then Pilbeam, in search of his hat-trick, also went wide of the target.
It was then Mant’s turn to make a mistake as a long range free kick from Quain on sixty-eight minutes was misjudged and the ball was spilled by the Hythe keeper and ran into the net to bring the scores level.
The game was now evenly balanced but it was Hythe who edged into the lead as Jack Harris was brought down in the penalty area as he worked in from the by-line. Up stepped Sawyer who buried his penalty past Watkins to make it 3-2 with just over ten minutes to play.
Wayne Wilson was to have one more free kick to threaten the Hythe goal but the shot went high over the bar. Then with two minutes from time a mix up in the Ramsgate area led to the ball rolling goalwards with Harris ensuring the ball crossed the line to seal three points for Hythe.
The result reinforced the Cannons' claim for a play-off place as they moved up two places in the table.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Jon Pilbeam - 13, 24 mins - Frankie Sawyer (pen) - 79 mins - Jack Harris - 88 mins - Ramsgate - Aaron Quain - 43, 68 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Ben Wilson, Josh Burchell, Jon Pilbeam (Dave Botterill - 61 mins), Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish (Jack Mahoney - 73 mins), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Darren Marsden, Louis Sprosen, Connor Hood
Attendance - 232
Back In The Mix
Molesey 1 - Hythe Town 3
Ryman League South - 26/03/16
Andy Short reports from Molesey...
Hythe Town put Tuesday night’s defeat behind them as they took their chances to win 3-1 at fellow play-off hopefuls, Molesey on Saturday afternoon.
It was Hythe who were first out of the blocks as after only three minutes an Alfie May cross was put across the penalty area but Frankie Sawyer could not quite get a touch on it to convert the opportunity into a goal.
Sawyer had another effort on eleven minutes as he received a ball from James Morrish but hooked his attempt over the bar. Hythe continued to press as Jack Harris moved in from the left but he also lifted the ball just over the bar.
The visitors were to convert their next opportunity into a goal on sixteen minutes as a corner in from Jack Mahoney was met by Craig Cloke who glanced the ball past Molesey keeper Liam Allen into the net. Hythe then had an opportunity for a second as Sawyer had a shot from distance saved by Allen.
This seemed to spark the hosts into action as they had a number of chances to bring the scores level. Their first chance came on nineteen minutes as Charlie Samuels mishit a shot wide and then Hythe keeper Joe Mant was on hand to deny James McShane.
Molesey continued to turn the screw with two chances for Samuels as he firstly turned and shot wide and then fired into the side netting. Mant was to save Hythe again as he held a hooked shot from Reis Stanislaus.
Hythe weathered the storm and had one more chance of the half as May beat keeper Allen but with a crowd of players to beat, his shot went into the side netting. Molesey continued to threaten at the start of the second half as McShane forced his way in from the right but his attempt was pushed wide by Mant.
However the Cannons started to take control and on fifty-nine minutes Hythe increased their lead with another piece of genius from May, as he weaved his way in from the left and then curled his shot neatly into the far corner of the net.
The two goal cushion only lasted nine minutes as Molesey skipper Craig Lewington pounced on a loose ball and slammed home to narrow the Hythe lead. However with twenty minutes to go a shot from May was handled in the area and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Up stepped Sawyer who slotted his kick into the right hand corner of the net to seal the three points for the Cannons.
Jack Harris came close to increasing the lead on seventy-seven minutes as he received a ball from Morrish but his effort went wide. Mant was then to produce a quality save as he stretched to push Conor French’s attempt onto the cross bar and away.
Harris came close to putting the icing on the cake as he headed wide from a Sawyer cross, before one sour moment in the last minute as home captain Lewington was sent off for a second yellow card for dissent.
It was however a great afternoon’s work for the Cannons as many of the other results went their way and they created some breathing space in the play-off places.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Craig Cloke - 19 mins, Alfie May - 59 mins, Frankie Sawyer (pen) - 70 mins - Molesey - Craig Lewington - 68 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Ben Wilson, Josh Burchell, James Morrish, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, Jack Mahoney, Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Dave Botterill, Darren Marsden, Louis Sprosen, Connor Hood, Will Thomas
Attendance - 100
Hythe Town 0 - Walton Casuals 3
Ryman League South - 22/03/16
Andy Short reports from Reachfields...
It was a night for Hythe Town to forget as they went down 3-0 to mid-table visitors Walton Casuals on Tuesday evening. It was however Hythe who had the first opportunity as Darren Marsden lobbed the ball from the right side of the box but just over the bar.
It was now the away side who started to take the initiative as Gabriel Odunaike swivelled on the ball but pulled his shot wide. On twelve minutes Hythe did create a chance as Ben Wilson sent in a cross from the left, however Alfie May’s header went over the bar.
On twenty-four minutes Casuals took the lead as a mix up in the Hythe defence was exploited by Omar Folkes pouncing on a loose ball to fire home past Hythe keeper, Joe Mant. On the half hour May challenged again as he cut in from the right firing straight at Casuals' keeper Brannon Daly.
Things got worse for the hosts on thirty-two minutes when Odunaike broke free and calmly lifted the ball over Mant and into the net to increase Walton’s lead. Hythe made a couple of efforts to reduce the arrears as firstly Jack Harris had a shot blocked and then Frankie Sawyer hit a shot straight into a crowd of players but the ball was cleared to safety.
The second half continued in the same vein as Odunaike again threatened for Casuals but his shot ran wide. Hythe’s chances seemed to be restricted to long range efforts as May saw Brannon off his line but his attempt went straight at the visiting keeper.
Craig Cloke had a shot cleared off the line just after the hour mark, however Walton countered and increased their lead a minute later as Joe Mant was forced into a double save before Scott Day fired home Walton’s third.
A couple of Harris attempts put pressure on the visitors defence as he had one shot from the edge of the area that was held by Brannon and then spooned the following attempt just over the bar.
However in the last ten minutes it was the visitors who looked the more the likely as Odunaike had a shot deflected that tested Joe Mant and then another effort that went over the bar.
Mant prevented further blushes for Hythe as he saved a penalty in injury time from Liam Collins. It was a disappointing night for Hythe who must now regroup before the trip to Molesey on Saturday to get their push for the play-offs back on track.
Scorers - Walton Casuals - Omar Folkes - 25 mins - Gabriel Odunaike - 33 mins - Scott Day - 65 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Connor Hood, Ben Wilson, Will Thomas (Dave Botterill - 45 mins), Craig Cloke, Laurence Harvey, Dave Cook, Darren Marsden (James Morrish - 45 mins), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May (Louis Sprosen - 74 mins), Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Josh Burchell, Jack Mahoney
Attendance - 260
Sawyer The Difference
Hythe Town 1 - Three Bridges 0
Ryman League South - 19/03/16
Martin Whybrow looks back on Saturday’s disjointed affair against Three Bridges, settled by an exquisite finish by Frankie Sawyer, rather out of keeping with most of the rest of the proceedings...
Somehow I can’t see Bob shifting too many videos of this one. It was a scrappy game from start to finish, settled by one moment of class from Frankie Sawyer in the 18th minute.
I suspect we were suffering somewhat after the tough match just two days earlier against Hastings and proceedings weren’t helped by a stiff breeze and hard pitch. Joe Mant was able to watch on, untroubled, but we struggled to turn possession into chances.
The exception was that decisive 18th minute breakthrough. Jack Mahoney surged forward with the ball and played it to the feet of Jack Harris. Our centre forward did what he does best, holding it up. He then rolled it into the path of Sawyer who curled it into the top corner of the net from just outside the penalty box. Bridges keeper, Kieron Throp, could only stand and admire the precision trajectory.
We had a couple of other chances in the first half. Not long after the goal, Throp came charging out of his goal and grabbed at thin air but Harris’ scooped shot was cleared off the line by a back-peddling defender. A Ben Wilson free-kick was then deflected just over.
Our visitors came out a bit more intent on playing football after the break. Nevertheless, they could only muster a couple of long range efforts from lanky number eleven, Sam MacVicar, both of which were comfortably saved by Mant.
We had a few half chances of our own, coming closest when Alfie May at full stretch connected with a good low cross from Wilson but his shot ended in the trees behind the far goal. Craig Cloke, who usually finds the trees or the car park with his shots, had a decent volley at the back post saved at close range by Throp. And the keeper also stood tall when May went one-on-one with him late on.
Despite these chances, it looked for a long while before the final whistle as though Sawyer’s classy strike would suffice and so it proved. Given the Hastings game, the points were more important than the style on this occasion, so it was a satisfying afternoon even if the entertainment levels were low.
Scorer - Hythe Town - Frankie Sawyer - 18 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Ben Wilson, Connor Hood, Dave Botterill, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Jack Mahoney (Will Thomas - 70 mins), James Morrish (Darren Marsden - 83 mins), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Laurence Harvey, Louis Sprosen, Dave Cook
Attendance - 168
Hard Fought Point
Hythe Town 1 - Hastings United 1
Ryman League South - 17/03/16
Andy Short reports from Reachfields...
Hythe Town and Hastings United fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw on Thursday evening that keeps both teams in the hunt for the play-off places.
It was Hastings who were the first to create opportunities as in the fourth minute Kevant Serbony hit a shot straight at Hythe keeper Joe Mant and then Billy Medlock hit a free-kick from thirty yards that drifted wide.
The Cannons had to wait until the twelfth minute for their first attempt, from Dave Cook whose long range effort went high and wide.
It was now the hosts who were taking the initiative as Frankie Sawyer’s free-kick found Alfie May who fired wide and then Cook found Sawyer but the striker's attempt was easily saved by Hastings keeper Joe Taylor.
Then on twenty-five minutes came a moment of magic from May, Ben Wilson's free-kick finding its way, via Dave Botterill's lay-off, to the striker who sweetly curled his shot into the top-left corner of Taylor’s net to give Hythe the lead.
The game then became a midfield battle with few chances being created until a minute before the break when Hastings midfielder, Jack McLean, blasted a shot into a crowd of players in the Hythe penalty area but the ball was fell to safety.
Hythe started the second-half on the attack as May headed on to Craig Cloke who spooned the ball over the bar. Simon Johnson had an effort at the other end as he hit a shot high and wide of the target.
May was then to become creator as he fed the ball through to Jack Harris who took a little too much time and his effort was blocked. Former Maidstone and Margate striker Zac Atwood then had a snap left-foot shot go wide.
Hastings then had a slice of luck that their performance deserved as on sixty-one minutes a Billy Medlock free-kick was deflected into the corner of the net to bring the scores level.
Hastings were now looking the more likely as McLean hit in a shot from the left that was well saved by Mant, whilst at the other end May nodded the ball onto Cook who headed wide.
Then came a moment of madness that saw the visitors reduced to nine men, as first Johnson was shown a second yellow card after a heavy challenge and in the aftermath Medlock also received a second yellow for something he said to the Referee.
Hastings then piled their nine men behind the ball to preserve a point and a Botterill volley that went wide was the sole attempt on goal over the last quarter of an hour.
Both sides had to settle for a point that they both deserved on the balance of play during the game with the two sides still in the hunt for those precious play-off places.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Alfie May - 25 mins - Hastings United - Billy Medlock 62 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Connor Hood, Ben Wilson, Dave Botterill, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook (Darren Marsden - 87 mins), James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer (Laurence Harvey - 90 mins), Alfie May, Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Jack Mahoney, Will Thomas, Louis Sprosen
Attendance - 257
Wilson Wonder Strike Wins It!
Whyteleafe 1 - Hythe Town 2
Ryman League South - 12/03/16
Andy Short reports from Whyteleafe...
Hythe Town came back from a poor first half which saw them go in one down to snatch all three points in a 2-1 win at Whyteleafe on Saturday.
Town were very much second best in the first half as Whyteleafe dominated. The first ten minutes were a midfield battle, before the hosts created two chances with firstly a cross from Daryl Coleman that looped over Hythe keeper Joe Mant onto the top of the cross bar and away. Coleman was again in the action when he hooked a shot which was blocked by the Hythe defence.
Whyteleafe turned their supremacy into a goal on nineteen minutes, when Sam Clayton neatly slotted away a shot into the left-hand corner giving Mant no chance.
Hythe had to wait until the 28th minute before they had their first attempt on goal, as Jack Harris moved along the edge of the penalty box before rifling a shot on the turn over the bar. However the pressure still remained on the visitors as on the half hour Clayton unleashed a shot that Mant saved well.
Whyteleafe had one more opportunity ten minutes before the break as Roscoe DSane cut in from the left forcing a another save from Mant to his left.
The second half started in the same vein with debutant Dave Botterill clearing off the Hythe line from an attempt by Coleman. However Hythe started to take the initiative as Botterill flicked the ball onto Craig Cloke but the Hythe defender headed wide.
Substitute Ben Wilson created the next opportunity as he fed the ball into Cloke who this time headed over. Hythe finally drew level on 72 minutes when Alfie May fed the ball into the near post where and Harris forced the ball over the line via a touch from defender Vernon Francis.
It was now Hythe who were looking the most likely to get the winner. With six minutes to go, Laurence Harvey, down the right crossed into Harris who couldn’t get a shot away and then within a minute Harvey headed wide from a Wilson cross.
Wilson was to have the last laugh in injury time as he leapt onto a loose ball on the left hand corner of the penalty area and fired a shot into the top right hand corner giving Whyteleafe keeper Adam Highsted no chance to win all three points.
It was a result that takes the Cannons back into the play-off positions which seemed impossible after the first half performance.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Jack Harris - 72 mins - Ben Wilson - 90 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Connor Hood (Laurence Harvey - 71 mins), Josh Burchell (Ben Wilson - 49 mins), Dave Botterill, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook (Jack Mahoney - 76 mins), James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Jack Harris - Unused Subs - John Walker, Louis Sprosen
Attendance - 112
The Run Is Over
Hythe Town 0 - Dorking Wanderers 3
Ryman League South - 05/03/16
Andy Short reports from Reachfields...
A slack seven minutes just before half-time brought an end to Hythe Town’s winning run as they went down 3-0 at home to Dorking Wanderers on Saturday afternoon.
Dorking had most of the early possession but it was Hythe who had the first effort on goal as Louis Sprosen broke through and shot straight at Dorking keeper Slavomir Huk who blocked easily. Then on seventeen minutes a Darren Marsden cross found Jack Harris who headed the ball into the arms of Huk.
The visitors had to wait until the half-hour mark to threaten the home goal as Tony Oaks hit a curling shot that went just wide of the target. Within three minutes, they threatened again as a free-kick from Tom Tolfrey was directed straight at Hythe keeper Joe Mant.
Mant was on hand again as ex-Folkestone winger Dane Luchford hit a snap shot that was pushed around the upright by Mant. However, the resulting corner swung in to find Luchford who headed in at the near post to give Dorking the lead.
Hythe nearly replied immediately at the other end as a Frankie Sawyer free-kick was headed wide by Craig Cloke. But things got worse for Hythe four minutes before half-time, as Matt Briggs on the left put in a cross that was deflected into his own net by Cloke to make it 2-0.
The collapse was complete two minutes later as Luke Hackett, unchallenged, got on the end of a looping free-kick from Tom Familton and knocked the ball over Mant into an empty net.
The second-half started slowly but it was Hythe who were first to threaten as on the hour Sawyer hit a shot that was held by Huk. Within a minute Dorking were to threaten at the other end as substitute, and former Swindon player Albert Brayley, broke through but spooned the ball over the bar.
However Hythe were still creating chances as substitute Jack Mahoney sent in a cross that found Nick Reeves whose header was tipped over the bar. A couple of chances followed for the visitors as first Luke Hackett turned and shot wide and then Tolfrey broke through but his final shot was poor and went wide.
Hythe seemed to step up a gear in the last five minutes as Ben Wilson firstly put in a ball to Dave Cook whose attempt was tipped over the bar by Huk and then Wilson again put in the cross, this time to Jack Harris whose header was again saved by Huk.
After such a long winning run, it was disappointing for the Cannons to come away with nothing but hopefully this is only a hiccup and they can return to winning ways at Whyteleafe next Saturday.
Scorers - Dorking Wanderers - Dane Luchford - 37 mins - Own Goal - 43 mins - Luke Hackett - 43 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Darren Marsden (Laurence Harvey - 75 mins), Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer (Ben Wilson - 81 mins), Louis Sprosen (Jack Mahoney - 54 mins), Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Connor Hood, Alfie May
Attendance - 233
Peacehaven & Telscombe 0 - Hythe Town 3
Ryman League South - 01/03/16
Tonight was the night the Cannons completed their incredible turnaround! A quite stunning four month run of form has taken Clive Cook and his rebuilt squad from the relegation zone to the play-off places!
Frankie Sawyer's brace made it four goals in three games on a personal level, drawing him level on sixteen goals for the season with Alfie May, whilst Jack Harris' sixth goal in his nine appearances completed a 3-0 win over Peacehaven & Telscombe, the Cannons' ninth successive win!
Andy Short reports on how things unfolded...
It was Hythe who immediately took control of the game as they dominated possession and went ahead on nine minutes when Alfie May fed the ball into Dave Cook. He slid his pass to Frankie Sawyer who slotted the ball past James Shaw in the Peacehaven goal to give the visitors the lead.
Hythe continued to press and it was Josh Burchell who had the next attempt as he toe poked the ball over the cross bar. On twenty-seven minutes Hythe increased their lead as Burchell sent in a ball that found Jack Harris who turned and slid the ball neatly into the net.
Within sixty seconds, Hythe keeper, Joe Mant had to be at his best to deny Jack Funnell whose shot seemed goal bound, Peacehaven’s only genuine opportunity of the half. Hythe were still on top as Ben Wilson had a shot pushed wide by Shaw who then denied both Sawyer and May.
It was however the hosts that had the first opportunity of the second-half, as Josh Marshall broke through but slammed his shot into the side netting. Hythe then got back on top as Conner Hood hit a long range shot wide.
On sixty-three minutes May cut in from the right but his curling attempt went just wide of the far post. The points were sealed for the Cannons four minutes later when Harris found Sawyer with a through ball. Sawyer calmly slotted the ball home to make it 3-0.
With a quarter of an hour to go, Laurence Harvey got on the end of a cross but fired over. Peacehaven did have one opportunity for a consolation near the end as Marshall broke in from the right but his attempt was blocked by Mant.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Frankie Sawyer - 9, 67 mins - Jack Harris - 27 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Connor Hood, Josh Burchell, Ben Wilson (Darren Marsden - 60 mins), Will Thomas, Laurence Harvey, Dave Cook, James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer (Louis Sprosen - 74 mins), Alfie May (Jack Mahoney - 76 mins), Jack Harris - Unused Subs - John Walker, Craig Cloke
Attendance - 54
Against All Odds!
Walton & Hersham 1 - Hythe Town 3
Ryman League South - 27/02/16
Martin Giles reports from Walton & Hersham...
The hosts sadly delapidated Stompond Lane Stadium has rarely been a happy hunting ground for Hythe sides in recent seasons and as the Town faithful gathered here again the early signs were not good.
An icy wind blew across a surface that has seemingly not seen a roller in years, whilst the relegation-threatened 'Swans' prepared to battle for their Ryman lives in front of a singularly unimpressive set of match officials.
The opening seconds (nearly the opening second) saw Alfie May dumped on the seat of his pants and then within four minutes Dave Cook picked up an early caution for an admittedly unwise challenge on the halfway line.
As the game settled a little it was Alfie May who won another free-kick close to goal before casually strolling over to the far post to tuck away Frankie Sawyer's evil low inswinging effort and give his side an early lead.
Star man May was at it again with a strike that was deflected towards home custodian Teixeira whilst at the other end Joe Mant had little trouble with a first timer from Prince M' Bengui, the latest of a long list of new signings that had even the home tannoy announcer struggling.
But the game was deteriorating as Town were being drawn into a battle on the unforgiving surface. On 41 minutes the busy Richard Pacquette produced the highlight of the afternoon for the home support when he deftly glanced in a header from a superbly placed corner to give Joe Mant no chance at all.
Hythe regrouped for the second-half and found their way back in front via a well-worn route when Alfie May picked up a long ball on the left to cut in and fire coolly home past Teixeira.
Seconds later youngster Will Thomas was given a huge vote of confidence when he was chosen by Clive Cook to replace the manager's son, who was by now the subject of a concentrated effort by players and supporters alike to be the recipient of the game's first red card.
However tensions continued to rise and after a callous foul on Frankie Sawyer and then a foul and kick on Louis Sprosen went apparently unseen a mellee developed in front of the derelict main terrace that saw both assistants sprint onto the field of play.
When Sprosen then picked up a caution himself it was time for another "diplomatic" substitution and a further chance for the Cannons to show the depth of their squad when the reassuring figure of Darren Marsden joined the fray.
Town were now taking charge all over the pitch and after Sawyer had provided May with another chance the roles were quickly reversed when Alfie produced a fine low centre that his striking partner blasted into (and nearly through the back of) the net first time.
May then picked up a caution that predictably signalled his departure when he was replaced by Jack Mahoney and the home side started to play some decent passing attacking play albeit without really troubling the confident Mant.
However Referee Brennan was not yet done when he cautioned Craig Cloke for bringing one home player's afternoon to a premature end.and the official then harshly cautioned home defender Adam Fennell whose challenge was more about momentum than bad intent.
On any previous season this was a match that Hythe would have struggled to win but these Cannons are now made of stronger stuff and they received perhaps their highest praise when the small but vociferous home support clapped their heroes off the pitch at the end, seemingly pleased that they had done as well as they might have done against the Ryman League's form side.
Watch Hythe Town's goals at twitter.com/hythetownfc
Scorers - Hythe Town - Alfie May - 17, 51 mins - Frankie Sawyer - 70 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Louis Sprosen (Darren Marsden - 63 mins), Craig Cloke, Laurence Harvey, Dave Cook (Will Thomas - 52 mins), James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May (Jack Mahoney - 77 mins), Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Ben Wilson, Connor Hood
Attendance - 90
Harris The Difference
Carshalton Athletic 0 - Hythe Town 1
Ryman League South - 13/02/16
Jack Harris' fifth goal in six games in a Hythe shirt was the difference between Hythe Town and hosts, Carshalton Athletic. Although Clive Cook's side were not at their best, credit must go to Harris for a fine finish and a third successive clean-sheet for Joe Mant, including a fine penalty save.
The first five minutes couldn’t have gone any better for the visitors as a bright start was rewarded with a deserved early lead.
Dave Cook’s excellent challenge catapulted the ball forward to Frankie Sawyer, who glanced his header into the path of Harris to run clear and slot home a perfectly placed low finish across Luke Colquhoun and into the bottom corner.
The home side responded well, a nice passing move ending with Brendan Murphy-McVey firing over the bar from just inside the Hythe penalty box.
Soon after, Mickel Miller nicked the ball off the foot of Craig Cloke to run clear on the Hythe goal, the forward’s shot finding Mant in defiant fashion, beating an early taken shot away to safety.
But that was probably as entertaining as things got for either set of supporters, Tommy Bradford firing just wide from twenty yards but forcing Mant into another decent save with a far more accurate effort moments later.
Hythe searched for a second as a nice combination between Harris and May sent Sawyer clear on goal, only for the home defence to recover and block the eventual shot from just inside the box.
Half-time arrived soon after Harris had lined up May for a shot that ran just wide from the edge of the box, a chance that, Hythe’s goal aside, summed up much of a first-half that had only threatened to spark into a lively contest.
Unfortunately, for those in attendance the game developed into a drab affair soon after the restart. Hythe seemingly sensing that it wasn’t to be the day for one of their better performances and deciding to hold onto their lead.
The ‘Robins’, encouraged by the apparent stance of their opponents, enjoyed good periods of possession throughout the second-half, but failed to provide a cutting edge to their play.
Jake Downs headed just wide from Murphy-McVey’s corner to the near-post, but the best chance of the half was about to present itself to the hosts.
A poor decision from the Referee led to a Carshalton penalty, Mant unfairly punished for one of football’s unwritten rules; a goalkeeper is not permitted to make a block tackle!
Thankfully, justice prevailed as Mant did brilliantly to beat away Jordan Higgs’ spot-kick, and again as the Hythe post was struck in the following scramble.
Soon after that warning sign Clive Cook introduced the fresh legs of Jack Mahoney and in the closing stages Louis Sprosen, but neither were able to influence proceedings enough for the Cannons to force a second.
After an uneventful second-half, either side could have scored in the final few minutes. Firstly Harris sent Sawyer clear on goal, only for a fine last-ditch block to prevent the Hythe man, with Sprosen going close on the rebound. Deep into injury-time, Robins' substitute, Josh Phillips, fired just wide following an uncleared Carshalton set-piece.
Despite an under-par performance, the Hythe support went home happy and content at another three points, safe in the knowledge that statistics such as three consecutive clean-sheets and six consecutive wins don’t happen by chance.
Scorer - Hythe Town - Jack Harris - 4 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Ben Wilson, Josh Burchell, Darren Marsden (Jack Mahoney - 65 mins), Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May (Louis Sprosen - 85), Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Laurence Harvey, Connor Hood, Will Thomas
Attendance - 234
Brain & Brawn
Hythe Town – 3 - Worthing - 0
Ryman League South - 06/02/16
A quite sensational first-half performance from Clive Cook’s Cannons, and in particular man of the moment, Alfie May, gave Hythe Town their ninth consecutive home win.
The form side of the Ryman South division stormed into a 2-0 half-time lead thanks to a professional high-tempo performance from Cook’s team, inspired by the sheer brilliance of May.
Given the quality of the opposition, a massive effort was still required going into the second-half, even more so once Nick Reeves received a debatable red card within seconds of the restart.
But the home side delivered defensively and the icing was put on the cake when substitute and debutant Jack Mahoney tapped home Hythe’s third deep into injury time.
From the moment this contest kicked off, there was no doubt that this was going to be another excellent advert for Ryman South football at Reachfields.
The visitors were happy to live with the threat of Hythe’s three-man attack, sacrificing the need for a fourth defender to increase their own attacking options.
After an end-to-end ten minutes the game began to shift towards the home side pushing for the opening goal, and they didn’t disappoint.
Darren Marsden and Dave Cook won and retained possession, before Frankie Sawyer exchanged passes with Josh Burchell, who delivered a pinpoint cross that May headed home to cap a wonderful team goal.
The away side responded well as Ben Pope worked his magic in the Hythe box to free himself for a fierce shot that Joe Mant did well to tip around the post.
The end to end theme returned as Sawyer’s knock down was volleyed just wide by Jack Harris, whilst for Worthing Lloyd Dawes glanced Brannon O’Neill’s free-kick dangerously towards goal, Mant again defiant with a good reflex save.
Harris went close again on the half-hour mark, holding up play well before turning and hitting a slightly mistimed volley just past the post from eight yards out.
May was getting pushed and pulled all over the place, and it seemed a theme of the afternoon that the difference between the two sides was that one was a little cuter at avoiding the attentions of Referee Scott Williams.
But the Cannons, and May, came up with the best possible reply as Hythe’s high tempo pressing and work-rate continued to force dangerous situations for their top scorer to feed off.
With only a minute of the half remaining, May doubled both his and his side’s tally with a breathtaking goal. Driving forward from just inside the Worthing half, the striker quickly found himself inside the penalty box but with the close attentions of two recovering Worthing defenders.
With strike-partner Sawyer arriving into the box unmarked there seemed a simple way to complete the move. But May had other ideas, convincing his two markers of that pass being his choice only to revert to taking on Rikki Banks in the Worthing goal.
That act of giving his opponents ‘the eyes’, the turn that followed and the pinpoint finish past Banks was still causing a buzz around Reachfields well into half-time!
Despite the excitement of that first-half performance, there was a clear feeling that this one was far from over, and within a couple of minutes of the action restarting there was a real twist in the tale.
What seemed to be a challenge classed as clumsy by most in attendance led to a straight red card for Nick Reeves, the Cannons having to instantly introduce Laurence Harvey for May, switching to a 4-3-2 formation for the remainder of the contest.
The hosts were understandably rattled, as the dangerous Omar Bugiel bundled his way through a couple of challenges to thump a low shot against the base of Mant’s post, the Hythe keeper pouncing on the rebound.
Clive Cook introduced new signing from East Grinstead Town, Jack Mahoney, into his tiring midfield, but Worthing continued to push as moments later unsung hero Mant had to again be at his best to save from Dawes.
The Hythe keeper has seen less and less of the action during his side’s impressive run in recent months, but has continued to produce his best when called upon, ensuring the key moments go Hythe’s way.
As the final third of the contest panned out, confidence in the Cannons’ camp grew, their defence standing firm and their midfield and attack seemingly finding a second wind.
With the ‘Rebels’ pushing more and more men forward the inevitable third Hythe goal arrived, Craig Cloke’s ball forward finding Sawyer who backed himself to score, only for Banks to produce a fine save, but Mahoney was on hand for the simplest of tap-ins.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Alfie May - 13, 44 mins - Jack Mahoney - 90+4 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Ben Wilson, Josh Burchell, Darren Marsden (Jack Mahoney - 60 mins), Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May (Laurence Harvey - 47 mins), Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Louis Sprosen, Connor Hood, Will Thomas
Attendance - 227
Play-Off Charge Continues
Hythe Town – 4 - Walton & Hersham - 0
Ryman League South - 23/01/16
Clive Cook's Hythe Town's relentless push for the play-offs continued with a 4-0 win over struggling Walton & Hersham. The question is how far can this side go, or what could have been? The Cannons have now amassed 36 points from a possible 45, a tally that puts them top of the form table over the 15 games Cook has been in sole charge of his side.
The latest victory from Reachfields (the 8th consecutive home win) came courtesy of a goal from Louis Sprosen, before Frankie Sawyer (2) and Jack Harris both took their recent goalscoring records to four goals in four games.
The home side didn't take long to start carving out chances against their struggling opponents, Sawyer curling an effort just wide from twenty yards and Alfie May's early sighter slipping off the wet surface to almost surprise Liam Beach in the visitors’ goal.
The 'Swans' were just beginning to find their feet with some useful counter-attack football, when Hythe struck their first goal of the afternoon, Sawyer's looping free-kick glanced home by Sprosen, starting and impressing in place of the unavailable Darren Marsden.
Walton & Hersham's best chance of the whole contest came soon after, early substitute Eden Dewar-Douglas only able to find the side-netting after slipping the Hythe offside trap, the only warning the otherwise excellent Cannons' defence needed.
Sawyer had already gone close running onto Joe Mant's clearance when he again broke clear running onto Dave Cook's through-ball, showing quick feet to round Beach and roll home Hythe's second into the empty net.
Soon after the restart May and Sawyer broke clear on the counter-attack from James Morrish's defence-splitting pass, May's low cross picking out Harris as he joined the move to force Beach into a close-range stop, before the overworked keeper was also equal to Sawyer's follow-up shot.
Ben Wilson's free-kick was met with a majestic header from Harris, but again Beach denied Hythe a third with a fine fingertip save. But nothing could be done to prevent Sawyer sweeping home his second strike of the afternoon, Morrish again providing the assist and Sawyer again showing a complete air of calmness in front of goal.
What followed next was a fantastic little bonus for both the Hythe support and management. Maidstone youngsters, Connor Hood and, making his debut in a Hythe shirt Will Thomas, were both given their first real meaningful action for the Cannons.
Hood has already shown his competence at Ryman South level, with several cameo appearances at right-back in recent weeks. However on this occasion it was Thomas who caught the eye, winning possession back on a regular basis and playing some delightful passes. Both players showed why Clive Cook has been so keen to involve the young duo in his senior set-up.
The other bonus for the hosts was the comeback of Laurence Harvey, returning to action in the closing stages after taking a couple of months off football due to work commitments, Cook's squad really beginning to show it's strength in depth to cover any unavailability issues.
The perfect afternoon was rounded off with yet another goal for Harris, tapping in the rebound from May's saved shot after an excellent cross from Thomas, before the Hythe defence recorded a clean sheet to go with their first victory of the season by a winning margin of four goals.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Louis Sprosen - 20 mins - Frankie Sawyer - 38, 60 mins - Jack Harris - 82 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Ben Wilson (Connor Hood - 68 mins), Josh Burchell, Louis Sprosen, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves (Laurence Harvey - 78 mins), Dave Cook (William Thomas - 61 mins), James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Jack Harris - Unused Subs - John Walker, Danny Keyte
Attendance - 209
Cookie's Cannons March On
Dorking Wanderers - 1 - Hythe Town – 3
Ryman League South - 16/01/16
Jack Harris' third goal in three games in a Hythe shirt, Alfie May's eleventh strike of the season and a rare goal from Craig Cloke gave the Cannons a twelfth win in sixteen games to move within four points of the play-offs.
This was another fine victory for Clive Cook's side and a third successive win over opponents that started each of those contests amongst the play-off spots.
Eight goals have been scored by Hythe across those three games (Folkestone Invicta, Ramsgate and Dorking Wanderers), but the reality is they could have comfortably scored double that number over the same three fixtures.
Considering the quality of opposition during January, it has been a clear sign of the Cannons' play-off intentions, as they look to complete a dramatic turnaround during a season that began with a twelve game winless streak.
The hosts provided a serious threat all afternoon, with the impressive Jake Beecroft pulling the strings in midfield, and the obvious goal threat of top scorer Tom Tolfrey supported by Tommy Hutchings and the familiar face of Dane Luchford.
However, on the couple of occasions the otherwise solid Hythe defence was breached, Joe Mant produced two outstanding saves, whilst at the other end the visitors missed several one on one opportunities, on another day the scoreline could have easily been 6-2.
This was an entertaining and wide-open contest, with chances straight from kick-off, May getting in behind the Dorking defence as early as the fifth minute, supplying a cross that just evaded Frankie Sawyer for a simple close-range tap-in.
Mant made the first of those two fine saves as Tolfrey benefitted from a deflection to run clear on the Hythe goal, only to find the Hythe keeper in defiant fashion, coming off his line to beat away a quickfire effort.
The away side then took an early lead, and one can only assume Matt Briggs spent half-time avoiding eye contact with his team-mates. The midfielder was booked for a ridiculous dive on the edge of his own box that earned a deserved yellow card.
But to make matters worse Craig Cloke's deflected effort from Ben Wilson's resulting free-kick looped up and over Gary Ross in the Dorking goal to give Hythe a deserved lead.
Soon after the restart Harris went close to extending that lead, a good defensive header preventing a simple close-range finish. The home side responded well to going behind, Luchford's cross picking out Beecroft, who fired a rising effort just over the Hythe bar.
Following a frantic first twenty minutes the half developed into a more even midfield tussle, but it could have been different if Darren Marsden had doubled the Cannons’ lead when May sent him clear on goal. But that miss wasn't in keeping with an otherwise superb man of the match display, easily the playmaker's best performance in a Hythe shirt to date.
The opening period of play ended with half-chances for both Hutchings and Sawyer, but the beginning of the second-half brought a return to the open play seen at the beginning of the afternoon. Soon after kick-off May ran clear on goal, his unselfish cross fired well over by an unmarked Sawyer, but it wouldn't be long until he could forget that uncharacteristic miss.
May did brilliantly to carry the ball from the halfway line, earning a corner for his side after they had just defended one themselves. Sawyer then used his striker's instinct to place the ball perfectly to the near-post where an appreciative Harris poked home his third Hythe goal in as many appearances.
Again the visitors missed the opportunity to kill the game off, May only able to find the side-netting after James Morrish, excellent alongside Dave Cook in front of the Hythe defence, had sent his striker clear on goal after winning possession back in midfield.
Suddenly the home side were back in it, as Tolfrey took advantage of a slip from Wilson to bury a quality finish from the edge of the box that went across Mant's goal and into the bottom corner. The standard of finish showing why the striker already has nineteen goals to his name this season.
Dorking were now playing their best football of the afternoon as Hutchings found the side-netting with a dangerous shot and Tony Oaks skied his effort at the end of a decent flowing move, whilst Sawyer again went close for Hythe on the counter-attack.
With ten minutes left on the clock, Mant showed both his class and his concentration levels behind a defence that rarely leaves their goalkeeper exposed. Oaks was again the player trying his luck from the edge of the box, and this time the shot was goalbound and at pace. But the Hythe man responded with a fine full-stretch fingertip save over the bar to maintain his side's lead.
With injury-time imminent, the hosts were understandably taking risks and throwing men forward in search of an equaliser. Finally May made his opponents pay with a deserved goal, latching onto Marsden's throughball to cut inside a stretched home defence and slot home under Ross to seal the three points.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Craig Cloke 12 mins - Jack Harris 59 mins - Alfie May 89 mins - Dorking Wanderers - Tom Tolfrey 62 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Ben Wilson, Josh Burchell, Darren Marsden, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Jack Harris - Unused Subs - Laurence Harvey, John Walker, Louis Sprosen, Connor Hood, William Thomas
Attendance - 107
Ramsgate 1 - Hythe Town – 3
Ryman League South - 02/01/16
Jack Harris' first two goals in a Hythe Town shirt sealed another highly impressive three points for Clive Cook's Cannons. A late consolation from Ian Pulman threatened to ruin the day for the visitors, only for Frankie Sawyer to add a third to his side's tally within seconds of the Rams' goal.
This was only the hosts' third home defeat of the season, and following an edgy opening half the Reachfields outfit dominated their opponents during a one-sided second-half performance reminiscent of Sunday's win over league leaders' Folkestone.
After the extreme high of their performance and result on Sunday, the big question going into this next Kentish derby was if Hythe would be able to lift themselves to go again.
The opening exchanges soon put the visiting supporters’ minds at rest. Although their side didn’t quite click into gear during a tight opening period of play, it was clear from kick-off that they were in no mood to undo all the good work of six days prior.
Without being at their fluent best and playing into the fierce wind and later rain, the away side still forced seven corners at one end of the pitch, whilst only giving the home side the odd sniff of goal at most during the opening forty-five minutes.
In fact the visitors should have taken the lead as early as the third minute, when Phil Stevenson came forward and picked out an unmarked Sawyer on the penalty-spot, a poor first-touch, in the wind and rain, killed the opportunity and also suggested the impact the weather would have on proceedings.
The same combination worked for Hythe moments later, as Stevenson’s cross again picked out Sawyer, this time outside the box, the striker’s shot looping just wide via a deflection.
With five of those first-half corners arriving within ten minutes, it was Clive Cook’s side looking the more likely. But their opponents did have pace in abundance in wide areas, with full-backs Jake Mackenzie and (early substitute) Jack Paxman a real menace on the counter-attack.
Sawyer continued to be the main threat for the Cannons, dragging one shot wide after being found in space by Darren Marsden, and then having another decent effort blocked after good work from strike-partners Jack Harris and Alfie May.
For all the probing from Hythe and the threat on the counter from the Rams, in truth neither keeper had been forced into any real action. But things may have been very different at half-time if Tom Loynes had done better than dragging wide after slipping the Hythe offside trap.
Minutes later, a good long throw routine reached Joe Taylor at the back-post, but the striker made a poor connection as Joe Mant gathered with ease. It was a quiet afternoon for nineteen goal Taylor, with credit going to the Hythe defence for snuffing out the main threat for the home side.
The second-half was a very different affair, as it soon became apparent which side had dealt with the varying weather conditions of each half the better. Plenty of credit must also go to the Hythe management team who clearly said all the right things at half-time.
Driven on by the excellent Ryan Johnson and Dave Cook, Marsden and the impressive Harris both found themselves much higher up the pitch with Sawyer and May benefiting massively as a result, much like they had against Folkestone.
The opening chance of the half arrived just moments after the restart with Harris’ dinked pass finding Sawyer, who in turn set up May to scoop his shot just over. Soon after May went close again, shaving the outside of the post after Hythe’s pressing led to the ball ricocheting into the man in form’s path.
But the threat on the counter-attack remained from the Ward brothers’ side, as Pulman stung the palms of Mant only seconds after a Hythe corner had been successfully defended.
However, Hythe were relentless and seven minutes into the half they struck via Harris, who bundled home his first Hythe goal after Sawyer recentred, the hosts failing to deal with May’s initial cross.
May continued to threaten a goal of his own, benefiting from Johnson marauding forward and riding two challenges to play the striker in on goal, but on this occasion the home defence recovered to crowd out the Hythe attack.
Good work from the in-form Josh Burchell, lined up a Marsden shot that flew just over, as did Sawyer’s free-kick from just outside of the box, with a second goal for the Cannons imminent.
When it arrived it was in almost identical fashion to the opener. Again it was May providing the dangerous cross to Sawyer, who this time took on a shot that deflected and looped towards the crossbar, Harris first to the ball again to convert at close-range.
It was looking game over for Ramsgate, and as they threw extra men into attack it could have been, Marsden running clear on goal, unselfishly attempting to pick out Sawyer’s run when he probably should have taken on the shot himself.
With three sets of fresh legs on for Hythe and three minutes of injury-time signalled, it appeared that the away side had finally done enough to secure another excellent three points.
But this is the ultra-competitive Ryman South, and when a mishit back-pass put Pulman clear on goal, the experienced frontman didn’t need another invitation to curl home his thirteenth goal of the season and suddenly spring the game back into life.
Thankfully, Hythe didn’t panic, defending calmly as the home support roared their side on, only to fall quiet again as Sawyer slotted home his tenth goal of the season under a massively exposed Luke Watkins in the Ramsgate goal.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Jack Harris - 52, 72 mins - Frankie Sawyer - 90+2 mins - Ramsgate - Ian Pulman - 90+1 mins
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Phil Stevenson (Connor Hood - 82 mins), Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, Jack Harris, Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May (Craig Thompson 79 mins), Darren Marsden (Ben Wilson 77 mins) - Unused Subs - John Walker, Louis Sprosen
Attendance - 207
A VERY Merry Christmas!
Hythe Town – 2 - Folkestone Invicta - 1
Ryman League South - 27/12/15
It was a VERY Merry Christmas at Reachfields as a bumper crowd of 1527 witnessed an exceptional performance from the Cannons to defeat league leaders, Folkestone Invicta, 2-1.
Alfie May was the hero, hitting an 84th minute winner, but on another day Hythe’s inspirational forward could (should) have scored four.
May’s chances along with Frankie Sawyer’s goal, a clear chance for new signing Jack Harris, and what should have been a penalty for Tim Roberts’ challenge on Darren Marsden, meant that this one could have easily erased that game Hythe ‘eight’ to talk about from all at Reachfields’ memories forever!
But on this occasion, the visiting side at Christmas got lucky, because so far we have only covered the clear chances that Hythe ‘should’ have scored from. The fact was that there was also a huge amount of chances they ‘could’ have put away!
Make no mistake, as things stand, Neil Cugley’s side should have the last laugh as they remain clear favourites for the Ryman South championship, still sitting nine points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand.
However, if Clive Cook’s side can deliver performances like this on a regular basis, then the play-offs are without doubt a realistic target, maybe we will still have a Shepway derby next year after all?
But let’s focus on the here and now, this was the Cannons’ ninth win from Cook’s twelve games in charge, placing them seven points from play-off contention in 13th place, in the huge scramble for the top five.
Every member of the Hythe starting line-up offered enough to warrant the ‘Man of the Match’ award, even goalkeeper Joe Mant, largely a spectator in this one-sided contest, made a crucial save with his side 1-0 down to keep the hosts alive going into half-time.
The home side should have been 3-0 up within seven minutes, Josh Burchell’s ball forward into the path of Harris, led to a fine pullback through the six-yard box that ran through the legs of May with the goal gaping.
Just a minute later Burchell was the provider again, May leaving the Invicta defence for dead, shooting low past Roberts but off the outside of the post and wide.
Harris was really showing why he has been a long-term target for Cook, the Hythe Manager revealing many weeks ago his wish for a flexible three man attack, and the debutant was again involved as he just found the side-netting at close-range, the score remarkably still 0-0.
May was giving the Folkestone defence the runaround, drawing fouls from Matt Newman and Josh Vincent, the latter picking up a caution he would later regret. But out of nowhere Neil Cugley’s side took the lead, as Ian Draycott smashed home from the penalty spot after Phil Stevenson’s trip on Nat Blanks as he burst into the Hythe box.
Ten minutes later came that crucial block from Mant as he made a brilliant save with his legs from Draycott, after former Hythe man, Ashley Miller, had sent his strike-partner clear on goal.
But the Folkestone purple patch was over and Hythe were soon applying pressure again, May’s strike from distance spilt by Roberts but smothered before Sawyer could capitalise.
The hosts thought they had a penalty of their own when Vincent appeared to handle May’s next effort on the goal-line, but video footage showed it to be an excellent decision by Referee Leigh Crowhurst, the Folkestone defender getting ‘hit’ at close-range with his arms in front of his body.
The half closed with speculative efforts from Carl Rook and Craig Cloke as the huge crowd, a credit to the Hythe Town Board who made the decision to move the game from Boxing Day, spent half-time getting their heads round a frantic first forty-five minutes.
It was more of the same after the interval, as the Cannons continued to dominate proceedings, Harris’ flick setting up Sawyer, who stung Roberts’ hands with a near-post effort early in the second-half
Harris was the provider yet again, playing May one on one to round Roberts only to have his goalbound effort scrambled clear by the recovering Invicta defence, but a deserved equaliser would finally arrive just after the hour mark.
May’s superb through-ball sent Sawyer racing clear into the left-hand channel, to cut back inside and smash home a low near-post effort that Roberts would have been disappointed to let through his grasp.
Leigh Crowhurst had got the big decision correct in the first-half, but it wasn’t the case in the second, as Marsden raced clear on goal only to be booked for diving, after Roberts had clearly tripped the former Folkestone man. All things considered though, it was a solid display from the officials in a massive game with a large attendance.
Harris and Sawyer combined to set-up yet another May opportunity, the danger-man’s latest effort rolled across goal and just wide. Minutes later the visitors were reduced to ten men as Vincent received a second yellow card for a clumsy follow through challenge on Dave Cook.
Roberts continued his eventful afternoon, handling outside the penalty box but avoiding a booking, whilst at the other end the underworked Mant was still alert enough to race off his line and comfortably clear as Scott Heard threatened to chase down a rare half-chance.
But the script had been written for May, who finally scored a deserved and dramatic winner with six minutes remaining on the clock, tapping home in the simplest of fashion from Harris’ centre, whose run onto Nick Reeves’ free-kick had drawn Roberts off his line.
Scorers - Hythe Town - Frankie Sawyer 66 mins - Alfie May 84 mins - Folkestone Invicta - Ian Draycott 23 mins (pen)
Hythe Town - Joe Mant, Phil Stevenson, Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, Jack Harris, Frankie Sawyer (Craig Thompson 90 mins), Alfie May, Darren Marsden (Ben Wilson 85 mins) - Unused Subs - Louis Sprosen, Connor Hood, William Thomas
Attendance - 1,527
Three Is Not The Magic Number
Three Bridges - 3 - Hythe Town – 0
Ryman League South - 19/12/15
Hythe Town suffered their third defeat in thirteen games, away to an out of form Three Bridges side. This venue has not been a happy hunting ground for the Cannons since both clubs were promoted to the Ryman South five years ago, and so it proved again as defensive errors and a lack of ideas going forward contributed to a result that was never in doubt.
Clive Cook's side put in a performance to forget and a display they will want to put behind them at the next possible opportunity, which just happens to be the big Shepway derby at home to Folkestone Invicta on Sunday 27th December, kick-off 3pm. What better place to start?!
The opening exchanges suggested a typical December encounter in the Ryman South, with the heavy pitch largely turning this contest into a test of work-rate, discipline and togetherness, but still with enough quality on show to keep both defensive units on their toes.
But it wouldn’t be long until the first error from a Hythe player would hand the home side the initiative. Matt Daniel caught Phil Stevenson in possession on the half-way line and burst forward into the vacated space, completing a fine move with a one-two around the out of position Hythe defence and a smart low finish at Joe Mant’s near-post.
The half drifted on and despite some bright moments from Craig Thompson and Frankie Sawyer, supported by Ben Wilson, the next clear chance fell to Hakeem Adelakun whose curling effort was tipped around the post well by Mant.
With half-time approaching and the scoreline remaining at 1-0, it appeared that the Cannons had completed an acceptable job of steadying the ship, with a half-time regroup and second-half to look forward too.
Unfortunately, further defensive errors led to a very different mood at the interval. Dave Cook passed into Ryan Johnson on the edge of his own box, the midfielder uncharacteristically losing possession and then giving away a penalty that Jamie Brotherton slotted home low into the corner.
It was clear something different was required and it arrived in the shape of a 4-3-3 formation, with Cook pushed up into the forward line. It was a change that was hinting at a Hythe revival when Wilson’s near-post corner was headed just over by Craig Cloke.
However, no sooner had the visitors threatened to find a way back into the game, they had conspired to throw it away, as Nick Reeves was shrugged off the ball far too easily by Adelakun who promptly lobbed Mant, the Hythe keeper understandably in position for a potential back-pass.
Changes followed for the away side, Darren Marsden replacing James Morrish and Alfie May, resting a manageable knock, replacing Thompson. Soon after Louis Sprosen returned to competitive action in place of Wilson.
The changes probably prompted Hythe’s best football, with several corners forced, Cloke going the closest to a consolation with a back-post header. Whilst May’s off the ball movement clearly showed what Hythe had been missing not just in attack, but all over the pitch.
But this was not to be Hythe’s day, as probably their best move of the game involved Sawyer, Marsden and then May, whose deflected shot ran just wide to end a frustrating afternoon.
Scorers – Three Bridges – Matt Daniel – 18 mins – Jamie Brotherton (pen) – 45 mins – Hakeem Adelakun – 58 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Phil Stevenson, Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c) (Darren Marsden – 59 mins), Frankie Sawyer, Craig Thompson (Alfie May – 59 mins), Ben Wilson (Louis Sprosen – 69 mins) – Unused Subs – Connor Hood, William Thomas
Attendance - 77
Cannons Misfire At Worthing
Worthing - 2 - Hythe Town – 0
Ryman League South - 15/12/15
Martin Giles reports on how events unfolded at Worthing...
The age-old problem of getting a midweek side together after a days work, to travel a long distance and take control of a match against an enthusiastic home team, proved just a little too much for Clive Cook's Cannons. An additional problem though was that the day's rainfall had saturated the 3G playing surface and the Rebels knew just how to exploit this to their advantage.
Hythe's back four took their time to find their feet, enjoying plenty of possession at the back, but going forward their passes were often mis-directed or over hit. Worthing at times played a patient game, breaking forward in numbers and with controlled pace, keeping the ball on the deck where it behaved more predictably.
The home side went ahead on seventeen minutes, when Ryan Quirke combined with Harvey Sparks to cross to the right of the box where Isaac Newton blasted home on the volley low into the net. Hythe captain James Morrish hit back straight away to give Frankie Sawyer a chance, but his ferocious shot went just wide.
On the half-hour Callum Overton’s effort was well saved by Joe Mant, and for Hythe Dave Cook's ball found the in-form Alfie May in space but the striker was unable to get an effective shot away.
Mant was in action again to foil Matt Axell, whilst home danger man and skipper Lloyd Dawes blazed over when well placed, as the first-half ended with a spell of end to end play that set the 207 crowd up for a promising second-half.
True enough Town were quickly out of the blocks after the break, and Sawyer this time tested keeper Rikki Banks. But the Hythe faithful were getting used to the fact that the ball was being given away in much the same fashion as it was at Chipstead, but against far more threatening opposition.
Nick Reeves's poor attempt at a forward pass unfortunately ballooned back to leave Craig Cloke stranded and left to chase Will Hendon and ultimately concede a crucial penalty, neatly tucked away by Dawes on the hour.
As at Chipstead Craig Thompson was introduced to replace Ben Wilson and give the home side something different to cope with up front as Town went for broke, but it all seemed too little too late and every time the ball was lost there was a lightening quick response from the home side.
Mant saved well from Dawes and then turned sweeper to come out as far as the corner flag only to be sidestepped and see Quirke blast over wastefully from six yards as he chased back. By now Phil Stevenson and young Connor Hood had replaced the injured May and Morrish and it was all over bar the shouting.
Town will look back on this game after a fine run and perhaps reflect that they might have had the confidence to seize the initiative in this one, rather than try and take the sting out of things with a measured but fairly negative approach. On the other hand unless that initiative brought results the scoreline may well have been rather more damaging than it actually was.
Both teams will probably end the season well-placed but there is no doubting the fact that a huge cash influx from one man has led to higher expectations from a club with a bigger standing and a productive youth system.
Scorers – Worthing – Zack Newton – 17 mins – Lloyd Dawes (pen) – 59 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Ben Wilson (Craig Thompson – 61 mins), Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c) (Connor Hood – 80 mins), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May (Phil Stevenson – 73 mins), Darren Marsden – Unused Subs – Louis Sprosen, William Thomas
Attendance - 207
Thommo Seals The Win!
Chipstead - 1 - Hythe Town – 2
Ryman League South - 12/12/15
Craig Thompson's 85th minute winner sealed a dramatic turnaround, as the Cannons kept their winning run going to defeat a lowly Chips side beginning to find their form under new manager, former Tooting & Mitcham man, Craig Tanner.
With recent squad changes for the hosts along with the swirly wind and heavy pitch, this was one of those games where the away side would have taken a scrappy win by the odd goal to return home with the points in the bag.
However, when starting keeper, Milan Stojsavljevic pulled up in the warm-up, to be replaced by on-loan left-back Kristian Campbell (with some time last spent in goal during his youth), it was the start of a sequence of events that would push the ‘points at any cost’ theory to its limits!
What followed was probably the Cannons’ poorest display of the Clive Cook era, which together with the anticipated wonder saves from the stand-in keeper. and a questionable penalty decision, looked to be derailing the outstanding form of the Reachfields outfit.
But, in the final third of the contest, the visitors came alive to equalise and then hit a dramatic winner, two goals that reminded those in attendance of their attacking potential, and rewarded the work-rate and defensive efforts of a side fully aware they were having a ‘bad day at the office’.
With Stephen Butcher completing a move to Ramsgate towards the end of the week, Craig Thompson returned to the Hythe squad, whilst Jamie Collado replaced Darren Marsden in Cook’s starting line-up. Both Thompson and Marsden would come off the bench to play a massive part in the late turnaround.
It may have been a very different afternoon, if Dave Cook’s volley had made it through a crowded area, as Campbell spilt the first (and final) testing ball into the rookie keeper’s penalty box during the first-half, or if Sol Pinnock had received more than a yellow card for leaving Collado with a bloody nose inside the first ten minutes.
Pinnock’s booking was one of four for Chipstead, and the fact that the Cannons returned home without entering the referee’s notebook even once, despite the provocation and time-wasting tactics on display, was commendable.
However, despite all of the off-the-ball tactics, the Chips were also delivering a fine display on it, with stand-in left-back, Howard Newton, doing his ‘goalkeeper’ proud as his replacement, with some fine wing-play to pin Hythe back for long periods of the opening half.
The home side enjoyed several good opportunities during this period on top, but found Joe Mant’s handling as competent as their final shots were speculative, with the Hythe keeper pretty much as untroubled as his opposite number.
Two key moments arrived either side of half-time, as Campbell produced an excellent double save from Frankie Sawyer, the first a fine reflex stop, as Alfie May’s flick played his strike-partner in on goal for a close-range volley. Sawyer would be frustrated again as Campbell beat away the follow-up shot.
Seven minutes into the second-half it was actually Tanner’s side who took the lead, Ben Wilson harshly adjudged to have pushed in the box and Pinnock calmly stroking home the spot-kick, Mant picking the ball out of the net for the first time in just over 400 minutes of football.
Hythe looked to bounce straight back, as Sawyer latched onto a Mant clearance to clip the outside of the Chipstead post, but the first change for the visitors arrived soon after, Marsden given thirty minutes to unlock the hosts’ stubborn defence.
With the playmaker now pulling the strings in midfield, the Cannons were turning the screw as Wilson’s low shot was brilliantly turned around the base of the post by Campbell, before Thompson was also added to the Hythe forward-line.
With fifteen minutes remaining, Marsden delivered, with a lovely through-ball sending May in behind the Chipstead defence to expertly roll home his fifth goal in three games, and his ninth for the season.
It was then that man May again, who with five minutes on the clock played the role of creator, with an excellent ball down the right of the Chips’ back-line. It was all left for Thompson to seal the glory of the three points, slipping the offside trap to round Campbell and roll home a tightly angled finish.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Alfie May – 74 mins - Craig Thompson - 85 mins - Chipstead - Sol Pinnock (pen) - 52 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Phil Stevenson (Craig Thompson - 70 mins), Ben Wilson, Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Jamie Collado (Darren Marsden - 61 mins) – Unused Subs – Josh Burchell, Connor Hood, William Thomas
Attendance - 40
Hythe Town – 3 – South Park - 0
Ryman League South - 08/12/15
An outstanding hat-trick from Alfie May saw off the Cannons’ latest challenge, a visit from a struggling yet still capable South Park outfit, who had recorded a good 2-0 win over Dorking Wanderers on the Saturday.
In truth, it was the struggling side of South Park that was presented in the first-half at Reachfields, and the Cannons were probably guilty of not putting the game to bed during a dominant 1st half display.
The inevitable second-half backlash took place from the visitors, but a combination of poor finishing and excellent defending, including a great couple of saves from Joe Mant, meant we will never know how Hythe would have reacted to conceding their first goal in what has become 350 minutes of clean-sheet football.
Ultimately, they dug in to show yet more of the brilliant team spirit Clive Cook has helped create within this new-look squad. The evening ended in perfect fashion with a deserved third strike for Hythe and May, who stole the show with an exceptional overhead volley to seal his hat-trick.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to make the breakthrough, but it could have been even earlier when Frankie Sawyer found the side-netting after some good work from Nick Reeves and James Morrish had sent the forward clear on goal.
That miss wouldn’t matter as Hythe scored their first in the eleventh minute of the contest, Sawyer lifting his pass over the last man to find the perfectly timed run of May, who with only James Wastell to beat smashed his low shot in off the body of the Sparks’ keeper.
Joe Jackson fired a drifting effort across Mant’s goal and just wide, but in truth it was all Hythe and midway through the first-half they doubled their lead. Darren Marsden won possession high up the pitch, and via the pass of May, it was Sawyer’s turn to take on Wastell. Sawyer beat Wastell, but not the post, however an alert May converted the rebound in simple fashion.
The best and worse of South Park was on show in the closing stages of the opening half, as Jackson somehow escaped with only a booking for a blatant arm in the face, an action in keeping with his side’s recent disciplinary problems. Back to the football and the alert Kieran Lavery almost made Hythe pay for a defensive slip, although Mant had different ideas with a fine low save.
The home side almost grabbed a third on the stroke of half-time, but their opponents found some defensive quality as Asa Rixon-Nicholls read May’s clever reverse pass to send Sawyer clear on goal, following some excellent work from Phil Stevenson down the right in the build-up.
It looked like it would be more of the same from Cook’s side, as soon after the restart Ben Wilson’s long mazy run ended with a low near-post effort that could only find the side-netting. But the away side had clearly regrouped and found some focus, going on to create several clear chances as Hythe laboured.
The Cannons therefore were grateful for Mant calmly collecting Jack Macleod’s tame close-range effort, and shortly after when Reeves hooked clear from the line after Lavery’s shot was parried by Mant and spinning towards the open goal.
Macleod continued to misfire as a close-range header found the roof of the Hythe net, and by the time Mant had denied Lavery again, his outstretched boot making the save of the game, Cook had seen enough, introducing the fresh legs of Jamie Collado to gain some control back of the contest.
The work-rate of Collado, along with the added reinforcements of young debutant, Connor Hood, and in the closing minutes the experienced Craig Thompson, finally saw off a spirited second-half display from South Park who by now had accepted the game was gone.
It was left for May to send the Hythe support home buzzing with a reminder of their side’s first-half quality. The striker definitely left the best till last, as he secured his hat-trick with a quite brilliant overhead volley into the net directly from Ben Wilson’s corner, that ended the Hythe ‘Goal of the Season’ contest there and then!
Scorer – Hythe Town – Alfie May – 11, 26, 86 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Phil Stevenson (Connor Hood - 83 mins), Ben Wilson, Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May (Craig Thompson - 87 mins), Darren Marsden (Jamie Collado - 73 mins) – Unused Subs – William Thomas, Josh Burchell
Attendance - 106
Reeves Breaks The Deadlock
Hythe Town – 2 – Faversham Town - 0
Ryman League South - 05/12/15
This wasn’t to be the ‘classic’ for the neutrals that many had anticipated (those games rarely are), as two of the most in-form teams in the division cancelled one another out for an hour or so before a superb set-piece from the hosts finally ignited this tight and edgy game.
Putting aside those hopes for an eye-catching contest, Clive Cook’s side once again took the plaudits. Despite the away side enjoying some of the better possession in the opening half, there was a feeling throughout that the Cannons were more than comfortable playing the waiting game.
The moment they took the lead Hythe reacted to Faversham taking more attacking risks by doing so themselves, and with a 1-0 cushion, played with the confidence to end the game well on top of their opponents, scoring a deserved second to wrap up the three points.
There was very little threat on offer from either attack in the opening forty-five minutes, with the defensive and midfield areas well on top of the other sides’ forwards. As a result, a handful of half-chances was all either of these local rivals could muster up for those in attendance.
The experienced John Scarborough volleyed accurately, but without the firepower to trouble Joe Mant to get things started. Whilst former Hythe man and new Faversham skipper, Ryan Cooper, headed brilliantly to safety as Phil Stevenson picked out an unmarked Alfie May at the back-post.
May dragged his shot across goal and wide following a short corner routine with Josh Burchell, whilst for Faversham George Monger re-centred an uncleared corner and Matt Bourne skewed his shot wide. The half ended with a strong penalty shout as Dave Cook appeared to be manhandled to the ground as a Hythe corner flew through the box.
As half-time came to a close, it was Ray Turner who made the first move, the dangerous duo of Stuart King and Josh Stanford replacing Renford Tenyue and Charley Robertson in a possibly pre-planned change.
If anything, it was Cook’s side who came out with an improved showing in the second period of play, the Lilywhites scrambling clear as May headed Burchell’s cross into the path of Frankie Sawyer almost straight from kick-off.
Second-half substitute Ben Wilson impressed for Hythe, and it was his uncleared free-kick that almost led to May converting at the back-post. When the breakthrough arrived it was Wilson with the assist again, Nick Reeves meeting his corner with an impressive close-range volley to give William Godmon no chance.
Marsden was beginning to pull the strings against his previous club, and along with James Morrish and Ryan Johnson, the Hythe midfield were now getting on top of their opposite numbers, as good chances for Sawyer and May came and went.
The visitors seemed to have run out of ideas as they simply just pushed more men forward with seemingly no real plan for the increased numbers amongst their forward-line. The Cannons were happy to take advantage of the increasing space to play their football in. One run from the half-way line almost gave Phil Stevenson a goal of the season contender, if not for a last-ditch block on the Hythe man.
With ten minutes remaining Hythe had their second, Morrish and Marsden leading the charge on the counter-attack, May and Sawyer’s runs isolating the final Faversham defender, allowing the latter to pick out his strike-partner for a simple finish at the back-post.
Stanford almost provided some injury-time jitters, but his wayward shot at close-range was in keeping with the script for the home support, who quite rightly gave their team a fine reception at the final whistle.
It is now six league wins in seven for the in-form Cannons, in a run that has seen only two goals conceded, and all this from a squad that has effectively only been blended together in the last six weeks or so, there appears to be exciting times ahead at Reachfields.
Scorers – Hythe Town - Nick Reeves - 65 mins - Alfie May - 80 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Phil Stevenson, Josh Burchell (Ben Wilson - 65 mins), Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Darren Marsden – Unused Subs – Jamie Collado, Stephen Butcher, Connor Hood, William Thomas
Attendance - 203
Sawyer Brace As Cannons March On
Hythe Town – 2 – Sittingbourne - 0
Ryman League South - 28/11/15
Two more goals from Frankie Sawyer saw off visiting Sittingbourne as Clive Cook's side registered their fifth win in six league games. This wasn’t a fluent display from the Cannons, but Sawyer’s goals along with Hythe’s professionalism in delivering a fourth clean-sheet in six games gave them the points.
Looking back at Cook’s short reign to date it becomes clear that a pattern is developing, that being his side are winning games that on another day they could have drawn. But in the games they are winning more comfortably, they are also delivering some really eye-catching performances.
Those two habits are leading to a healthy mixture of being a side that can both knuckle down and entertain in equal measure, and that is the blend that has delivered the points to take them from 22nd to 15th in the league table.
Despite a scrappy opening half-hour, the hosts came close to taking the lead in the ninth minute, as the quick-thinking Joe Mant’s drop-kick put Alfie May in behind the Sittingbourne defence, his instinctive lob beating Adam Molloy but running just wide.
It was Sawyer who looked the most likely for Hythe throughout and the in-form striker had a decent effort held by Molloy after good work from May and in the build-up, Josh Burchell and Ben Wilson.
Five minutes from half-time Sawyer struck, as Hythe were awarded a retaken free-kick after the Referee adjudged the Brickies’ wall had rushed out too quickly. If that was the correct call then the visitors received the harsh punishment of going in 1-0 down at the interval, as Sawyer’s free-kick deflected past the wrong-footed Molloy.
Things could have been worse for Nick Davis’ struggling side though, as soon after Hythe’s breakthrough May watched his close-range effort deflect just over the bar, after some excellent work from Wilson had led to a dangerous low cross.
The goal had really woken Hythe up, with the home side not really wanting half-time to arrive. In the last action of the half May again came close to doubling his side’s lead, with a well-hit effort that was comfortably flying in, before a defensive header redirected the ball away from the top corner of Molloy’s goal.
The Cannons made better use of the ball in the second-half, but Sittingbourne were taking more risks themselves as the game began to open up. For Hythe, May’s header threatened to send Darren Marsden clear on goal, whilst former Folkestone man Dane Luchford should have done better than firing wide after a rare raid in behind the Hythe defensive line.
Soon after, Jono Richardson’s header landed on the roof of Mant’s net and May fired just wide after a great ball on the counter-attack from Phil Stevenson. But it would be a day to forget for May in front of goal, as he blasted Sawyer’s centre over the bar with the empty net at his mercy, thankfully his usual effort and work-rate had stood out despite leaving his shooting boots at home!
It was down to the outstanding Sawyer, possibly an unsung hero in this recent run of results, to secure the points. As the Brickies pushed high up the pitch, James Morrish brilliantly won possession on the half-way line before sending an exquisite pass into the path of Sawyer, who lifted the ball over the advancing Molloy with a classy first-time finish.
Scorer – Hythe Town - Frankie Sawyer – 40, 82 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Ben Wilson, Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Phil Stevenson, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May (Craig Thompson - 84 mins), Darren Marsden (Jamie Collado - 75 mins) – Unused Subs – Stephen Butcher, Connor Hood, William Thomas
Attendance - 221
Sawyer & May Fire Again
Chatham Town – 1 - Hythe Town – 2
Ryman League South - 21/11/15
The red-hot partnership of Alfie May and Frankie Sawyer went to ten goals as the Cannons impressed in this 2-1 win at Chatham Town. Recently appointed Kevin Horlock has overseen some improved results during his month or so in charge of the Chats, however in only their second competitive game in near on four weeks, Clive Cook’s side had all the answers to deliver the three points.
This was a real potential banana skin for Hythe, who secured their fourth win in five league games, coming from behind, away from home, in the bitter winter winds swirling around Chatham’s ‘Sports Ground’. After catching the eye in Monday’s friendly against Maidstone, Phil Stevenson retained his place in the starting line-up, with Darren Marsden making his competitive debut in a Hythe shirt.
Michael Yianni was another to do his chances no harm against the Stones and, despite his dual-registration arrangement with Deal Town, he also took his place within a squad as strong as has been put together in many years at Reachfields, despite the recent exit of young Jordan Wells to neighbours Folkestone Invicta.
Things almost got off to the perfect start for the visitors, who were convinced with an early penalty claim, Marsden nicking the ball off Corey Holder and appearing to be caught from behind, although the match officials failed to agree.
Hythe continued their bright start to proceedings as James Morrish’s cross was chested down by Stevenson and Marsden fired an early sighter over from just outside the box. But with momentum building for Hythe the hosts were about to hit a classic counter-attack goal.
Chatham’s wide men, skipper Kieron McCann and recent Hythe target George Humber, were the pick of the home side and they combined to claim the lead after ten minutes. Humber whipped in a dangerous cross on the counter that deflected and looped up for McCann to convert at the back-post.
Things may have turned out a little differently if the lively McCann’s dipping volley had flown in soon after, but the Cannons breathed again as that impressive strike flew just over the top of Joe Mant’s crossbar.
Something that has been evident in recent games is the maturity of this current Hythe side, and despite falling behind they didn’t panic and slowly but surely felt their way back into the contest. Therefore it was no surprise when Frankie Sawyer brought his side level with a slightly deflected strike from the edge of the box, following Stevenson’s pullback.
With the width provided by Stevenson and Josh Burchell and Marsden pulling the strings in midfield, the chances were now flowing for May and Sawyer. It was new signing Marsden who played the perfect throughball for May to slip the Chatham offside trap, round keeper Ryan Nicholls and roll the ball into the net from a tight angle for Hythe’s second.
Despite that turnaround the scoreline looked to be levelled up on the stroke of half-time, but Mant had different ideas with an outstanding low save around the base of the post, as Charles Ofosu-Hene’s awkward bobbly shot headed towards the bottom corner.
The away side dominated the opening exchanges of the second-half, with Marsden close to his first Hythe goal after May and Sawyer had opened up the home defence. May then turned provider for Sawyer, Nicholl denying the in-form striker a second with a fine low save.
May was now really putting on a show, with one impressive run ending with a Stevenson half-volley deflecting just over after the home side failed to clear their lines. Another mazy run took the talented striker deep into the Chatham box, around several defenders, only for a poor connection with the final shot to deny a classic goal.
After being on top for the majority of the second-half, Hythe had not claimed the crucial third goal and inevitably it was down to the excellent Dave Cook, Nick Reeves and Craig Cloke to ensure the points stayed in the bag.
Despite some nervy moments, several late corners and free-kicks, the Hythe defence did it’s job and held firm, with Mant again proving to be Mr Reliable with a fine fingertip save as Humber’s dipping free-kick threatened to spoil the Cannons’ afternoon.
Scorers – Hythe Town - Frankie Sawyer - 27 mins - Alfie May - 37 mins - Chatham Town - Kieron McCann - 10 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Phil Stevenson, Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May (Craig Thompson - 90 mins), Darren Marsden (Michael Yianni - 80 mins) – Unused Subs – Ben Wilson, Jamie Collado, Stephen Butcher
Attendance - 169
Young Stones Provide Decent Runout
Hythe Town – 3 - Maidstone United XI - 1
Friendly - 16/11/15
Ex-Hythe man Tom Parkinson brought his fit and organised Maidstone United Academy side to Reachfields, providing a very useful runout for Clive Cook’s squad, who had been left with a two-week gap between competitive fixtures.
Cook was able to give much-needed starts to Craig Thompson, Jamie Collado and Michael Yianni, along with the return of Louis Sprosen who has been gaining match fitness in the Kent Invicta League. Recent new signing Darren Marsden was also lining up for the first time as a Cannon.
Those fresh legs for Hythe, together with the professionalism and efforts of Parkinson’s young Stones, made for a very watchable game in the opening hour, with the home side unlucky not to take a lead into half-time.
Yianni brought the best out of Ben Curd, the visiting keeper turning a low effort around the base of the post after good work from Sprosen and Josh Burchell. Whilst Marsden showed his potential in a Hythe shirt with two curling efforts, one just wide and one just over.
Thompson and Sprosen had both gone close on several occasions and it was the latter who forced Curd into the save of the game, the youngster blocking brilliantly from the Hythe man’s close-range effort at the back-post.
The second-half began with several changes for the hosts, skipper James Morrish replacing Collado, who would have been frustrated to pick up a knock, with Ryan Johnson and Ben Wilson entering the fray shortly after.
Unsurprisingly, it was the introduction of the rested Alfie May that sparked Hythe back into life, the striker had only been on the pitch for four minutes when he calmly converted Wilson’s cross in a crowded area.
Jack Richards scored on the counter-attack for the visitors, who probably deserved a goal for their endeavour and commitment alone, but the Cannons soon retook the lead as Morrish finished at close-range from another low Wilson centre.
The evening ended with a smile on the face as regular Hythe keeper, Joe Mant, took to his new position on the right-wing in style, providing the cross for Thompson to fire home Hythe’s third!
Scorers – Hythe Town - Alfie May - 71 mins - James Morrish - 83 mins - Craig Thompson - 87 mins - Maidstone United - Jack Richards - 76 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Phil Stevenson, Josh Burchell (Ben Wilson - 54 mins), Michael Yianni, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, Darren Marsden (Ryan Johnson - 54 mins, Nathan Burgess - 84 mins), Craig Thompson, Louis Sprosen (Alfie May - 67 mins), Jamie Collado (James Morrish - 49 mins) – Unused Sub - Stephen Butcher
Attendance - 65
So Close For Cannons
Corinthian-Casuals – 1 - Hythe Town – 0
Ryman League South - 07/11/15
Clive Cook experienced defeat for the first time as sole manager, as his side delivered a performance good enough to win most Ryman South fixtures, but with possibly not quite enough quality to overcome a top four side away from home.
The fact that the Cannons were so disappointed to end this type of game without at least a point shows how far they have come as a squad in a short space of time. Frustratingly it will be another two weeks until they can put things right again in their next competitive fixture.
This contest started life as a tight edgy affair with the strong gusts favouring the home side in the opening forty-five minutes, but the expected reversal of those weather conditions never materialised as the wind completely dropped for the second period of play.
Other than Alfie May’s free-kick dipping over the crossbar, there was little goalmouth action to report on during the opening twenty-five minutes, as first the hosts and then the visitors enjoyed periods on top of the other.
With several corners and free-kicks in dangerous positions won by Hythe it appeared they were building up a head of steam, but the Casuals suddenly struck a classy goal that would prove to be the eventual winner.
The high standard of the Corinthian-Casuals goal was down to the quality of Sekou Kaba’s first-time delivery, and the darting run and stooping close-range header of Juevan Spencer, the type of goal the Hythe defence should analyse but not lose too much sleep over.
Despite the wind not being behind their backs as expected, Clive Cook’s side clearly responded to their half-time regroup, as they opened the second-half with three consecutive corners, Ryan Johnson’s strike from the second deflecting to safety and May’s hit from the edge of the box going just over from the third.
Another good move ended with Josh Burchell picking out Ben Wilson on the edge of the box, whose low effort was well held by Danny Bracken, a couple of speculative efforts followed from May but the home side’s defence was holding firm.
The visitors then looked to refresh their attacking options, first with the introduction of Jamie Collado, allowing skipper James Morrish to push further forward, and then Craig Thompson’s arrival making it three out and out forwards for the Cannons.
The changes had the desired effect as Burchell’s cross caused an almighty goalmouth scramble, Bracken making the save of the game with an outstretched toe as Thompson hit a low effort that seemed destined to find the back of the net.
Collado’s driven strike deflected to loop up and over the crossbar and from the following corner, taken by May, the Casuals survived another scramble in their own six-yard box, by now Dave Cook was also a permanent addition to the Hythe attack.
Two minutes from time May’s header looked to have gone over the goal-line as Bracken attempted to parry, but there was no need for any further debate as Hythe had disappointingly committed a foul elsewhere as Burchell’s corner picked out May at the back-post.
Scorer – Corinthian-Casuals - Juevan Spencer – 29 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves (Craig Thompson – 75 mins), Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Ben Wilson (Jamie Collado – 60 mins) – Unused Subs – Michael Yianni, Phil Stevenson, Sam May
Attendance - 104
Herne Bay – 0 - Hythe Town – 2
Ryman League South - 27/10/15
Hythe Town cemented their position as the form side in the Ryman South division, with a third successive clean-sheet and win for Clive Cook’s rejuvenated team.
This away fixture, always one of the trickiest of each season, brought the best out of this Hythe line-up, who attacked with plenty of pace and variation in an opening half that led to a much-deserved opening goal from the excellent Alfie May.
The second-half showed the other side of Cook’s new team’s character, as they displayed an outstanding ‘thou shall not pass’ attitude to their defensive work from front to back, dealing with a much-improved attacking display from their hosts with style.
The Cannons started brightly, May winning possession and playing a lovely one-two with James Morrish; May’s strike deflecting and looping just over. From the following Josh Burchell corner, the Bay had to scramble Nick Reeves’ header off the goal-line.
Mark Lovell and Sam Hasler then went close for the home side following Steven Ita’s run into the Hythe box, it was then Hythe’s turn to scramble clear from the resulting corner.
May continued to threaten for the visitors, a lovely dribble and pass finding Frankie Sawyer, who in turn set-up Ryan Johnson for a chase to the ball that Jack Delo just won.
A well-worked short-corner routine from Burchell and May lined up the latter for another run across goal, the final goalbound shot deflecting just over the bar. Hythe’s opener was coming and when it arrived it was both deserved and from a likely source.
Yet again the home defence didn’t know what to do with May’s dribbling along the edge of their own box, it was one run too many from a Herne Bay perspective as May found the bottom corner with a great finish back across goal and into the bottom-corner.
The half ended with several dangerous corners in succession for the away side, whilst the long-throw was becoming an unexpected threat for Sam Denly’s side.
The second-half was a very different type of game, as Herne Bay delivered a much-improved performance, as well as playing the Winch’s Field slope to good effect. But for all the pressure that fell upon the Hythe defence, it was they that stood firm to earn all three points.
The action restarted with Ita’s dangerous run and shot down the left looping up and into the arms of a well-positioned Joe Mant. The winger was probably the most likely source of an equaliser for the Bay, but left the action injured shortly after.
Just before Ita’s injury he created one more chance for his side, flashing a dangerous cross right through the Hythe penalty-box, Danny Walder picking up the play and crossing back to the near-post where Liam Quinn’s glancing header was saved well by Mant.
Sam Hasler’s free-kick caused an almighty goalmouth scramble that again tested the Cannons’ defence, and Mant had to be at his best to palm another dangerous free-kick onto his post moments later.
But with seventeen minutes remaining the game took an unexpected and definitive twist as Bay skipper, Liam Quinn, headed a defensive clearance from Dave Cook up and over his own keeper, Jack Delo, to double Hythe’s lead.
It was already looking like the Hythe defence (along with Alfie May, amongst others) were going to walk away with all the plaudits, but the two goal advantage just gave them even more confidence to see out the closing stages of the contest without alarm.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Alfie May – 36 mins – Liam Quinn (OG) – 73 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Phil Stevenson (Michael Yianni – 88 mins), Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Craig Cloke, Nick Reeves, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Frankie Sawyer (Jamie Collado – 73 mins), Alfie May (Craig Thompson – 84 mins), Ben Wilson – Unused Subs - Jordan Wells, Sam May
Attendance - 191
Cannons March On!
Hythe Town – 3 - Carshalton Athletic - 0
Ryman League South - 24/10/15
Clive Cook’s Hythe Town made it five league wins from seven as his revamped side recorded their second successive 3-0 win within a week to climb up five positions in the Ryman South table.
This was the complete performance from the Cannons over a well-equipped Carshalton Athletic side, who were themselves coming off the back of a fine 3-0 win over Faversham on Monday night.
The home side started brightly with excellent decision-making, something that continued as a theme throughout the afternoon, their first chance falling to Dave Cook who couldn’t quite convert Alfie May’s spilt free-kick.
A similar chance followed soon after, Craig Cloke firing Josh Burchell’s free-kick back across goal with Cook again the threat, on this occasion the Carshalton defence scrambling clear from the goal-line.
Ben Wilson then played a lovely throughball into the path of Alfie May, who comfortably beat the last defender only to fire a fierce shot into the side-netting. Whilst at the other end Josh Burchell was in the right place at the right time to nick the ball off Matt Males’ toe as he threatened to convert at close-range.
Hythe deserved a goal but when it first arrived it was disallowed for offside, Ryan Johnson breaking up play and slipping May clear down the right, with a near-post effort anticipated the striker unselfishly picked out Sawyer who unwittingly fired home in an offside position.
The organised Hythe defence was continuing to frustrate a Carshalton side who were struggling to even test Joe Mant in the hosts’ goal, with Clive Cook’s side about to play some of their best football to take the lead.
But first, inspired Robins’ keeper Luke Colquhoun produced two outstanding saves to keep the Reachfields crowd waiting, the first an excellent tackle on the in-form Frankie Sawyer as he ran one on one from May’s throughball.
The second save again frustrated the clear on goal Sawyer, Colquhoun’s outstretched toe just preventing a Hythe opener following some lovely football from both Burchell and James Morrish.
Finally, with three minutes to go until half-time, the Cannons made the breakthrough, May converting at close-range from Wilson’s misdirected shot, Phil Stevenson and again Morrish both instrumental in Hythe’s build-up play.
The home side carried on where they left off after half-time, with a smart short-corner routine resulting in Johnson’s looping shot tipped over at full-stretch by the inspired Colquhoun.
But after a short period of resistance Hythe grabbed a crucial second, May picking up the play on an uncleared set-piece to play the most exquisite pass with the outside of his boot, through the crowded area, picking out Sawyer who wasn’t going to pass up a third invite, smashing home his fifth goal in seven games into the roof of the net.
After a frustrating campaign the home crowd were now really enjoying some of the football on offer from their side as new favourite May started to bring out the party-tricks.
Typically it was May’s pass that picked out the run of substitute Craig Thompson, whose perfect centre was converted at close-range by Morrish for a deserved Hythe third.
The Cannons' afternoon was then made complete, when deep into injury-time Mant showed excellent concentration levels to save at close-range from Dan Summers, as a second successive clean-sheet was successfully recorded.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Alfie May - 42 mins - Frankie Sawyer - 62 mins - James Morrish - 78 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Phil Stevenson, Josh Burchell, Nick Reeves, Craig Cloke, Ryan Johnson, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Alfie May (Sam May - 84 mins), Frankie Sawyer (Craig Thompson - 77 mins), Ben Wilson (Jamie Collado - 81 mins) – Unused Subs – Michael Yianni, Jordan Wells
Attendance - 189
Cannons’ Return To Form Continues
Whitstable Town – 0 - Hythe Town – 3
Ryman League South - 20/10/15
Clive Cook’s first game in sole charge as Hythe Town Manager got off to the perfect start, with a clean-sheet, three good goals and a fourth win in six league games for the Reachfields outfit.
The Cannons couldn’t have got off to a better start as from the kick-off Dave Cook played a lovely ball into the chest of Frankie Sawyer, whose perfect lay-off across his body allowed the in-form striker to turn and drill home into the bottom corner from just inside the box.
With the home side’s 8-0 defeat on Saturday in mind, the timing of a second Hythe goal was now absolutely crucial for our relegation rivals, credit where credit is due, the hosts focused to ensure there was no repeat of the horror show against Walton Casuals. However, not before Sawyer had sent in a cracking effort from twenty-yards that flew just over the crossbar.
The next chance on goal didn’t arrive until midway through the first-half with ex-Hythe man, Sam Bewick’s close-range effort blocked to safety, but this refocused Hythe again with Morrish’s header looping just over at the end of a decent move down the right.
Scott Heard’s speculative effort flashed across the face of Joe Mant’s goal, but the Hythe stopper remained untroubled throughout the opening period of play. At the other end, Jordan Wells was played in on the overlap down the right-hand side of the penalty-box and saw his fierce low effort turned around the post by Adam Highstead.
The opening twenty-five minutes of the second-half was all Whitstable in regards to possession, but two things were evident during this spell, one was the lack of a killer pass or even an on-target shot from Simon Halsey’s side. The other factor was the outstanding organisation and commitment of Hythe’s defensive shape, which refused to give their opponents a sniff of goal.
The closest the Oysterboys went during that period was when substitute Connor Hefferman’s effort from the edge of the box deflected and looped just over Mant’s crossbar. That was close enough from a Hythe perspective as the fresh legs of Sam May were introduced for the final third of the contest.
Less than ten minutes later the visitors struck the perfect counter-attack goal, the excellent Ryan Johnson breaking up play and striding forward to play Ben Wilson in on goal, the wide-man’s shot strong enough to roll into the net despite the parry of Highstead.
It was now the away side who were seeing more of the ball again and it was no surprise when they struck a third goal from an uncleared corner. Morrish claiming possession and finding Cook who in turn played the ball to Sawyer, the striker’s dummy lining up Nick Reeves for a calm driven finish under Highstead.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Frankie Sawyer – 1 min – Ben Wilson 69 mins – Nick Reeves – 78 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Nick Reeves, Ben Wilson (Michael Yianni – 78 mins), Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Frankie Sawyer, Craig Thompson (Sam May – 60 mins), Jordan Wells (Jamie Collado – 78 mins) – Unused Sub – Craig Cloke
Attendance - 163
Thommo Double Claims A Point
East Grinstead Town - 2 - Hythe Town – 2
Ryman League South - 17/10/15
The Cannons continued their improved points return during October with a hard-earned draw in difficult circumstances at Tony Beckingham’s former club and relegation rivals, East Grinstead Town.
With all the recent changes to the playing squad at Reachfields it was actually two ‘old boys’ that delivered Hythe’s tenth point from a possible fifteen.
Following Frankie Sawyer’s removal from the action on a stretcher in the fourth minute, it was Craig Thompson who stepped up with two goals, the second set-up by Dave Cook in the 90th minute.
By then the former club captain and usual midfield man was operating in an emergency striker role, having already shown his value to the squad with another impressive display at centre-back.
Injuries and suspensions are not helping the development of Beckingham and Clive Cook’s new-look side, but despite those distractions everybody involved are aware of the need to start delivering ninety minute performances.
Again Hythe delivered some bright football with plenty of width in the opening half, only to fade in the second, although the improved levels of determination and endeavour, again on show here, continue to help maintain their recent league form.
Considering his two goals on Tuesday, the injury to Sawyer was a blow, with no blame attached to the tackling East Grinstead player, Sam May the early replacement from the Hythe bench.
May looked bright following his early introduction, as did winger, Mathieu Ramsamy, the two combining well down Hythe’s right on several occasions, as a deserved opening goal approached for the away side.
When it arrived it was actually from the left-hand side, as recent new signing, Ben Wilson, found Thompson just outside the six-yard box with his back to goal, the striker doing well to swivel and turn on the ball to fire home low into the corner of Michael Hunter’s goal.
The home side looked to bounce straight back, Greg Haydon’s header deflecting just wide at the back-post at the end of a rare attack from ‘The Wasps’.
Hythe continued to push, with Ryan Johnson doing well to break up play, Wilson then crossing from the left and Ramsamy’s eventual shot hooked clear off the goal-line when a Hythe second seemed certain.
Next it was May who went close as Thompson’s flick-on found the substitute, who turned and hit a rising shot just over the crossbar, but the visitors were about to gift their opponents a way back into the game.
Old habits came back to haunt Hythe as they were guilty of playing across the edge of their own box so close to half-time, and despite an excellent tackling attempt from Joe Mant, Greg Cundle’s equaliser gave his side a totally different team-talk at the interval.
It could have been worse for the Cannons though, if not for Cook heading clear off the line from Casey Johnson’s curling effort at the end of a breakaway attack from a Hythe corner.
The hosts were quick out of the traps quickly in the second-half, with substitute Hassan Ibrahim an immediate threat, in fact it was Ibrahim that again caught Hythe in possession deep in their own half, running clear on goal only to roll his effort wide.
For the second game in succession Hythe’s opponents were looking transformed during the second-half with Ibrahim and loan signing from Gillingham, striker Greg Cundle, running at the visiting defence on a regular basis.
Much like Tuesday night, the introduction of the fresh legs of Jordan Wells and Phil Stevenson gave some new options, but this time they would go behind in the closing stages as Johnson’s pass allowed Cundle to slip Hythe’s offside trap and slot home with confidence.
Thankfully for the visiting support, Cook and Thompson still had an ‘old’ trick up their sleeves as Cook rose brilliantly to nod down Josh Burchell’s cross into the path of Thompson to sweep home at close-range.
The equaliser arrived in the 90th minute and with seven more minutes of injury-time announced it suddenly looked like Beckingham could be taking home all three points from his old stomping ground. But the home side were in no mood to throw away the point after coming so close to gaining all three.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Craig Thompson - 17, 90 mins - East Grinstead Town - Greg Cundle - 40, 78 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Mathieu Ramsamy (Jordan Wells - 59 mins), Laurence Harvey, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Frankie Sawyer (Sam May - 4 mins, Phil Stevenson - 72 mins) , Craig Thompson, Ben Wilson – Unused Subs – Michael Yianni, Jamie Collado
Attendance - 86
Sawyer Brace Breaks Tooting Hearts
Hythe Town – 2 – Tooting & Mitcham United - 1
Ryman League South - 13/10/15
Two goals from Frankie Sawyer broke the hearts of his former club, as the Cannons dug deep to claim their third win in four league games against a much improved Tooting & Mitcham side, following the first encounter between these two clubs just a fortnight ago.
This was a tale of two halves as Hythe perhaps produced their best football of the season during an opening period that they deservedly took the lead in. However the visitors were a different beast in a one-sided second-half played largely in the Hythe defensive third.
But two massive factors won this one for Tony Beckingham and Clive Cook’s developing side, one the clinical finishing of Sawyer, and two the dogged determination shown by this increasingly more stubborn Town line-up, one that now appears far more comfortable at dealing with long periods under pressure in this always ultra-competitive division.
Craig Thompson was the first to test visiting keeper Alex Kozakis, with Joe Mant also kept on his toes from an early Michael Salako effort. Whilst Hythe were already showing signs of improved width in their play with Mathieu Ramsamy and new signing Ben Wilson both having lively first-half performances on the flanks.
There was also some much-improved pressure on the ball from Hythe, something that was missing from Saturday’s performance but here in abundance, Morrish typically winning possession high up the pitch and playing Sawyer in for a decent low effort that ran across goal and just wide.
It was no surprise when the Cannons took the lead as Josh Burchell’s clearance landed just behind the Tooting defensive line, Sawyer quickest to the ball to beat the last two defenders and smash home under Kozakis.
Sawyer should have had a second just five minutes later and was guilty of heading wide at point-blank range, Morrish feeding Stephen Butcher on the overlap, the full-back providing the perfect centre to the near-post.
Again, the former Tooting striker went close for his new side, forcing Kozakis into a stunning close-range save at the back-post, after the ‘Terrors’ failed to deal with Nick Reeves floated free-kick.
As already mentioned, the away side were a different proposition in the second-half, treating Hythe to a dose of their own medicine with some excellent pressing and the vastly-improved movement of Serge Mafoko, Sol Pinnock and Salako keeping the hosts firmly on the back-foot.
Despite the Hythe management introducing the more defensive-minded Phil Stevenson for Ramsamy, there was nothing they could do to stem the tide of pressure, as Salako did brilliantly to occupy two Hythe men and pick out the unmarked Harry Knock to smash home at the back-post.
Salako and Mafoko both went close as the visitors threatened to score the winning goal, but the introduction of the fresh legs of Sam May and Jordan Wells finally gave Hythe a foothold back in the game.
With six minutes remaining, it was Hythe that rediscovered their winning formula from the first-half, Butcher winning possession in the Tooting half, May cleverly helping the ball on into the path of Sawyer who slipped the offside trap to run clear on goal and calmly slot home both the winner and his third goal in a Hythe shirt.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Frankie Sawyer – 29, 84 mins – Tooting & Mitcham United – Harry Knock – 61 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson, Nick Reeves (Jordan Wells – 78 mins), Ben Wilson, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Frankie Sawyer, Craig Thompson (Sam May - 71 mins), Mathieu Ramsamy (Phil Stevenson – 57 mins) – Unused Subs – Michael Yianni, Jamie Collado
Attendance - 127
Peacehaven Revival Comes To Reachfields
Hythe Town – 0 – Peacehaven & Telscombe - 1
Ryman League South - 10/10/15
After securing their first two wins of the season in their last two league games, the Cannons revival stuttered as they laboured against another side reviving their fortunes, Peacehaven & Telscombe.
With the impressive display against the full-time development squad from Charlton Athletic seemingly heavy in their legs, the home side got off to the worse possible start, having a clear penalty turned down in the opening minute before conceding an early goal to their opponents.
The visitors, as hard-working and as organised a side as has been faced during this difficult campaign, never allowed the Hythe forward-line time on the ball, and as a result the gap between attack and midfield grew as this contest developed.
This was a third win in four for Peacehaven & Telscombe, a record that Hythe can match themselves with a win at home on Tuesday night, with Tooting & Mitcham United the opponents, a victory will quickly erase memories of this display.
Little attacking football came about in the opening stages, with no real penalty-box action to note other than Thompson being pushed over in the area with no reward and the Magpies’ opener and eventual winner.
The excellent Trevor McCreadie did well to cut in from the right-flank and cut a dangerous ball back across the Hythe box that James Hammond eventually smashed home low under Joe Mant in the Hythe goal.
However, McCreadie’s impressive performance came to a premature end ten minutes before half-time, the striker booked for a handball that couldn’t have been any more deliberate, and then substituted a minute later as his management sensed their player losing his head and possibly the game.
Probably Hythe’s best move of the opening period of play came just before the interval, as Josh Burchell and Frankie Sawyer combined out wide and the latter picked out Craig Thompson at the near-post, who just found the side-netting with an outstretched toe.
Without the influence of the talented but suspended Alfie May, Hythe struggled to make their preferred 4-3-3 formation work as well as it had done in their win on their travels at Tooting, the Cannons emerging for the second-half with a more traditional 4-4-2 shape.
The change seemed to liven things up a little for the home side, Sawyer opened the half doing well to lose his man and fire a decent effort across goal and just wide. But in hindsight, this one probably wasn’t lost due to choice of formations.
The visitors reacted well to that Hythe chance and almost doubled their lead, as amazingly, Tom Burton hit one post and immediately after Jamie Brotherton the other, as the Hythe goal led a charmed life.
Second-half substitutes Damien Ramsamy and Sam May, both showed some decent touches as Hythe tried to bring their forward play to life, but their opponents had switched to a deep-lying counter-attack game long before as they looked to frustrate and hit Hythe on the break.
Ramsamy hit two good efforts in quick succession and Stevenson fired an opportunistic volley over the crossbar, but that counter-threat was always there, substitute Max Oldham just hitting the side-netting at the end of a Peacehaven breakaway.
The hosts did almost grab a late equaliser, as in injury-time Stevenson skinned his marker and fired in a great low cross that May came within inches of converting at the near-post, but it was a rare flash of razor-sharp play from Hythe as the referee blew the final whistle shortly after.
Scorer - Peacehaven & Telscombe - James Hammond - 18 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson (Michael Yianni - 71 mins), Nick Reeves, Phil Stevenson, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Frankie Sawyer, Craig Thompson (Sam May - 64 mins), Jordan Wells (Damien Ramsamy - 46 mins) – Unused Subs – Jamie Collado, Frank Griffin
Attendance - 271
Addicks Given Plenty To Think About
Hythe Town – 0 – Charlton Athletic - 1
Kent Senior Cup First Round - 06/10/15
The Cannons put in a brilliant performance against Jason Euell's talented Charlton Athletic Development Squad, in Tuesday night's Kent Senior Cup fixture. However, at 0-0 and with only six minutes remaining until a penalty shoot-out, Ademola Lookman scored an absolute beauty of a goal to break Hythe hearts.
This performance was reminiscent of some of Hythe’s famous cup upsets of a few years back, as the evening began with tons of endeavor, hard-work and commitment which slowly turned into genuine optimism as the home side became the more likely to grab a winner during the second-half.
But Lookman hadn’t read the script and it was fitting that a goal of such quality was (on paper) the only difference between two sides that had battled against the elements to produce a decent contest for the 231 that braved the weather.
Lookman was clearly the main threat for the visitors, something that became evident very early on as the left-sided forward tested Joe Mant or the strength of Hythe’s side-netting time and time again, during the opening third of a contest that started out looking like an attack versus defence training exercise.
But despite Euell’s side going in at half-time frustrated that one of Lookman’s efforts had not made the breakthrough, Hythe never allowed heads to drop and as a result came out for the second-half with a real chance of causing an upset.
That second-half could have panned out very differently if Mant hadn’t continued his good form between the sticks, beating away Brandon Hanlan’s fierce shot shortly after the restart, but the hosts were about to find their feet in the contest.
Nick Reeves, looking as good as ever in his second ‘home debut’ in a Hythe shirt, kept cool in possession before clipping a pin-point ball onto the head of Alfie May, the flick-on was as deliberate as the ball forward and Jordan Beeney had to be at his best to turn Craig Thompson’s dinked effort around the post.
Next it was May’s turn to go close, as he escaped the attentions of the outstanding Charlton defence to drive a typically forceful shot just into the side-netting.
Reeves and May combined again, with the latter squaring the ball right across the Charlton six-yard box, only for Thompson’s low effort to be blocked at close-range.
With just over twenty minutes to go, the excellent Phil Stevenson picked up his own half-cleared cross to fire in a looping effort from just outside the box that Beeney did brilliantly to tip over.
Sensing an upset the recent two-time winners of this competition moved through the gears again, as Zak Ansah’s attempted lob drifted just wide and Ollie Mukdoon’s low shot deflected and skidded awkwardly along the surface to again bring the best out of Mant.
With penalties looming, Lookman decided to let out all of his first-half frustrations as he allowed Hanlan’s pass to run across his path before unleashing an unstoppable first-time effort from the edge of the box, worthy of winning any game.
Scorer – Charlton Athletic - Ademola Lookman – 84 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Phil Stevenson, Nick Reeves, Laurence Harvey, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Alfie May (Taser Hassan – 90+3 mins), Craig Thompson (Frankie Sawyer – 73 mins), Jordan Wells – Unused Subs – Michael Yianni, Sam May, Frank Griffin
Attendance - 231
Cannons Exit Trophy At First Hurdle
Aylesbury - 3 – Hythe Town - 0
FA Trophy Preliminary Round - 03/10/15
Hythe Town crashed out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle, in a game that ended up being the complete opposite of their outstanding midweek win at Tooting & Mitcham United.
With the impressive new midfield trio of Ryan Johnson, Dave Cook and James Morrish all unavailable and the strike partnership of Frankie Sawyer and Alfie May put out of business due to first-half injuries, Hythe ended the game looking a very different side to the one that had impressed so much on Tuesday night.
The hosts were a well-balanced and hard-working unit that took advantage of the Cannons’ defensive errors and lack of attacking threat to run out comfortable winners.
The ‘Moles’ got off to the perfect start after just six minutes, centre-back Grant Fryer rising unmarked to head home James Dobson’s corner.
Both sides got used to one another’s style of play during a scrappy opening twenty-five minutes and it could have all been very different if a Hythe penalty had been awarded when May seemed to be chopped down in the penalty-box.
Joe Mant denied Dobson as he went close twice from Ryan O’Toole’s excellent crosses, but the second Aylesbury goal was coming, and when it did it came in the form of a spot-kick that this time was awarded by the Referee.
A defensive mix-up between Laurence Harvey and Joe Mant led to the latter inadvertently tripping O’Toole inside the penalty box, and up stepped Brian Haule to calmly convert into the bottom corner.
Clive Cook and Tony Beckingham responded to both injuries and a sleepy first-half performance from their side by making the bold statement of a triple substitution at half-time, as Taser Hassan, Stephen Butcher and the returning Craig Thompson all entered the fray.
Mant claimed well in a goalmouth scramble as the second-half began, and then saved brilliantly after a deflection fell kindly into the path of Haule, as the home side showed they had enough class to keep the visitors at arms’ length.
But Hythe huffed and puffed and almost found a way back into the game with twenty minutes remaining, as Hassan’s throughball sent Thompson clear on goal to beat James Weatherill, only to see his shot cleared off the line.
It was left to Haule to calm any nerves for the eventual winners of the tie, as the striker slipped Hythe’s (by now) high defensive line to round Mant and roll home his second of an afternoon to forget for the Reachfields outfit.
Scorers – Aylesbury – Grant Fryer – 6 mins – Brian Haule – 41 mins (pen), 76 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Frank Griffin (Stephen Butcher – 46 mins), Josh Burchell, Nick Reeves, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni, James Collado, Frankie Sawyer (Craig Thompson – 46 mins), Alfie May (Taser Hassan – 46 mins), Damien Ramsamy – Unused Subs – Jordan Wells, George Savage
Attendance - 78
May Leads Cannons Into New Era
Tooting & Mitcham United - 0 – Hythe Town - 1
Ryman League South - 29/09/15
Tony Beckingham and Clive Cook celebrated their second win in as many games as joint Hythe Managers, thanks to a brilliant winner from new signing, the prolific Alfie May.
May led the way with a really hard-working man of the match display backed up by a new look Cannons line-up behind him that refused to buckle and give up the clean sheet and three points!
The visitors controlled the opening period of play, which considering this being one of the tougher away fixtures of the season and the amount of new faces on show was impressive.
May was the obvious threat in the opening exchanges, although this was the type of performance where one player mention leads to another and it has to be said that strike-partner Frankie Sawyer turned in a thoroughly professional display on his old stomping ground.
The first sight of goal arrived for May in the form of an instinctive volley back across goal, deflecting just wide, after an excellent pass forward from Laurence Harvey.
Fellow debutant, Ryan Johnson, was the next to line up May with a goalscoring chance and on this occasion an early shot was beaten away from the near-post by the surprised Sam Somerville.
Johnson, who made an immediate impression just in front of the Hythe defence, was again involved with a lovely ball to release Sawyer down the left. Sawyer’s centre couldn’t have been better and May was guilty of heading wide when Somerville should have been tested at the least.
Dave Cook tried his luck from distance after a impressive period of possession football, before Cook lined up Sawyer for another long-range effort, Hythe mixing their play well to line up two similar strikes on target.
The quality of Hythe’s first-half performance was highlighted when Stephen Butcher headed a dangerous cross clear of the goal-line in the closing moments of the half, the only time that Joe Mant’s goal had been threatened in the opening period of play.
The second-half was a different type of contest altogether, as the hosts applied themselves in improved fashion to move the game onto being a far more even affair. Eventually this would lead to Tooting enjoying their best spell of football, but not before the Cannons had taken a deserved lead.
The closest Hythe had come to an opener after half-time was when James Morrish played Sawyer clear on goal, the ex-Tooting man having his low shot saved by Somerville and May having his follow-up rebound effort cleared off the line.
With just over twenty minutes remaining Hythe made the breakthrough, Morrish’s throughball caused chaos in the home side’s penalty area, May picking up the play, evading two challenges and smashing home a delightful finish into the roof of the net.
The final twenty minutes was backs to the wall stuff from Hythe, who showed they were prepared to run themselves into the ground and put bodies on the line to take home the three points.
Elliott Simpson’s free-kick deflected and looped just over, Antonio Simeone’s free-kick was defended well and Josh Burchell did brilliantly to get in the way of a close-range strike from Leon Lallor-Dell.
Harry Knock failed to convert at close-range from a dangerous pullback through the Hythe box and it seemed like the visitors had finally succumbed to the pressure in injury-time, as strong penalty claims from Tooting were waved away.
But Beckingham and Cook’s new side had held on to make it six points from six, as the visiting Hythe support applauded off some existing and returning heroes, along with one very new hero that may well ignite their season.
Scorer – Hythe Town – Alfie May – 68 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Ryan Johnson (Jason Thompson – 46 mins), Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Dave Cook (Michael Yianni – 82 mins), James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer, Alfie May, Sam May (Taser Hassan – 61 mins) – Unused Subs – George Savage, Frank Griffen
Attendance - 133
A New Era Begins
Hythe Town – 2 – Whitstable Town - 1
Ryman League South - 22/09/15
A new era at Reachfields got underway on Tuesday night and it started with a win! Goalkeeping Coach and Manager for the night, Mark Lane, was able to call upon Clive Cook and Tony Beckingham's first signings as the new joint managers of the Cannons.
Those signings were proven Ryman South striker, Frankie Sawyer and returning wingers, Taser Hassan and Louis Sprosen. Hassan and Sawyer both started the game for the home side with the latter scoring on his debut.
Hythe got off to a bright start, understandably buoyed by the arrivals of Sawyer and Hassan, soon after kick-off Josh Burchell was getting forward and crossing dangerously to hit the top of the Whitstable crossbar.
Burchell was involved again as he worked a short corner routine with Hassan and fired in a decent effort from the edge of the box that the visitors scrambled clear.
Hassan also supplied Hythe’s next chance, as a dangerous run and cross ended up at the feet of James Morrish whose twenty-yard shot whistled just wide, before Wells’ excellent throughball threatened to send Sawyer clear, the striker finding the side-netting with his first-time shot.
The opening half ended with Wells beating his man down the left and firing in a cross to the back-post that just evaded the outstretched toe of Hassan, not for the first time this season, Hythe had built the foundations of a decent performance, but could they go on?
That question was answered emphatically with two goals in three minutes, as the hosts started the second-half by far the livelier of these two under pressure clubs.
Firstly a nice move down the right involving Hassan and the overlapping Stephen Butcher, led to the latter crossing to the back-post where Wells’ header back across goal found the net.
Two minutes later the relief within Reachfields was tangible as the Cannons scored a second goal in a game for the first time in a month, Sawyer opening his account as a Hythe player with a typical poacher’s finish, smashing home at close-range from Scott Punton’s excellent nod-down.
Hythe were now enjoying their football again as Hassan picked out Punton with a dangerous pullback and both he and Sawyer had decent shots blocked at close-range.
It should have been 3-0 and game over within eleven minutes of the opening goal, as Burchell’s corner picked out Punton unmarked at the back-post, but the versatile forward couldn’t add to his goal assist, failing to get a decent connection with his header to seal the points.
Only three minutes later the Oysterboys had a lifeline as Reiss Crimmen’s run down the left outnumbered Hythe on the flank, the left-back’s low cross through the box fired home via a deflection from Kieron Campbell’s shot.
To say the final stages of the contest were nervy (for both sides) would be an understatement, but as the football got scrappier and substitutions were made by both management teams, Hythe held on for a crucial first win of the season.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Jordan Wells – 54 mins – Frankie Sawyer – 56 mins – Whitstable Town – Kieron Campbell - 68 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Bradley Jordan, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Taser Hassan (Sam Conlon – 64 mins), James Morrish, Frankie Sawyer, Scott Punton (Connor Hendricks - 75 mins), Jordan Wells (Jack Sellens - 87 mins) – Unused Subs – Ollie Lee, Louis Sprosen
Harvey Strike Not Enough
Walton Casuals – 2 - Hythe Town – 1
Ryman League South - 19/09/15
Laurence Harvey's first goal of the season was not enough to seal a win at fellow strugglers, Walton Casuals, as the Cannons' winless streak went on.
The vice-captain's headed effort after only five minutes was just what was needed for the away side, who enjoyed a really bright opening forty-five minutes.
However, Hythe were guilty of not building on that promising start and the hosts calmly picked off their opponents with two classic counter-attack strikes in the final third of the contest, as a much-improved performance sealed all three points.
That perfect start for the Cannons came from a quick corner routine, centred by Connor Hendricks and headed home at the second time of asking by Harvey. It possibly could have been game over two minutes later, but James Morrish fired into the side-netting after Hendricks sent his skipper clear on goal.
Walton Casuals then went from being at sixes and sevens to looking more like a settled home side playing themselves into the contest, although it would still be Hythe who would again open up their opponents in a smart counter-attack involving Morrish and Hendricks who in turn supplied Jack Sellens for a decent strike on goal.
The half ended with the influential Hendricks’ shot being clawed to safety by Tom Wellham after some good work from Sellens, but there was a feeling at the interval that the visiting side had failed to push home their early advantage.
Moses Ashikodi had already given Joe Mant a warning from distance early in the second-half and it was Ashikodi that calmly rolled home his finish just after the hour mark, after escaping a Hythe offside trap that had caught the same striker out many times in the opening half.
Hythe were now huffing and puffing without any end product and it was brutally effective when a Hythe attack broke down and the Casuals broke from deep inside their own half to score a classic counter-attack winner via the boot of Luke Medley.
Morrish flicked just wide in the closing stages, from a typically decent Hendricks’ centre but the scoreline wouldn’t change again in a second-half where the Cannons were seemingly out-thought.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Laurence Harvey – 5 mins – Walton Casuals – Moses Ashikodi – 62 mins – Luke Medley – 74 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Bradley Jordan, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Connor Hendricks, James Morrish, Jack Sellens (Sam Conlon – 77 mins), Scott Punton, Jordan Wells – Unused Subs – Ollie Lee, Johan Caney-Bryan, Nathan Hardwick, Joe Fisher
Attendance - 55
Hythe Town – 0 – Molesey - 0
Ryman League South - 15/09/15
Joe Mant produced a stunning man of the match display to earn the Cannons a hard-earned point against visiting Molesey. Nobody likes to admit it when their shot-stopper is the best player on the park, but at the same time credit must go to the individual when a performance of such a high standard is produced.
Mant's display, which included two outstanding reflex saves and several brilliantly timed runs off his line to smother one on ones, ensured that Tim Dixon's side secured a second successive clean sheet at Reachfields, but the hunt for that elusive first win must go on.
The warning signs were there for Hythe in the opening stages as Mant had to be alert off his line to beat Sam Robinson to the ball and clear the first chance of the contest. Soon after, the Hythe keeper made probably his save of the evening pushing away James McShane’s close-range overhead kick.
It was the home side who enjoyed the next real chance, as Johan Caney-Bryan’s flicked pass sent Jack Sellens clear, only for Liam Allen to read his attempted lob over the Molesey keeper’s head with a calm catch.
Mant and Robinson went head to head again, chasing down a good Molesey throughball which the Hythe man did well to clear away in good time and Mant was starting to rack up the saves as he then saved bravely at the feet of Reis Stanislaus.
With half-time arriving soon after, an improvement was needed from the hosts and the Hythe management looked to prompt that improvement with the introduction of the in-form Jordan Wells and a switch to a standard 4-4-2 formation.
The home support got the response they craved and their side should have taken the lead soon after the restart. Sellens spread the play to the overlapping Stephen Butcher, the right-back’s cross picking out Caney-Bryan whose header was tipped onto the inside of the post by Allen only for Sellens to just miss out on the rebound.
Hythe continued to push as Ashby Charles made an outstanding tackle to deny James Morrish as the Hythe skipper closed in on goal from an uncleared corner, but the visitors were about to resume their battle with Mant in the Hythe goal.
Mant began by blocking Charles’ close-range effort from Robinson’s low cross before following that up with outstanding one on one saves from both Stanislaus and substitute Ato Okai, as the Hythe offside trap continued to struggle.
But soon after that purple patch Hythe produced their best move of the game, as Sellens and Conlon combined to send Wells clear down the left-flank, the striker cutting inside one challenge and sending an attempted lob just over the bar.
Both sides went close in the final stages as Dre Grobler thumped a header against the crossbar, whilst for Hythe, Josh Burchell’s cross picked out Sellens whose flicked effort across goal ran just wide with Allen well beaten.
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher (Nathan Hardwick – 82 mins), Josh Burchell, Bradley Jordan, Ben Jordan (Jordan Wells – 45), Laurence Harvey, Connor Hendricks, James Morrish, Jack Sellens, Scott Punton, Johan Caney-Bryan (Sam Conlon – 64 mins) – Unused Subs – Joe Fisher, Rene Rivera
Attendance - 124
Defensive Errors Cost Cannons
Guernsey – 3 - Hythe Town – 1
Ryman League South - 09/09/15
Martin Giles reports on our latest trip to the island of Guernsey...
Despite fears before the game, Hythe were only denied a full side by the work commitments of Josh Burchell and Stephen Butcher, although both are of course full-backs. Scott Punton was also unable to play after that ludicrous second caution received in the first ‘leg’ of this ‘International’ double. Skipper James Morrish gave his troops a boost by declaring himself free to play just before the deadline.
Manager Tim Dixon bolstered numbers with three signings, locally based forward Nathan Hardwick, young midfielder Connor Hendricks (Gillingham) and the returning Jack Sellens, recently released by the Gills, who had impressed at Reachfields last season when on loan, unfortunately breaking his ankle whilst training. Hardwick did not get on but Hendricks impressed as a second-half substitute and Sellens gave an encouraging display up front, drawing fine saves from star Guernsey keeper Chris Tardiff.
To counter the absentees Town opted for a wing-back system, which seemed a good decision, were it not for the fact that the Islanders attacked with such speed and in such numbers that both Conlon on the right and Joe Fisher on the left were often caught out, thus leaving the central three of Harvey, Lee and Ben Jordan struggling to cover.
However the Cannons shrugged off, or perhaps even benefited from, the complications associated with air travel and put on a united and resolute display in front of the big match attendance, and although never quite matching the home side's pace, they more than played their part in an end-to-end game that had plenty of quality.
Indeed the away side could well have taken the lead in the opening stages as they had done at Reachfields a fortnight earlier when Conlon burst into the box, only to see his goalbound effort strike Tardiff's outstretched leg. A period of very open football followed but the Green Lions’ attacks were probing just a little deeper and a number of corners were being conceded. From one of these the dangerous McGrath found Heaume and his shot was arrowed into the net from close range on thirty-four minutes.
In truth Hythe could well have conceded further but they were able to re-group with hope for the second-half, although the hobbling Joe Fisher was excused a further period of torture at the hands of McGrath. Jordan Wells left the frontline to replace him and Johan Caney-Bryan was given a rare chance to show his capabilities.
Town continued to compete and even impress, with young Sellens a handful for an at times uncertain Guernsey midfield and defence. The Cannons were starting to shrug off efforts to keep them at bay until disaster struck and a poor back-pass from Sam Fisher was gleefully intercepted outside the area by that man McGrath. Unable to dive on the ball Joe Mant was neatly side-stepped and turned to see the ball passed into the open goal, the game seemingly lost.
Not so, for Hythe then displayed their fighting qualities and hit back hard. Sellens’ firm header drew a fine save from Tardiff and Caney-Bryan's close range effort from the rebound hit the crossbar. Again a Sellens effort brought the best out of Tardiff as Hythe continued to threaten. Hythe's efforts were drawing fouls as the Island team's composure was seen to be crumbling amidst a rash of yellow cards.
From one of many free-kicks Ollie Lee popped up at the far post to hit the woodwork again from a narrow angle. This time though there were bodies in the six-yard box and Caney-Bryan fired home the rebound. His effort was initially credited to Conlon, who ended up with the ball in the back of the net totally fooling the three-man Guernsey media team who named him as scorer!
Cue worried looks all around the stadium, but Lady Luck was about to carry out one final deed. The game was still frenetic and perhaps a little too frenetic for the match officials. McGrath's pass found Heaume who in turn found Craig Young to head home the game-clincher. Heaume's position was borderline offside but there was nothing borderline about Young's positioning and there was a feeling that it had all happened so quickly that a playback was needed to find out just what had occurred.
For Hythe it was another game without a win and with a feeling of injustice. Perhaps it is of little consolation to point out that mistakes are made by both match officials and players and although there have been some shockers by both parties, there is absolutely nothing to prevent the ball constantly being driven against the goal-frame rather than the space in between.
Final mention should be made of the amount of effort being put in by the team. Everyone gave 100% just as they had done on the previous Saturday against Whyteleafe and the players were splendid ambassadors for the club throughout the trip, with not even one yellow card shown on the pitch. If they are in the end able to turn results around in the way we all hope they will, any successes will be that much more rewarding.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Johan Caney-Bryan – 68 mins - Guernsey - Dominic Heaume 31 mins - Marc McGrath 58 mins - Craig Young 74 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Sam Conlon, Joe Fisher (Johan Caney-Bryan – 45 mins), Sam Fisher (Connor Hendricks – 62 mins), Ollie Lee, Laurence Harvey, Bradley Jordan, James Morrish, Jack Sellens (Rene Rivera – 84 mins), Ben Jordan, Jordan Wells – Unused Subs – Nathan Hardwick, Tom Scorer
Attendance - 665
Stalemate At Reachfields
Hythe Town – 0 – Whyteleafe - 0
Ryman League South - 05/09/15
The Cannons failed to record their first win of the season, but in a hard-fought, committed and disciplined display they did secure their first and much-needed clean sheet of what has been a challenging campaign to date.
Scott Punton, Stephen Butcher and Laurence Harvey were the pick for Hythe, the latter returning to the starting line-up along with skipper James Morrish, both now having served their three game suspensions.
Hythe started brightly, with Stuart Zanone, on his home debut, doing well to run down a lost cause and play back inside to Sam Conlon who in turn picked out the run of Jordan Wells. The youngster’s shot from just inside the box was hit low and hard but saved well by Sheikh Ceesay.
After all the disciplinary problems the Cannons have had this season it was rather disappointing to see Jahmahl King then ‘go after’ Wells with his forehead and escape without even a caution.
Although that unpunished behaviour did seem to serve the purpose of waking up King’s team-mates who went on to create the better chances of the half, starting with Jason Henry’s run and cross from the left, met by Sam Clayton’s strike that ran just wide from around the penalty-spot.
On his return, Laurence Harvey showed his worth to the home side with a fantastic saving tackle to block Vernon Francis’ shot as he slipped the Hythe offside trap. Before the first-half ended with Clayton’s twenty-yard free-kick drifting just wide of Joe Mant’s post.
Despite a lack of creativity going forward, the first six names (literally 1-6) on Tim Dixon’s teamsheet (starting their first game together as a defensive unit), had produced some real grit and determination to keep out the opposition, something missing from Hythe’s performances for far too long.
Moving into the second-half and again the hosts started brightly, Josh Burchell’s free-kick barely scrambled clear, before Ben Jordan’s follow-up was well blocked when it seemed goalbound.
For the visitors, Jordan Clarke did well to get in behind the Hythe defensive line, but Mant was equal to a low driven effort with some sound handling.
Butcher epitomised the Hythe defensive display with a stunning clearance from Henry’s dangerous cross right through the six-yard box, with substitute, Roscoe Dsane lurking at the back-post.
With twenty minutes remaining, Zanone, Conlon and Wells broke out from a Whyteleafe corner to spring a quick counter-attack that Zanone couldn’t quite convert at close-range from Wells‘ final cross.
Wells, probably Hythe’s biggest threat going forward this season, then went on a mazy run past three men, his final shot deflecting just wide, whilst for the away side Dam Moody’s half-volley kept Mant on his toes.
Probably the best passing move of the game came from Whyteleafe, but with only seven minutes remaining, Henry couldn’t cap the move off with a winning goal, shooting just wide.
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Scott Punton, Ben Jordan, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon, James Morrish, Stuart Zanone (Johan Caney-Bryan – 84 mins), Bradley Jordan, Jordan Wells – Unused Subs – Ollie Lee, Dan Stubbs, Joe Fisher, Sam Fisher
Attendance - 187
Shepway Derby Goes To Form
Folkestone Invicta 3 - Hythe Town – 0
Ryman League South - 31/08/15
The big Shepway derby went with the form book as Neil Cugley’s title favorites ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, following a professional second-half performance. The first-half could have easily ended 3-3 as one of the more entertaining forty-five minutes these neighboring clubs have produced played out in the overcast damp conditions.
Former Cannon, Ashley Miller, opening the scoring with a clever finish, but Tim Dixon’s side came in at half-time knowing they had their chances to equalise or even lead. The second-half was more one-sided once Carl Rook and later, Phil Starkey gave the hosts some breathing space.
Debutant, Stuart Zanone, almost gave both himself and his side the perfect start, running one on one onto Bradley Jordan’s lovely throughball, but the angle made it an even contest between striker and keeper and Tim Roberts was the winner with a fine low save.
For Invicta, Jon Pilbeam’s dangerous cross deflected into the path of Carl Rook whose attempted overhead kick ran just wide. Next, it was down to Ben Jordan to nick the ball off Matt Newman’s toe after a dangerous cross from another former Hythe man, Ronnie Dolan.
Hythe were using the width of Cheriton Road well on the counter-attack, but after three early corners they were lacking the final ball to give Zanone the chance to test Roberts again.
A couple of flashes of brilliance later and the home side had the lead, Newman ghosting past Sam Fisher and picking out Miller, who sidestepped Ollie Lee to poke a cute finish into the bottom corner with the outside of his boot.
Scott Punton saved both his own and Ollie Lee’s blushes on the half-hour mark, with a last ditch tackle after a mix-up between the defensive partners allowed Miller in on goal.
It was end to end stuff as Ben Jordan made an excellent block on Rook’s shot, whilst for Hythe Jordan Wells combined well with Sam Conlon in the Folkestone box, Wells’ pullback after a nice one-two almost picking out Zanone as Invicta scrambled clear from their own six-yard box.
Rook headed just wide from Dolan’s dangerous free-kick, whilst Wells continued to try and provide relief of the counter-attack, with a run from just inside the Folkestone half to the edge of the box, his low drilled effort deflecting just wide.
But the real chance for the Cannons to get back in the game came on the stroke of half-time as an uncharacteristic mistake by Tim Roberts gifted Zanone possession with just the keeper to beat. With the narrow angle against him the new signing elected to pick out Wells, but the pass was mistimed and the chance had gone.
The second-half was a far tighter affair and it was played far more in Hythe’s half as the hosts tightened things up at the back. Soon after the restart Rook’s shot deflected just over following Miller’s smart flick.
But there was no denying Rook a few minutes later as a sweeping counter-attack via the pace of Pilbeam, ended with the winger crossing perfectly for the striker to force the ball home at close-range.
Now the home side were well in the ascendancy, with Rook, Pilbeam and Miller all providing several chances for one another.
With twenty minutes remaining it was game over as Joe Mant misjudged the bounce of the ball and Phil Starkey walked the ball into the empty net for one of the more surreal moments of this fixture in recent years, and there have been a few!
Scorers – Folkestone Invicta - Ashley Miller – 19 mins - Carl Rook – 52 mins - Phil Starkey – 69 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Sam Fisher, Ollie Lee, Ben Jordan (Rene Rivera – 78 mins), Sam Conlon, Bradley Jordan, Stuart Zanone, Scott Punton, Jordan Wells – Unused Subs – Johan Caney-Bryan, Joe Fisher, Tom Fagg, Roddy Hayward
Attendance - 552
Cannons Crash Out Of FA Cup
Hythe Town – 0 – Chessington & Hook United - 2
FA Cup Preliminary Round - 29/08/15
It was a case of seven games 'unlucky' for Tim Dixon's Hythe Town side, who crashed out of the FA Cup at the Preliminary Round stage to a Chessington & Hook United side full of passion and endeavour.
The visitors took the lead via a strike from Ade Oketoki, an early substitute who had scored the winner for his side in the 90th minute in the last round.
Jimmy Harding scored a second with fifteen minutes to go, before Sam Fisher added to his side's woes with a poor and needless challenge leading to an easy red card decision for the Referee.
There was an open start to the contest as Perry Weller played a good ball into the channels, Kyle Green outpacing the Hythe defence to run clear on goal, only for Roddy Hayward to make an excellent save with his legs.
Hythe hit straight back, with Rene Rivera’s smart back-heel lining up Bradley Jordan to burst into the box towards the near-post, although Ian Hewitt read the situation well to claim the midfielder’s attempted lob.
Another decent ball into the channels gave the lively Green another sight of the Hythe goal, but the forward’s shot was wayward and he soon left the contest due to an injury from overstretching himself for that same strike.
Substitute, Oketoki, fired a warning into Hythe’s side-netting, but it was a concern that the Hythe defence were not adjusting to the direct play of their opponents, neither playing a high line or dropping off to deal with the runs of the Chessington forward line.
The Cannons continued to carry a threat though as Burchell’s cross, following a lovely one-two with Joe Fisher, almost picked out Conlon at the back-post, Chessington scrambling clear.
The visitors took the lead just after the half-hour mark and the source was no surprise, Weller’s ball forward into the channels, Oketoki beating Hayward at the near-post after running clear of the Hythe defence.
Still Hythe struggled with Chessington’s direct play and you couldn’t blame the away side, such was it’s success as Oketoki’s shot deflected just wide off the foot of the recovering Ollie Lee.
Conlon continued to threaten, his decent half-volley deflecting and skimming the outside of the post, following some good work from Wells.
Jordan’s penetrating run then led to a foul and a free-kick on the edge of the Chessington box, the midfielder dusting himself down to curl a really good effort towards the top-left corner that keeper Hewitt again dealt with, producing a fine tip over the bar.
Oketoki continued in his quest for a second goal, as a minute after the restart he connected with Weller’s cross with an ambitious overhead kick that Hayward comfortably claimed.
But probably Hythe’s best chance to equalise came soon after, as a mazy run from Rivera led to a pullback that almost picked out the totally unmarked Wells and Conlon, Hewitt again in the right place at the right time.
Hythe introduced the fresh legs of Ben Jordan and new signing, young striker Tom Fagg in the final third of the game, and Bradley Jordan went close with another strike from distance that Hewitt was equal too, but the final fifteen minutes were a disaster for Hythe.
First, Hayward made a mess of Jimmy Harding’s harmless free-kick into the bottom corner to give the visitors the cushion of a second goal, before Wells then had a penalty saved and Sam Fisher received that red card. It was an afternoon to forget for the Reachfields faithful as they failed at the first hurdle in this season’s FA Cup.
Scorers – Chessington & Hook United – Ade Oketoki – 32 mins – Jimmy Harding – 75 mins
Hythe Town – Roddy Hayward, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Sam Fisher, Ollie Lee (Ben Jordan – 71 mins), Scott Punton, Sam Conlon, Bradley Jordan, Rene Rivera (Tom Fagg – 63 mins), Jordan Wells, Sam Fisher – Unused Subs – Johan Caney-Bryan, William Webb, Dan Stubbs
Attendance - 140
It Doesn’t Get Any Closer
Hythe Town – 1 – Guernsey - 1
Ryman League South - 25/08/15
The Cannons came agonisingly close to their first win of the season, leading the Green Lions of Guernsey from the very first minute of the game, only to concede an equaliser two minutes from
This was another improved performance from Tim Dixon’s side, who created enough chances to have the points in the bag by half-time.
However, a fifth red card of the campaign, this time to Scott Punton but completely incorrect, swung the momentum back to the visitors who patiently passed and probed until the ten men of Hythe could resist no more.
It was the perfect start for the hosts and, in his first competitive start of the season, Rene Rivera, who picked up Jordan Wells' flicked header from Josh Burchell's pass forward, beat two men and drilled home at close-range with less than a minute on the clock.
Wells then drilled a shot into the side-netting and then turned provider for Conlon who, clear on goal, should have done better with a close-range shot that ran across goal and wide.
Next it was Wells’ turn to go close, an unmarked header comfortably plucked out of the air by Jakub Machlowski, following more good work from Rivera and a centre from Joe Fisher.
Rivera found the net for a second time, after Conlon’s throughball following a skilful run deep into the Guernsey box, but the offside flag was raised to halt Hythe’s celebrations.
It was all Hythe, as a fantastic cross through the box from Wells was blasted wide by Fisher, who couldn’t quite arrive in time to control his effort at the back-post.
It took until the 38th minute for the away side to create their first real chance on goal, Marc McGrath slipping an otherwise excellent Hythe offside trap to fire a dangerous shot across goal but just wide.
The only question coming into the second-half was whether or not the Cannons could keep up the tempo and finally put the game out of sight, the question of keeping up the tempo was soon answered.
Five minutes after the interval Rivera cut a nice ball back towards the edge of the box and Bradley Jordan looped in a decent effort from the edge of the box that Machlowski was well positioned to save.
Next, Conlon beat his man down the right and drilled in a low near-post shot that the Guernsey keeper was again equal too.
The home side should have doubled their lead on the hour mark as Wells’ lovely flicked header on the counter-attack sent Rivera clear to accelerate towards goal, Machlowski’s save at the Hythe striker’s feet was as brave as it was perfectly-timed.
Just a minute later Conlon released Wells down the right and his low cross should have been converted by Rivera whose close-range shot ran just wide. At the other end Joe Mant continued his confident start in a Hythe shirt, beating away a stinging long-range effort from Luke Winch,
But the game was about to arrive at its turning point as Punton, already on a caution, was incorrectly dismissed. Video footage viewed since the incident confirm Punton received a second yellow for kicking the ball away, something he was actually in the motion of doing as the Referee blew his whistle.
Hythe responded with the introduction of debutants Tom Scorer, Ben Jordan and young William Webb, but the increasing pressure on the Hythe goal was as constant as it was inevitable.
It has to be said that this young Hythe side, down to ten men, really dug in and defended well to ensure that a really good goal would be needed from the Green Lions.
Sadly for Hythe, the visitors had the patience to put together an excellent long passage of possession that ended with Craig Young slotting home at close-range to give the Islanders a share of the points.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Rene Rivera – 1 min – Guernsey - Craig Young – 88 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell, Sam Brown, Ollie Lee, Scott Punton, Joe Fisher (Tom Scorer – 73 mins), Bradley Jordan, Rene Rivera (Ben Jordan – 67 mins), Jordan Wells, Sam Conlon (William Webb – 84 mins) – Unused Subs – Dan Stubbs, Roddy Hayward
Attendance - 153
No Joy At The Pilot Field
Hastings United - 3 - Hythe Town – 1
Ryman League South - 22/08/15
After a promising and entertaining first-half performance, Tim Dixon’s side paid the price for not converting their chances as Hastings United ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.
With the departure of Shaun Welford and with Dan Stubbs suspended, this was a new look Cannons line-up, with Stephen Butcher coming in for his competitive debut at right-back and Phil Stevenson moving into midfield.
New signing, goalkeeper Joe Mant also made an eye-catching debut, faultless for the goals and making two outstanding saves during his first ninety minutes in a Hythe shirt.
The Cannons must now regroup before the crucial home fixtures with Guernsey (Tuesday night) and the FA Cup tie with Chessington & Hook United (Saturday).
The visitors created the first clear chance of the afternoon when Sam Fisher played Sam Conlon one on one with a lovely throughball, Josh Pelling making a great save with his feet, before Jordan Wells’ follow-up on the rebound deflected and James Morrish’s shot flew just over the bar.
The home side responded with the always-dangerous Sam Adams shooting just over from the edge of the box. But Hythe missed another really good opportunity to take the lead when Jordan Wells hit the underside of the crossbar following Josh Burchell’s corner.
The U’s again responded, Sam Cole drilling across goal but well wide after Adams picked out the wide-man on the counter-attack, although there were question marks over Jack Harris being onside in the build-up.
Cole then turned provider when his low cross from the left was toed brilliantly but just wide from close-range by Harris, despite tight marking from the Hythe defence.
In a frantic first third of the game Stephen Okoh blazed a shot just over after a mazy run deep into the box, before the same player thumped a header against the Hythe crossbar.
With ten minutes remaining of the opening period of play a Phil Stevenson free-kick headed back across goal by Laurence Harvey led to Hythe again hitting the woodwork via Wells, but on this occasion they went even closer as Ollie Lee also had the rebound hooked clear off the line.
It was all Hythe as Conlon’s cross through the six-yard box was just taken off Stevenson’s toe and from the following corner Morrish had a clear-cut penalty turned down as frustration grew for Tim Dixon’s side.
But for all the away side’s goal threat, the Hastings attacking pressure was always there as well, and a lightning quick counter-attack following the Hythe penalty shout led to a cross from Cole and a stunning one on one save from Mant following Okoh’s low shot.
It was amazing the game reached half-time without a goal from either side and it was no surprise to see both defences on top after their respective regroups, but it would be the hosts that found another gear in the final third of the game.
The breakthrough came from a quite spectacular individual effort that Hythe or Mant could do little to prevent, as just after the hour mark home skipper, Jack Walder, hit an unstoppable half-volley from thirty-yards into the top-right hand corner.
Hythe’s new man then pulled off another top save to deny Harris, around the base of the post, following a smart one-two with substitute, Bright Temba.
But again Mant could do very little about the next two Hastings goals as Cole slotted home the second for the U’s and then Tember, who had been a real threat in Tuesday night’s League Cup fixture, curled in a lovely finish across the face of Hythe’s goal after some questionable marking from the visitors.
It was a little out of the blue that the away side claimed a consolation in the 89th minute, but it was the least they deserved looking at the game as a whole and it came about in the form of a calmly taken Sam Conlon penalty, after a foul on substitute Johan Caney-Bryan.
Scorers – Hythe Town - Sam Conlon - 89 mins (pen) - Hastings United – Jack Walder – 62 mins – Sam Cole – 72 mins – Bright Temba – 79 mins
Hythe Town – Joe Mant, Stephen Butcher, Josh Burchell (Joe Fisher – 70 mins), Sam Fisher (Scott Punton – 31 mins), Ollie Lee, Laurence Harvey, Phil Stevenson (Johan Caney-Bryan – 75 mins), James Morrish, Sam Conlon, Bradley Jordan, Jordan Wells – Unused Subs – Rene Rivera, Roddy Hayward
Attendance - 364
Cannons Bow Out Of League Cup
Hastings United – 3 – Hythe Town – 2
Robert Dyas League Cup – 18/08/15
The Cannons left the Robert Dyas League Cup at the First Round stage after an exciting encounter with Hastings United at the Pilot Field.
Skipper, James Morrish’s second goal in as many games and Shaun Welford’s first competitive goal of the new season turned the game Hythe’s way after the U’s had taken an early lead.
But in the closing stages pressure from the hosts told and an equaliser, followed by a winner from the penalty-spot (for the second time in four days) left Hythe still looking for their first win of the season.
The home side carved out the first chance of the evening after five minutes as Tom Vickers’ cross picked out Bright Temba, whose volley beat Roddy Hayward but ran just wide.
Two minutes later Hastings had the lead as Sam Adams was left unmarked just outside the box and found the top-left corner with an unstoppable shot.
Hythe responded in decent fashion, Sam Brown’s cross picking out an unmarked Morrish, the midfielder just missing his connection with an attempted glancing header.
Shaun Welford then did well to cut inside his marker and hit a fierce driven effort that stung the palms of Josh Pelling.
But Hastings settled again and Adams should have doubled his and his side’s tally for the evening with an unmarked header after some decent build-up play from the U’s.
At this stage the strike partnership of Bright Temba and Tyrell Richardson-Brown were working tirelessly with their midfield to prevent the away side having any time on the ball in their own half.
But with five minutes of the first-half remaining, a great cross from Welford to the back-post picked out Morrish’s unstoppable stooping header and the visitors were back in the contest.
As the half closed the danger signs were still there though, Adams again the threat, cutting inside his man and firing in another dangerous effort that Hayward held well.
Straight after the restart Richardson-Brown should have scored, running clear of a mistimed Hythe offside trap only to cut back into the recovering Hythe defence and blast his attempted shot over.
For Hythe, Sam Conlon ran clear on goal following a one-two with Welford, but Pelling was alert to the danger to smother the ball. The Cannons started the second-half with a higher defensive line and a higher tempo, which opened the game up for both sides.
Ten minutes into the second-half, the visitors took the lead, good sustained pressure from Conlon and Stubbs down to the right ended with a dangerous uncleared cross from Stubbs that Welford volleyed home low from just inside the box.
Hastings responded, Richardson-Brown’s shot on the turn cleared off the line by Sam Brown after almighty scramble in the Hythe box, and soon after Scott Punton made an excellent block from after another fierce shot, this time from Temba.
Midway through the half, Alan Foster blasted over from only a few yards out when he should have scored, although justice was done as Temba had taken advantage of a poor offside decision to supply the cross from the left.
It was end-to-end action as Stubbs’ centre picked out an excellent run from Jordan Wells, but although the youngster’s touch took him past Pelling, it was too heavy to keep the ball under control and roll home into the Hastings goal.
The away side then came within a yard or so at most of possibly killing the game, as Welford charged down Pelling’s clearance only to watch the ball roll agonisingly wide of the open goal.
With twelve minutes left on the clock Roddy Hayward made a tremendous save with his legs, after the excellent Adams again evaded the challenge of his marker to create a shooting opportunity.
But there was nothing Hayward could do a minute later, as Hythe were outnumbered in their own box and Tember drilled home low to equalise for the hosts.
In scenes reminiscent of Saturday, the Cannons panicked in possession in the closing stages, and the home side took advantage. As Hythe failed to clear their lines the pressure told and Hayward gave away a penalty that Adams made no mistake with, smashing the winning goal high into the roof of the net.
Scorers – Hythe Town – James Morrish – 40 mins – Shaun Welford – 55 mins – Hastings United – Sam Adams – 7, 85 mins (pen) – Bright Tember – 79 mins
Hythe Town – Roddy Hayward, Phil Stevenson, Josh Burchell, Sam Brown (Sam Fisher – 63 mins), Ollie Lee, Scott Punton (Bradley Jordan – 82 mins), Dan Stubbs, James Morrish, Shaun Welford, Jordan Wells (Johan Caney-Bryan – 75 mins), Sam Conlon – Unused Subs – Joe Fisher, Dan Eason
Attendance – 221
Final Second Heartbreak
Hythe Town – 1 - Corinthian-Casuals - 1
Ryman League South - 15/08/15
After another improved performance from the Cannons and a fantastic goal from skipper, James Morrish, Reachfields was left stunned as visiting Corinthian-Casuals left with a totally unexpected point.
After the visitors had started the season with two wins out of two scoring five goals without reply, this was a stern test for the home side following an extremely difficult start to the new campaign.
More encouraging improvement to the hosts' passing game, along with a sound defensive approach kept Hythe firmly in control of the contest, with Dan Eason not being forced into a meaningful save throughout. Eventually they took a deserved lead via a precise finish from the boot of Morrish.
After seeing out the remaining fifteen minutes a sudden counter-attack from the Casuals led to the controversial award of a penalty, and Josh Uzun calmly rolled home the spot-kick to break Hythe hearts.
The Cannons started well, Jordan Wells with an impressive run off the flank, before picking out the in-from Bradley Jordan, the midfielder's driven shot looping just over the bar.
Hythe continued to build pressure, Sam Conlon's well-worked corner picking out the strike, again of Jordan, but this time the ball deflected wide, as did Shaun Welford's effort from the following corner.
Phil Stevenson's burst forward led to a one-two with Conlon, the following cross causing a goalmouth scramble, whilst for the Casuals a fiercely struck goalbound effort from Niall Wright was blocked brilliantly by Ollie Lee, who continues to impress in the new-look Hythe defence.
The first of three Hythe penalty shouts arrived just after the half-hour mark, a lovely counter-attack involving Morrish, Conlon and Sam Fisher led to Welford going close to a one on one opportunity, before the chance ended with a handball claim turned down by the officials, a similar penalty claim came just minutes later.
However, the away-side also had their complaints regarding key decisions and just before half-time, Eason was lucky to escape with just a yellow card as he clumsily collided with Wright as he bore down on the Hythe goal.
Hythe continued to up their game after the restart, Danny Bracken not knowing much about his save from a Welford shot, following a decent cross from Josh Burchell. Four corners, several free-kicks and yet another penalty shout followed but still the breakthrough didn't arrive.
The hosts should have taken the lead on the hour mark as Burchell started and ended a move that finished with a Morrish cross and Burchell flashing a header just wide six yards from goal. Whilst for the visitors, Emmanuel Akokhia cut in off the flank and curled a decent effort across goal and just wide.
Hythe continued to turn the screw as Laurence Harvey headed onto the top of the crossbar, following a flowing move started by the centre-back and also involving Welford and Burchell.
But the home side were about to take a deserved lead as more patient football led to a clipped ball forward from Jordan that Morrish did brilliantly to lift over keeper Bracken as he rushed from his line.
After keeping the ball so well throughout the contest, the Cannons strangely reverted to giving the ball away cheaply in the closing stages, which encouraged the Casuals in their search for an equaliser, although there were big questions marks over that goal when it did arrive.
Following a blocked shot in their own box the away side swept forward and Eason found himself coming off his line towards the run of substitute Emil Salama, who seemed to 'win' a penalty as opposed to being fouled by the Hythe keeper.
But that aside there was an air of inevitability as Eason received his marching orders for a second yellow and goalkeeping substitute Roddy Hayward was sent the wrong way by Josh Uzun, who calmly rolled home his spot-kick with practically the last kick of the game.
Scorers – Hythe Town - James Morrish - 78 mins - Corinthian-Casuals - Josh Uzun - 90+4 mins (pen)
Hythe Town – Dan Eason, Phil Stevenson, Josh Burchell, Sam Fisher, Ollie Lee, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon (Dan Stubbs - 61 mins), James Morrish, Shaun Welford (Johan Caney-Bryan – 90 mins), Bradley Jordan, Jordan Wells (Roddy Hayward – 90+3 mins) – Unused Subs – Sam Brown, J Fisher
Attendance - 192
Smash & Grab Bay
Hythe Town – 0 - Herne Bay - 2
Ryman League South - 11/08/15
After the false start of Saturday the Cannons found their passing game in a much-improved first-half performance. Visiting Herne Bay hit a classic counter-attack goal two minutes before half-time to set-up a highly anticipated second-half. Sadly, players from both sides lost their heads after the break and it was the hosts that got caught red-handed.
Firstly, Laurence Harvey was sent-off, a little harshly, for the raising of his arm towards the opposition. But there were no complaints from the home side when James Morrish then let himself down, receiving his marching orders for violent conduct for an off the ball incident.
It has to be said though that the application and work-rate shown by the nine remaining Cannons was a fantastic example of the attitude amongst those left on the pitch. After a scrappy opening to what will become one of five Kent derbies in the opening six games for the Bay, Hythe began to build pressure.
Their first real chance on Jack Delo's goal turned into an almighty scramble as Shaun Welford and Sam Fisher had shots hooked clear, before Sam Conlon's shot deflected off two Bay men and was finally cleared off the line.
Conlon was involved again as he and then Morrish helped the ball into the path of Jordan Wells, whose final shot looped just over the bar. More good football from Hythe led to Welford rifling a low shot just wide from the edge of the box.
Fisher then sent Conlon clear on goal but wide, as the winger's centre flashed across goal only needing some contact for a certain opener. However, two minutes from half-time a sweeping counter-attack from the visitors led to Steven Ita slipping Hythe's high defensive line and confidently firing home a surprise opener.
Shortly after the restart the red mist came down and from there the contest was difficult to take seriously as the away side threatened to overwhelm, before strangely finding themselves on the back-foot against Hythe's nine men, Mark Lovell's headed effort twelve minutes from time ensured there would be no miracle.
Scorer – Steven Ita - 43 mins - Mark Lovell - 78 mins
Hythe Town – Dan Eason, Dan Stubbs, Phil Stevenson, Sam Fisher (Sam Brown - 81 mins), Ollie Lee, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon (J Fisher - 90+1 mins), James Morrish, Shaun Welford, Bradley Jordan, Jordan Wells (Rene Rivera - 81 mins) – Unused Subs – Johan Caney-Brown, Roddy Hayward
Attendance - 278
Cannons Toil In Opening Day Heat
South Park – 1 - Hythe Town – 0
Ryman League South - 08/08/15
The Cannons toiled in the heat as the opening day of the new season ended in a narrow defeat at South Park. The hosts created the only scoring opportunity of an uninspiring first-half, as both teams struggled to put together any meaningful attacking moves.
That opportunity fell at the feet of South Park’s Dale Burgess and then home captain, Kieran Lavery, who both missed a close-range tap-in following a dangerous low cross from the right.
The opening period of play ended in scrappy fashion as John Walker (who now holds the all-time appearance record at Reachfields following his 351st game in a Hythe shirt) picked up a knock that led to his replacement at half-time, and Dan Stubbs picked up a needless booking that he would later regret.
Rene Rivera’s introduction at the interval led to a switch in formation that the Cannons seemed more comfortable with and they started the second-half in livelier fashion.
Sam Fisher’s lovely clipped throughball, following a one-two with James Morrish, sent Shaun Welford clear on goal, only for a poor offside decision to frustrate the visitors. But the home side had come to life as well, Lavery hitting the side netting after Joe Jackson’s smart throughball.
Just before the hour mark came the breakthrough and it was lively home skipper, Lavery that converted over Eason after Jack Stafford’s ball forward caused confusion in the Hythe box.
It didn’t take long for the Cannons to respond, Welford flicking Rivera one on one, only for Jamie Hatfield to provide the tackle of the game, to steal the ball off the Hythe forward’s toe as he seemed certain to slam home a half-volley.
Several dangerous Sam Conlon corners went unpunished as Hythe introduced the fresh legs of Johan Caney-Bryan and Jordan Wells as they searched for the equaliser.
However, despite some desperate scrambled defending as Hythe went more direct in the closing stages, South Park managed to hold on for all three points. Stubbs would also collect his second yellow of the game to receive his marching orders, ending a frustrating opening afternoon.
Scorer – Kieran Lavery – 57 mins
Hythe Town – Dan Eason, Phil Stevenson, John Walker (Rene Rivera – 45 mins), Sam Fisher (Caney-Bryan – 76 mins), Ollie Lee, Laurence Harvey, Dan Stubbs, James Morrish, Shaun Welford, Bradley Jordan (Jordan Wells – 76 mins), Sam Conlon – Unused Subs – Joe Fisher, Roddy Hayward
Attendance - 85
The Big Kick-Off Awaits
Tim Dixon's Cannons ended their pre-season preparations with a comprehensive 5-1 defeat of a Maidstone United XI on Wednesday night, before slipping to their first defeat of pre-season at Reachfields on Saturday to old friends Ashford United, the final score, 1-0.
Wednesday night offered some of our best football of pre-season against a young but clearly, fit, organised and well drilled Stones XI. Sam Brown's twenty yard half-volley opened the scoring for Hythe (possibly ending the goal of the season contest before the real stuff has even begun!)
Two further strikes from young debutant, Rene Rivera, gave the hosts a comfortable 3-0 lead at the interval. Although the exciting forward is clearly behind the rest of his team-mates in regards to match fitness (following holiday), the ex-Deal man does seem to have something a little special about him and looks likely to become a fan favourite for the Cannons once at full fitness.
Hythe's scoring was completed by the in-form Bradley Jordan, the former Charlton midfielder having clearly benefited from a full pre-season with his team-mates after joining the club late last season. The fifth strike was a first senior goal for Under 18s striker, Henry Fulcher, who both earned and converted a late penalty.
Saturday was the visit of old friends and rivals, Ashford United, who came to Reachfields with an array of former Hythe talent now lining up for a charge at the SCEFL title and promotion to the Ryman South. Familiar faces included Gary Clarke, Danny Lye, Jamie Collado, Michael Yianni, Gary Mickelborough, Dave Cook and of course Lloyd Blackman.
The final 1-0 defeat, thanks to a goal from the talented Stuart Zanone, won't have knocked the confidence of the Cannons too much ahead of Saturday's league opener at South Park. Ashford are clearly a Ryman club in waiting again and have put together an impressive squad, whilst Tim Dixon had eight regulars missing due to a variety of holiday and family commitments and minor niggles/injuries being rested.
Weakened Cannons Overcome FC Romania
With Skipper James Morrish, Jordan Wells, John Walker and new signings Stephen Butcher and Rene Rivera unavailable for selection, an experimental Cannons side enjoyed a decent runout against a capable looking FC Romania side. The visitors took the lead on the hour mark, before an equaliser from trialist Johan Caney-Bryan and a winner from Shaun Welford continued Tim Dixon's side's unbeaten pre-season.
Hythe Town Squad: Dan Eason, Phil Stevenson, Josh Burchell, Scott Punton, Ollie Lee, Laurence Harvey, Dan Stubbs, Sam Fisher, Shaun Welford, Bradley Jordan, Joe Fisher, Roddy Hayward, Sam Conlon, Sam Brown, Johan Caney-Bryan, Henry Fulcher
Goals Galore At Reachfields!
It was an eventful night at Reachfields as a topsy-turvy pre-season friendly with Kent Invicta League champions, Hollands & Blair, ended in a 3-3 draw. Goals from Shaun Welford and Sam Conlon within the first five minutes appeared to be setting up a routine win for the Cannons. But either side of half-time the visitors settled down and it wasn't a surprise when Bryan Greenfield pulled one back from the penalty spot on the hour.
With the usual large amount of substitutions entering the fray the game appeared to be drifting as a contest, before Luke Fewsdale took advantage of some poor defending to give his side the lead with a sudden sixty-second brace! This appeared to jolt Tim Dixon's men back into gear and it was the unlikely John Walker that sent a lovely flying volley into the top corner in the 90th minute to save his sise's blushes.
Hythe Town Squad: Roddy Hayward, Stephen Butcher, John Walker, Sam Fisher, Phil Stevenson, Ollie Lee, Dan Stubbs, James Morrish, Shaun Welford, Bradley Jordan, Sam Conlon, Dan Eason, Laurence Harvey, Scott Punton, Henry Fulcher, Josh Burchell
Cannons Looking In Decent Shape
Hythe Town's 1st Team squad made it two pre-season wins out of two, as they impressed during a routine 3-1 away win over Deal Town, Sam Conlon and James Morrish (2) the goalscorers.
The game at Deal followed a decent midweek outing at Kennington, who were 2-1 winners over a Hythe Town XI side, made up largely of trialists and Under 21 players.
Hythe Town squad at Deal: Roddy Hayward, Stephen Butcher, Ollie Lee, Laurence Harvey, Dan Stubbs, Scott Punton, Bradley Jordan, James Morrish, Sam Conlon, Dan Eason, Shaun Welford, Sam Fisher, John Walker, Harry Carr.
Cannons Begin Pre-Season With Comfortable Win
Hythe Town began their pre-season preparations with a comfortable 5-0 win over Canterbury City.
Second-half goals from Shaun Welford (2), James Morrish, Bradley Jordan and Jordan Wells sealed the win for Tim Dixon's side.
Hythe Town: Eason, Walker, Stevenson, Harvey, Burchell, Stubbs, Fisher, Jordan, Morrish, Wells, Welford – Subs – Punton, Lees, Butcher
Time For A Break
Chipstead – 3 - Hythe Town – 2
Ryman League South - 25/04/15
The long, challenging, rollercoaster of the 2014/15 season finally came to an end for Tim Dixon’s Cannons on Saturday at Chipstead.
After receiving an average to good season for decision making from officials, Hythe, for the second game running were on the wrong end of a quite appalling decision surrounding a penalty appeal.
With a 2-1 lead and well on top of their hosts, the away side had a penalty claim turned down when Shaun Welford received the most obvious push in the back you will ever see.
Hythe supporters still had their heads in their hands, when their own players decided to join in with the madness, throwing away the chance of even a point with ten minutes of kamikaze defending.
The overall feeling at the final whistle was, that after relegation scares, massive injury problems, and a large player turnaround, that this challenging season was best off put to bed, with everyone taking a well-earned summer break.
But massive positives must still be taken from a tough campaign. The outstanding passing football instilled at Reachfields during the opening months of the season will surely return after a good pre-season, along with the decent playing surfaces.
There has also been excellent progress from the club’s younger players, in particular Roddy Hayward and Jordan Wells, with Phil Stevenson and Sam Conlon making big contributions and Under 18s Harry Carr and Henry Fulcher stepping up to the senior squad.
However, this final contest of the season began with a goal that showed a major area to work on over the summer, with Andy Dalhoue finding it far too easy to fire home after just three minutes, Hayward unable to hold onto Kofi Quarty’s original shot, both players allowed too much space to get their shots away.
The frustrating thing for Hythe was that they would go on to be the better side in the first-half, but having given themselves a mountain to climb. Wells was soon blasting the first decent chance just over the bar after a decent flick from Welford.
Good work from skipper, James Morrish, led to a Michael Yianni cross, Luke Harvey and Welford both picked out unmarked, the latter guilty of heading straight at keeper Milan Stojsavljevic when an equaliser seemed certain.
Yianni sent an ambitious effort looping just over, following a clever corner routine taken by Sam Bewick, before Yianni turned provider, picking out Sam Conlon who cut inside from the flank to fire a shot just wide of the near-post.
At first it appeared it was Chipstead who had kick-started their performance following half-time, as winger Robert Webb weaved his way past several Hythe challenges to fire just wide at close-range.
It soon became apparent it was actually Hythe that had regrouped in more effective fashion, as two goals in three minutes turned this contest on it’s head. At the least Hythe had deserved to be level, suddenly they found themselves in the lead.
First, Phil Stevenson lashed home an impressive half-volley across goal from a Morrish cross, after good work from Luke Harvey. Two minutes later, half-time substitute Ryan Philpott, took over a Welford run before cutting across goal and drilling home from just outside the six-yard box.
The away side were now pushing for a crucial third, Philpott crossing for Welford to head just over and Harvey firing a dangerous low centre straight across the face of the Chipstead goal that only needed a slight touch from a player from either side to extend Hythe’s lead.
Morrish typically won possession back deep in his opponents’ half, before firing a decent effort just wide, but Hythe were about to be left stunned by that penalty appeal.
With Welford chasing down the ball into the right-hand side of the Chipstead penalty box, a fully stretched arm came out from the final defender and into the back of Welford, knocking him to the floor, however the Referee’s Assistant shocked everybody, describing the incident as shoulder to shoulder!
Ironically, the Chipstead equaliser would then come from the penalty-spot, Dalhoue brought down, before picking himself up to fire home the resulting spot-kick, before deep into injury-time Derek Tieku ended the Cannons’ season on a low.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Phil Stevenson – 46 mins – Ryan Philpott – 48 mins - Chipstead – Andy Dalhoue – 3 mins, 84 mins (pen) - Derek Tieku – 90+3 mins
Hythe Town – Roddy Hayward, Sam Bewick, John Walker, Phil Stevenson, Michael Yianni, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon (Bradley Jordan – 70 mins), James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Luke Harvey (Craig Thompson – 86 mins), Jordan Wells (Ryan Philpott – 46 mins) - Unused Sub – Dan Eason
Attendance – 95
Controversy At Reachfields
Hythe Town – 2 – Walton & Hersham - 3
Ryman League South - 18/04/15
Our final Ryman South home game of the season was marred with controversy, as a brilliant overhead finish from Sam Conlon and Shaun Welford's tenth goal since returning to the Cannons, still wasn't enough to overcome the almost impossible to deal with odds presented by the match officials.
After largely dominating a scrappy first-half and having a clear penalty turned down, Hythe actually found themselves 1-0 behind at half-time, the situation made even more frustrating considering the clear push ignored by the man in charge, that was the only reason a close-range finish was even possible in the first place!
Despite this setback the Reachfields outfit would eventually lead via those strikes from Conlon and Welford and had no complaints about the award of an equalising penalty. But at 2-2 another crucial decision went against Tim Dixon's men, as two arms raised above your head to block the ball in the penalty box was classed as a 'natural position' with no penalty given for handball.
Almost inevitably, there were also question marks over the award of the free-kick that led to Walton & Hersham's injury-time winner. But in the grand scheme of things that seemed minor compared to what had gone before.
After a largely uneventful first thirty minutes, mainly due to both sides coming to terms with the strength of the windy conditions, the game suddenly exploded into life with several chances for the hosts.
First, a great piece of skill from Welford sent Conlon clear down the right and into the box, only for a fine recovery tackle to foil the Hythe winger. Soon after a perfectly executed ‘Rabona’ from Craig Thompson gave Jordan Wells a similar scoring opportunity, but Hythe’s other wide man could only drag his shot across goal and wide.
But the third Hythe chance in quick succession was the clearest, Welford breaking down the right before pulling back a cross that just evaded Thompson but eventually found Wells at the back-post, the home side stunned to see no response to their penalty claims as the Hythe player was clearly brought down cutting back inside towards goal.
It wasn’t only Hythe who had stirred into life going forward though, as Jack Battie took advantage of hesitancy in the Hythe backline to run clear on goal, only to miscue his attempted lob over the returning Dan Eason.
The Walton & Hersham defence continued to live dangerously, Conlon played clear by Wells and then Wells played clear by Welford, on both occasions the final man left in defence making a last-ditch tackle to prevent one on one opportunities.
Then on the stroke of half-time, the Cannons, already reeling from that turned down penalty appeal, were again stunned as a clear push on James Morrish allowed Shaun Lyle to gain possession and poke home at close-range.
The opinion of most at the interval was after looking the more likely despite playing into the wind, that a second-half turnaround would materialise, soon after the restart, the first clear chance arrived to back that opinion up.
Michael Yianni surged forward, before firing a fierce low shot that deflected into the path of Welford, who forced Gary Ross into an excellent close-range save, before watching his awkward shot on the rebound roll agonisingly wide of the open goal.
The same two players went close again for the hosts, Yianni with another decent effort from the edge of the box, Welford almost managing to redirect his team-mate’s strike past Ross.
It was all Hythe and there was no surprise when the visitor’s failed to clear Welford’s long-throw into a crowded box and Conlon executed the perfect overhead kick to bring his side level.
With ten minutes remaining the home side finally took the lead, as substitute, Luke Harvey’s overhead pass picked out Welford’s run perfectly, Hythe’s talisman running clear on goal and toe-poking past the advancing Ross to send the ball into the empty net.
Despite Hythe’s frustrations on the day, they only had themselves to blame that their lead lasted less than two minutes, Gareth Chendlik felled by James Morrish as Hythe went to sleep at the back, the visiting striker picking himself up to fire home the resulting penalty.
That extremely controversial handball incident arrived with two minutes of normal time remaining, and Hythe were possibly still in shock when Eason made an outstanding save from substitute Andrew Mensah, who ran clear on the Hythe goal.
Deep into injury-time, it was another Walton & Hersham substitute, Tarome Hemmings, who curled open an unstoppable curling free-kick into the top-right hand corner from just outside the box, to win his side a dramatic three points.
The Cannons were left to reflect on a game that hadn’t delivered a vintage performance. But an afternoon with two strong penalty appeals turned down and a completely unfair goal allowed for the opponents, that left a feeling of injustice not felt since their Ryman League promotion four years ago.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Sam Conlon – 67 mins – Shaun Welford – 80 mins - Walton & Hersham – Shaun Lyle – 45 mins – Gareth Chendlik – 82 mins (pen) – Tarome Hemmings – 90+3 mins
Hythe Town – Dan Eason, Sam Bewick, Phil Stevenson, Michael Yianni, Jordan Wells (Ryan Philpott – 85 mins), Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon, James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Craig Thompson (Luke Harvey – 62 mins), Bradley Jordan - Unused Subs – Harry Carr, Roddy Hayward, John Walker
Attendance – 206
Cannons Tame Green Lions!
Guernsey – 0 – Hythe Town - 1
Ryman League South - 11/04/15
Hythe Town returned from their unique and now annual trip to the island of Guernsey with an outstanding three points. Once again the Cannons used the motivation of one of their toughest games of the season to turn in one of their best displays of the campaign.
In a fantastic advert for Ryman South football, 981 supporters, a season best for the excellent Footes Lane Stadium, watched on as both sides produced some really easy on the eye football. Goalkeepers and woodwork alike were both overworked in an end-to-end contest, applauded by all at the final whistle.
From a Hythe perspective though, that was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of positives to be taken home. An injury-ravaged squad was once again pushed to the limit, but all that seemed to do was produce one of the tightest man of the match contests of the season from Tim Dixon’s side. There were all kinds of sub-plots running beneath such a positive performance from the visitors.
The headlines went to the performance of our defence and goalkeeper, with Laurence Harvey once again outstanding, despite playing through a nasty illness and Roddy Hayward as dependable as ever between the sticks, one save in particular stood out to foil the talented Ross Allen when through on goal.
But, with a real captain’s performance, most of the plaudits went to James Morrish, who excelled in his first ever game at centre-back, with a faultless display to cover the absence of Joe Kennett, the latest to be struck with injury by the ‘Curse of the Cannons’, as it may well be remembered in the future.
That unlikely central-defensive partnership was well supported by Josh Burchell, and in probably his best game since returning to the club, Sam Bewick. Whilst in midfield, Bradley Jordan and Michael Yianni showed their potential as a partnership, again, both players probably turning in their best performances of the season.
Craig Thompson, Shaun Welford and the returning Sam Conlon provided the threat going forward, but in particular a mention should go to our biggest attacking threat on the day, the ever-improving young Jordan Wells.
The away side made a really solid start in front of the loud and passionate home support, and they should have taken the lead with the first clear chance of the afternoon, Welford firing straight at Chris Tardif, after being sent clear on goal by Bewick’s pass.
Dominic Heaume had the first sight of goal for the home side, as following a free-kick from a deep position he headed just wide. But the Cannons took a deserved lead after twenty-one minutes, Yianni rifling home an unstoppable low free-kick from thirty-yards past Tardif and into the bottom corner of his goal.
Hythe were now really enjoying themselves in the bright Guernsey sunshine, as Conlon’s header was tipped over at point-blank range, the forward unlucky not to win a penalty for his side when there seemed a clear push in the battle to reach the rebound. Moments later, Thompson crashed a shot against the crossbar as Guernsey failed to clear their lines.
Despite Hythe’s level of performance, the threat of Ross Allen and Marc McGrath on the counter-attack was there for all to see, and it almost got them right back into the game on the half-hour mark, when Allen slipped the Hythe offside trap to latch onto Dave Rihoy’s pass, only for Hayward to race from his line to make that excellent save.
Welford responded for Hythe with a low shot lashed across goal and just wide from the corner of the box, but Guernsey refused to buckle and Hythe were grateful for Yianni’s last-ditch block as Angus Mackay crept forward for an unmarked shot at the next Green Lions corner.
Two briliant tackles from Bewick couldn’t prevent the home side bursting down the left via the talented McGrath as Hythe found themselves outnumbered on the flank, but Laurence Harvey sweeping in to cover his team-mates was typical of both his and Hythe’s performance.
More of that was to come on the stroke of half-time, Morrish making a crucial block as Allen wriggled clear to burst into the Hythe six-yard box for what seemed a certain equaliser.
Tim Dixon’s management rallied the troops at half-time and they responded as the action restarted. Welford rattled a dangerous low cross straight through the Guernsey six-yard box, whilst Jordan had two decent sights of goal from the edge of the hosts’ penalty-box.
But again this contest swung one way and then the other, as Hayward made a brilliant save from McGrath at close-range, before Heaume had his head in his hands for missing the target at close-range on the rebound.
With Guernsey probably enjoying their best spell of the game and Allen firing two difficult chances just over the woodwork, Tim Dixon responded with the wise introduction of Luke Harvey.
The change worked perfectly for Hythe as Harvey’s ball retention eased the pressure on his hard-working team-mates. Further fresh legs were introduced in the shape of Ryan Philpott and later on young Harry Carr.
With those changes in place, the visitors ended the contest back on top and could have extended their lead on several occasions in the closing stages, beginning with Philpott cracking a tremendous effort against the crossbar from Yianni’s lay-off.
Moving into the final ten minutes Philpott should have scored, heading Burchell’s cross straight at Tardif from six-yards out, although credit also went to the Guernsey man for clawing the ball away to safety.
Allen ended a frustrating afternoon, lashing another decent volley onto the roof of the net, but Hythe were almost scoring every time they had the ball, as Carr sent Luke Harvey clear on goal, only for the substitute to smash wildly over when a simple lift over the keeper seemed certain.
In the third minute of injury-time came a moment that epitomised this Hythe performance, as Guernsey’s final corner of the afternoon created an almighty scramble, it was actually the attack-minded Wells that hooked the ball to safety to ensure his side took home the three points they deserved.
In closing, it should be placed on record that all those involved with Guernsey Football Club showed outstanding sportsmanship from start to finish, both on and off the pitch and are a credit to their extremely likable club.
It seems such a shame that the club have received criticism from certain quarters during their time in the Ryman South for some aspects of their involvement in the division.
Maybe it is time the focus was placed on the huge amount this fine club continue to get so right, when those who should know better continue to flounder at the basics?
But for now, lets focus on how much Tim Dixon, his coaches and players got right, on this, probably our most enjoyable afternoon of an extremely tough rollercoaster of a season!
Gaffer's Update - Cannons On Tour! - Click
Scorer – Michael Yianni – 21 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Sam Bewick, Josh Burchell, Michael Yianni, Jordan Wells, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon (Ryan Philpott – 70 mins), James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford (Harry Carr – 85 mins), Craig Thompson (Luke Harvey – 68 mins), Bradley Jordan - Unused Subs – Henry Fulcher, Dan Eason
Attendance – 981
Invicta Show Their Class
Hythe Town – 0 - Folkestone Invicta - 2
Ryman League South - 06/04/15
The big Shepway derby went with the form book, as Neil Cugley’s professional and clinical Folkestone Invicta side showed why they are still in the race to end the season as runners-up to the outstanding Ryman South champions, Burgess Hill Town.
Tim Dixon’s Cannons flickered into life at various stages in this Easter Monday contest. They showed far less nerves than in recent encounters between the two sides, in particular in the opening exchanges of each half, but mainly the second, when Craig Thompson thumped a shot against the Invicta crossbar and Shaun Welford came closest to a clear chance on Tim Robert’s goal.
But the Reachfields outfit knew in advance they would have to be at their very best in both penalty boxes to consider taking any points off promotion-chasing Invicta. The second best defence in the league showed how it was done at one end, whilst Frankie Chappell and Richard Atkins struck at key times at the other to secure the points.
Both sides settled fairly well in a decent opening ten minutes, the first real chance of the afternoon arrived when Welford controlled Sam Bewick’s ball forward, before turning and hitting a tremendous effort just wide from thirty-yards.
Invicta responded in similar fashion with the mobile Jordan Wright finding space for a low driven shot from just outside the box, Roddy Hayward passing the test of his nerves and handling with flying colours.
Hayward continued his excellent start in the Hythe goal, clawing away brilliantly after Richard Atkins had won possession from Joe Kennett to go one on one with the Hythe keeper, Hythe scrambling clear from the save.
Kennett was soon making up for that moment with an outstanding block on Dolan’s close-range effort, after the ex-Hythe man had combined well with Wright to burst clear into the Hythe box.
The hosts responded well, James Morrish with two decent crosses, the second finding an unmarked Michael Yianni at the back-post, whose driven shot deflected to safety.
Morrish then headed comfortably over after some good work from Craig Thompson, and with the final cross, Welford, however the visitors were about to make the crucial breakthrough before half-time arrived.
Kennett was adjudged to have handled the ball on the edge of his own box, and Matt Newman’s resulting free-kick was bundled home at close-range by centre-back, Frankie Chappell.
The home side had played the first-half with the adventurous 3-5-2 formation rarely seen in the game nowadays, but actually Hythe had a decent shape in the opening forty-five minutes and had looked fairly comfortable with their chosen system.
But the half closed with yet more of the bad luck that Hythe supporters have got used to in an appalling season for injuries, Phil Stevenson replaced by Jordan Wells, with the Cannons reverting to a traditional 4-4-2.
The second-half began in lively fashion, Ian Draycott’s low curling free-kick saved well by Hayward, whilst at the other end Thompson found his range with a thumping effort from twenty-yards that pinged off the Invicta crossbar.
Bradley Jordan should have done better, shooting low into Robert’s clutches after a long run from the lively Wells and the perfect centre from Welford, but Neil Cugley’s side quickly responded, Michael Everitt heading just over from Dolan’s corner.
Laurence Harvey’s excellent raking pass picked out Welford’s drifting run at the end of a swift Hythe counter-attack, but the striker’s poor first touch prevented what would have been a one on one opportunity.
With Hythe beginning to commit more players when going forward, the away side were regularly finding themselves with one or sometimes two unmarked players on the counter-attack; eventually the second Folkestone goal arrived.
However the goal came from Hythe being caught in possession just outside their own box, with Wright’s through-ball picking out Draycott, Hayward blocking the initial shot but helpless to prevent Atkins drilling home the rebound and his second goal in as many Shepway derbies to seal the points.
Scorers – Folkestone Invicta – Frankie Chappell – 34 mins – Richard Atkins – 74 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Sam Bewick, Josh Burchell, Phil Stevenson (Jordan Wells – 45+1 mins), Joe Kennett, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni (Ryan Philpott - 83 mins), James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Craig Thompson, Bradley Jordan - Unused Subs – Sam Conlon, Harry Carr, Dan Eason
Attendance – 804
Worthing Looking The Finished Article
Worthing - 2 - Hythe Town – 1
Ryman League South - 04/04/15
Following the poor show at Walton Casuals, Hythe Town restored a level of pride to their performance on this their longest (by road) away trip of the season.
However, their vastly improved opponents, showed that if you add some steel to an already very skilful and talented unit, then you will be somewhere near the finished article.
This young Worthing side probably won’t qualify for the end of season play-offs, but will end up being the best team outside the top five and would expect to challenge next time round if they remain at this level.
The Cannons almost enjoyed the perfect start, Laurence Harvey’s header from Josh Burchell’s free-kick beating Jack Fagan but denied by the woodwork.
The home side’s high defensive line appeared risky in the opening stages, but in hindsight was a reliable approach to frustrating the Hythe forward line.
The hosts responded to that Harvey chance with Omar Bugiel striking a volley straight off Tom Lawley’s cross that flew just wide.
After a decent start from Tim Dixon’s side, Worthing settled down and began to build pressure on Roddy Hayward’s goal.
Will Hendon headed just wide from Curtis Gayler’s cross, whilst a typically mazy run from the excellent Lloyd Dawes ended with a deflected shot running just wide of the Hythe goal.
The visitors were soon forced into a reshuffle with Sam Bewick replacing the injured John Walker at right-back, not too soon after the ‘Rebels’ secured a deserved lead.
With ten minutes remaining to the interval a clever improvised finish from Dawes found the net via the inside of the Hythe post, after Bugiel had headed on a long-throw from Will Hendon.
Just when the away side appeared to have got to half-time without any further body-blows, they received just that, as Josh Burchell was surprisingly red-carded for becoming ‘involved’ with a Worthing defender.
Even with that man disadvantage Hythe looked to strike straight back, Bradley Jordan’s corner headed just wide by Harvey, and soon after the beginning of the second-half it became apparent the hosts were still haunted by their recent 3-2 defeat at Ramsgate, after leading 2-0 against ten men at Southwood.
Despite some excellent approach play (albeit with the man advantage) and a succession of dangerous corners, it was clear the previously ultra-confident Worthing defence were wavering.
The recalled Ryan Philpott had already miscued his shot when clear on goal, before Jordan fired an even easier chance high over the crossbar, after Thompson had recovered the ball from a complete lost cause of a situation.
Just after the midway point of the second-half the ten men of Hythe had a surprise but deserved equaliser, Thompson chasing down an excellent throughball from Michael Yianni and forcing keeper Fagan into a panicked clearance that cannoned off centre-back Jack Cook and into the empty net.
It was at this point that Hythe’s positive take on Burchell’s red card really became apparent, as the Hythe midfield and forward line bombed forward to protect what had become a three man defence of Bewick, Harvey and Kennett.
If Hythe were going to win it, it would be with a quick-fire second, but the outstanding Dawes had other ideas with an opportunistic volley that Hayward did well to hold safely.
As the Hythe pressure built, they had a decent penalty shout turned down for handball, but Man of the Match Bugiel was only seconds away from smashing home an uncleared corner, giving his side a winner that was probably deserved over the ninety minutes.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Jack Cook (Own Goal) - 66 mins – Worthing – Lloyd Dawes – 35 mins – Omar Bugiel – 74 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker (Sam Bewick – 24 mins), Josh Burchell, Bradley Jordan, Joe Kennett, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni, James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson, Ryan Philpott (Shaun Welford – 78 mins), Jordan Wells (Phil Stevenson – 82 mins) - Unused Subs – Sam Conlon, Dan Eason
Attendance – 351
Plenty To Work On
Walton Casuals - 1 - Hythe Town – 0
Ryman League South - 28/03/15
Tim Dixon’s Hythe Town slumped to a poor 1-0 defeat on their travels to Walton Casuals, as recent form deserted the Cannons just when their Manager had warned against end of season lethargy.
At the end of 2014, these two sides embarked on their respective missions to avoid relegation from the Ryman South. They came together today, with both in a position to pretty much say ‘job done’, but from Hythe’s point of view they will come out of this one still with plenty to work on.
Billy Dunn scored the only goal of the afternoon after sixteen minutes, firing home a slightly deflected strike across Roddy Hayward and into the bottom-corner, as Hythe allowed the hosts to prosper from the flanks.
Hythe’s response was a decent free-kick from James Morrish, Laurence Harvey making a decent connection with a header that floated just over.
Dunn took advantage of a lucky deflection to almost repeat his opening goal, although on this occasion Hayward did well to prevent a second for the home side.
Ten minutes before half-time Hythe were back in it as Jordan Wells was adjudged to have been fouled in a chase to the ball in the Casuals’ box. However, any debate around the award of a penalty became irrelevant, as Craig Thompson fired the spot-kick over the crossbar.
Five minutes before half-time, the Cannons were again thankful for the shot-stopping skills of Hayward, the Hythe keeper making a fine save from Luke Medley’s fiercely driven effort, at the end of a swift counter-attack.
The visitors came close to equalising five minutes after the restart, as Wells missed a very close-range header by a whisker, following Josh Burchell’s free-kick.
An outstanding tackle from full-back Tyler Myers prevented Wells again, as the youngster almost ran clear on goal from Morrish’s fine through-ball.
The visitors continued their wastefulness in front of goal fifteen minutes from time, Michael Yianni, one of the few to impress for Hythe, sending Luke Harvey clear through, only for the direction of the striker’s run to allow the home defence to recover and snuff out the chance.
Hayward continued to impress with a sound save from Nazism Duala’s snapshot, the same player finding the side-netting moments later following a dangerous cross to the back-post.
In a poor game for the neutrals, it was only really the home side who came out of the game with any credit, having both scored and worked Hayward in the Hythe goal on several occasions, something the Cannons had failed to achieve all afternoon on a day to forget for the Reachfields outfit.
Scorer – Walton Casuals - Billy Dunn - 16 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker (Shaun Welford - 80 mins), Josh Burchell, Sam Bewick (Sam Conlon - 64 mins), Joe Kennett, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni, James Morrish (c) (Bradley Jordan - 80 mins), Luke Harvey, Craig Thompson, Jordan Wells - Unused Subs – Phil Stevenson, Dan Eason
Attendance – 78
Two Goal Hero?
Hythe Town – 2 – Tooting & Mitcham United - 2
Ryman League South - 21/03/15
The in-form Shaun Welford unwittingly ‘won’ the game for opponents, Tooting & Mitcham United, in the third minute of injury time, only to save a point for his side around thirty seconds later with his eighth goal in nine games (at the right end!)
The biggest talking point aside from Welford’s ‘brace’ was provided by the match referee, who failed to send-off the visiting Lewis Gonsalves, despite the defender committing both a red card and a separate yellow card challenge.
Looking back on the game in full, this was actually a good reflection of how far the Cannons have come since the threat of relegation loomed three months ago.
Against a fast, dangerous and skilful attacking unit, the game was actually largely played in the Tooting half. With the lightning-quick counter attacks of the visitors, in the main, defended brilliantly.
The only real exception to the above was in the ninth minute, when the hosts over-committed themselves going forward, only for Dan Summers to convert his 22nd goal of the campaign, following an exceptional cross from Sol Pinnock at the end of a great breakaway move.
The first fifteen minutes were probably the ‘Terrors’ best, but the goal seemed to sharpen up Hythe’s act, with a succession of corners, and throw-ins and free-kicks won deep in their opponents half.
Luke Harvey went close to an equaliser, just failing to connect with a close-range flick from Welford, before Harvey turned provider with a cross from the right that was slammed goalbound by Welford, only to be blocked by his own skipper, James Morrish.
Morrish’s cross then picked out Welford, whose physical presence occupied two Tooting men, allowing Jordan Wells clear in on goal at the back-post, before a tight offside decision came to the rescue of the Tooting defence.
The game’s major talking point arrived on the stroke of half-time, as following some great work from Luke Harvey, Welford slipped the home offside trap to bear down on goal. A touch brought the in-form striker to the edge of the box with the ball pushed ahead for the shot, before the controversial moment arrived.
As Welford looked certain to run on and shoot, Gonsalves clearly brought his man down from behind. With Welford the closest player to the goal and with the closer of the two remaining Tooting defenders committing the foul, there seemed only one option for Referee, Karl May, but the man in charge stunned all inside the ground by only producing a yellow card.
After the game, clarification was allegedly given that Welford was adjudged to not have the ball under control at the time of the foul, so a clear goalscoring opportunity had not been prevented, almost anyone who had seen the incident found this version of events difficult to understand.
Shortly after half-time, the home side scored a deserved equaliser, simplicity itself, as debutant, impressive centre-back Joe Kennett, headed home at close-range from Sam Bewick’s corner.
Much like the first-half, it was the side who had just conceded that responded in the right fashion, Hythe breathed again as Howard Newton’s smashed shot struck Burchell, only for Summers to hit the post from eight yards with the goal at his mercy.
But the final half-hour would swing back the way of Tim Dixon’s side, as the excellent Wells’ goalbound strike deflected back to Bewick, who himself watched his shot deflect, first towards goal, but then away to safety.
With twenty minutes remaining, it seemed certain that justice would finally be done, as Gonsalves cynically tripped Welford on the edge of the box. All anyone needs to know about the shocking lack of a second yellow card for the player was the reaction of the Tooting bench, who immediately substituted the player in question.
The resulting free-kick from Bewick was tipped over the bar by Alex Kozakis, but the controversial side of the game would again return to haunt Hythe one more time in the final seconds of the contest.
Before that, there would be an unbelievable end to proceedings, deep into injury-time as firstly, Hythe’s main man Welford headed a Tooting free-kick straight past his own keeper, Roddy Hayward unable to prevent his own teammate scoring a goal he would have been proud of, if at the right end of the pitch.
Remarkably, within a minute, Hythe had their own free-kick, taken by Bewick and forced over the line by…you guessed it, Welford, surely the vastly experienced striker’s strangest ever brace?
But there would still be enough time for one more moment of controversy, as the final insult was delivered to all of those with a Hythe persuasion, as substitute Craig Thompson was harshly booked for a trip that, you guessed it, was no more dangerous than Gonsalves’ trip on Welford, and certainly in a more innocuous area of the pitch.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Joe Kennett – 51 mins – Shaun Welford – 90+4 mins – Tooting & Mitcham United – Dan Summers – 9 mins – Own Goal (Welford) 90+3 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Sam Bewick, Joe Kennett, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni, James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Luke Harvey (Craig Thompson - 78 mins), Jordan Wells - Unused Subs – Phil Stevenson, Sam Conlon, Bradley Jordan, Dan Eason
Attendance – 210
Outstanding Strikes The Difference
Merstham - 4 - Hythe Town – 0
Ryman League South - 14/03/15
After the euphoria of Tuesday night's 6-1 victory over Corinthian-Casuals, the Cannons were brought back down to Earth in another part of Surrey when they took on promotion-challenging Merstham at ‘Moatside’, just four days later.
To their credit Town gave as good as they got for most of the ninety minutes but the home side were just that little bit quicker, just that little bit better organised and they seemed to be both defending and attacking in greater numbers throughout.
The first period was very much end to end and Shaun Welford, partnered by Luke Harvey up front, gave the home defence plenty to think about as they linked well together, Harvey having the first scoring chance of the game when he unleashed a ferocious shot from the edge of the area.
However, unfortunately for Hythe this merely signalled the start of a near-faultless display by keeper Brannon Daly, who dived high to his left to keep the ball out.
At the opposite end home captain Fabio Saraiva curled in a dangerous twenty-five yard free-kick that flew just wide of Roddy Hayward's right upright.
For Hythe Harvey again went close, and this time the ball came back to James Morrish who was just unable to make effective contact.
Despite the attentions of giant central defenders Tutu Henriques and Peter Adeniyi, Welford was able to get in some effective headers to his team-mates, both defenders receiving a yellow card and a warning from impressive referee Aji Ajibola as this key battle raged in the Merstham half.
Out of the blue the ’Moatsiders’ went ahead with the first of three quite brilliant goals, when Tom Howard found a little space at the edge of the area and fired an unstoppable shot in just under the crossbar.
Straight after, excellent work from Welford gave a first-time chance for Josh Burchell and the full-back let fly with a tremendous drive that crucially went just wide of the far-post with Daly beaten.
Another home attack then saw Hayward challenged strongly in the air but Phil Stevenson was on hand to head off the line. Back came Hythe again and the hard-working Harvey created another chance for Welford who saw another attempt go just wide for the unlucky Cannons.
The start of the second-half saw Hythe with plenty of reasons to be optimistic, but of course it is goals that win games and on fifty minutes Saraiva accepted a neat sidestepped pass to fire home another twenty-yard rocket to put his side two up.
That there was still plenty of commitment from Hythe was soon to be illustrated when Hayward and home striker, Omar Folkes, clashed in mid-air with both crashing to the ground.
Supporters from both sides were relieved to see both get up and shake hands and this sportsmanship was generally typical of the game once both sides had sized each other up.
On seventy-five minutes though the Hythe custodian was a little more reckless with his challenge on Reece Hall and Saraiva stroked in the resultant penalty to make the score 3-0.
By now subs Craig Thompson and Jordan Wells were on for Hythe and striving to reduce the arrears with some positive attacking play as the game moved towards its final phase.
Sadly for Hythe though the only end result of this period of pressure was a totally daft booking for Thompson, who saw a glimpse of his favourite colour for a handball he was never going to conceal from the match officials.
As the game went into the final minute there was to be one more major disappointment for the Hythe faithful, when a spell of quite woeful defending on the left-wing led to home full-back Simon Cooper jinking into the area to place an outrageous chip over the advancing Hayward and into the far side of the net.
By and large this was a game that Town had to be at their best to get any points off a side full of big, strong and skilful players many of whom have been at Merstham for some while.
The one problem for the home club seems to be getting the punters into the ground to support a genuine promotion drive, because this team would surely hold its own in the Premier Division.
On a bright Saturday in March there must have been only around 120 locals bothering to watch a game against a club near the summit of the Ryman South form table, but then again even higher placed Faversham could not manage much more against sixth-placed Whyteleafe, perhaps this league just has too many games.
Scorers – Merstham – Tom Howard – 19 mins – Fabio Saraiva – 50 mins, 76 mins (pen) – Simon Cooper – 90 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Sam Bewick, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon (Jordan Wells – 66 mins), James Morrish (c) (Louis Sprosen – 84 mins), Shaun Welford, Luke Harvey, Bradley Jordan (Craig Thompson – 66 mins) - Unused Subs – Dave Pilcher, Dan Eason
Attendance – 148
Six Of The Best!
Corinthian-Casuals - 1 - Hythe Town – 6
Ryman League South - 10/03/15
Thanks to Sam Inkersole of the Folkestone Herald for tonight's report...
Hythe Town put in their best performance under manager Tim Dixon by a long way as they dismantled Corinthian-Casuals 6-1 in Surrey on Tuesday evening.
Shaun Welford helped himself to a hat-trick while Luke Harvey, Sam Conlon and James Morrish netted the other three in a canter for the Cannons.
Hythe started brightly but were behind just four minutes in courtesy of a goalkeeping howler by Roddy Hayward. Steve Goddard fired in a cross from the right and Hayward spilled the ball straight onto the head of Jamie Byatt, who nodded home from two yards.
The Cannons looked for an immediate response, Sam Conlon acrobatically crossing for Sam Bewick who fired well over from a tight angle.
They did get a response on fourteen minutes. After three successive corners, Josh Burchell's inswinging set-piece was met by skipper Luke Harvey, who glanced a header into the roof of the net.
Hythe looked like a side who have lost only twice in 2015, playing with confidence and spraying the ball around nicely and were by far the more threatening side. Josh Burchell was slipped in by Sam Bewick but his shot was parried onto the top of the crossbar by Danny Bracken.
Hythe's dominance paid dividends on thirty-two minutes when they went in front. John Walker's throw found Laurence Harvey in oceans of space, he flicked on for namesake Luke who flicked on again towards goal. Shaun Welford jumped with Bracken, won the header and it fell to Conlon, who prodded home from close-range.
The Cannons continued to press forward, Burchell's raking pass was well brought down by Welford but his wild shot went well over the bar.
It should have been 3-1 to the visitors on thirty-seven minutes, Luke Harvey shooting straight at Bracken with just the keeper to beat after Welford's superb flick on.
Three minutes later, it was 3-1. Sam Bewick's centre was only half-cleared and Welford smacked the ball home from sixteen yards out. Again, Casuals were abject defensively as Hythe strolled into a two-goal advantage at half-time.
Max Austin came on at half-time for goalscorer Byatt and was involved straight away, rasping a drive from twenty yards that Hayward excellently tipped over. From the resulting corner, Joe Hicks header was somehow cleared off the line by John Walker.
Bracken was surprisingly not booked for handling outside the Casuals box. From the indirect free kick, Welford's piledriver was well blocked and cleared. At the other end, Lee Hall fired wide when well placed, put through by Juevan Spencer.
Spencer then had a chance for himself but Austin's cross was just too high for the winger, who couldn't stretch his neck high enough to get a clean contact on the ball and headed wide. Hicks then drilled an effort comfortably over the top.
A rare Hythe foray into the Casuals defensive third resulted in Conlon firing in a decent near-post strike parried away by Bracken on the hour.
And against the run of play, the visitors sealed all three points on sixety-six minutes when Welford netted his second, rising highest at the back-post to meet Burchell's corner and powerfully head across goal into the far corner.
Lee Hall escaped a red card after a horrendous challenge on Luke Harvey, referee Alex Gray made probably his only incorrect decision of the evening in not sending Hall off.
Welford was denied a hat-trick with twenty minutes to go when another goalbound header was cleared off the line, with Hythe players vociferously appealing for handball.
The visitors got their fifth with twelve minutes to go. Bradley Jordan's through ball was inch perfect for Welford and he was clearly played onside by Danny Green, with Welford waltzing through uncontested to sweep past Bracken. Green was then booked for his protestations to the linesman but the official was spot on in his decision.
The demolition job was complete on ninety minutes when skipper Morrish got a thoroughly deserved goal, ghosting around the back and latching on to a pass before drilling home from a tight angle.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Shaun Welford - 40, 67, 78 mins - Luke Harvey - 15 mins - Sam Conlon - 32 mins - James Morrish - 90 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Josh Burchell (Louis Sprosen - 88 mins), Sam Bewick, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon (Dave Pilcher - 88 mins), James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford (Jordan Wells - 80 mins), Luke Harvey, Bradley Jordan - Unused Subs – Michael Yianni, Dan Eason
Attendance – 95
7-Up For Thommo!
Hythe Town – 4 – Horsham Town - 0
Ryman League South - 07/03/15
Craig Thompson scored his seventh goal in as many games before accepting a memento from Chairman, John Dowsett, to mark his 200th appearance in a Hythe shirt (versus Whitstable Town on
Although ‘Thommo’ was forced into an early bath due to injury, his team-mates went on to comfortably secure all three points.
Visiting side, Horsham, rock-bottom of the Ryman South, certainly kept Hythe honest with their efforts, and didn’t look like a team resigned to relegation at all.
However, as soon as their skipper, Lewis Hamilton, was sent-off the floodgates opened and strikes from Shaun Welford, Sam Bewick and Jordan Wells sealed the points.
Hythe took the lead via Thompson after thirteen minutes, the striker flicking his near-post header past Gareth Williams and in from Josh Burchell’s corner.
The home side could have taken the lead just a minute earlier, Welford smashing a thunderous effort off the underside of the crossbar, Thompson with the throughball.
The woodwork continued to come to the rescue of visiting Horsham, as Welford’s neat cutback was met by a lovely placed shot from Bradley Jordan, that came back off the inside of the post and was scrambled clear, just after the half-hour mark.
Soon after, Williams refused to be beaten at his near-post again, as another angled shot from Welford was turned around the post.
A major positive for Hythe was the clean-sheet, which was harder work than it may seem. But the hosts cleared their lines and completed the basics well all afternoon, which kept the lively Horsham forward line at bay.
However, the Hornets would go close to pulling one back, seven minutes before half-time, but Luiz Felipe’s close-range smash was met by a defiant block from Laurence Harvey.
Moving into the second period Hythe remained patient in their search for a second goal, but it would be the visitors who would have the first good chance of the half, Tony Nwachukwu breaking down the left and firing a decent low effort across goal and just wide.
But for the second game running, a controversial red card was witnessed at Reachfields, as visiting skipper, Lewis Hamilton, saw red just after the hour mark, the full-back adjudged to have denied Sam Conlon a clear goalscoring opportunity.
On this occasion though, the Cannons wouldn’t follow up a red card for the opposition with conceding a goal, as they did on Tuesday night against Whitstable.
Horsham’s response was to bravely just lose a defender and play three at the back, but this simply encouraged the already growing Hythe pressure.
First Welford headed home his fourth goal in three games, Burchell again the provider with the corner-kick. Soon after, Sam Bewick drove home his first goal since returning to the club, after Williams’ defence failed to clear his saves from both Luke Harvey and James Morrish’s shots.
Bewick could have had a hat-trick in the closing stages, thankfully that goal made up for a close-range miss just moments earlier, following a decent cross from John Walker.
Another of the Hythe players unable to cash in was Luke Harvey; on several occasions he slipped a fragile offside trap only to be foiled by Williams.
But again, there would be a degree of compensation for the Hythe forward, as one of his saved shots fell to substitute, Jordan Wells, who slotted home Hythe’s fourth in injury-time.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Craig Thompson – 13 mins – Shaun Welford – 71 mins – Sam Bewick – 84 mins – Jordan Wells – 90+1 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Sam Bewick, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon (Jordan Wells – 75 mins), James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Craig Thompson (Luke Harvey – 28 mins), Bradley Jordan (Michael Yianni – 75 mins) - Unused Subs – Jamie Collado, Louis Sprosen
Attendance – 343
Oysterboys Strike Back
Hythe Town – 2 – Whitstable Town - 3
Ryman League South - 03/03/15
The Cannons slipped to only their second defeat in nine games, since the turn of the New Year, as the Oysterboys finally got the better of Tim Dixon’s side at the third time of asking.
This performance from a visiting Whitstable Town side was a lot different then our previous two encounters, with a big improvement in intensity that Hythe struggled to deal with in a one-sided first-half.
However, this current Hythe side just doesn’t know when they’re beaten, and for the second time in four days they managed a stirring fightback with two more goals from Shaun Welford.
But on this occasion the script didn’t go the Cannons way, as a late looping header stole the points for the visitors, bizarrely only moments after they had been reduced to ten men.
The game began in fairly frantic fashion with half-chances for both sides, Sam Bewick with a low drive that Luke Watkins held onto well, whilst at the other end Scott Heard almost took advantage of a mistimed Roddy Hayward clearance.
Whitstable were looking lively but their opening goal was all Hythe’s doing, James Morrish and Michael Yianni conspiring to give the ball away on the edge of their own box, Kane Rowland making no mistake with a slotted finish into the bottom-corner.
The hosts remained nervous at the back, with Hayward making an excellent low save with his feet, as Ian Pulman ran clear on goal at the end of a counter-attack from a Hythe corner.
The away side scored a deserved second three minutes before half-time, this time Pulman made no mistake, smashing home across goal after Peter Wedgeworth’s free-kick was nodded on by the excellent Nick Treadwell.
A smart one-two with Pulman led to bright winger, Tom Loynes, firing just wide, soon after the restart, but that was to be the last free chance on goal for some time for the visiting Oysterboys, as Tim Dixon’s side came to life in similar fashion to Saturday.
Bewick’s mishit free-kick almost dropped in, Watkins tipping over, and from the resulting corner Luke Harvey smashed across goal and just wide to end an almighty goalmouth scramble.
The contest between Luke Harvey and Nick Treadwell was fascinating to watch as the game unfolded, but the Hythe playmaker finally escaped his marker’s attentions to play Welford clear down the side of the penalty-box, his precise low finish was as outstanding as it was expected.
It was now all Hythe, as Josh Burchell’s corner was met by Laurence Harvey’s bullet header, and tipped over with the save of the game from Watkins.
Soon after, a lovely piece of skill from substitute, Bradley Jordan, set Hythe on their way inside their own half, with Luke Harvey and Jordan Wells then both involved in a fine move that led to Welford being chopped down for a clear penalty.
Welford quickly picked himself up to calmly roll home the spot-kick into the bottom corner, and suddenly it was only looking like there would be one winner.
Next Treadwell almost blotted his copybook, heading just wide of his own goal from a Morrish cross, as Hythe swept forward in search for a winner.
But out of nowhere, an exhilarating game suddenly had a major talking point, both sets of supporters jokingly called for a red card as Pulman and Hayward appeared to crunch together in a honest chase to the ball. Pulman then receiving his marching orders will have all in attendance waiting patiently to review Bob Keen’s highlights package.
Tim Dixon responded instantly, with the introduction of the pace of Sam Conlon, as his side appeared now certain to at least claim a point, if not all three.
But the home side were about to undo all their good work, as from Jake Mackenzie’s free-kick, first Ollie Gray and then Loynes were allowed free headers, the latter watching his looping effort curl over Hayward and into the net for a glorious winner for the visitors.
There was still time for Luke Harvey to hit the outside of the post and Whitstable keeper, Watkins, to receive his marching orders for two successive bookings, time wasting and sarcastic clapping towards the Referee, but in truth the third Whitstable goal had sucked the life out of the Cannons.
Video Highlights - Courtesy of BKVP Sport - Click Here
Scorers – Hythe Town – Shaun Welford – 64, 75 mins – Whitstable Town – Kane Rowland – 16 mins – Ian Pulman – 42 mins – Tom Loynes – 84 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Sam Bewick, Josh Burchell, Michael Yianni (Bradley Jordan – 65 mins), Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Craig Thompson, James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Luke Harvey, Jordan Wells (Sam Conlon – 83 mins) - Unused Subs – Dave Pilcher, Jamie Collado, Joe Kennett
Attendance – 232
A Step Closer To Safety
Three Bridges – 3 – Hythe Town - 4
Ryman League South - 28/02/15
Hythe Town made it four wins from five and only one defeat in eight to reach a season’s high of 13th in the Ryman South table, and move another step closer to safety.
It was all looking so different at half-time in this away encounter at Three Bridges, the home side leading 3-1 at the break, with Tim Dixon’s side looking unlikely to grab a draw let alone all three points.
What followed was an outstanding second-half performance, leading to goals from Jordan Wells, Craig Thompson and, with the winner, Shaun Welford. Those goals, that took the Cannons from defeat to victory, followed Luke Harvey’s long-awaited first goal in a Hythe shirt.
The game began with Hythe struggling to get to grips with the fierce wind that favoured the hosts in the first-half and the away side in the second, it wouldn’t be long until Ben Godfrey was slotting home from the penalty-spot to give his side an early lead.
That spot-kick was awarded after an unfortunate foul from Sam Bewick, who was unlucky to clip defender Jamie Crellin in the box, as he chased down the rebound after Hakeem Adelakun had thumped a curling free-kick off the inside of the post.
The Cannons bounced straight back though; as Luke Harvey ran clear onto Michael Yianni’s excellent throughball, only to be foiled by a fine low save from Kieron Thorp. Roles were reversed soon after as Yianni curled just wide after Harvey had initiated a fine move also involving Thompson and Welford.
Hythe were beginning to stir into life, but it was largely on the counter-attack as Three Bridges continued to apply pressure around the visitor’s penalty box. However, they received a big slice of luck to go into a two-goal lead, Phil Stevenson’s back-header over Roddy Hayward showing the fine line between excellent defending and a major error.
But the lead would be halved on the half-hour mark as Bewick’s throw-in was helped on first by Welford and then by Thompson to find Luke Harvey, who buried his first goal in a Hythe shirt at the back-post.
Sam MacVicar headed over at close-range, whilst for the away side Laurence Harvey brought the best out of Thorp, connecting at close-range with Welford’s flick-on from a free-kick. However, Three Bridges were about to restore their two-goal cushion.
The always impressive home skipper, Luke Carney, drilled home on the stroke of half-time, after MacVicar had moved the ball neatly into the midfielder’s path. Although the ease at which the hosts scored their third goal must have been the hot topic at half-time in the Cannons’ dressing room moments later.
What followed simply overwhelmed their opponents, as Hythe responded to their regroup in brilliant fashion, pouring forward again and again as the inevitable second and third goals followed for the visitors.
Jordan Wells got things started, firing home a deflected strike, as Three Bridges failed to clear their lines following a Hythe corner just three minutes after the restart.
Another five minutes later and the game was all-square, Thompson eventually firing home after a cross from Welford and a good first-time throughball from Bewick.
It was all Hythe, with the movement and passing of Luke Harvey a growing influence, in fact Harvey should have opened the half with an immediate goal himself, Thorp again saving low after the forward ran clear on goal after a defensive slip.
Welford’s attempt to catch Thorp out of his goal ran just wide, but the home side were beginning to get over the shock of losing their lead, Allan Tait forcing Hayward into an excellent save after meeting Matt Whitehead’s clipped pass with a fine half-volley.
The impressive Adelakun fired in another dangerous free-kick, that the increasingly involved Hayward did well to tip over the bar. More good work from Luke Harvey set-up a cross from Welford that Thompson headed just wide, as Hythe stirred back into life going forward.
The travelling support didn’t have much longer to wait, as their next attack was interrupted by a foul. The resulting free-kick from Yianni eventually fell to Welford who fired home his second goal since his return to the club and the eventual winner.
There would be another twist to come though, as a harsh second yellow card for Yianni led to a nervy final few minutes for the remaining ten men of Hythe. But the final word went to Hayward, who capped an impressive performance by producing two contributions at the death that were just as valuable as a winning goal.
First he tipped over at full-stretch via the crossbar, following another excellent long-range effort from Adelakun. Before deep into injury-time Adelakun turned provider, his free-kick picking out John Lansdale who volleyed wildly over at close-range as Hayward crucially stood up and made himself big to force a rushed shot.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Luke Harvey - 30 mins - Jordan Wells - 48 mins - Craig Thompson - 53 mins - Shaun Welford - 77 mins - Three Bridges - Ben Godfrey - 9 mins - Own Goal - 22 mins - Carney - 45+1 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Sam Bewick, Josh Burchell, Michael Yianni, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Craig Thompson (Jamie Collado - 87), James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Luke Harvey, Jordan Wells (Bradley Jordan - 84 mins) - Unused Subs – Dave Pilcher, Sam Conlon, Louis Sprosen
Attendance – 65
Thommo Hits Injury Time Winner
Hythe Town – 2 – Carshalton Athletic - 1
Ryman League South - 17/02/15
Craig Thompson's dramatic 93rd minute winner gave Tim Dixon's Cannons all three points to stun an impressive Carshalton Athletic side.
After securing four of this season's ten league wins from their first seven games of 2015, the Reachfields outfit are now counting down the wins to confirm their Ryman South status.
With twelve games remaining, it appears that two or three, possibly four more wins should do the trick following this 2-1 victory, full of commitment and desire.
Skipper James Morrish's fifth strike of the campaign gave his side a half-time lead, before Carshalton's equaliser and then the late drama of Thommo's winner.
Probably Hythe’s best spell of this contest was the opening exchanges, when the home side should have taken the lead, but equally kept the dangerous three man attack of Carshalton at arm’s length.
Shaun Welford‘s half-volley landed on the roof of the net on five minutes after Michael Yianni had helped the ball on, and the same combination worked again just minutes later, on this occasion Welford lobbing just wide of the advancing Jack Eden, a chance the striker would have expected to convert.
With Morrish unfairly knocked to the ground in the build-up, Carshalton stretched their hosts for the first time, and the impressive Brendan Murphy-McVey watched as his shot deflected past Roddy Hayward but just wide.
Hythe were soon carving out another chance, as Morrish released Luke Harvey on the counter-attack, who in turn found Welford with a reverse pass, Eden quick off his line to smother the shot.
Six minutes before half-time, Hayward was forced into his first meaningful save, from Murphy-McVey, and possibly that was one of the visiting side’s shortcomings.
At times, the Carshalton forward line would become a front five, which understandably gave Hythe some problems to solve, but ultimately possession wasn’t converted into shots on target often enough.
The Cannons, however, have now scored at least two goals in each of their last seven games and they struck first here, crucially just before half-time.
Sam Bewick’s corner was met by a thumping Laurence Harvey header against the underside of the crossbar, before being converted on the rebound by Morrish.
Literally the last action of the half should have seen the home side double their lead, Welford’s long-throw nodded on by Laurence Harvey and met by Yianni on the half-volley, the midfielder’s shot blazing just over from close-range.
The visitors would grow in strength as the second-half progressed, with Hythe now the side struggling to create chances. It would only take five minutes of the half for Joshua Aduesi to head just wide from a free-kick when he should have least worked Hayward.
Bewick’s excellent free-kick ran right through the Robins’ six-yard box, inexplicably missed by a touch from either side that would have stuck the ball in the back of the net.
But Hythe were living off scraps, whilst pressure was building at the other end, and it was no surprise when Murphy-McVey popped up on the edge of the box to slam home Aduesi’s centre, at the end of a sweeping counter-attack.
As a spectacle though the game had totally deteriorated, although Hythe’s passion and commitment to gain at least a point, and Carshalton’s eye-catching counter-attacks did enough to keep everybody’s interest in the contest.
Eventually, things went to the script, the away side unable to take advantage of some dangerous build-up play, whilst Tim Dixon’s side remained a threat whenever given an opportunity.
That final opportunity would be taken by Thompson in the third of what became over five minutes of injury-time.
Bewick’s free-kick again caused chaos in the Carshalton six-yard box, before Thommo, returning from a two game suspension, smashed home his fifth goal in as many appearances from just a couple of yards out.
Video Highlights - Courtesy of BKVP Sport - Click
Scorers – Hythe Town – James Morrish – 42 mins – Craig Thompson – 90+3 mins – Carshalton Athletic - Brendan Murphy-McVey – 64 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Sam Bewick, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni (Bradley Jordan – 83 mins), James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Luke Harvey (Craig Thompson – 74 mins), Jordan Wells - Unused Subs – Sam Conlon, Dave Pilcher, Joe Kennett
Attendance – 171
Glass Half-Empty Or Half-Full?
Whyteleafe – 3 - Hythe Town – 2
Ryman League South - 14/02/15
Glass half-empty or half-full? It really does depend on your own personal outlook, as Hythe slipped to their first defeat of 2015.
The ‘half-empty’ would point towards a poor first-half display from the Cannons, made worse by a defensive mix-up within twenty second-half seconds to leave Tim Dixon’s side 2-0 down and looking unlikely to be able to turn things round.
The ‘half-full’ crowd will quite rightly point out that their side fought back from a poor performance to score, equalise, then have a goal disallowed, hit the woodwork and have a potential winner cleared off the line. The winning goal for Whyteleafe…forget the beer glasses, it was a fluke!
The home side got off to the perfect start, taking the lead after only six minutes, Jensen Grant flashing his near-post header across goal and past Roddy Hayward into the back of the net, a great finish but with question marks over Hythe’s defending from the corner.
The half continued in a similar vein, with the visitors not really at the races, and the hosts looking easy on they eye, with some quick build-up play on the perfect 3G playing surface, but with little end product.
Hythe’s first real chance of the contest arrived midway through the first-half, Sam Bewick shooting just over after Jordan Wells had slipped the offside trap and created the opening with a low cross.
Greg Andrews forced Hayward into a fine diving save, with a similar header to the opening Leafe’ goal, Hamlin Dean providing the cross after a nice one-two down the right with the impressive Sam Clayton.
Hythe moved Wells up front to join Shaun Welford, and the switch to 4-4-2 began to give Hythe some control of the contest. Wells combining with Bradley Jordan before Josh Burchell took over to pick out Welford, his shot on the turn comfortably held by Sheikh Ceesay.
As the two sides left the field of play at half-time, there was a feeling that in edging back into the contest and preventing any further Whyteleafe goals, the Cannons had given themselves a chance of continuing their unbeaten run.
But those thoughts evaporated within twenty seconds of the second-half starting, when a complete mix-up in the Hythe defence allowed Roscoe Dsane to round Hayward and gleefully roll the ball home into the net.
The away side were now at sixes and sevens, as Clayton’s dangerous cross ran right through their six-yard box, and Andrews headed just over from substitute Jason Henry’s centre.
But out of nowhere, Hythe slipped through the gears and produced a final thirty minutes that left the travelling support wondering what could have been, as their side came agonisingly close to all three points, before leaving with none.
Things started to happen when a good advantage from the referee allowed skipper, James Morrish, to break clear into the Whyteleafe half and line up a shooting opportunity that Welford fired just wide at the second time of asking.
With just under twenty minutes to play, a long-throw from Bewick caused a goalmouth scramble that Laurence Harvey ended in emphatic fashion, with a thumping half-volley that arrowed up into the net past Ceesay.
The Cannons had given themselves a chance, and were finally getting Bewick on the ball on a more regular basis down the right-hand side; the Hythe equaliser would arrive just two minutes later.
Bewick was again involved in his side’s build-up down the flank, along with John Walker, who laid off for a Morrish cross that Welford did a fine job of heading home over Ceesay, having to lean backwards to make a tricky connection.
It was now all Hythe, who then thought they had won the game with what would have been a third goal in five stirring minutes, Wells’ firing home, but from an offside position after Welford’s strike had only been parried.
The levels of positivity rose again as a fit-looking Luke Harvey returned from injury for the final ten minutes. But there was about to be a sting in the tale from the home side, involving a large slice of good fortune.
Full-back Jordan Bird’s cross from the left had plenty behind it, and looked a dangerous centre, but nobody, including the player himself, expected the ball to continue it’s flight, looping over the helpless Hayward to nestle perfectly in the top-right hand corner of the Hythe goal.
For a moment or two, it felt like the wind had completely gone out of Hythe’s sails. But possibly spurred on by the memory of their earlier two-goal comeback, they went about their business from the restart and still could have claimed all three points.
Just seconds after the kick-off, Luke Harvey’s shot was spilt and Welford’s apparent equaliser was scrambled clear off the line by the final Whyteleafe defender.
With three minutes of the ninety left the Hythe support were again on the verge of celebrating, only for Welford’s opportunistic strike, directly off a mishit from Harvey, to thump back off the base of the post to safety.
This game provided further evidence that this Hythe side need to become more savvy, especially when away from home where they continue to struggle to replicate their vastly improved home form.
However, it is also fair to say that this talented squad could, on another day, have easily scored five goals against high quality opposition, despite only really playing somewhere near to their potential for a third of the contest.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Laurence Harvey – 72 mins – Shaun Welford – 72 mins – Whyteleafe – Jensen Grant – 6 mins – Roscoe DSane – 46 mins – Jordan Bird – 83 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Michael Yianni, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Jordan Wells (Luke Harvey – 79 mins), James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Bradley Jordan, Sam Bewick - Unused Subs – Sam Conlon, Dave Pilcher, Joe Kennett, Louis Sprosen
Attendance – 187
Hythe Town – 2 – South Park - 0
Ryman League South - 07/02/15
Tim Dixon’s Cannons made it five games unbeaten in 2015 with a comfortable 2-0 win over Ryman South newcomers, South Park.
The visitors had the division’s top scorer, twenty-four goal Chris Smith, in their ranks. However, credit must again go to the Hythe defence for a comfortable clean-sheet, with Roddy Hayward having to make a couple of ‘awkward’ saves at most.
At the other end it was a case of the home side deserving at least a couple of goals, but the reality was that on another day they could have scored a hatful.
Young Jordan Wells continued to show his progress with yet another crucial goal, before Sam Conlon doubled Hythe’s lead during the second-half to seal the three points.
One of those ‘awkward’ saves came for Hayward as early as the second minute, the Hythe keeper beating away a decent early effort on his goal with his legs, as Hythe were a little slow out of the traps.
But it didn’t take long for the hosts to respond, Sam Bewick reminding the home support what he is all about, with a lovely drop of the shoulder to beat his man and a pinpoint cross, with Wells just failing to complete a picture book goal, missing his header by an inch or two at most.
Skipper, James Morrish, was the next to instigate a move for Hythe, picking out Shaun Welford who in turned crossed dangerously, Michael Yianni’s header deflecting just over the bar via a South Park deflection.
Hythe were then forced into an early reshuffle, Louis Sprosen picking up a knock that led to the introduction of Sam Conlon and a change to the more traditional 4-4-2, after Tim Dixon had originally started the game with an extra body in midfield.
But the change of personnel and shape didn’t change the flow of the game, and the Cannons were soon carving out another opportunity, Josh Burchell’s corner met by Welford’s stooping header that James Wastell comfortably gathered.
Welford was soon having an influence in his own box, clearing off the line as Michael Smith headed a South Park corner goalbound after one of his side’s rare ventures upfield.
With ten minutes of the half remaining, the home side went embarrassingly close to scoring, as Wells fired wide after an almighty scramble involving headers from Laurence Harvey as well as Morrish and Welford.
That miss wouldn’t matter though, as just a minute later an exquisite pass from Yianni took three South Park defenders out of the game, before the overlapping Bewick sent in the perfect cross for Wells to slot home at the back-post for the second game running.
It could have easily been a two goal cushion at half-time, as Welford brought the best out of Wastell after getting in behind the visiting defence, before Morrish recycled the ball to Wells, Wastell again coming out on top.
The second-half began in similar fashion, with Bewick’s fantastic curling effort from over twenty yards equalled by a full-stretch save from Wastell.
More good work by Bewick led to Conlon running clear down the left and almost picking out Wells for another back-post tap-in, but Hythe were close to doubling their lead.
Yianni, who is really enjoying influencing the play from deeper positions in his current central role, was again involved picking out Welford, who in turn pulled back for Conlon to calmly convert at close-range.
In truth, the final third of the game was a poor spectacle, but credit must go to Tim Dixon’s side for keeping their clean sheet intact and continuing to create chances.
Conlon should have had a second after being sent clear on goal by Wells, the substitute also had an excellent header cleared off the line, whilst Phil Stevenson should have converted one of many excellent corners from Bewick. Finally, Dave Pilcher pinged a fine strike against the crossbar in the final minutes of what had become a one-sided contest.
Video Highlights - Courtesy of BKVP Sport - Click Here
Scorers – Hythe Town – Jordan Wells – 36 mins – Sam Conlon – 58 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker (Bradley Jordan – 66 mins), Josh Burchell, Sam Bewick, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni, James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Jordan Wells (Dave Pilcher – 86 mins), Louis Sprosen (Sam Conlon – 21 mins) - Unused Subs – Jamie Collado, Joe Kennett
Attendance – 186
Lilywhites Stunned At Reachfields
Hythe Town – 2 – Faversham Town - 1
Ryman League South - 31/01/15
The Cannons secured their best result of the season, just when it was needed the most. Craig Thompson’s seventh goal in eleven games followed Jordan Wells’ fine opening effort, to put Tim Dixon’s side two goals to the good within twenty minutes.
Of course, title contenders, Faversham Town, regrouped and came again at the home side, George Monger’s excellent glancing header pulling the Lilywhites back into the contest.
However, an exceptional defensive display kept the visitors at arms length in a tight and tense second-half as the hosts secured all three points.
For the first time following his appointment last summer, Tim Dixon was able to field a team that included the duo who showed such good form in the final months of last season, recent signings, Louis Sprosen and Shaun Welford.
Sprosen was making his first start since a return from injury, after rejoining the club several weeks ago, whilst Welford was making his second home ‘debut’, after his well-documented return a fortnight ago.
Both were instrumental to Hythe’s stunning start to the game, involved in both goals and linking up well on many occasions in the opening twenty minutes. But this would be just the start of the Reachfields outfit enjoying some long awaited good fortune.
With Lewis Mingle leaving for SCEFL league leaders, Phoenix Sports, in the build-up to this fixture, Josh Burchell’s long awaited return from injury couldn’t have been better timed. He rewarded his manager’s faith in his return to fitness with a man of the match display at left-back, that may have instantly filled the hole left by the departed Mingle.
Of course, you make your own ‘luck’ and everyone of a Hythe persuasion was delighted with the way Dixon’s troops dug in to weather the second-half storm, both from their opponents and the skies!
The Hythe support were enjoying themselves as early as the seventh minute as Sprosen and Welford linked up, before Welford’s low cross arrowed it’s way to Jordan Wells at the back-post, the youngster’s rising first-time shot, was as well executed as it was necessary, to beat Rob French at close-range.
The visitors were seeing plenty of the ball during the opening exchanges, but there was an edge to the Cannons’ play every time they gained possession. It was no surprise that they doubled their lead within twenty minutes with a classy second goal.
Burchell skillfully found Sprosen, who immediately picked out Welford, whose lay-off on the edge of the box was as simple as Craig Thompson’s lovely chip was exquisite, over French and into the net.
As well as Hythe started, they must have known they would need at least two goals to take anything from a game with the division’s top scorers. This was proven just seven minutes later, as the talented George Monger rose above the Hythe defence to glance a lovely header past a helpless Roddy Hayward, Jamie Maxted providing the cross.
Dean Grant’s mazy run ended with Faversham skipper, Wayne Wilson, mistiming his low shot from just inside the box. But the real threat from Wilson would be his exceptional ability from set-pieces, another feather in the cap for Hayward and his back four, who dealt with everything thrown at them.
Soon after, Hythe were again threatening to score, John Walker’s pass releasing Wells, the goalscorer’s low cross missing the outstretched toe of Sprosen by an inch or two at most.
Half-time arrived with French rushing off his line to clear a great opportunity for Welford to restart his goalscoring tally, in this his second spell in a Hythe shirt.
Jack Harris got the second-half off to a great start for the away side, dribbling his way into the Hythe box, the ball spilling to Wilson, Hayward saving the low shot across his goal brilliantly with his feet.
Welford responded for Hythe with a driven effort that hit the side-netting, but was close enough to convince many in Reachfields Hythe had their third.
As the snowstorm quickly thickened at Reachfields and the playing surface became stickier, both sides had to dig deep, title-chasing Faversham desperately trying to keep the ball moving and Hythe’s defence remaining resolute. Wilson threatened time and time again from both corner and free-kicks, but Hayward and his defence continued to stand firm in difficult conditions.
Both sides would have one final clear chance to get on the scoresheet, first Jack Harris slipped the Hythe offside trap only to shoot straight at Hayward, as the Hythe defence recovered to apply pressure on the shot.
The game ended with Hythe breaking away into an empty Faversham half, keeper French tackling James Morrish almost in the centre-circle, before Welford’s attempt on the rebound was blocked.
As ever, these two sides produced plenty of decent football and drama, but the result would have been a hammer blow to Faversham’s fading title challenge. For the Cannons, unbeaten in 2015, this was a real glimpse of a far rosier end to a difficult season.
Scorers – Hythe Town – Jordan Wells – 7 mins - Craig Thompson – 19 mins – Faversham Town – George Monger – 26 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Michael Yianni, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Jordan Wells (Ryan Philpott – 90 mins), James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Craig Thompson (Jamie Collado – 83 mins), Louis Sprosen (Dave Pilcher – 70 mins) - Unused Sub - Henry Fulcher
Attendance – 236
Thommo Brace Claims Point
Redhill – 2 - Hythe Town – 2
Ryman League South - 24/01/15
Craig Thompson’s nine-minute second-half brace blasted away memories of a poor first-half display and put the Cannons in the ascendancy in this crucial relegation scrap at Redhill.
Of course, the attention was on the second debut of Thommo’s strike-partner, Shaun Welford, who was typically an inch here and there short of scoring a hat-trick on his first game back in a Hythe shirt.
But on this occasion, Thompson took the headlines, although either side of that bright two-goal spell Tim Dixon’s side will have to concede that the hosts were the better side. Moving forwards the Cannons must improve their defensive record as a matter of urgency if they are to pull away from the relegation zone.
On a poor playing surface, Hythe sensibly looked to work the flanks and get balls into the box, to take advantage of the aerial presence of Welford and Thompson, and this gave the visiting side a solid start.
However, much like last season this Redhill side are set-up to threaten on the counter-attack, and as comforting as Hythe’s good start was to their support, the first clear chance on goal was for the home side, Daniel Bennett blasting just over from the edge of the box.
Welford miscued the opportunity to make it a dream start back in a Hythe shirt, the striker’s half-volley clearing the bar, after Thompson and Sam Conlon put home keeper Michael Hunter under pressure.
But the counter-threat continued to look dangerous for the ‘Lobsters’, and after Connor French had hit the crossbar, it was no surprise that just a few minutes later an unmarked Alex Teniola looped his header up and over the helpless Roddy Hayward.
Tim Dixon’s side responded well, Welford meeting Dave Pilcher’s free-kick with a bullet header that was clawed over at full-stretch by Hunter. Two corners followed immediately and Welford then thumped a header against the crossbar from the second.
After some early promise and a good response to going behind, a scrappy end to the half frustrated, but whatever was about to be said at half-time would do the trick for the away side.
Ninety seconds after the restart, John Walker’s ball forward caught the Redhill defence flat, and Thompson ran clear to slot home the equaliser with confidence. Then, just eleven minutes into the half, a Walker free-kick led to Thompson smashing home the rebound from Conlon’s initial effort.
It is six goals in ten games now for the popular Thompson, who after spells in and out of the side, and spending some time at Whitstable, is beginning to look the part at this level of football in his beloved Hythe shirt.
Those defensive frailties came back to haunt his side though, just two minutes after they had taken the lead. Teniola’s mazy run across goal went unchecked and when his initial shot was parried by Hayward, substitute Tyrone Pink was on hand to fire home the equaliser.
With the glory of three points hanging like a carrot to both of these relegation threatened clubs, defending seemed to go out the window, as both sides had several clear chances to win the game.
Some excellent hold-up play from Welford was followed by a swivel and a through-ball that sent Thompson again clear on goal, but on this occasion his touch deserted him, the final effort blasted wide.
For Redhill, it was Bennett’s turn to slip Hythe’s equally high defensive line, the midfielder electing to roll his shot across goal, beating Hayward but firing just wide.
With just under twenty minutes remaining, Welford had the chance to take the headlines, also running clear on goal from a Pilcher clearance, but a heavy second to last touch gave Hunter a massive advantage and he duly smothered.
Seemingly spurred on by this lifeline, the final fifteen minutes were all Redhill, Bennett flashing another dangerous effort across goal, Joe Goldsmith blasting over at close-range, and Pink hitting the bar with one header and glancing just wide with another.
At the end of the contest, and looking at other results around the division, this was a point gained for the Cannons. This was a game where both sides showed why they hold their current league positions, but also what both are attempting to do to stay in the division.
Scorers – Hythe Town - Craig Thompson – 47, 56 mins – Redhill – Alex Teniola – 25 mins – Tyrone Pink – 58 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Jack Sullivan, Michael Yianni, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon (Louis Sprosen – 82 mins), James Morrish (c), Shaun Welford, Craig Thompson, Dave Pilcher - Unused Subs – Jamie Collado, Ryan Philpott, Jordan Wells
Attendance – 99
All Square At Southwood
Ramsgate – 3 - Hythe Town – 3
Ryman League South - 10/01/15
Kentish rivals, Ramsgate and Hythe, played out an exhilarating 3-3 draw at Southwood, as the two sides, stuck at the wrong end of the table, left nothing in the locker.
There were plenty of familiar faces on show as new Rams manager, Simon Halsey, reacquainted himself with his old Kent League rivals, whilst his former Herne Bay stalwarts, Luke Harvey and Rhys Lawson lined up against their ex-boss.
Of course, this was Tim Dixon’s first visit back to his old stomping ground and Craig Thompson, James Morrish and with one of the goals of the season, Michael Yianni, kept his side in the driving seat all afternoon.
But time and again his former club came back at the Cannons, eventually it was the ‘ex-Cannon’ who didn’t actually play a game for Hythe, Macca Murray, whose strike led to a share of the points for all.
Former Hythe man, Tom Hickman, had the first clear-cut chance of the afternoon, his stooping header turned around the post by Roddy Hayward following an uncleared corner from the home side.
That chance aside it was a decent first twenty minutes for Hythe, who were turning defence into attack off the majority of the hosts’ attempts to move forward during the opening exchanges.
The away support were the first to enjoy the net bulging as Michael Yianni’s corner to the near-post was met by Craig Thompson, who arrowed his close-range finish up and off the underside of the crossbar and in.
Two minutes later and the visitors could have doubled their lead, Thompson and Luke Harvey both having shots scrambled clear off the line, after Thompson had released Jordan Wells to cross from the right.
In the kind of game where the conditions provided a test of judgement almost every few seconds, Hayward slightly mistimed a run from goal to give away a penalty on the half-hour mark, but the in-form Hythe keeper redeemed himself, saving James Sherman’s low spot-kick.
Tim Dixon’s side reacted from that potential setback in the right manner, pushing on for a second goal that their play deserved, and just six minutes later they could celebrate.
Thompson was again impressive during the build-up, before the returning Rhys Lawson’s low cross eventually found its way to skipper, James Morrish, to fire home at the back-post.
But Hythe gave away a sloppy free-kick straight from the restart, and Sherman made no mistake with a glancing header that gave Hayward no chance, making up for his earlier penalty miss and reducing the deficit to one goal again, less than sixty seconds after conceding.
Hythe had the chance to restore their two-goal cushion on the stroke of half-time, but Thompson volleyed well over the bar after Luke Harvey did brilliantly to turn Hayward’s goal-kick into a one on one situation.
Less than ten minutes after the restart the Rams claimed a crucial second and equalising goal, as Ricky Gundry’s looping volley seemed to deflect over Hayward, as well as being assisted by a foul that wasn’t spotted by the officials during the build-up.
Hythe showed excellent spirit in response to losing their two goal lead in what was only a fifteen minute spell of play split by half-time, steadying themselves before taking the lead again via a sensational strike from Yianni.
Not for the first or second time this season, the skilful midfielder hit a ‘goal of the season’ contender. Latching onto a loose ball on the edge of the Rams box, before lashing home an unstoppable half-volley back across goal, past the full-stretch Nick Shaw and into the top corner.
But the Cannons continue to leak goals due to gifting possession via foul play or misplaced passes in their own half. ‘Macca’ Murray certainly didn’t need any more of an invite than the free-kick opportunity given on the edge of Hythe’s box, which was promptly curled home past Hayward by the gifted midfielder just five minutes later.
Tim Dixon responded to the again even scoreline with the introduction of the steel of Jamie Collado and pace of Sam Conlon, and for a period there were some hearts in mouths moments for both sets of supporters.
Shaw did brilliantly to make a one-handed save from Morrish’s thumping effort, following a good cross from Thompson. Whilst at the other end another peerless performance from Laurence Harvey was highlighted by a crucial block on Aaron Quain’s fierce close-range effort.
It appeared that those two chances were enough to scare both sets of players into settling for a point, rather than run the risk of coming away with none. It could have also been that both sides simply had nothing more to give to an incredibly committed derby.
Scorers – Hythe Town - Craig Thompson – 19 mins – James Morrish – 38 mins – Michael Yianni – 62 mins - Ramsgate – James Sherman – 39 mins – Ricky Gundry – 54 mins - Macauley Murray – 67 mins
Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Jack Sullivan, Lewis Mingle, Michael Yianni, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Jordan Wells (Jamie Collado – 76 mins), James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson, Luke Harvey (Sam Conlon – 76 mins), Rhys Lawson - Unused Subs – Dave Pilcher, Joe Kennett, Ryan Philpott
Attendance – 164