Match Reports

Happy New Year!

Hythe Town – 2 – Hastings United - 0

Ryman League South - 01/01/15

The Cannons claimed a crucial three points on New Year’s Day at Reachfields, as Tim Dixon’s side leapfrogged visiting Hastings United in the Ryman South table. Skipper James Morrish led by example with a tireless performance and a headed goal in a first-half that could have easily ended 3-1 to the hosts.

The visitors, as expected, came back at Hythe after the interval, but the response was just what was needed with some dogged defending and as the game became stretched a couple of excellent saves from ‘Player of the Month’, Roddy Hayward. 

Just when it was needed, substitute Ryan Philpott popped up with Hythe’s second to calm the nerves. This was the type of all-round performance that will be needed on a regular basis if the Cannons are to pull away from the threat of relegation.

Things may have been a bit different though, if Ashley Robinson had done better than grazing the outside of the post as Hayward’s poor clearance left him stranded inside ten seconds.

But Hythe responded from that potential setback in quick fashion, Jack Sullivan scooping just over from Craig Thompson’s cross, following a nice one-two down the right with Sam Conlon.

Thompson did well to win possession inside the Hastings penalty box, his tight-angled shot parried, only for Richard Rose to almost score in his own net, as Conlon rushed in and the Hastings defence scrambled clear off the line.

It was all Hythe, as Thompson flicked a throw-in into the path of Jack Sellens, whose fierce shot was beaten away by Josh Pelling, but the Hythe opener was only a few minutes around the corner.

When it arrived, it was a goal made to look simple, but with outstanding execution. Michael Yianni’s free-kick into the box was pinpoint to Morrish at the back-post. The Hythe captain lost his marker but still had plenty to do, with an excellent header back across goal and past the outstretched hand of Pelling.

Apart from that early clearance, Hayward has been in excellent form between the sticks for Hythe, and that form continued with a crucial save to preserve his side’s lead, blocking Robinson’s shot with his legs after the striker slipped the Hythe offside trap.

But the hosts ended the half on top as Yianni came inside off the flank to combine with Conlon and surprise Pelling, with a driven effort from all of twenty-five yards that stung the palms of the man in the United goal.

The away side carved out the opening chance of the second-half, Tom Vicker’s slide-rule pass picking out the run of Evan Archibald, but Hayward was his usual quick self, off the line with another smart stop.

The popular Taser Hassan experienced a frustrating afternoon, and it was with some relief that he was replaced on the hour before he could inflict any damage on his former club. Worryingly though, his replacement Kenny Pogue had won last season’s fixture with two late goals from the exact same position.

Soon after the home side came within inches of doubling their lead, Yianni’s cross flicked on across goal by Thompson, but on this occasion Morrish was unable to find the net with his header.

The game was becoming stretched and it was clear it was a key period in both club’s seasons. The Hythe defence, along with the efforts of Hayward, stood firm, the keeper saving bravely at the feet of Pogue as history threatened to repeat itself.

Sellens went close with a decent effort across the face of goal, after some good work from Morrish and the in-form Lewis Mingle. Whilst for the visitors Pogue went close again from an uncleared corner, but again Hayward was on hand to smother the chance.

With ten minutes remaining Thompson intercepted a poor back-pass and forced Pelling into a good low save, whilst for Hastings Robinson bounced a decent effort just wide.

Only a minute after his introduction, Philpott sealed the points for the home side, Sellens doing brilliantly to chase across the box and intercept another poorly judged back-pass.

The youngster from Gillingham then turned to tee up Philpott, who steered his shot expertly through the recovering defensive bodies and into the unguarded net to seal a crucial win.

Scorers – Hythe Town – James Morrish – 21 mins – Ryan Philpott – 87 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Jack Sullivan, Lewis Mingle, Jamie Collado (Jordan Wells – 64 mins), Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon, James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson (Ryan Philpott – 86 mins), Michael Yianni, Jack Sellens - Unused Subs – Dave Pilcher, Harry Carr, Henry Fulcher


Attendance – 302

Atkins The Difference

Folkestone Invicta - 1 - Hythe Town - 0

Ryman League South - 26/12/14

After last Boxing Day’s five-goal thriller, it was business as usual for the much hyped but often underwhelming Shepway derby. The Cannons have lurched from one injury crisis to another this season and although it wasn’t the main reason for their defeat this time round, another abandoned game-plan was a contributing factor in a 1-0 defeat.


Having returned from injury for the first time since his debut several weeks ago, Luke Harvey started the game in a five-man midfield designed to give the visitors a foothold at Cheriton Road. However Hythe were soon forced to reshuffle, as Craig Thompson pulled up ten minutes before half-time.

Richard Atkin’s third goal in as many games since his return from Oz was the eventual difference between the two sides, although Tim Dixon’s side did hit the woodwork twice via the two Harveys (Laurence and Luke).

Invicta were the first side to go close as ex-Hythe man Ronnie Dolan’s scuffed shot fell into the path of the impressive Jordan Wright, who watched as his effort was smothered by Roddy Hayward and then headed off the line by Laurence Harvey as the shot rebounded towards the Hythe goal.

For Hythe, the first chance arrived courtesy of a decent cross from skipper, James Morrish, finding Thompson, whose looping header was too close to Tim Roberts, the Folkestone keeper making a comfortable save.

Josh Vincent glanced a header just wide from Dolan’s corner before the away side enjoyed a similar chance, John Walker’s free-kick headed on by Laurence Harvey, beating Roberts but only skimming the outside of the Folkestone post.

A smart one-two between Booth and left-back, Nat Blanks, led to Blanks blasting high and wide when he should have forced former team-mate Hayward into action at the near-post.

Shortly before half-time two critical moments failed to go Hythe’s way, Luke Harvey beat Roberts with a bouncing long-range effort, only for the woodwork to prevent Hythe taking the lead. Around the same time, Thompson became the third Hythe striker to go off injured before the end of a game this month.

Whatever Hythe’s failings this season, the luck has just not gone their way in an injury-ravaged campaign. Since signing the highly-rated Ashley Miller and Luke Harvey to bolster his attack, Tim Dixon has yet to be in a position to see the duo start and finish ninety minutes with one another either along with or instead of Thompson.

The first-half closed with Hayward turning another decent effort from Wright around the base of his post, whilst Folkestone were having their own injury problems, as captain Liam Friend would fail to reappear for the second-half.

Although Wright appeared to be the major threat for the hosts, the locals seemed happy for him to be sacrificed for the natural width that Jon Pilbeam offers, and the winger did seem key to some renewed pressure on the Hythe goal. 

With just over twenty minutes remaining, Nat Blanks’ cross to the near-post picked out Atkins who forced Hayward into the (double) save of the game. Disappointingly from a Hythe perspective they then gifted possession back to the home side and failed to pick up Atkins, who remained unmarked to tap home Booth’s centre.

Hythe freshened things up with the introduction of Dave Pilcher and Jordan Wells, as Laurence Harvey was also pushed forward. But the Cannons failed to trouble Roberts in the Invicta goal at any point in the second-half as another low-key Shepway derby came to a close. 

Scorer – Folkestone Invicta - Richard Atkins - 69 mins


Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Lewis Mingle, Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni (Dave Pilcher - 80 mins), James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson (Sam Conlon - 36 mins), Luke Harvey, Jack Sellens (Jordan Wells - 83 mins) - Unused Subs – Ryan Philpott, Jack Sullivan


Attendance – 852

Hythe Heartbreak At Xmas


Hythe Town - 1 - Worthing - 1

Ryman League South - 20/12/14


Right, well there we have it, the Cannons’ season summed up in two games, last week a home contest they should have won but lost, this week a home game they could have won, almost did, but in the end had to settle for a fair result.


Followers of Tim Dixon’s side have seen these two types of contests all season long, frustrating against inferior opponents one week but leaving the pitch bursting with pride, but more often than not with only a solitary point, the next.


It is very likely that we will get the superior version on Boxing Day, but that will be the minimum requirement needed to defeat Neil Cugley’s always decent outfit in the big Cheriton Road derby (remember the 12 noon kick-off!)


Lots will depend on the fitness and form of various players on both sides for the big one. From Hythe’s point of view they have been delighted to see the return from injury of Sam Conlon in recent weeks, along with a goal in this game from Gillingham loan signing, Jack Sellens, capping an impressive debut.


Add to that the boost of experience and skill of the returning Michael Yianni (from injury) and skipper James Morrish (from suspension), along with Roddy Hayward’s best performance in a Hythe shirt and things are looking a little rosier for the Reachfields faithful. However, Luke Harvey passing a fitness test on Boxing Day morning would give them the ultimate boost.


This clash with the rising young stars of Worthing was possibly the best Ryman South game you have seen this season if you are a regular follower of Hythe. Two sides that tore into each other time and again, with only some gutsy defending from both keeping the score down. 


The determination of that defending was shown by the away side as early as the sixth minute, when a pass deflected kindly into the path of Craig Thompson, who promptly rounded Jack Fagan in the Worthing goal. But the visiting keeper needn’t had worried, such was the speed his defence recovered to force Thompson away from the open goal.


Four minutes later, the home side went even closer, Laurence Harvey with a typically impressive surge into the opposition box followed by a pullback that Thompson appeared to have converted, only for Harvey Sparks to rescue his side, clearing off the goal-line.


Omar Bugiel was the first Worthing man to test out a confident Hayward in the Hythe goal, bursting onto a loose ball and firing a fierce effort that was beaten away impressively by the Cannons’ stopper.


It was now end-to-end stuff as new man Sellens burst into the box and rolled a dangerous cross through a crowded area that just evaded the crucial touch from either Conlon or Thompson. For Worthing, it was again Bugiel stinging the palms of Hayward, who on this occasion had to be quick to smother the rebound.


Both sides were probing, passing and defending in exceptional fashion, and you could tell that regardless of who would open the scoring it would leave the other side feeling hard done by, it would also need a goal of exceptional quality.


Well, it would be the hosts that would deliver that moment of quality on the stroke of half-time, Hythe moving the ball well in some tight areas before a lovely one-two between Walker and Yianni, the former supplying an excellent low cross to pick out the run of Sellens, who arrowed his close-range finish into the roof of the net to give Fagan no chance.


Both sides finished where they left off after the restart and it didn’t take long for the ‘Rebels’ to come close to an equaliser. Bugiel was fouled by Stevenson in the box and up stepped Curtis Gayler, with nine goals in the last four games, including three from the penalty spot.


When Hayward then produced a quite outstanding save it felt like Hythe had scored a second and Reachfields erupted! Two minutes later, the excellent Jamie Collado almost caught Fagan out with a forty-yard lob that just landed on the roof of the net, and if successful would have probably been a killer blow to the visitors.


The majority of the final third of the game was played just inside the Hythe half, but Worthing’s patience and ability to keep possession was matched again and again by the much improved Hythe defensive shape.


The final ten minutes arrived with both sides swinging knockout blows, Hayward showing excellent handling from Brannon O’Neill’s cheeky attempt, just moments after he had gathered up Ben Pope’s effort off the inside of the post. 


Next it was Hythe’s turn to strike the woodwork, Dave Pilcher’s free-kick headed down by Morrish, Ryan Philpott hitting the bar with his final shot. Soon after Fagan was forced into a tough low stop at his near-post, after Pilcher had ran clear on goal as Hythe broke away from their own half.


Three minutes into injury-time and the telling moment arrived, another foul in the box, another Worthing penalty, this time converted by Brannon O’Neill successfully. The equaliser feeling so inevitable, that Reachfields fell into complete silence as the Referee pointed to the spot.


Why the silence? This performance had answered so many questions of Tim Dixon’s side, and against quality opposition, a win would have surely given Hythe the rocket-boost their season needs and deserved. Maybe that rocket-boost is being saved for another day in the not too distant future?


Scorers – Hythe Town – Jack Sellens - 45 mins - Worthing - Brannon O’Neill - 90+3 mins


Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Lewis Mingle, Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon (Ryan Philpott - 74 mins), James Morrish, Craig Thompson (Dave Pilcher - 83 mins), Michael Yianni (Jack Sullivan - 87 mins), Jack Sellens - Unused Subs – Harry Carr, Henry Fulcher


Attendance – 180

Can The Cannons Turn Their Luck?

Hythe Town - 1 - East Grinstead Town - 2

Ryman League South - 13/12/14

Yes, more injuries and bad luck, but the Cannons need to turn their own luck around before they are dragged right into the Ryman South relegation scrap. 

The way the Ashley Miller and Luke Harvey partnership took to the field last week at Sittingbourne, it appeared to be a case of the only way is up. Unbelievably, Harvey’s debut lasted seventy minutes before injury struck, only for Miller to limp off just after half-time on Saturday. 

However, scoring goals has not been the problem all season, regardless of personnel. Put simply, the Reachfields outfit must work out why their defence continue to excel on an individual basis, yet continue to leak poorly defended goals as a team.

Things couldn’t have got off to a better start for the home side, who carved open their opponents after just three minutes. Craig Thompson’s flick sending Miller on a mazy run that ended with Sam Conlon taking over to cross into the box. The only thing that seemed to prevent Ryan Philpott scoring on his league debut was probably a bit of rustiness, as his shot sailed over from just six yards.

But the home support didn’t have to wait long for things to be put right, as the visitor’s high defensive line was exposed by a great throughball from Jamie Collado, Miller did the rest, running clear into his opponent’s half and rounding Paul Ago to walk the ball into the net.

With their opponents’ three man defence looking terrified of Miller’s pace, a quick fire second for the Cannons seemed certain, but the nature of the East Grinstead equaliser, just two minutes later, took the wind out of the sails of Tim Dixon’s side.

A relatively unthreatening free-kick from just inside the Hythe half deflected into the path of Matt Knuckey, who hit a fine, low half-volley from the edge of the box under Roddy Hayward, giving the Hythe goalkeeper no chance.

The hosts were able to eventually settle again and continue their search for a second goal, Miller having a decent penalty shout turned down, before Lewis Mingle’s cross picked out an unmarked Michael Yianni at the back-post, the midfielder unable to bring the ball under control for a clear strike on goal.

The half-hour mark arrived with Yianni making up for that miss with an excellent first time drive from Philpott’s cross that Ago did brilliantly to turn around the post.

Hythe had enjoyed the majority of the chances on goal, but the visitors were a constant threat on the counter-attack, with their brave 3-1-4-2 formation causing problems for Hythe (and themselves) in wide areas.

The half ended in surprisingly feisty fashion as all but one of the Hythe defence picked up cautions, largely borne out of frustration of the behaviour of East Grinstead winger, Romario Hart, who should have received his marching orders for two bookable offences, remarkably he avoided both. 

The game turned completely in East Grinstead’s favour in seven early second-half minutes. First, Miller pulled up injured chasing down the ball on a Hythe breakaway, the home side’s main threat replaced by Dave Pilcher.

But the real turning point came on the hour mark as good work from Conlon and Thompson created a chance for Philpott to burst into the box and hit a fiercely-driven effort.

The shot was saved by Ago, straight towards Thompson, who from a couple of yards could only hope that the ball that ‘hit’ him would rebound into the net, frustratingly for Hythe it didn’t.

Yianni, now operating as a forward, then went close again after a nice one-two move down the right from Conlon and, supplying the cross, Thompson.

But with just over twenty minutes remaining ‘The Wasps’ took the lead for the first time, and it couldn’t have been easier for them to do so. Defender Marc Cumberbatch allowed to slide the ball into the net from a couple of yards, after Hythe allowed a free-kick to run right across the face of goal to the back-post.

In the closing stages Pilcher’s corner was fired just over by Philpott, before Pilcher went close himself with a near-post effort saved by Ago. But in truth, it was the timing of Hythe’s missed chances and their opponents scoring that again proved crucial to the outcome of the match.

Scorers – Hythe Town – Ashley Miller - 8 mins - East Grinstead Town - Matt Knuckey - 10 mins - Marc Cumberbatch - 68 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Lewis Mingle, Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon (Jack Sullivan - 76 mins), Michael Yianni, Craig Thompson, Ashley Miller (Dave Pilcher - 53 mins), Ryan Philpott - Unused Subs – Harry Carr, Henry Fulcher, Simba Nyaruwa

Attendance – 193

Town Not Good Enough At Bourne

Sittingbourne – 2 - Hythe Town - 1
Ryman League South - 06/12/14

Lewis Mingle’s first Hythe Town goal was not enough to claim any of the points at Sittingbourne, after the home side took advantage of some poor defending to claim a 2-0 first-half lead.

The Cannons will point to a definite penalty for handball that was turned down when the scores were level. However, the truth was that Hythe were just not close enough to their opposite number all afternoon.

On a positive note, new signing Luke Harvey seemed to both fit in and hit it off with strike-partner Ashley Miller from the off, however the way the ex-Faversham man left the action injured after seventy minutes was a concern.

Hythe’s best period of play was probably the opening exchanges, Miller’s run from the halfway line winning Hythe’s third corner of the game after just five minutes. 

From that delivery, taken by Dave Pilcher, a combination of Phil Stevenson and Harvey sent the ball goalbound, but Adam Molloy was alert to the danger claiming the ball safely.

It had been all Hythe, but the home threat was growing on the counter-attack, and everybody in the ground thought it was a Sittingbourne goal when Ollie Bankole thumped an uncleared corner against the inside of Roddy Hayward’s post, only for the away side to scramble clear.

Minutes later it was Harvey’s first real chance to shine in a Hythe shirt, as he brought down a Hayward kick on the edge of the box before swiveling and hitting a great half-volley that Molloy did well to tip over the bar at full-stretch.

The new signing was becoming a menace to the hosts and on twenty minutes one mazy run led to a clear handball from a Bourne defender that appeared to be waving at somebody in the crowd! But the Referee had other ideas and chose to ignore Hythe’s protests.

Miller’s excellent free-kick was then nodded down by Laurence Harvey, his namesake hitting the side-netting as Hythe seemed to be close to the breakthrough. But five minutes later the Cannons showed their naivety, as they poured forward only to concede on the counter-attack.

Firstly, Hythe lost the run of Stephen Okoh, whose low shot across goal was brilliantly stopped by Hayward, only for his good work to be undone as an unmarked Hicham Akhazzan tapped home the rebound.

Just after the half-hour mark the home side doubled their lead, there was misfortune that a Sittingbourne shot deflected into a dangerous position within Hythe’s box, but frustratingly Jono Richardson was one of two unmarked players in a position to slot home his side’s second.

The visitors continued to enjoy plenty of possession either side of half-time, but they still remained so vulnerable to the pace of the Sittingbourne counter-attack. Ollie Brown headed one good chance over, before Tom Brunt's strike was well saved by Hayward.

George Crimmen then headed over from a free-kick, and it was becoming apparent that the host’s wastefulness was giving Hythe new hope as they again began to threaten.

It was no surprise when another excellent run and shot from Harvey was saved at the near-post by Molloy, but converted on the rebound by Lewis Mingle.

Two minutes later, a run and cross from Jordan Wells was laid off by Pilcher, and Harvey seemed certain to equalise, before a low close-range effort was blocked brilliantly by the scrambling Sittingbourne defence.

Suddenly Tim Dixon’s side lost the services of impressive new signing Luke Harvey to injury, and you suspected that would take the wind out of the sails of the side chasing the game.

However, the introduction of Ryan Philpott and Sam Conlon to the Hythe midfield allowed Jordan Wells to move from the left-flank, where he had a quiet afternoon, to the forward-line, the youngster causing plenty of problems in the closing stages.

But as dangerous as the Hythe approach play looked, much like the Sittingbourne attack it lacked end product and the hosts saw out time to claim all three points.

Scorers – Hythe Town – Lewis Mingle – 63 mins - Sittingbourne - Hicham Akhazzan - 25 mins - Jono Richardson - 31 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Lewis Mingle, Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Jack Sullivan, Dave Pilcher (Sam Conlon – 70 mins), Luke Harvey (Ryan Philpott – 70 mins), Ashley Miller, Jordan Wells - Unused Subs – Harry Carr, Henry Fulcher

Attendance – 93

Old Rivals Claim Points

Hythe Town - 1 - Herne Bay - 2
Ryman League South - 29/11/14

Goal On Return - Sam Conlon
Goal On Return - Sam Conlon

Hythe Town lost out to old rivals, Herne Bay, but an under-strength Cannons squad wouldn’t dream of using that excuse for a well-earned three points from their Kentish rivals.

They probably had some regrets though, as mistakes at the back led to the visitors scoring the opener, and winning but missing a penalty, Stuart King the man to score one but miss another.

Either side of the Bay’s opener, Tim Dixon’s side had plenty of chances to get on the scoresheet themselves, before King showed his talent with an outstanding finish to seal the points.

However, the headlines for Hythe must go to Sam Conlon, who within minutes of returning from months out of action due to an awful physical attack on a night out, smashed home an excellent finish for Hythe’s consolation.

Going back to the start of the contest, it was all Hythe in the opening exchanges. Herne Bay were sluggish and Ashley Miller or Craig Thompson looked certain to be the first on the scoresheet, getting in behind the Bay defence with ease.

Six minutes in, Thompson was sent clear on goal via Miller’s cute clipped throughball, but the move failed to deliver a goal as Thompson’s attempted lob beat Jack Delo but drifted wide.


Hythe’s passing was flowing nicely, with another move ending with a Jack Sullivan cross picking out an unmarked Dave Pilcher, who would have been disappointed not to test Delo with a header from just outside the six-yard box that was glanced wide.

Back In Action - Lewis Mingle
Back In Action - Lewis Mingle

But just as the away side looked like they may be overwhelmed, the hosts offered a lifeline to settle their opponents down completely, gifting an early lead to boot. Roddy Hayward spilling Danny Walder’s free-kick was disappointing, but so was the fact that King was quicker than any Hythe man in converting the rebound.

Ten minutes later it appeared to be game over as an error-ridden passage of play from Hayward and his defence led to the award of a penalty. However the Hythe support and probably any neutrals in the ground would have been delighted when King blasted his spot-kick wildly over.

Two minutes later the Cannons came close to equalising, Phil Stevenson’s back-post header flying just over from Pilcher’s corner. Moments later, another corner from Pilcher was only scrambled half-clear and John Walker’s driven effort deflected just wide from the edge of the box.

The action was now of a high standard as both sides threatened to score the next goal, Danny Williams heading back across the Hythe goal and King’s dangerous shot deflecting just wide, whilst for Hythe, Thompson fired into the side-netting from Pilcher’s cross to the near-post.

The thirty-minute mark brought about Hythe’s best chance of an equaliser, it also marked the point where the visitors took hold of the contest and refused to give their hosts any more encouragement.

Burchell’s clipped throughball allowed Miller to slip the Bay offside trap and run clear on goal, the angle was tight, Miller chose power at the near-post, Jack Delo guessed right and from that point onwards the plaudits went to Sam Denley’s side.

2nd Half Substitute - Ryan Philpott
2nd Half Substitute - Ryan Philpott

The hosts came out brightly for the second-half, but this time round there were no gifted chances or failing offside traps, all over the pitch there was less space for the Cannons to operate in, streetwise would be the term to sum up the second-half performance of the away side.

Midway through the second-half King doubled his and his side’s tally with an exceptional first-time volley at the tightest of angles that looped back across Hayward into the opposite top corner, it felt like a knockout blow for Hythe.

The introduction of Ryan Philpott, Sam Conlon and young Henry Fulcher gave hope, but the trio of substitutes came up against a solid Bay backline, unrecognisable from the first-half.

The bright spot for the Reachfields faithful was the unexpected early comeback of Sam Conlon, who has recovered from some serious facial injuries following an awful physical attack some weeks ago now.

It got even better for Sam, as he thumped home an excellent finish across goal from the corner of the box into the bottom corner, giving Delo no chance and his side a consolation.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Sam Conlon - 90+2 mins - Herne Bay - Stuart King - 13, 64 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Jack Sullivan (Sam Conlon - 83 mins), Lewis Mingle (Ryan Philpott - 73 mins), Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, John Walker, Dave Pilcher, Craig Thompson, Ashley Miller (Henry Fulcher - 89 mins), Josh Burchell - Unused Sub - Harry Carr

Attendance - 210

Cannons Blast Away Lions

Hythe Town - 6 - Guernsey - 0

 Ryman League South - 25/11/14

Opening Goal & Four Assists - Dave Pilcher
Opening Goal & Four Assists - Dave Pilcher

Tim Dixon’s Hythe Town continued their steady ascent of the Ryman South table, with their best win of the season, in front of their own support at Reachfields.

The Green Lions of Guernsey simply had no answer to the Cannon’s firepower, with the home side registering six different goalscorers and securing a clean sheet to boot. 

The star of the show was Dave Pilcher, who set-up four of his side’s goals, as well as being the first of the evening to find the back of the net.

The first ten minutes of the game were fairly uneventful, although most of a Hythe persuasion would have been happy with that, as their young side showed they are learning how to edge their way into games, rather than take unnecessary risks early in the contest.

Glyn Dyer’s deflected free-kick ran just past Roddy Hayward’s post in the opening exchanges but it wouldn’t take long for the hosts to respond and take the lead.


A typically mazy run from Ashley Miller took him across the edge of the Guernsey box before a lovely dinked pass set-up a Josh Burchell cross, that Pilcher popped up at the back-post to head home back across goal and past Tom Creed.

Four Goals In Six Games - Phil Stevenson
Four Goals In Six Games - Phil Stevenson

Guernsey danger-man, Marc McGrath was showing enough pace and movement to keep the Hythe defence on their toes, but it was testament to the Hythe defensive performance that the striker rarely looked likely to add to his twelve league goals so far this season.

It was a different story for Hythe, as the partnership of Miller and Craig Thompson threatened on a regular basis, backed up by the clever late runs of Jordan Wells. 

Thompson showed a lovely piece of skill to lose his man down the left, and Miller should have converted from eight yards out, Creed gathering a disappointing shot.

Two minutes later the duo combined again and Wells waltzed into the box to seemingly double Hythe’s lead; a last-minute block from Jamie Dodd was all that prevented that happening.

Seven minutes before half-time Hythe had their second, Phil Stevenson powering home his header from a Pilcher corner to the back-post, the defender’s fourth goal in six games and seventh of an excellent campaign.

Impressing In Midfield - Jordan Wells
Impressing In Midfield - Jordan Wells

Half-time, more often than not, has pushed the Cannons’ performance up a couple of notches this season. It was most definitely the case in this contest, as the home side simply blew their opponents away within three minutes of the restart.

First, Thompson proved that if you don’t shoot you don’t score, with a strike that deflected off Tom Strawbridge and past the helpless Creed. Next it was the in-form Wells’ turn, who simply passed home a low finish from Pilcher’s perfect centre.

Hythe began to introduce their substitutions, but this didn’t prevent their lead being extended further, Pilcher’s cross flapped at by Creed and Miller doing the rest, calmly steering his shot back through a crowded box into the far corner.

Eight minutes from time the rout was complete as Laurence Harvey climbed to meet Pilcher’s corner and head home Hythe’s sixth and final goal of an excellent performance.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Dave Pilcher - 11 mins - Phil Stevenson - 38 mins - Craig Thompson - 47 mins - Jordan Wells - 48 mins - Ashley Miller - 61 mins - Laurence Harvey - 82 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Jack Sullivan, Josh Burchell, Jamie Collado (Harry Carr - 76 mins), Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Jordan Wells (Dave Cook - 60 mins), James Morrish, Craig Thompson (Ryan Philpott - 61 mins), Ashley Miller, Dave Pilcher - Unused Sub - Lewis Mingle

Attendance - 155

Keep Calm We ARE Good Enough

Burgess Hill Town - 2 - Hythe Town - 2
Ryman League South - 23/11/14

Nothing has illustrated better the topsy-turvy nature of senior non-league football, than these past few days for Tim Dixon's side. 

Shortly after losing poorly to cup kings Maidstone United's Under-21's and squad players in the Senior Cup, the Cannons came within minutes, and inches, of becoming the first team to take three points off league title favourites Burgess Hill, at the quaintly named Green Elephant Stadium. 

From the outset, Town were all over the Hillians, denying them the space they needed to play their football, whilst at the same time giving the home defenders plenty to think about.   

Up front, Ashley Miller and Craig Thompson linked well together, with the latter not only showing excellent touch but also matching his partner's passing and dribbling skills. 

However the opening goal on ten minutes was the product of nothing more than a quick corner cracked first time into the six-yard box by Jack Sullivan, where "Thommo" rose to firmly head home. 

Hythe showed no signs of sitting back though and continued to press and harry a flustered home side and after Miller's dangerous run was "stopped" in fairly basic fashion at the edge of the box, up stepped penalty-king Phil Stevenson to make light work of the extra few yards and stroke his free-kick past Josh James into the corner of the net. 

Such was the Cannons dominance that a third 'killer' goal was now being sought, as a Thompson cross was only just shaded away from the waiting Miller and a Jamie Collado shot went just over. 

Up front for the home side though was danger man Greg Luer, due to join Hull City in January, who was allowed the space to put his side back in the game with a fine fifteen-yard first-time shot past keeper Roddy Hayward.  

Now the game became more end to end as Luer fired over from close-range and Lee Harding's fierce attempt was kept out by Hayward's legs. Shortly after, the deputy keeper had to be brave to close down Pat Harding and keep Town ahead. 

At the other end though Miller had had a twenty-five yarder well saved and the Cannons encouragingly came on strongly again, as the youngster and Thompson jinked through the home defence in promising fashion.  

The final piece of first-half action saw Neil Watts head towards goal for the home side, only to see a team-mate divert his attempt away and over the crossbar.  

Hythe made a bright start to the second period and home supporters were in general agreement that this was a match between two very equal sides. 

However, just before the hour mark substitute Dan Perry's excellent shot, well saved by Hayward, seemed to be a sign that the title favourites were upping the ante against a tiring Hythe team. 

As Town defended ever more deeply Perry had the ball in the net, but his handball was spotted by Referee M. Lucie and the equaliser was denied, at least for the time being.  

Burgess Hill were driving forward in numbers by now and this led to a series of corners and goalmouth scrambles which were dealt with by a combination of stout goalkeeping and resolute defending, as well as the occasional intervention from Lady Luck. 

Despite all this Town were only one breakaway from putting the game to bed and when the chance finally came seven minutes from time it was entirely out of the blue.  

Miller seemed to be chasing in vain a long clearance down to the corner, but to the home defence's alarm he was successful in not only reaching it but defeating the chasing defender. With no colleague to help him he fired a speculative curling shot from distance that just shaved the far post. 

Seconds later the Hillians had their equaliser, substitute Perry taking advantage of a horrendous rebound and firing home a firm shot from inside the area. 

The final minutes ticked away without much else happening at either end and the scoreline, although disappointing for the Cannons, was probably a fair one, and accepted gracefully by the home club who still had their unbeaten league record intact. 

Scorers - Hythe Town - Craig Thompson - 11 mins - Phil Stevenson - 19 mins - Burgess Hill Town - Greg Luer - 28 mins - Dan Perry - 85 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Jack Sullivan, Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Jordan Wells, James Morrish, Craig Thompson (Dave Cook - 75 mins), Ashley Miller, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Dave Pilcher, Ryan Philpott, Simba Nyaruwa

Attendance - 205

Cannons Exit Final Cup Competition

Maidstone United - 2 - Hythe Town - 1
Kent Senior Cup 2nd Round - 18/11/14

Hythe Town left their last cup competition of the season with a whimper, as Maidstone United's Academy side, steered through this fixture by a few experienced heads, had too much for Tim Dixon's Cannons.

With the away side low on confidence and Jay Saunder's side lacking in senior experience, the first-half was pretty much played out in the vein of a friendly fixture.

But the moment Hythe took the lead, two minutes after the restart, the hosts quickly rose to the challenge, to turn the game in their favour with two quick goals around the hour mark.

The final third of the game simply illustrated Hythe's lack of form, whilst highlighting the massive advantages that the partnership of a 3G playing surface, together with a sound youth structure, can bring to a club.

The first chance of the evening fell to Maidstone's Nicky Southall's fiercely struck free-kick from the edge of the box, tipped over the bar by the returning Dan Eason.

Hythe settled well and as usual enjoyed the perfect 3G playing surface of the Gallagher Stadium, with Jordan Wells and Dave Pilcher moving the ball around nicely during the opening exchanges.

Despite that, it was the Stones who were carving out the better chances, as Stefan Kempton drove Phil Starkey's pullback just over from the edge of the box.

The visitors first decent chance on goal arrived midway through the first-half, Wells taking over from Craig Thompson's run, to curl a shot that was met by an excellent defensive block, when possibly the unmarked Jack Sullivan was the better option.

Ten minutes before half-time Thompson's decent header was held calmly by Will Godman in the Maidstone goal, following good work from Phil Stevenson, James Morrish and Jack Sullivan in the build-up.

Whatever was said by the two managers at half-time, it had the desired effect. Within two minutes of the restart, Thompson took advantage of some slack passing to run clear on goal and dink his shot over Godman.

Morrish's cross from the right almost deflected into the net and Stevenson's free-kick spilt out into the path of Pilcher, whose low cross was hacked clear from within the six-yard box.

As mentioned, both sides seemed to respond to their respective half-time talks, but once this young Maidstone side soaked up the Hythe pressure, they came again with the best football of the game.

Firstly, the impressive Alex Akrofi twisted and turned just inside the Hythe box, before the Cannons lost their man and the ball found the bottom corner of Eason's net in a flash.

Two minutes later and the away side conceded a poor second from their point of view. Eason made two outstanding saves as shots rained in on his goal during an almighty goalmouth scramble, before Richard Davies drove home what would become the winning goal.

The final and best save of the evening arrived during injury-time, Stones keeper Will Godman, making an excellent one on one stop from substitute Ryan Philpott's blasted shot, after fellow replacement, Simba Nyaruwa's pass.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Craig Thompson - 47 mins - Maidstone United - Alex Akrofi - 57 mins - Richard Davies - 59 mins
Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Jack Sullivan, Josh Burchell, Jamie Collado, John Walker, Phil Stevenson, Dave Cook (Harry Carr - 89 mins), James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson, Jordan Wells (Simba Nyaruwa - 84 mins), Dave Pilcher (Ryan Philpott - 73 mins) - Unused Subs - Louis Sprosen, Roddy Hayward

Attendance - 249

Nine Man Hythe Battle To Gain Point

Hythe Town - 1 - Chipstead - 1
Ryman Division One South - 15/11/14


Match Report Courtesy of Folkestone Herald


Nine-man Hythe battled to a deserved draw against ten-man Chipstead in a pulsating Ryman South clash at Reachfields on Saturday.


Hythe lost midfielder Dave Cook - wrongly - to a red card on seventeen minutes for an apparent elbow and fellow midfielder James Morrish - correctly - on eighty-three minutes with the scores level after a horrible lunge. Chips substitute Chris McCleod was also sent off - correctly - in the first minute of added on time.


Chipstead midfielder Dan Moody opened the scoring for the away side ten minutes in as the Chips made a very bright start. Moody was found in space on the left edge of the box and drilled a wonderful low-strike past Roddy Hayward off the far post.


Hythe were a man down seven minutes later when Cook jumped for a high ball with Jack Buckle and the Chipstead man went down clutching his face. It was in no way intentional but Cook was given his marching orders, with both managers agreeing after the game it was never a red.


Derek Tieku did brilliantly to create space but the Chips striker fired off the post while Ashley Miller should have equalised at the other end when he headed Josh Burchell's corner over.


Miller was involved again in the 21st minute, put through by Jordan Wells but the striker didn't connect cleanly and Milan Stojsavljevic had an easy save.


The game was end-to-end, with Hythe battling a man down but Chipstead carried the greater goal threat. Laurence Harvey went close for the home side with a wonderful curling effort which was inches over the angle of crossbar and post.


In the second-half, Chipstead didn't get going and Hythe were dominant, despite the man disadvantage. Miller did superbly to hold up a raking pass from John Walker and took on the entire Chips defence, with his clipped far-post effort excellently tipped over by Stojsavljevic.


On the hour mark, the scores were level. Wells went down under a challenge from Shaun Preddie and a penalty was given. Phil Stevenson stepped up, sending the keeper the wrong way and continuing his hundred per cent record from the spot, to give the Cannons a very much deserved equaliser.


It was all Hythe from then on, Miller and Wells standing out in particular, while Harvey and Stevenson were sensational in the heart of the Cannons defence, marshalling Will Turl and Derek Tieku with absolute ease.


But, Hythe went down to nine men with seven minutes to go when captain Morrish lunged recklessly into Adam Willis, Morrish immediately moved away from the referee, fearing the worst and he was handed a straight red card.

Despite that, Chipstead failed to test Hayward. In fact, Hythe could have gone ahead, getting into great positions but simply lacking in supporting numbers.


The drama wasn't over yet though, as Chips substitute Chris McCleod was stupidly sent-off for raising his hand to the face of Wells after he had won a free kick.


Hythe played for time, Chipstead lacked ideas, as both sides finished level in a cracking advert for Ryman South football.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Phil Stevenson - 58 mins (pen) - Chipstead - Dan Moody - 10 minutes


Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Dave Cook, James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson (Dave Pilcher - 63 mins), Ashley Miller (Ryan Philpott - 90 mins), Jordan Wells - Unused Subs - Simba Nyaruwa, Harry Carr, Dan Eason


Attendance - 206

Tough Times At Tooting

Tooting & Mitcham United - 2 - Hythe Town - 0
Ryman Division One South - 11/11/14

Coming off two heavy away defeats and with eight first choice players unavailable, a long midweek trip to a Tooting & Mitcham United side aiming for the play-offs was probably the last thing the Cannons needed.

Sadly, the form book was followed as the home side comfortably despatched Tim Dixon’s side 2-0, their front-line led by the returning, and always dangerous, Frankie Sawyer.

For Hythe, Michael Yianni, Phil Stevenson, Jamie Collado and Dave Cook were added to an injury list already featuring long-term absentees Craig Cloke, Sam Conlon and Dan Eason, along with the suspended Craig Thompson.

The hosts were out of the traps quickly, dominating the opening exchanges, the first chance falling to Tom Jelley, whose apparent cross almost caught out Roddy Hayward at the near-post.

Shortly after, Danny Summers excellent run and cross from the left picked out strike-partner Frankie Sawyer, who seemed certain to score but scooped over from twelve yards.

Next it was Sawyer creating a chance for himself, cutting into the box at the near-post and forcing Hayward into a decent stop.

But as the half progressed Hythe seemed to settle and begin to build more patiently, as opposed to being limited to snatched counter-attacks. Unfortunately, the Cannons were again responsible for losing a foothold in a game they had just got settled into.

Stray passing and complete lack of commitment in the tackle allowed left-back Nathan Gordon to steal possession just outside the Hythe box, before cutting in to thump his finish under Hayward in unstoppable fashion.

When Dan Summers was hacked down inside the penalty box on the stroke of half-time it appeared to be game over, however Hayward made a smart low save from Summers’ resulting spot-kick to keep Hythe in it at the break.

Hythe were then the brighter side following the restart, as Dave Pilcher met James Morrish’ cross with a fine volley that was turned around the post by Luke Badiali. Ashley Miller then curled a free-kick just wide from twenty-yards and for the first time the hosts were rocking a little.

But Hythe were again about to shoot themselves in the foot, fouling Summers in a dangerous position just outside the box, Hayward turning the striker’s free-kick round the post.

Unforgivably, Hythe failed to pick up the same player from the resulting corner, Summers simply walking into position before his near-post headed finish again gave the home side control of proceedings.

In truth, the accuracy of shooting from Tooting was poor in the final third of the game, although both Sawyer and Summers could have added to their side’s tally if they had allowed some of their impressive approach play to get a little closer to the Hythe goal.

At the same time the visitors struggled to threaten themselves, only really stirring into life again when the always impressive Ryan Philpott joined the Hythe forward line for another bright cameo appearance.

Scorers - Tooting & Mitcham United - Nathan Gordon - 34 mins - Dan Summers - 56 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Jack Sullivan, Lewis Mingle (Ryan Philpott - 75 mins), John Walker, Lee Pleau, Laurence Harvey, Dave Pilcher (Simba Nyaruwa - 75 mins), James Morrish (c), Jordan Wells, Ashley Miller, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs – Dan Eason, Jamie Collado

Attendance – 145

Dismal Day At Stompond Lane


Walton & Hersham - 4 - Hythe Town - 1

Ryman Division One South - 08/11/14


The Cannons determination to put last week's Uxbridge nightmare behind them seemed thwarted at every step at a damp and depressing Stompond Lane. 


With both Jamie Collado (thigh) and Laurence Harvey (tonsillitis) pulling out late on, Town arrived at Walton to find a pitch that looked for all the world as if it had already been played on in the morning. 


Tim Dixon had brought back Lee Pleau to partner Phil Stevenson in the back four and there were starting places for both Lewis Mingle and Dave Cook. Despite this Town were soon into Uxbridge mode, losing the ball in dangerous positions and wasting the few scoring chances created. 


The "Swans" had too suffered a heavy recent defeat at Faversham and came into the game with an attitude that at times clearly tested the match officials, who did not share their opinion that any attempts to run with the ball on this dreadful surface were ended by dives rather than callous fouls. 


After just ten minutes, when Josh Burchell had been clearly taken out and Jordan Wells had been "landed on”, Harry Mills ran free to plant a tremendous twenty-yarder past Roddy Hayward for the opening goal. 

Ten minutes later Town were appealing vainly for an offside decision but Andre Mensah was wasteful and shot weakly at the Hythe custodian. 


More loose play led to two quick free-kicks for the home side, but after a spot of pinball Hayward safely gathered the third scoring attempt. On twenty-six minutes Hythe finally went close again, but after some neat play from Ashley Miller, Michael Yianni fired the loose ball well over. 


There were further opportunities for Jordan Wells who had a shot and a dangerous looking cross well blocked by a resolute home defence, whilst Cook headed another chance over the crossbar. However a late breakaway from Mensah who fired past Hayward but wide of the far post gave an extra edge to the half-time team talk.


Whatever was said there was another poor start to the second period, with Hayward immediately pressed into action and Wells missing a headed chance following more Miller trickery. In just four minutes Hythe went further behind when Anthony Oaks found Gareth Chendlick in the box and the home forward volleyed home unchallenged.


Stung by this Hythe immediately raised their game, and shortly after an almighty scramble in the home area, Referee Michael Hayden awarded a penalty for clear handball and up stepped Phil Stevenson to show just how easy it invariably is to score from the spot. 


With their tails up the Cannons went in sight of an equaliser which would surely lead on to the three points. However a free-kick was awarded against them and was arrowed low and hard into a closely packed six-yard box, where James Morrish unfortunately provided the last touch to put his side 3-1 down.

As the heavens opened up Roddy Hayward did well to get down to a dangerous shot only to let the ball fall from his grasp and create another almighty scramble that Hythe did well to survive.


This always simmering contest then exploded when the referee spotted a loose ball on the pitch and restarted play with a contested bounce-up. Miller watched the ball bounce and quick as a flash was off down the wing, but his opposite number was either not ready or must have expected to be allowed to play the ball back to his defence. 


As Miller raced away he was callously taken out by a home player, before most of the home team instigated a disgraceful melee on the touchline which spread to virtually all on the pitch. As those on the benches and all three officials became involved in one way or another, the referee deemed that equal punishment be handed out and showed two yellow cards to each side. 


That one of these cards were given to Miller and one to home keeper Gary Ross, who had raced fifty yards to join the fray, did little to impress Town supporters, who would surely have preferred to sit well away from some of the home support were other accommodation available.


As things settled down again Hythe went in search of an unlikely two goals, only to leave themselves stretched in defence, Mensah pulling away on the left only to cut in and drive home a neat finish close to the near post and put the game beyond doubt. 


For Hythe this was a day when nothing went right and yet there was never a time during the entire game when anything other than a home win seemed the most likely outcome. As the Hythe Town management team exited the by-now flooded stadium, there would have been plenty to contemplate before taking on Tooting & Mitcham United on Tuesday night.


Scorers - Hythe Town – Phil Stevenson – 55 mins (pen) – Walton & Hersham – Harry Mills – 9 mins – Gareth Chendlik – 50 mins – Own Goal – 60 mins – Andrew Mensah – 88 mins 


Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Lewis Mingle, Dave Cook, Lee Pleau, Phil Stevenson, Michael Yianni (Jack Sullivan – 75 mins), James Morrish (c), Ashley Miller, Jordan Wells (Ryan Philpott – 85 mins), Josh Burchell - Unused Subs – Dave Pilcher, Dan Eason


Attendance – 88

Cannons Crash Out Of Trophy

Uxbridge - 6 - Hythe Town - 1
FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round - 01/11/14

Hythe were outclassed and outperformed by their hosts, who by their own admission are not setting the world alight this season themselves. The confusing and worrying thing for those both involved with and supporting Hythe, is where did this result and performance come from?

Having seemingly learned their lesson following the similar style thrashing at Conference South side, Ebbsfleet United, who albeit from a far higher level of football, must have been surprised by the manner of Hythe’s capitulation that day, the Cannons seemed determined to revisit that difficult day in full again.

With the importance of this occasion on their minds, not being able to display their fluent, attacking football of recent weeks was perhaps understandable, but the level of heart and application on show during the entirety of this contest suggested only one result…which duly panned out.

The away side set the tone for this performance in the opening minutes, overplaying inside their own half and allowing Matt Woods a gift of a chance which he duly accepted, firing under Roddy Hayward after just five minutes.

Rolling up their sleeves and clearing their lines in the opening stages of games, especially away from home in unfamiliar territory, is an aspect of their game this Hythe side must work on, this was highlighted again when Kevin Warner was given space to get his shot away, this time Hayward making the save.

The day continued to unravel for the visitors, as Dave Pilcher was harshly booked for simulation, when his only alternative to hurdling goalkeeper Rourke Pickford seemed to be ‘getting fouled’.

Josh Burchell then tweaked his hamstring and for the second successive game since his return, Dave Cook was thrust into action earlier than expected.

The half-hour mark arrived with home skipper, Wayne Carter, driving home an unstoppable strike from just outside the box into the top-right corner. It was a classy goal and a classy performance from a player that Hythe couldn’t get close to all afternoon.

Eight minutes before half-time Hayward came and missed a cross and it was game over, as Craig Tompkins put away the first and easiest goal of an eventual hat-trick.

As Tim Dixon’s side trudged off at half-time it was obvious what had to happen for there to even be a glimmer of hope for the travelling support, the early second-half goal duly arrived, unfortunately for those following Hythe, it was at the wrong end.

Tompkins, again in acres of space, stepped up on the corner of the Hythe box to meet a simple square pass with a lovely curling finish into the bottom-left corner. It was probably the best goal of the afternoon, but the space allowed and the confidence of the player had both been provided by Hythe.

To go with their eventual consolation goal, Hythe actually went close to scoring another midway through the second-half, Jordan Wells’ flicked header from Pilcher’s cross met by the save of the game from Pickford. In other circumstances a possible two goals away from home would have suggested a successful game-plan.

But instead, a minute later, Uxbridge scored their fifth in a manner that summed up the day, Tomkins curling home a free-kick from the edge of the box that clearly nobody in a Hythe shirt was ready for, to complete his hat-trick.

Matt Woods finished the rout with a simple finish as the Hythe defence were again caught out of position. With five minutes to go Ashley Miller stepped up with another exceptional strike, lobbing Pickford with a finish so stylish that it allowed the Hythe support the chance to start thinking about life after this performance.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Ashley Miller - 85 mins – Uxbridge - Matt Woods - 5, 74 mins - Wayne Carter - 31 mins - Craig Tompkins - 37, 46, 64 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Jack Sullivan (Lewis Mingle - 75 mins), Dave Pilcher (Ryan Philpott - 69 mins), Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni, James Morrish (c), Jordan Wells, Ashley Miller, Josh Burchell (Dave Cook  26 mins) — Unused Subs – Simba Nyaruwa, Dan Eason

Attendance – 122

The Numbers Game

Hythe Town - 4 - Redhill - 1
Ryman Division One South - 28/10/14

Three In Three - Jordan Wells
Three In Three - Jordan Wells

The numbers are beginning to stack up rather nicely for Tim Dixon’s side, their latest win, 4-1 over Redhill, the Cannons jumping up the table to 16th place.

This was undoubtedly Jordan Wells' night, as the youngster produced two excellent goals and his most impressive performance in a Hythe shirt to date, to put his side into a deserved 2-1 lead, after being 1-0 down with less than twenty minutes to play.

So those numbers...three goals in three games for Wells, six in five for Ashley Miller, three wins in a row for the first time this season, five games unbeaten and only one defeat in eight Ryman South games, what a shame October has to end…bring on November!

The home side began this contest in the same positive fashion they had started and finished at Whitstable on Saturday, however after around twenty minutes of action they only really had a Miller free-kick just wide to show for their efforts.

Suddenly the Cannons were thrown into disarray as they lost the in-form duo of Laurence Harvey and Jamie Collado, within fifteen minutes of another, due to injury.


Collado had began by deputising for Harvey in the backline, but once he too left the field of play, it was down to returning ex-skipper, Dave Cook, to return to his role from our Kent League winning season in the centre of defence, with Dave Pilcher introduced into Hythe’s midfield.

Set-Up Equaliser - Jack Sullivan
Set-Up Equaliser - Jack Sullivan

During this time the hosts understandably became fairly disjointed with their play, and Redhill responded, Javcon Campbell firing a warning shot with a glancing header just wide.

Ten minutes before half-time Campbell struck successfully for the away side, taking advantage of a deflected cross to drill home low into the bottom-left hand corner to leave Tim Dixon’s side in need of a half-time regroup.

Thankfully, they managed to create some half-chances, Wells flicking Miller’s free-kick just wide and Yianni’s shot deflecting just past the post, to get Hythe to the interval without any further blows from the visitors.

The second-half started in a better mood for the regrouped home side, as Miller and Josh Burchell began to build some pressure on Redhill’s goal, on many occasions some desperate defending would prevent either a clear run on goal.

With twenty minutes remaining it appeared Hythe had ran out of time, as Joe Bingham got in behind the Hythe defence on the counter-attack to run clear on goal, thankfully Roddy Hayward’s positioning and handling with a low stop were both spot on.

Back In Action - John Walker
Back In Action - John Walker

However, just two minutes later it was all level as Wells flicked a well-timed header past Mike Hunter, after an excellent delivery from Jack Sullivan’s deep free-kick.

But the best was yet to come as Miller and Wells were about to provide further evidence of their blossoming partnership.

Not really knowing whether to stick or twist, Hythe’s opponents found themselves going forward, only for Hythe to hit them with an excellent counter-attack goal, Miller’s overhead pass sending Wells clear to lob Hunter with an exquisite finish.

It was all Hythe as they simply moved through the gears without a response to claim a third goal in seven minutes. Yianni and Miller with a lovely one-two down the right, Miller fouled, before Pilcher played on with advantage to cross dangerously, Bradley Duke converting into his own net.

Miller almost provided another assist as Phil Stevenson met his corner with a bullet header that Hunter did well to save on the line, but another breakaway move in injury-time ended with Wells slipping Miller one on one for an emphatic smashed finish.

Scorers - Hythe Town – Jordan Wells – 72, 76 mins – Own Goal – 79 mins – Ashley Miller – 90+3 mins – Redhill – Javcon Campbell – 34 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Jack Sullivan, Jamie Collado (Dave Pilcher – 33 mins), Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey (Dave Cook – 21 mins), Michael Yianni, James Morrish (c), Jordan Wells, Ashley Miller, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs – Ryan Philpott, Lewis Mingle, Dan Eason

Attendance – 173

Miller Ends Oysterboys Run

Whitstable Town - 0 - Hythe Town - 2
Ryman Division One South - 25/10/14

Outstanding - Laurence Harvey
Outstanding - Laurence Harvey

Ashley Miller’s brace took his tally to five goals in four games as the Cannons recorded their third win and clean sheet combination in four games, to inflict a home league defeat on Whitstable Town for the first time this season.

It is now one defeat in seven Ryman South games for Tim Dixon’s side, who appear to have turned their season around in the last month or so.

It is no coincidence that form has coincided with the arrival of the inspirational Miller, who together with Jamie Collado and centre-backs Laurence Harvey and Phil Stevenson, have given Hythe’s new look side a truly reliable ‘spine’.

It also seems fair to mention goalkeeper Roddy Hayward, who has enjoyed three clean-sheets since coming into the side for the injured Dan Eason.

Hythe dominated the opening exchanges and should have had the points wrapped up within the first fifteen minutes. In only the third minute Luke Watkins was forced into a great save around the base of his post, as Dave Pilcher drove a low shot through the box following a Michael Yianni cross.

Hard work from Miller and Pilcher in the tenth minute won Hythe back possession as the home side attempted to play out from the back, Miller took control to run across the edge of the box before smashing a great finish under Watkins to give Hythe the lead.

Top Form - Jamie Collado
Top Form - Jamie Collado

Miller led the next attack for Hythe and it was again in tandem with Pilcher whose cross picked out Jack Sullivan, the full-back hitting the post with his header.


Two minutes later, Jordan Wells blasted wide with the goal at his mercy, following another mazy run from Miller that took the youngster deep into the Whitstable box.

The visitors had made enough chances to win the game, but now it was their resilient hosts turn to edge their way back into the contest via the dangerous long-throws of Reiss Crimmen, who strangely was a late change to the Oysterboys starting line-up, but turned into their main attacking outlet.

Luke Girt headed against the bar from one Crimmen throw, whilst another led to a cross from Jake Mackenzie that Ian Pulman fired towards goal, Harvey making a fine block to prevent Hayward being called into action.

The half closed with Hayward claiming comfortably from a twenty-yard Pulman free-kick, however the pressure continued after the restart and on the hour mark the home side thought they had drawn level. Thankfully, substitute Scott Heard’s handball to send him clear on goal had been spotted.

Excellent In Defence - Phil Stevenson
Excellent In Defence - Phil Stevenson

Just minutes later Nick Treadwell allowed the ball to run across his body before firing a swerving shot that was only parried by Hayward, the ball seemed certain to cross the line, before Jack Sullivan appeared from nowhere to hook the ball clear to safety.

That moment seemed to sum up Tim Dixon’s side’s improved defensive approach in recent weeks, but also appeared to leave the hosts deflated, as Hythe ended the game as they had started it. This was another example of the Cannons being able to ‘see out’ difficult sections of games and come again as an attacking threat.

Miller was again the main threat as several dangerous runs began to turn the tide for Hythe, before the Oysterboys were again caught in possession on the edge of their own box, Miller gleefully dribbling around keeper Watkins and walking the ball into the net.

The returning Dave Cook, on as a second-half substitute, appeared to be pulled down when running clear on goal, but the free-kick followed by an inevitable red card simply didn’t materialise. The game ended with Miller and Burchell both enjoying long runs into the Whitstable penalty box, but neither managed to or needed to extend Hythe’s lead.


Thanks to Peter Cuffe for this excellent highlights package of Saturday's 2-0 win at Whitstable Town.

Scorer - Hythe Town - Ashley Miller - 10, 78 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Jack Sullivan, Josh Burchell, Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni (Ryan Philpott - 86 mins), James Morrish (c), Jordan Wells (Dave Cook - 60 mins), Ashley Miller, Dave Pilcher - Unused Subs - Simba Nyaruwa, Lewis Mingle, Dan Eason

Attendance - 200

Professional Hythe Progress


Hythe Town - 3 - Maldon & Tiptree - 0
FA Trophy Preliminary Round - 18/10/14

Hythe's Third Goal - Jordan Wells
Hythe's Third Goal - Jordan Wells

Jordan Wells’ strike sealed a professional 3-0 win over Ryman North side, Maldon & Tiptree, to send Tim Dixon’s side into the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy.

Hythe dominated the game from start to finish against their struggling opponents, who look to have a lot of hard work ahead of them, despite the influence of new manager and ex-pro, Alan Kimble.

Phil Stevenson opened the scoring for the Cannons, from the penalty-spot, just before half-time. The home side had needed to be patient after Ashley Miller had a shot cleared off the line as early as the fifth minute.

In fact it was Miller, with his third goal in three games, that gave Hythe daylight with a calm finish midway through the second-half.

Hythe really should have opened the scoring with that early chance, Jamie Collado played a ball down the left that gave Josh Burchell the opportunity to pick out an unmarked Miller at the back-post. Keeper Jack Giddens was then dribbled around in the Maldon box, before Miller fired just wide of the open goal, trying to ensure his strike didn’t hit any of the recovering defenders.

Scored Penalty - Phil Stevenson
Scored Penalty - Phil Stevenson

Miller was all over the visiting defence in the opening stages, the young striker has really given his side a different dimension, and you can’t help but wonder how different the Cannons’ campaign to date would have been if his services had been secured in the summer.

For the visitors, Nathan Koranteng, had a sight of goal, his first beaten away by Hayward and the rebound drifting just wide. It summed up the away side, who although poor, still had enough unpredictability to keep the excellent Hythe defence, marshalled by the outstanding Laurence Harvey, on their toes.

A clever corner routine from the hosts allowed Yianni a clear shot on goal, but his effort ran well wide. But Hythe would go a lot closer minutes later, when Harvey’s goalbound header was impressively tipped around the post by Giddens.

Harvey’s run took him deep into the opposition half, before John Walker supplied the perfect cross for Miller, who glanced wide with the goal at his mercy. At the other end Walker did well to clear Cliff Akurang’s dangerous cross through the Hythe six-yard box.

Alberto Pinto’s shot was turned around the post by Hayward, although that would be one of the few and the final threats to Hythe’s clean-sheet, and two minutes before half-time the home side made the breakthrough.

Three In Three - Ashley Miller
Three In Three - Ashley Miller

Miller had already had a decent penalty shout turned down, when a clumsy clip of Jordan Wells’ leg moments later led to a Hythe spot-kick being awarded at the second time of asking. There were no complaints from Maldon, Phil Stevenson stepping up to slot home his second penalty in three games and his third of the season.

The visiting side had very little to offer in response to their opponents taking the lead, and no sooner had Hythe rediscovered their passing game from the opening exchanges, they had doubled their lead. Collado recycling possession into the path of Burchell, who strided forward before playing the overlapping Miller in on goal for a calm low finish.

Five minutes later, Miller almost added to his personal tally, with an excellent free-kick from twenty-yards that Giddens did well to tip over the bar. For Maldon, a mazy dribble and strike from Koranteng kept Hayward interested.

With four minutes remaining, Hythe added another, to give the final score a truer reflection of their dominance over the ninety minutes. As Maldon failed to clear their lines from a Hythe corner, Harvey glanced into the path of Stevenson who centred across goal for Wells to tap in at close-range.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Phil Stevenson - 43 mins (pen) - Ashley Miller - 63 mins - Jordan Wells 86 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Jack Sullivan, Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni (Dave Pilcher - 75 mins), James Morrish (c), Jordan Wells (Craig Thompson - 87 mins), Ashley Miller, Josh Burchell (Ryan Philpott - 79 mins) - Unused Subs - Lee Pleau, Simba Nyaruwa

Attendance - 202

Cannons Impress With Ten Men

Hythe Town - 2 - Ramsgate - 2
Ryman Division One South - 14/10/14

A spectacular long range effort from Michael Yianni was the highlight of a really entertaining Ryman South Kent derby between the Cannons and the Rams. It was honours even at the end of ninety minutes as Tim Dixon’s side battled to claim a point, playing all of the second-half with ten men, following Craig Thompson’s dismissal late in the first-half.

Tom Ripley gave the visitors the perfect start after just two minutes but Hythe were right back in it when Josh Burchell headed home and Yianni hit an unstoppable strike from at least thirty-yards. Ramsgate started the second-half strongly with ex-Hythe man Scott Punton heading home the equaliser, but Hythe held firm and appeared to finish the game the stronger of the two sides.

The hosts gave themselves an uphill struggle as early as the second minute as Roddy Hayward failed to deal with a cross from the left-flank and Tom Ripley almost apologetically forced the ball over the line from a couple of yards out.

A frantic start to the game continued when an uncleared corner from Burchell found its way to Yianni, the midfielder’s effort deflecting into the path of Ashley Miller who hit the inside of the post with his shot, only for the ball to roll across goal to safety.

Despite the early blow Hythe were all over the Rams, and it was clear that the formation chosen to accommodate Miller as an out and out forward had well and truly clicked. On fifteen minutes Hythe were level, Burchell stooping to head home past Nick Shaw, following a fine pinpoint cross from Yianni.

Yianni played Miller down the right and the youngster’s centre picked out Laurence Harvey whose header deflected for a corner, the Cannons forced four or five corners during this period of pressure, all delivered dangerously by Burchell but cleared by the Rams.

Midway through the half, Hythe took a deserved lead, Jamie Collado breaking up play in typically excellent fashion, before feeding the ball into Yianni, Dean Hill’s side were guilty of not being close enough to their man, but nobody expected a screaming shot to be unleashed from at least thirty-yards into the top corner that gave Shaw no chance.

Tim Dixon’s side had their opponents rocking with some impressive play as skipper, James Morrish, hit the woodwork with a back-post header following more good work from Miller. Collado burst forward to play a one-two with Burchell to run clear into the box, Shaw making a fine save around the base of the post.

But the turning point in the game arrived six minutes before half-time as Hythe’s Craig Thompson saw red for kicking out after the ball had gone. Despite this blow, the home side created another clear chance on goal a minute before the interval, Phil Stevenson’s slide-rule pass sending Burchell clear on goal, although the winger failed to get a clean shot away as Shaw gratefully got his body behind the ball.

The second-half began in inevitable fashion, the Rams, clearly having had words at half-time, came out at Hythe’s ten men like a steam train, and within four minutes had forced a dangerous free-kick that led to Punton heading home back across goal from the back-post.

The visitors went on to understandably dominate possession during the second period of play, but with hindsight and without the nerves of the game itself, Hythe can look back on the final forty minutes with a lot of pride.

Hythe keeper Hayward went largely untested as the hosts patiently waited for their opponents to enter their half before pressing the ball, and kept their shape throughout to largely frustrate the eleven men. That’s not to say the half was without some nervy moments, as some dangerous crosses and corners were scrambled clear in the Hythe box.

However, Hythe, largely dependant on the pace of now lone striker, Miller, to mount any sort of attack, could have won the game with two breakaway chances. Both involving Miller and both ending with shots from John Walker. But on both occasions Shaw was up to the test with two excellent saves.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Josh Burchell - 15 mins - Michael Yianni - 24 mins - Ramsgate - Tom Ripley - 2 mins - Scott Punton - 49 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, John Walker, Jack Sullivan, Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni, James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson, Ashley Miller, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Dave Pilcher, Jordan Wells, Ryan Philpott, Lee Pleau, Jed Amor

Attendance - 184

It’s Miller Time!

Hythe Town - 3 - Three Bridges - 0
Ryman Division One South - 11/10/14

Two Goals - Ashley Miller
Two Goals - Ashley Miller

It was sheer relief at Reachfields, as Tim Dixon’s side, finally able to utilise the firepower of Ashley Miller, recorded their first home league win of the season.

After a good hour or more of competitive duelling between the Cannons and their opponents Three Bridges, Hythe, who improved more and more as the game unfolded, made the breakthrough, Miller fouled in the box, Phil Stevenson stroking home the resulting penalty-kick.

Three minutes later Miller took centre-stage with an exquisite chipped lob over the head of the Three Bridges goalkeeper. Deep into injury time Miller secured his brace to confirm his side finally being able to move out of the bottom three.

After two consecutive confident showings on their travels, it was a nervy start to proceedings for a Hythe side looking for their first home win of the season in a league fixture. After some lively interplay from the always impressive Three Bridges’ forward line, Allan Tait fired a warning sign, pinging a shot off Roddy Hayward’s crossbar.

Defender, Sam MacVicar’s height must trouble most sides in the division, and it was no surprise when he rose to meet a corner with a decent header that Hayward did well to turn around the base of his post.


Hayward had a ‘lively’ first fifteen minutes, but that save and the confident display that followed from there on in, went to show that the former Folkestone and Ashford man is determined to create genuine competition for the number one jersey at Reachfields.

Assured Penalty - Phil Stevenson
Assured Penalty - Phil Stevenson

Another who has contributed to Hythe’s return to form in the last three games is Michael Yianni, who showed all of his ability to glide past two challenges and play the perfect pass for the overlapping Jack Sullivan, whose dangerous cross through the six-yard box was sadly not anticipated by his team-mates.

The midway point in the half arrived with Burchell running onto a Hayward clearance to hammer a volley just past the near-post.

The visitors had enjoyed more possession, and in more dangerous positions, but there was something refreshing about Hythe’s performance, Laurence Harvey, with impressive new defensive partner, Phil Stevenson, had prevented Hayward from having to make any real saves of note. Without being the better side, the Cannons had kept their opponents at arms length.

In fact it would now be Tim Dixon’s side’s turn to apply pressure and ultimately make that pressure tell. Thompson the first to go close seconds after the restart, firing well over from Burchell’s nod down when the Hythe man should have at least tested Kieron Thorp in the away side’s goal.

Miller lashed a tricky chance well wide after being picked out at the back-post, whilst Three Bridges showed they were still a threat, Abu Touray supplying a dangerous cross for his captain, Lee Carney, whose low driven effort deflected wide to safety.

Back In Starting XI - Lewis Mingle
Back In Starting XI - Lewis Mingle

The hosts went close as the hour mark approached, Yianni firing a looping shot back across goal and just over the bar, after a clever corner-kick routine. Before Harvey nodded into the arms of a grateful Thorp, when the Hythe defender should have done a lot better from an unmarked position.

Stevenson’s volley was held well at the near-post and substitute, Williams Peauroux brought the best out of Hayward at the back-post. But Miller was about to show why his arrival has given those around him renewed belief they can turn this campaign around.

With seventeen minutes remaining the former Gillingham and Maidstone man ran at the nervous Three Bridges defence, one of which was too forceful in his attempt to win possession. The penalty was of course taken by our new resident spot-kick expert, Phil Stevenson, who fired low into the corner to give his side the lead.

Three minutes later and the party-tricks really came out on show, Jamie Collado, another crucial to Hythe’s improved form, played a lovely controlled throughball into the path of Miller, who when presented with at least a couple of other safer options to defeat Thorp, elected to chip a fantastic lob up and over the Three Bridges keeper and into the net from a fairly acute angle.

Even with just under fifteen minutes to play, It was the type of strike that would knock the stuffing out of most sides. It was no surprise when Collado went on to clip the post for the home side, before Miller converted his second from a Jordan Wells cross, after a lovely one-two with Burchell.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Phil Stevenson - 73 mins (pen) - Ashley Miller - 76, 90+4 mins

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Jack Sullivan, Lewis Mingle (John Walker - 54 mins), Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni, James Morrish (c) (Dave Pilcher - 88 mins), Craig Thompson (Jordan Wells - 84 mins), Ashley Miller, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Ryan Philpott, Lee Pleau

Attendance - 212

Defeat To Margate In League Cup

Margate - 2 - Hythe Town - 0
Robert Dyas League Cup 1st Round - 07/10/14

Hythe Town left the Robert Dyas League Cup at the 1st Round, at the expense of Ryman Premier high-flyers, Margate. Drawn away from home and with a long injury list to contend with, the odds were always stacked against the Cannons. However it has to be said they made a decent account of themselves, despite the final scoreline of 2-0.

There were plenty of chances throughout as both sides played some nice football on the excellent playing surface. The hosts took the lead on the half-hour mark via a Josh Donnelly strike, that took a big deflection to loop up and over Roddy Hayward in the Hythe goal.

The experienced Jason Prior then scored from the penalty-spot just before the hour mark, but Hythe had a definite penalty turned down in the last minute of the game to add to their bad luck.

Hythe almost took a shock lead after twenty minutes when Phil Stevenson’s ball forward picked out the run of James Morrish, whose half-volley was turned around the post at close-range by Tom Beadle.

However, less than ten minutes later the hosts took the lead, the impressive Joshua Donnelly, whose passing was outstanding all night, got lucky, when his shot from outside the box deflected up and over the stranded Hayward.

The closing stages of the first-half were fairly frantic from a Hythe point of view, with several dangerous corners scrambled clear, and Hayward and Laurence Harvey both making decent blocks from shots on the goal-line.

Hythe could have equalised just before half-time when Morrish played Pilcher clear on goal, albeit in a wide position, the young midfielder’s shot rising just over the crossbar.

The second-half began with a twenty-yard free-kick from Stevenson being tipped around the post by Beadle. However just before the hour a foul from Hayward gave away a penalty and former Bognor Regis Town striker, Jason Prior, made no mistake with a fierce low finish from the spot.

Hayward redeemed himself with a great save from Prior to keep Hythe’s hopes alive, before Ryan Philpott did well to win possession high up the pitch and play Pilcher clear on goal, only for Beadle to tip his shot just over.

The game closed out with Margate trying some speculative and dangerous shots from in and around the box as the home side threatened to extend their lead. However, Tim Dixon’s side deserved a goal for their play on the counter-attack and they should have received a penalty in the 90th minute when Philpott was clipped in the box by keeper Beadle.

Scorers - Margate - Josh Donnelly 29 mins - Jason Prior 58 mins (pen)

Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward, Jack Sullivan, Lewis Mingle, Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson, Laurence Harvey (Jordan Wells - 57), Dave Pilcher, James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson (Simba Nyaruwa - 70), Michael Yianni, Ryan Philpott - Unused Subs - Josh Burchell, Jed Amor

Attendance - 324

Road To Recovery?

South Park - 2 - Hythe Town - 2
Ryman Division One South - 04/10/14

Late Equaliser - Michael Yianni
Late Equaliser - Michael Yianni

This was a game that without doubt Hythe Town should have won, yes they missed chances, but yes also, Ashley Miller, who was signed to solve that exact problem, was absent due to the injury he picked up on Tuesday night against Whyteleafe.

Yes, the Cannons could have made their own luck by converting more of the chances that their excellent play created. However, on another day the team of officials may not have given a penalty against Hythe, nor missed two chances to award Hythe a spot-kick, or spotted that the ball had crossed the goal-line when it crashed down off the underside of the South Park crossbar.

Although not the ideal result, this was the type of performance that the Hythe support have been looking for, passion, desire and a will to defend, pass and dribble with commitment, to ultimately get a point out of a tough game, the least they deserved.

This was a daunting trip for Hythe, who arrived at newcomers South Park armed with the knowledge that their opponents had scored three goals by half-time in each of their last three outings, conceding only one goal across the same set of fixtures.

The hosts started out like a side who had scored nine first-half goals in three games, earning three corners in the opening five minutes, the second of which was met by the head of Joe Jackson at the near-post, Dan Eason making an excellent and vital save around the post.

Mat Ward blasted over at close-range, when found unmarked at the back-post and things were looking ominous for the visitors. However, one thing Tim Dixon’s side have not done this season, is allow pressure to affect their own football, and fairly quickly they became the side in the ascendancy.                                             

Impressed - Jamie Collado
Impressed - Jamie Collado

Things got up and running with Josh Burchell’s speculative strike clipping the outside of the post, before the same player ran clear onto skipper James Morrish’s clever throughball, only to run into the first of several outstanding saves from home keeper, James Wastell.

Just after twenty minutes Hythe took the lead, Burchell involved again, with a lovely clipped pass into Craig Thompson, who won the race to the ball with keeper Wastell and squared for Morrish to fire home at close-range. Two minutes later Wastell prevented the away side running away with things, saving brilliantly after Thompson pounced on a poor back-pass for a clean run on goal.

Thompson was beginning to dovetail nicely with Sam Conlon and both created chances for one another, Conlon’s shot held by Wastell and Thompson firing just wide at the near-post. Next,  Thompson again provided the assist, with a slide-rule pass to release Morrish clear on goal, but the shot was lashed well wide and Hythe were becoming wasteful.

Yet again Thompson and Conlon combined brilliantly, Conlon released down the right and crossing to the back-post, Thompson returning the favour only for Conlon’s header to be scrambled clear.

Just before half-time there was a warning that Hythe’s wastefulness could come back to haunt them, Jackson picking up a poor defensive clearance and playing a demanding but dangerous pass into the path of Chris Smith who toe-poked just wide at full-stretch.

The theme continued into the second period of play, Conlon clear through on goal after a slip from last defender, Jack Stafford, only for Wastell to produce probably the save of the game, as the Hythe man fired across goal towards the bottom corner.

The Cannons continued to look the more likely, Laurence Harvey heading down John Walker’s free-kick into the path of Morrish who steered just wide at the back-post.

Central Defence - John Walker
Central Defence - John Walker

Midway through the second-half the game was turned on its head, a rare South Park attack led to a free-kick on one corner of the Hythe box, Smith curled his set-piece to the back-post where Jackson forced the ball home across goal for an unlikely equaliser.

Even more unlikely was the home side taking the lead, but just two minutes later a challenge in the box from Lewis Mingle was classed as foul play, Smith stepping up to place a cheeky spot-kick into the roof of the net of Eason’s goal.

The frantic nature of the game continued as a Conlon run down the right eventually ended at the near-post, before a dangerous pullback ricocheted off a South Park defender, off the underside of the bar…and in? No, according to the team of officials, who also failed to spot two successive fouls on Thompson in the resulting penalty-box scramble.

With five minutes remaining the bad luck continued, Harvey with a lung-busting run into the penalty-box ending with a clear takedown…adjudged to be outside the area, when most in close attendance assumed a clear penalty would be given.

One final raid down the right from Conlon again led to a dangerous pullback, on this occasion Yianni was on hand to steer home a volleyed finish at close-range to earn his side the point that they deserved (at the least).

Scorers - Hythe Town - James Morrish - 21 mins - Michael Yianni - 90 mins - South Park - Joe Jackson - 63 mins, Chris Smith - 65 mins (pen)

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Jack Sullivan, Lewis Mingle, Jamie Collado, John Walker, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni, James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson (Jordan Wells - 80 mins), Sam Conlon, Josh Burchell (Ryan Philpott - 74 mins) - Unused Subs - Phil Stevenson, Jed Amor

Attendance - 94

Struggles Continue

Hythe Town - 0 - Whyteleafe - 2
Ryman Division One South - 30/09/14

The first fifteen minutes of this contest were wide open, with both sides leaving large amounts of space for the opposing attack to break into. This played right into the hands of the two number tens on the pitch, Sam Clayton and for Hythe, making his return, Ashley Miller.

The duo tormented the respective defences in the opening exchanges, dropping dangerously into space to pick up possession and then running with purpose towards the penalty box. The only surprise was that neither player really carved out a clear chance during that frantic period of play.

Whyteleafe’s Tommy Harper had the first real chance of the evening, getting a toe on a really dangerous low cross, through the six-yard box, but shooting wide. Bentley Graham was the next to try his luck for the ‘Leafe, dribbling into the Hythe box and forcing Eason into a save around the near post.

In response, Josh Burchell worked an opening for Miller who fired a snap-shot into the side-netting. Miller had been central to everything good Hythe had mustered up in the opening half-hour, highlighted by the fact he was fouled badly on no less than four occasions, two challenges earning yellow cards, two escaping cautions to the dismay of the home crowd.

It appeared that Hythe had made a little ‘too much fuss’ regarding their big new signing and it was no surprise when he limped off minutes into the second-half. The young striker’s final contribution of note was a dribble across the edge of the visitor’s box, that led to a surprise shot from Burchell that Sheikh Ceesay handled well.

However, the away side were by far the stronger approaching half-time, and either side of that Burchell chance Clayton fired a rising shot just over and played Harper clear on goal, only for his strike-partner to volley wildly over.

The half closed with Laurence Harvey almost firing the ball into his own net and bandaged centre-back Tommy Smith heading wide unmarked at the back-post, the Cannons were thankful to be going into the break level.

Shortly after the restart Jason Henry’s driven shot almost deflected past Eason, whilst for Hythe Michael Yianni’s shot deflected into the path of Thompson who swivelled to shoot but failed to keep  his strike down.

Just after the hour mark, substitute Greg Andrews struck the first of two outstanding volleys to win his side all three points. The first was more opportunistic than the other as Lee Pleau’s clearance was cruelly hammered back over his and Eason’s head for the opener.

Only two minutes has passed when Tim Dixon’s side came close to equalising, Harvey heading Sam Conlon’s corner just over, unmarked at the back-post.

Harvey was involved again, nodding down into the path of Miller’s replacement, Jordan Wells, whose shot was well held, but disappointingly, the home side had failed to threaten the Whytleleafe keeper all night and that was the last time they attempted to change that fact.

It was left to Andrews to take all the plaudits, with a stunning volley, this time more intentional and directed, to give the visitors a two goal cushion that they didn’t really need, but their visiting support enjoyed immensely regardless.

Scorers - Whyteleafe - Greg Andrews - 64, 84 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker (Phil Stevenson - 54), Jack Sullivan, Michael Yianni, Lee Pleau, Laurence Harvey, Sam Conlon, James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson, Ashley Miller (Jordan Wells - 48), Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Lewis Mingle, Jed Amor

Attendance - 158

Hythe Crash Out Of FA Cup


Ebbsfleet United - 7 - Hythe Town - 1
FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round - 27/09/14

Hythe Town crashed out of the FA Cup at the expense of a professional Ebbsfleet United performance, as the Cannons delivered a somewhat timid display just when the opposite was required.

Sadly for the visiting support there were too many players that didn’t follow skipper James Morrish’ example of running himself into the ground, surely a minimum requirement, when looking to bridge the gap of two divisions between the two sides.

The hosts found themselves four goals to the good without displaying anywhere near their best football, the Fleet scoring four goals that Hythe would have been disappointed to concede in a Ryman South game, let alone gifting such a lead to a team looking for promotion to the Conference.

Things got off to the worst possible start as an Ebbsfleet free-kick pinged off the Hythe crossbar and landed at the feet of the fortunate, although unmarked, Matt Godden, who steered his shot home with just two minutes on the clock.

Five minutes later and the game was effectively over as a contest, Jack Sullivan adjudged to have fouled his man cutting into the box, Charlie Sheringham smashing the resulting penalty down the centre of the goal, a very different technique to father Teddy.

Dan Eason produced a fine save as Matt Johnson’s header appeared certain to give the Fleet a three goal lead. The Hythe keeper then produced another excellent stop, tipping Sheringham’s shot around the post after a centre from home skipper, Daryl McMahon.

Some really poor defending from the Cannons then allowed the home side to score two goals within the same minute, Godden nicking the ball over Eason and Sheringham slotting home with ease to complete a simple brace, five minutes later it was half-time.

Seven minutes after the restart the hosts produced their first passing move that looked like it was from the level of football they ply their trade on a regular basis. Godden failing to convert his hat-trick opportunity following Matt Johnson’s throughball.

Eason held well from Anthony Cook’s header, but was powerless to prevent the clearly talented sixteen year old, Karn Miller-Neave, curling an exquisite free-kick from twenty-yards, right to left, into the top-right hand corner, off the inside of the post to defeat a full stretch Dan Eason.

Hythe grabbed a consolation goal with thirteen minutes remaining, Michael Yianni’s mazy run and deflected shot falling into the path of Conlon who fired home a low opportunistic volley from just inside the box.

However, as quickly as Hythe regained some pride, they threw it away, allowing Aiden Palmer a free header to convert a cross from the right, before Godden completed a deserved hat-trick in the 90th minute.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Sam Conlon - 77 mins - Ebbsfleet United - Matt Godden - 2, 40, 90 mins - Charlie Sheringham - 7 (pen), 40 mins - Karn Miller-Neave - 74 mins - Aiden Palmer - 83 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker, Jack Sullivan, Michael Yianni, Lee Pleau (Phil Stevenson - 64 mins), Laurence Harvey, Dave Pilcher, James Morrish, Jordan Wells (Craig Thompson - 75 mins), Sam Conlon (Ryan Philpott - 88 mins), Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Lewis Mingle, Simba Nyaruwa, Jed Amor

Attendance - 738

Cannons Rescue Point

Hythe Town - 2 - Walton Casuals - 2
Ryman Division One South - 23/09/14

Ten men Hythe Town, fought back from 2-1 down to snatch a dramatic 93rd minute equaliser against visitors Walton Casuals. The home side had taken the lead via a typically cool Phil Stevenson penalty. However, within two minutes the Casuals had equalised.

It seemed game over when John Walker received a second yellow card and then the visitors took the lead. But in the final minute of injury time, Jordan Wells, in his first full start, headed home from Dave Pilcher's cross to earn a point for Tim Dixon's side.

It should have been all much simpler for the Reachfields outfit, who could have been two goals to the good within the opening five minutes. Hythe’s first attack led to a Walker cross that Jack Sullivan placed back across goal, Wells scooping just over the bar from just six yards out.

Only a minute later, Casual’s keeper, Luke Badiall, was relieved to find the ball land in his arms, after Stevenson’s point blank header at the back-post, following some excellent work and a cross from Sam Conlon.

The chances continued to flow for Hythe, Sullivan releasing Stevenson down the left, who escaped his marker and centred for Michael Yianni, who could only steer his shot wide from just inside the box.

An excellent saving tackle prevented Stevenson slotting home another fine centre from Conlon, following some good hold-up play from Wells.

The hosts kept the opposition at arms length throughout the opening period of play, five corners for the away side, all of which were defended comfortably by the Hythe backline, was all they really had to show for their efforts.

The half ended with James Morrish’s free-kick headed down by Laurence Harvey and centred by Lee Pleau, however Wells was unable to get any power behind his header and the two sides went in level at the break.

Eight minutes after the restart, the Cannons took the lead, Harvey’s excellent crossfield ball picking out Stevenson whose first-time flick sent Sullivan charging clear into the box. The pullback was expected, the penalty-kick given without doubt.

After years of a certain midfield man taking spot-kicks for the side he captained, it was now Stevenson who stepped up to confirm he will be Tim Dixon’s main man from the penalty-spot, and judging by his reputation and the cool low finish provided, he should be the perfect choice.

However from this point, things began to unravel, Hythe were still discussing the introduction of Dave Pilcher amongst themselves, when the visitors swept down the right and provided the easiest opportunity imaginable for Gabriel Odunaike to fire home from a couple of yards out.

Hythe were rattled and began to fall under pressure from their resurgent opponents, rattled enough for John Walker to pick up his second yellow of the evening to leave the home side with ten men for the final thirty minutes of the contest.

With twelve minutes left on the clock the Casuals took a surprise lead, as it had been the Cannons who seemed to react the better of the two sides to their own side being reduced in number. The goal was impressive though, Malik Ouani drilling home into the bottom corner from twenty-yards, but given far too much space and time from a Hythe point of view.

Not for the first time this season, Tim Dixon’s side showed that their confidence is not effected by the scoreline. This resilient young side came again and again and finally in the third and final minute of injury-time equalised. Jordan Wells heading home with a deft flick from Pilcher’s perfect centre.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Phil Stevenson - 53 mins (pen) - Jordan Wells - 90+3 mins - Walton Casuals - Gabriel Odunaike - 55 mins - Malik Ouani - 78 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker, Jack Sullivan, Jamie Collado (Dave Pilcher - 54 mins), Lee Pleau, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni (Ryan Philpott - 87 mins), James Morrish, Jordan Wells, Sam Conlon, Phil Stevenson - Unused Subs - Jamie White, Roddy Hayward

Attendance - 130

Ridiculous To The Sublime?

Hythe Town - 3 - Merstham - 3
Ryman Division One South - 20/09/14

Tim Dixon’s Cannons presented their entire season to date in one ninety minute episode. Inconsistent in defence and in possession, but also able to play some sublime passing football and show heart and character that wasn’t always on show throughout every minute of this game.

As poor as Hythe played in a desperate first forty-five minutes, they showed the complete opposite following the interval, pulling back a 2-0 and 3-2 deficit, before almost winning the game in a dramatic finish to proceedings at Reachfields.

The home side were slow out of the traps, whilst the visitors showed no signs of fatigue after their extra-time victory in their FA Cup replay win over rivals Chipstead on Tuesday night. Tommy Hutchings was the first to fire a warning shot, right through Hythe’s six-yard box.

It wasn’t too much longer until the away side struck the opening goal, Simon Cooper allowed too much space to stride forward into Hythe’s half, before unleashing an amazing strike from thirty-yards, into the top-left hand corner that gave Dan Eason no chance.

Just a minute later the hosts should have struck an equaliser, some lovely approach play from Hythe ending with Sam Conlon picking out Michael Yianni, the midfielder arriving late into the Merstham box but firing his first-time shot just wide.

Rory Hill had already been wasteful from close-range, but when allowed an even easier second opportunity, the Merstham man couldn’t miss, the unmarked midfielder asking serious questions of Hythe’s man-marking.

The half closed as it began, Merstham giving the Cannons’ defence the runaround, Omar Folkes picking out the unmarked Aaron Rhule, who should have done better than getting caught in possession ten yards from the Hythe goal.

The returning Jordan Wells, replacing the clearly unwell Craig Thompson, was one of many justified substitutions that Tim Dixon could have made at the break. Thankfully half-time did the trick for the Reachfields outfit, who showed their true potential and talent in a far different second-half.

Lee Pleau and Sam Conlon both came within inches of converting Laurence Harvey’s centre, after Dave Pilcher’s uncleared free-kick. However, Hythe got themselves back into the game just after the hour mark.

Keeping possession in much improved fashion, a patient Hythe move released John Walker down the right, the defender’s cross running right through the Merstham six-yard box, before poor defending allowed Pilcher to fire home at close-range.

Four corners in seven minutes followed, with the fourth making the breakthrough, Jordan Wells heading home his first goal of the season, back across goal following Pilcher’s excellent corner, Hythe deservedly level with just over twenty minutes to play.

Only one side was now looking the likely winner, just one minute after the restart, the home side came within inches of taking the lead for the first time in the afternoon, Phil Stevenson cutting in off the left-flank to crash a shot past Ian Chatfield and off the inside of the post.

James Morrish’s goalbound strike deflected to safety as Hythe pushed to take the lead, however the counter-attack threat was growing, substitute Stefan Cox racing away into the Hythe half only for Eason to make a fine one on one save.

Just four minutes after Hythe equalised, Merstham retook the lead in simple fashion, Marc-Anthony Okoye heading home at close-range from Hill’s corner.

Despite the visitors taking the lead again, it was still all about Hythe scoring a third goal, although Merstham continued to threaten on the counter-attack, Hutchings cutting in off the flank to fire a dangerous rising shot just over Eason’s bar.

With four minutes remaining the Cannons grabbed a deserved equaliser, Pilcher’s corner picking out substitute Ryan Philpott at the back-post, who continued his excellent form, with a volley that crashed off the underside of the crossbar and was adjudged to have crossed the line by the Referee’s Assistant.

After a tough afternoon, it was nice for the Hythe support to reflect on the second-half performance of their young side. In particular, Dave Pilcher, involved in all three goals, scoring one, and Ryan Philpott, who has made two and scored two in three appearances, two of which have come from the substitute bench.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Dave Pilcher - 61 mins - Jordan Wells - 68 mins - Ryan Philpott - 86 mins - Merstham - Simon Cooper - 3 mins - Rory Hill - 24 mins - Marc-Anthony Okoye - 73 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker, Jack Sullivan, Phil Stevenson (Ryan Philpott - 76 mins), Lee Pleau, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni (Jamie Collado - 73 mins), James Morrish, Craig Thompson (Jordan Wells - 45 mins), Sam Conlon, Dave Pilcher - Unused Subs - Simba Nyaruwa, Craig Cloke

Attendance - 186

Ups & Downs

Horsham 4 - Hythe Town - 1
Ryman Division One South - 16/09/14

Well, a week can be a long time in football as Tim Dixon’s depleted troops followed up their euphoric 4-0 FA Cup win over Whitstable Town, with a thoroughly frustrating evening at Horsham.

With Lewis Mingle away and Josh Burchell suspended, the Cannons also travelled to this midweek fixture without the unwell Craig Thompson, the unavailable Jamie Collado, Jordan Wells and Jamie White and included skipper Craig Cloke and John Walker within their squad with neither at 100%.

With eight players unavailable or not fully fit, this fixture was always going to be a tough ask, although some poor defending and finishing didn’t help matters, in a wide-open game with fellow strugglers Horsham.

The first chance of the evening arrived for the home side after two minutes, Jamie Ampleford’s pass finding Tony Nwachukwu, whose cross picked out the header of Gary Charman, although on this occasion Dan Eason claimed the ball comfortably.

The visitors had early penalty shouts turned down as Ryan Philpott chased down an Eason clearance, whilst for Horsham Harry Smith should have done better at close-range following home skipper, Ross Morley’s corner.

Michael Yianni surprised Horsham keeper, Gareth Williams, with an angled shot following a Hythe throw-in. Minutes later, a surging run from Sam Conlon led to a one-two with James Morrish, the former bursting into the box and shooting across goal and just wide.

Soon after, the hosts took the lead with a slice of luck, Morley’s volley taking a wicked deflection past the stranded Eason, although Hythe were guilty of not clearing their lines at the first opportunity from a Horsham set-piece.

Going behind seemed to refocus Tim Dixon’s side and on the half-hour mark they felt aggrieved to have a goal disallowed, for an apparent foul on Williams in the Horsham goal, as he helped Dave Pilcher’s already goalbound effort into the net, directly from a corner!

With half-time approaching the Cannons came close to an equaliser, Philpott, in his first start of the season, taking over after good work by Jack Sullivan, to fire in a dipping shot that Williams spilled but just about gathered in.

Only a minute later, Philpott went close again, Williams’ poor punch leaving his goal unguarded, the young Hythe striker volleying first-time but just wide. Eventually Hythe were thankful to go in just the one goal down at half-time, Sullivan making a fine goal-line clearance after Smith had cut in off the flank into the box and driven a fine low shot under Eason.

Hythe made a bright start to the second-half, but were soon hit by the double blow of skipper, Craig Cloke, going off injured and conceding a second goal, all within six minutes of the restart.

It was a simple counter-attack and ball over the top of a poorly positioned Hythe defence, that allowed the impressive Junior Kaffo to run away and slot home a routine finish to extend his side’s lead.

Again, the away side seemed to react well to conceding a goal, Philpott with some good hold-up play, feeding Yianni, who turned his man and got away a dangerous shot that Williams did well to turn around the post. Hythe were enjoying their best spell of the game, but the hosts were a constant threat on the counter-attack, mainly via the outlet of goalscorer, the quick Kaffo, down the right-flank.

Pilcher’s corner was thumped against the crossbar by the head of Laurence Harvey, before Pilcher and Sullivan combined down the left to send Philpott clear into the box, only for Williams to smother his shot at the near-post.

With just over twenty minutes to go, Horsham secured the points, a combination of Harry Smith and the head of a Hythe defender sending a near-post corner flying into the net.

Again Hythe came again, Yianni dribbling his way deep into the box and firing just wide, before Conlon played substitute Simba Nyaruwa clear on goal, Williams making contact before the unlucky youngster watched his shot cleared off the line.

The final ten minutes arrived with a mix-up in the Hythe defence, allowing Troy Williams to lob home over the head of Eason into the empty net. With a minute left on the clock Hythe struck a consolation, James Morrish’s cross headed home by the hard-working and deserving Philpott.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Ryan Philpott - 89 mins - Horsham - Ross Morley - 19 mins - Junior Kaffo - 51 mins - Harry Smith - 69 mins - Troy Williams - 79 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Phil Stevenson, Lee Pleau, Jack Sullivan, Craig Cloke (c) (Harry Carr - 51 mins), Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni, James Morrish, Ryan Philpott, Sam Conlon, Dave Pilcher (Simba Nyaruwa - 70) - Unused Subs - John Walker, Ged Amor


Attendance - 170

What A Win!

Hythe Town 4 - Whitstable Town - 0
FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round - 13/09/14

Hat Trick Hero - Sam Conlon
Hat Trick Hero - Sam Conlon

Michael Yianni’s early wonder strike was matched by Player of the Month, Sam Conlon, who celebrated with a stunning hat-trick, to fire the Cannons into Monday’s draw for the second qualifying round of the greatest cup competition in the world!

With opponents, Whitstable Town, arriving at Reachfields with an excellent record of one defeat in ten games, it was clear Tim Dixon’s side would have to be at their best. Well, at their best they were, with an outstanding 4-0 win the result and performance of a rapidly improving season.

Two early sighters from the experienced Ian Pulman were the only real chances on Dan Eason’s goal all afternoon, and those chances only seemed to focus the minds of the Hythe defence even more, ahead of a third cleansheet in four games.

The first chance of the afternoon for the home side fell to Laurence Harvey who headed into the arms of Luke Watkins, after some excellent work down the right from Yianni and, providing the cross, Jack Sullivan.

Just a minute later the Cannons took the lead in quite outstanding fashion, Craig Thompson and then Josh Burchell working the ball off the left flank and then across the edge of the Whitstable box. This allowed Yianni to take over and hit an unstoppable shot from just outside the box into the top-left hand corner.

Seven minutes later, Yianni almost had his second of the afternoon, a classic Conlon led counter-attack down the right, following a Whitstable corner, quickly became a two on one situation due to Yianni’s impressive run to join in the attack. The eventual cross was just blocked to prevent Yianni breaking clear into the box.

Brilliant Opener - Michael Yianni
Brilliant Opener - Michael Yianni

The Hythe defence continued to keep their opponents at arms length, Jake Mackenzie’s dangerous strike blocked well before it could trouble Eason in the Hythe goal. Straight from that chance Hythe broke with a lovely move down the left between Sullivan and Burchell, ending with Sullivan’s cross being dummied by Yianni, Dave Pilcher’s final shot also blocked well.

The half-hour mark arrived with more good play from Yianni, running at the visiting defence before laying off for a Pilcher cross to the near-post that Thompson headed over at a tricky angle.

It was all Hythe and four minutes later they deservedly doubled their lead, in even more impressive fashion than their opening strike. Yianni turned his man beautifully in his own half, before carrying the ball into the Whitstable half and providing the lay-off for Pilcher to again cross from the right. The late arriving Conlon then absolutely smashed in a half-volley from just inside the box giving Watkins no chance.

With half-time approaching Conlon had a chance to wrap up the win for the hosts, running clear on goal from Thompson’s throughball, only to send a misjudged lob well over the goal. There was further disappointment for the Ward brothers’ side in first-half injury-time, Joe Kennett’s studs up challenge leading to a red-card.

There were still enough seconds of a frantic half remaining for Burchell to volley just over from only six-yards out after Harvey had nodded down Yianni’s free-kick.

Impressed - Josh Burchell
Impressed - Josh Burchell

The opening exchanges of the second-half certainly restored some pride for the away side, but in hindsight, Eason was not called upon in the Hythe goal, Harvey and Pleau calmly dealing with the renewed efforts from the ten man Oysterboys.


The hour mark arrived with the introduction of young Hythe striker, Ryan Philpott, making a long-awaited debut in replacement for the unwell Thompson. The popular fan favourite deserved his usual round of applause from Reachfields, even more deserved than usual considering his efforts despite being ill.

Philpott, back in the fold after missing chunks of both pre-season and the season proper, gave the home crowd a really decent cameo, possibly doing enough to slightly relax Tim Dixon’s search for striking reinforcements.

Phil Stevenson, who also impressed, at right-back for the injured John Walker, enjoyed two marauding runs forward in the closing stages, although on both occasions the final shot failed to trouble Watkins.

A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon for the Hythe support ended with two more deserved goals, completing a quite brilliant hat-trick from the bang in form Conlon. Firstly, a counter-attack led by Philpott began with a fine first touch and ended by the youngster luring in his marker, before dropping his shoulder and providing a tap-in for Conlon.

It was the same two players that would combine for Hythe’s fourth, Philpott again lively and alert, stealing possession inside the Whitstable box and firing in a snap shot that deflected back to Conlon. The ultra-confident forward calmly feigned to shoot before rounding his man and calmly completing his hat-trick.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Michael Yianni - 13 mins - Sam Conlon - 34, 77, 83 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Phil Stevenson, Jack Sullivan, Michael Yianni, Lee Pleau, Laurence Harvey, Dave Pilcher (Jamie Collado - 83 mins), James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson (Ryan Philpott - 59 mins), Sam Conlon (Simba Nyaruwa - 84 mins), Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - John Walker, Craig Cloke, Ged Amor

Attendance - 248

So Close Yet So Far Away

Faversham Town 3 - Hythe Town - 1
Ryman Division One South - 09/09/14

It will be little consolation to Tim Dixon’s side, but this defeat at Faversham was a fantastic advert for Ryman South football. At half-time everything was going the right way for the Cannons, they had weathered the early storm from Ray Turner’s side, taken the lead with an excellent James Morrish goal and survived a harshly awarded penalty, Dan Eason making a great save.

However the hosts had another couple of gears up their sleeve and based on their second-half performance, look to be potential title challengers. Luke Harvey’s brace and a late third from Josh Stanford stunned the visitors, leaving the Cannons to refocus on Saturday’s FA Cup tie.

After a tight start to the game, a nice move down the left involving Josh Burchell and Jack Sullivan led to decent shots from Morrish and Laurence Harvey being blocked well by the Faversham defence.

As the midway point in the first-half approached, both sides began to carve out some decent chances. Jack Harris had the ball in the net after Luke Harvey’s header forward, only to see the offside flag raised. Whilst for Hythe Sam Conlon ran clear onto Sullivan’s throughball only for Simon Overland to make a fine save round the post.

The chances continued to arrive, former Hythe man, Sam Bewick’s really dangerous cross matched by a fine full stretch save by Eason. For Hythe, Craig Thompson fired just over the crossbar after Harvey’s nod down from a John Walker free-kick.

Tim Dixon’s side were really pushing high up the pitch to try and take the game to their hosts, and in the main this was working. However the counter-attack threat was becoming more apparent and Eason had to make a fine low save from Harris, followed by an even more impressive goal-line clearance from Walker.

Three minutes before half-time the Cannons took the lead through one of their impressive new set-piece routines. Morrish with the deftest of near-post headers flying in at close-range following one of Burchell’s trademark corners that look like they are flying into the goal themselves.

However the Lilywhites would gain a lifeline, what appeared to be a harsh penalty awarded during first-half injury time. Eight goal midfielder, Wayne Wilson, stepped up but met his match in Eason who clawed away the strike to his right.

Credit must go to the Faversham players and management, who clearly regrouped in devastating fashion during the half-time interval, with twenty minutes of really high pressure passing and pressing to open the second-half.

It was probably the hardest twenty minutes of the season for the away side, who conceded two goals during that period. The equaliser arrived seven minutes after the restart, Harvey driving home a half-volley into the bottom corner after Harris’ knockdown.

Eason made a good save from Stanford before Hythe missed a chance to stop the Faversham momentum, Thompson’s tame shot rolling into the hands of Overland after Conlon had released the striker clear into the Faversham box on the counter-attack.

Twenty minutes of the second-half had passed when a fine passing move from left to right ended with a ball across the Hythe box that Harvey made no mistake with, drilling home his second goal of the evening low under Eason.

Understandably, Ray Turner’s side took their foot off the pedal a little and for a short period it looked that Hythe could possibly grab an equaliser of their own. Overland saving well from Michael Yianni’s volley and Walker combining well with substitute Dave Pilcher, to create an opening that almost ended with an own goal for the home side.

But with seven minutes left to save a point, the visitors lost Thompson to a second yellow card, leaving Tim Dixon no option but to change to three at the back, Josh Stanford’s late strike having an inevitable feel to it to leave Hythe wondering what could have been.

Scorers - Hythe Town - James Morrish - 43 mins - Faversham Town - Luke Harvey - 52, 65 mins - Josh Stanford - 86 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Jack Sullivan (Simba Nyaruwa - 86 mins), Lee Pleau, John Walker, Jamie Collado (Dave Pilcher - 77 mins), Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni, James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson, Sam Conlon, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Jamie White, Ryan Philpott, Roddy Hayward

Attendance - 194

Three Is The Magic Number

Carshalton Athletic 0 - Hythe Town - 3
Ryman Division One South - 06/09/14

Man of the Match - James Morrish
Man of the Match - James Morrish

Three excellent strikes from Tim Dixon’s side, three different goalscorers, the third game in a row they have scored two or more goals, three games unbeaten, but most importantly three points for the in-form Cannons.

This was an ultra-professional performance from a Hythe side really beginning to realise their potential, from start to finish they controlled what on paper appeared a really tricky fixture. The truth was that Dan Eason didn’t make a meaningful save and the side in front of him didn’t break a sweat, with a classy, efficient performance.

Both sides settled down into some good football straight from the kick-off, Jordan Higgs’ deflected strike running just wide for the home side, whilst Craig Thompson and Josh Burchell both had half-chances for the Cannons.

The visitors should have taken the lead after fifteen minutes when Sam Conlon started and ended a move that involved a cross from John Walker, Conlon looking likely to open the scoring, if not for a badly timed bobble.

The half hour mark approached with Emmanuel Akokhia breaking off the flank and into the Hythe penalty box, only for his final effort to find the side-netting.

Great Long Range Strike - Michael Yianni
Great Long Range Strike - Michael Yianni

Two minutes later, the away side were more clinical with a similar chance, Conlon the scorer with his second goal in as many games. Walker’s one-two with Michael Yianni led to the former crossing to Conlon, whose first touch took him round his marker before slamming home a finish across goal and past Jack Eden.


It was turning out to be a really professional performance from Tim Dixon’s side, who frustrated their hosts for the remainder of the half and could have doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time.

In an almost replica approach to their opening goal, Hythe worked the ball down the right through Yianni and Walker, on this occasion Conlon providing the cross and Thompson going close to converting at the near-post.

The second-half began with a good chance for home striker, Akokhia, who headed wide at the back-post, although that would be the first and final clear chance of the game for the home side, as the Cannons went on to dominate the second-half, inspired by skipper for the day, James Morrish.

Bright Cameo & Goal - Dave Pilcher
Bright Cameo & Goal - Dave Pilcher

Just before the hour mark, the visitors grabbed the goal that would give them the two goal cushion their play deserved. Hythe typically kept possession well breaking into the Carshalton half, before Yianni stepped up on the left to curl home a brilliant twenty-five yard strike into the top-right corner.


Hythe were now really enjoying themselves as Conlon shot just wide after Thompson’s through-ball, before Conlon himself chased down a lost cause to win possession and play the ball back to Morrish, Yianni heading the eventual cross just wide at the back-post.

With two minutes remaining, substitute Phil Stevenson’s raking pass picked out Josh Burchell, who in turn laid off to another late substitute, Dave Pilcher, the final shot from around the penalty-spot, blocked well by the last Carshalton defender.

Just another sixty-seconds would pass before Pilcher marked a bright cameo with another fine Hythe Town strike. On this occasion it was a simpler build-up, Burchell leading the charge on the counter-attack before playing Pilcher in on goal just inside the box, his shot crashing in off the underside of the crossbar.

For Hythe, it had been a real team effort, but two players stood out in the middle of the park, stand-in skipper, for the injured Craig Cloke, James Morrish, along with Jamie Collado, who both dominated midfield from start to finish.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Sam Conlon - 30 mins - Michael Yianni - 59 mins - Dave Pilcher - 89 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Jack Sullivan, Lee Pleau, John Walker, Jamie Collado, Laurence Harvey, Michael Yianni (Dave Pilcher - 78), James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson (Phil Stevenson - 83), Sam Conlon (Simba Nyaruwa - 89), Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Ryan Philpott, Craig Cloke

Attendance - 220

Impressing & Progressing

Hythe Town - 2 - Lordswood - 0
FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay - 02/09/14

Outstanding Goal - Craig Thompson
Outstanding Goal - Craig Thompson

Craig Thompson's outstanding thirty-five yard lob finally gave the Cannons the lead against a really hard to beat Lordswood side. The hosts had been unfairly reduced to ten men, but Tim Dixon's side responded in defiant fashion.

Thommo’s second goal in as many games was followed by another fine strike at the death, from the hard-working Sam Conlon. As a result we now move onto another lucrative FA Cup tie at Reachfields on Saturday 13th September, when we will host fellow Ryman South outfit, Whitstable Town.

After a bright start from both sides, Michael Yianni went close to opening the scoring for the hosts, dribbling past two Lordswood defenders and into the penalty box, before dragging his final effort wide.

Jack Sullivan combined well with Josh Burchell down the left, before crossing dangerously through the box, Thompson unable to redirect the ball towards goal, the final shot toed wide. At the other end of the pitch, Charlie Smith’s flick almost got visiting skipper, Steve Hafner, in on goal, Dan Eason alert to the danger.

Burchell’s corner fell at the feet of Laurence Harvey, who fired just wide in a crowded area, before the same combination worked again, this time from a free-kick, Harvey’s header brilliantly tipped over by the again impressive, Matt Byott.

Former Hythe man, Adam Hooper, fired in a dipping volley that Eason handled well, whilst for Hythe, captain Craig Cloke drilled a quick free-kick low and hard that Eason’s opposite number also held onto well.

Move To Defence - Laurence Harvey
Move To Defence - Laurence Harvey

The second-half started in scrappier fashion, but there was a good early chance for both sides, Ross Webb heading just wide at the back-post from a decent set-piece, for Hythe, James Morrish’ free-kick picked out Thompson, whose shot hit the post via a great save from Byott.

Ten minutes into the second period of play, the Cannons lost skipper Craig Cloke to injury, however Harvey dropped back into defence with a faultless display, Jamie Collado joining the game in midfield.

The hosts continued to dominate and get closer to what was now becoming the crucial opening goal, Conlon’s header cleared off the line after an excellent cross to the back-post from Sullivan.

Collado started a great move, with a raking pass picking out Harvey, who in turn cut inside his man to send in a dangerous cross that led to two ambitious volleys, from Thompson, deflected, and then from Yianni, just over the bar.

With twenty minutes remaining, Josh Burchell was controversially dismissed from the field of play after a sliding tackle, along the ground, which was hurdled acrobatically by the Lordswood player. It was frustrating that it led to Burchell being spoken to, but bewildering that the scenario ended with a red card.

That decision appeared to spur Tim Dixon’s side even more to an eventual win, determined not to allow the decision to derail their FA Cup campaign at the first hurdle, they pushed on to break the deadlock.

Hythe's Second Goal - Sam Conlon
Hythe's Second Goal - Sam Conlon

With twelve minutes remaining, Conlon’s throughball picked out the run of Thompson, who timed his run to slip the Lordswood offside trap just past the half-way line. The striker then looked up to spot Byott off his line and hit an outstanding half-volley from thirty-five yards to finally beat Byott.

The home side now had total control with the constant threat of Conlon, Yianni and substitute Jordan Wells on the counter-attack, as the visitors committed men forward in search of a equaliser.

There were still some nervy moments for the home support, as a couple of decent crosses flew dangerously through the Hythe box. Finally the second goal arrived, Yianni sending Conlon clear down the right, the pacey forward cutting back inside his man to drill a fine low shot across Byott and into the bottom corner.

There was still time for Yianni to almost put the icing on the cake, with an outrageous run from the half-way line to the edge of the penalty box, before the midfielder simply ran out of ideas just as he looked certain to score one of the goals of the season!

This win could prove to be a real milestone for Tim Dixon’s side, who completed a first competitive cleansheet of the campaign. There is still work to do, but the Cannons passed a real test of their credentials from this impressive Lordswood side, who ran themselves into the ground over the 180 minutes.

We have also scored ten goals in the last six games, a massive improvement on the one goal in the six games prior to that!

Scorers - Hythe Town - Craig Thompson - 78 mins - Sam Conlon - 90+1 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Jack Sullivan, Lee Pleau, Michael Yianni, Craig Cloke (c) (Jamie Collado - 55), Laurence Harvey, John Walker (Phil Stevenson - 73), James Morrish, Craig Thompson (Jordan Wells - 81), Sam Conlon, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Dave Pilcher, Jamie White, Simba Nyaruwa

Attendance - 194

Late Burchell Strike Earns Replay

Lordswood - 2 - Hythe Town - 2
FA Cup Preliminary Round - 30/08/14

The Cannons left it late, but they managed to avoid this potential FA Cup banana skin at their old Kent League rivals, Lordswood, via a Josh Burchell equaliser two minutes from time.

This contest wasn’t dissimilar to the pre-season friendly between the two sides that ended in Lordswood victory. However on this occasion the longer the game progressed the more Tim Dixon’s side upped the pressure to eventually earn a replay.

After a decent start from the visitors the home side struck in clinical fashion with their first decent effort on goal. Craig Maguire’s quickly taken free-kick allowing ex-Hythe man, Adam Hooper, to hit a long distance effort that skewed into the path of Peter Huggens, who calmly placed his shot beyond the reach of Dan Eason.

However, this Hythe Town side rarely let the scoreline effect their ability to apply pressure to the opponents’ goal and an equaliser duly arrived. John Walker and Craig Cloke combined down the right, the latter crossing into a crowded area. James Morrish and Josh Burchell combined to tee up a fine low shot on the turn for Craig Thompson’s second goal of the season.

Ten minutes before half-time the away side almost took the lead, Jack Sullivan’s free-kick met by a flicked header from Thompson that deflected to produce the save of the game from Matt Byott, turning the ball around the base of his post.

Hythe would rue that chance not finding the back of the net as on the stroke of half-time the home side took the lead. Maguire’s free-kick from a deep position flicking off the head of the unfortunate Lee Pleau, the ball looping up and over the reach of Eason to continue Hythe’s awful luck in defence this season.

The second-half was very much a case of Tim Dixon’s side camping in the hosts’ half and trying to unlock the stubborn resistance of Jason Lillis’ well organised side. Michael Yianni was at the centre of most of Hythe’s best moves and the returning midfielder struck the post with a thunderous strike on the hour mark, after James Morrish had picked out his team-mate at the back-post.

Just a minute later Eason kept his side in the cup with an outstanding save from Charlie Smith’s header, following a rare counter-attack. At the other end of the pitch, Walker’s strike from the edge of the box deflected just wide after a Morrish lay-off.

With twenty minutes remaining, Thompson’s overhead kick flew just wide, following an uncleared Sam Conlon corner. Five minutes later the Cannons went even closer, Burchell heading home Sullivan’s cross, only to be denied by the offside flag.

With just two minutes on the clock the pressure finally told, Sullivan’s free-kick met by a knockdown from Harvey, on this occasion Burchell slipping the offside trap successfully to fire home at close-range to earn his side a replay.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Craig Thompson - 24 mins - Josh Burchell - 88 mins - Lordswood - Peter Huggens - 11 mins - Own Goal - 45 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Jack Sullivan, Lee Pleau, Michael Yianni, Craig Cloke (c), Laurence Harvey, John Walker (Phil Stevenson - 80), James Morrish, Craig Thompson, Sam Conlon, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Jamie Collado, Dave Pilcher, Jamie White, Simba Nyaruwa, Harry Carr, Ged Amor

Attendance - 107

Old Boys Haunt Cannons

Hastings United - 2 - Hythe Town - 1
Ryman Division One South - 25/08/14

Recalled To Midfield - Jamie Collado
Recalled To Midfield - Jamie Collado

Former Hythe Town players, Taser Hassan, Ronnie Dolan and former skipper, Dave Cook chose this game against their former club to kickstart the U’s inconsistent start to a supposed Ryman South title challenge.

Hassan inspired his new side to a dominant opening period of play, in surprisingly, his first start of the season, providing the cross for a typical headed finish from our former captain, Dave Cook.


After managing to keep the hosts lead to only the one goal, the Cannons clawed their way back into the game either side of half-time.

Jack Sullivan’s second strike in as many games made things level at the interval, before a more confident start to the second period of play almost ended with Tim Dixon’s side taking the lead, Craig Thompson heading Hythe’s best chance of the game just wide.

In a sequence of events reminiscent of so many of our games this season, a clear chance missed was punished by a defensive error, Dolan drawing a foul in the box from former team-mate John Walker, Frankie Sawyer calmly firing home the resulting penalty and winning goal.


Cook and Dolan combined for the home side after only five minutes, Dolan latching onto Cook’s lay-off to curl a shot just wide from twenty yards. Olekan Bankole then watched a fiercely driven strike deflect towards goal, only for Dan Eason to react well to turn the ball around the post.

Back In Defence - Laurence Harvey
Back In Defence - Laurence Harvey

Sean Ray headed a Hassan corner to the back post just wide, whilst at the other end the visitors carved out their first chance of a frantic game, Sam Conlon and Phil Stevenson combining down the right, leading to Stevenson, in his first start of the season, dragging his shot wide.

Hassan’s real purple patch then followed, a dangerous free-kick headed just over by Ade Olrunda, before the same two players combined to tee up Dolan who completely missed his shot inside the Hythe box. The popular winger then had a run and shot turned round the near-post by Eason.

It then felt so inevitable when Hassan’s following corner was typically headed home by Cook from six yards out. The celebrations from the pair were both muted and in turn appreciated by the visiting Hythe support.

Three minutes later the home side failed to consolidate their lead, Cook heading Sawyer clear on goal, only for the usually reliable striker to drag his shot wide with only Eason to beat.

As half-time approached Hythe added an extra body to their midfield in the shape of Sam Conlon, which seemed to reduce the Hastings threat and in turn give Tim Dixon’s side more possession. This approach came good on the stroke of half-time, as Hythe got more bodies forward and Morrish’s cross deflected into the path of Sullivan to drill home the equaliser.

Stand In Captain - James Morrish
Stand In Captain - James Morrish

The second-half began in far more low key fashion and the away side should have taken the lead just before the hour mark, Josh Burchell’s raking cross picking out a Morrish header at the back-post, the Hastings defence were outnumbered but the unmarked Thompson could only glance his header just wide.

Two minutes later it was that Dolan surge that brought about the spot-kick that Sawyer fired into the top corner of Eason’s goal, the Cannons had received another harsh lesson in not taking their chances.

The remainder of the contest included the introduction of attacking trio, Dave Pilcher, Simba Nyaruwa and Jordan Wells from the Hythe bench. However, although there was some decent approach play from the visitors, Terry White’s side did a good job of keeping their opponents at arms length, largely through the counter-attack threat of Dolan.

The Cannons now move onto a huge FA Cup game at Lordswood on Saturday, Tim Dixon will welcome back his captain, Craig Cloke, unavailable for this fixture and will also have the option of including Phil Stevenson whose fitness is improving all the time.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Jack Sullivan - 45 mins - Hastings United - Dave Cook - 27 mins - Frankie Sawyer (pen) - 60 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker, Jack Sullivan, Jamie Collado, Lee Pleau, Laurence Harvey, Phil Stevenson, James Morrish (c), Craig Thompson (Jordan Wells - 80), Sam Conlon (Simba Nyaruwa - 80), Josh Burchell (Dave Pilcher - 68) - Unused Sub - Jamie White

Attendance - 238

Cannons Claim Late Point

Hythe Town - 1 - Corinthian-Casuals - 1
Ryman Division One South - 23/08/14

The Cannons secured a point at home to Corinthian-Casuals via a late Jack Sullivan strike. With the Ryman South league table looking tighter than ever this season, a win would have lifted the home side right up to mid-table.

Juevan Spencer had given the visitors the lead midway through the first-half. Tim Dixon introduced Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson and Jordan Wells throughout a tight second-half and eventually the pressure told with a calm finish from Sullivan.

The visitors had the opening chance of the game, Joe Hicks’ free-kick flashing across Hythe’s six-yard box and just missing a touch from either side that would have put the ball into the net. For Hythe, skipper Craig Cloke’s long-throw fell to Laurence Harvey who could only head into Danny Bracken’s arms.

Dave Pilcher’s set-piece deliveries were again a threat, a free-kick headed onto the roof of the net by Craig Thompson and a corner headed just over by Harvey, who looked likely to open the scoring.

It was all Hythe, James Morrish releasing Thompson, who in turn picked out Josh Burchell on the opposite side of the pitch, the winger then delivered a dangerous ball that flew through the Casuals’ box, only to be just missed by the outstretched toe of Thompson.

Midway through the half the hosts were rocked by a real sucker punch of a goal, after they should have taken a one or two goal lead themselves, Juevan Spencer volleying into the ground at the back-post, the ball spinning up and over Dan Eason into the net. To make matters worse there had been an absolutely clear foul on Josh Burchell missed in the build-up,

The unlikely John Walker almost caught Bracken off his line from all of fifty yards, before some nice skill from Thompson led to a cross that Harvey glanced just wide, not for the first time this season the Cannons were continuing to create chances regardless of the scoreline.

Bracken continued to lead a charmed life as a minute before half-time he dropped a Burchell corner, but managed to recover to make a fine smothering save at the feet of Harvey.

The away side made a better start to the second period of play and had their best chance of the game when Dave Hodges got clear on goal only to be met by the defiant Eason, with the save of the game in the Hythe goal, Sullivan also making a crucial block on the line from the rebound.

Again, Hythe began to turn the screw, Pilcher sending Burchell clear on goal, only for an early attempted lob to float wide. Next it was Sam Conlon getting in behind the Casuals defence, rounding Bracken and rolling the ball home, only for a goal-line clearance to foil the youngster.

Pilcher’s corner led to Cloke having a shot cleared off the line, Tim Dixon had seen enough and began to make changes in an effort to save the game, Jamie Collado, Phil Stevenson and Jordan Wells all joining the fray in the closing stages.

In the final ten minutes the hosts had a Conlon half-volley saved, a Laurence Harvey penalty shout turned down, before finally making the breakthrough. It was a pat on the back to the management team, as Sullivan, now playing in a more advanced position on the flank, finally forced home the equaliser.

Substitute, Phil Stevenson, was also involved with a header back across goal, which originally had set-up the luckless Harvey for another close-range duel with Bracken, that the impressive Casuals keeper had again won.

It hadn’t been a vintage performance from Tim Dixon’s side, but it has to be said they still created an array of chances on goal and eventually made the breakthrough due to making changes to personnel and shape, it was about time the Cannons received something for their efforts!

After the game, Hythe Town FC Chairman, John Dowsett and Manager, Tim Dixon, stayed true to their word and stepped up for the Ice Bucket challenge (see below) for the worthy cause of the MNDA.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Jack Sullivan - 85 mins - Corinthian-Casuals - Juevan Spencer - 23 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Jack Sullivan, Lee Pleau, Dave Pilcher (Jamie Collado - 65), Craig Cloke (c), Laurence Harvey, John Walker (Phil Stevenson - 73), James Morrish, Craig Thompson (Jordan Wells - 83), Sam Conlon, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Simba Nyaruwa, Roddy Hayward

Attendance - 152

Honesty Is The Best Policy!

Hythe Town - 1 - Sittingbourne - 2
Ryman Division One South - 19/08/14

Headed Equaliser - Craig Thompson
Headed Equaliser - Craig Thompson

The supporters in attendance were impressed, as were the local press, the Sittingbourne management team even said after the game that they couldn't quite believe how they came away with three points.

The Cannons dominated possession, scored via Craig Thompson, hit the crossbar twice, had a chance cleared off the line. However, ask the management or the players what they think and they remain consistent with their answers...the table doesn't lie. Don't worry lads, we're getting closer!

Right from kick-off it was clear that Tim Dixon’s side were in a confident mood and they had the ball in the back of the net after eleven minutes, only for Thompson to be ruled offside in the process of latching onto James Morrish’s excellent throughball.

As the game wore on, the home side became more comfortable in dealing with the pace of left-winger Gary Webb, but early doors he was the Brickies’ main threat. This was proven with a mazy run to the near-post before a deflected cross looped up to the back-post where the grateful Joe Nwoko headed home a simple goal.

It was pretty much the first real Sittingbourne chance that gave them the lead, but the hosts were in no mood to let it effect their own play. Josh Burchell collected up his own uncleared corner, to curl in a delightful cross that was met by a pinpoint header from Sam Conlon, it deserved a goal, but it received the save of the game from Adam Molloy.

Returned To Defence - Lee Pleau
Returned To Defence - Lee Pleau

Just two minutes later, Conlon again went close, Thompson with a delightful turn and cross to pick out his unmarked strike-partner at the back-post, the header back across goal left Molloy rooted to the spot but drifted just past the post.

Burchell dragged his half-volley just wide after slipping the Sittingbourne offside trap, but it was all Hythe and a deserved equaliser arrived eight minutes before the interval. Burchell’s fine crossfield pass picked out Dave Pilcher on the right-flank, an excellent cross to the back-post was perfect for Thompson to head home his first goal of the season.

The Cannons were still looking to take the lead as half-time approached with some of their best football of the season. Thompson and Conlon exchanged quick passes down the right, the overlapping John Walker caused problems with a whipped cross that Molloy could only punch, before Thompson crashed a volley off the underside of the crossbar.

The half closed with Conlon slipping in behind the visitors’ defence, but dragging his shot wide as yet another through-ball exposed a weak offside trap. Thankfully, Reachfields’ floodlight problems that followed were fixed, to allow this fine contest to continue after half-time.

Tim Dixon’s side continued where they left off after the interval, Laurence Harvey heading just wide from another Pilcher cross to the back-post. The away side were visibly defending deeper as the half progressed which began to limit their patient opponents to less clear-cut chances.

Set Up Hythe Goal - Dave Pilcher
Set Up Hythe Goal - Dave Pilcher

In the closing stages the counter-attack inevitably became a threat for Sittingbourne, Pilcher and Pleau both forced into desperate blocks within their own penalty box at the end of two quick breakaway attacks.

With twenty minutes remaining Hythe went even closer to a winner, Conlon heading Jack Sullivan’s brilliant cross against the bar, Thompson’s overhead strike on the rebound landing in the grateful hands of the recovering Molloy.

Just three minutes later, visiting skipper Nick Dunsdon confidently slotted home a spot-kick, that although correctly awarded, was for the second game running the type of penalty that you rarely actually see given.

Despite going behind for a second time in the game, the hosts will still be scratching their heads as to how they didn’t both equalise and win the game in the final ten minutes. Cross after cross flew dangerously across the Sittingbourne goal from the boot of either Sullivan or Pilcher, whilst headers or shots from Conlon, Thompson and Walker all went just over or just wide.

Injury-time arrived with almost every Hythe player in an attacking position, but the Brickies survived  one last almighty goalmouth scramble before almost snatching a third themselves, David Abe putting the easiest chance of the night wide as the Cannons threw everything forward.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Craig Thompson - 37 mins - Sittingbourne - Joe Nwoko - 17 mins - Nick Dunsdon (pen) - 73 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Jack Sullivan, Lee Pleau, Dave Pilcher, Craig Cloke (c), Laurence Harvey, John Walker, James Morrish, Craig Thompson, Sam Conlon, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Jamie White, Phil Stevenson, Jordan Wells, Simba Nyaruwa, Roddy Hayward

Attendance - 185

Three Goals, Three Points!

East Grinstead Town - 2 - Hythe Town - 3
Ryman Division One South - 16/08/14

Two Headed Goals - Josh Burchell
Two Headed Goals - Josh Burchell

On Saturday, at East Grinstead Town, ‘The Cannons’ began to truly show their potential. Three goals scored, two goals conceded (only due to unforced errors! Fingers crossed for Tuesday!) For the second game running, a second-half of excellent pressing and passing.

On three occasions Tim Dixon's side took the lead, but on this occasion they were in no mood to give up the three points. Josh Burchell headed two crucial goals, James Morrish, Laurence Harvey and Sam Conlon all impressed, the latter with the opening goal.

It was a lively start to proceedings as Craig Cloke’s cross picked out Craig Thompson, who glanced his header wide, whilst for the home side, skipper John Sinclair blasted a warning shot over Dan Eason’s crossbar.

Layton Schaaf turned on a throw-in to lash a volley towards the top-left corner that Eason did well to claw away to safety. The away side responded with Burchell helping the ball into Thompson’s path, the Hythe striker firing over the bar from the edge of the box.

The hosts forced a succession of corners midway through the half that Tim Dixon’s side did well to deal with. However the starting point for a lot of East Grinstead’s moves was home captain, John Sinclair, who was getting far too much time to dictate play from the centre of midfield, something rectified with an excellent second-half display from James Morrish.

Hythe's Opening Goal - Sam Conlon
Hythe's Opening Goal - Sam Conlon

After an end to end start to the game, both sides decided to show each other a little more respect, with both leaving only one up when the opposition were in possession of the ball. Some more patient play developed and it was eventually the Cannons who made the breakthrough.

Hythe’s gradual build-up play allowed Cloke to join the attack, Burchell’s cross to the back-post picked out his captain to head back across goal, Thompson won the next flick to leave Conlon unmarked to smash home an unstoppable volley from just outside the six-yard box.

Only five minutes had passed before ‘The Wasps’ were back in the contest, a slightly mistimed tackle from Burchell, the sort that never seems to lead to a penalty, did exactly that, Steve Sargent firing home an impressive spot-kick into the bottom corner of Eason’s goal to equalise.

Credit to Tim Dixon and his management team, It was the visitors who were the quicker out of the traps for the second period of play, retaking the lead just five minutes after the restart.

It was a brilliant team goal, Dave Pilcher’s brave header finding Conlon out wide, who in turn laid off for Jack Sullivan to cross to the back-post, Burchell heading home his first league goal of the season.

Excellent 2nd Half - James Morrish
Excellent 2nd Half - James Morrish

Lee Pleau replaced the injured Lewis Mingle, the youngster slotting straight into the centre of Hythe’s defence with a faultless display. John Walker moved to left-back, but it was Harvey who impressed the most with an excellent cameo in midfield that would eventually lead to Hythe’s winner.

By the midway point in the second-half, the hosts had regrouped to enjoy a real purple patch, Schaaf firing a couple of good chances just over either side of a second equaliser. Both of those chances failed to test Eason, who was also faultless when Walker’s poor back-header allowed Schaaf in on goal to lob the helpless Hythe keeper.

However, the visitors rallied and upped their game to end the contest back on top, with some of their best pressing and possession coming in the latter stages. With a minute remaining Harvey broke forward with an impressive run into the box to win a crucial final corner. 

Pilcher picked out Pleau at the back-post, whose header back across goal in turn found Burchell to win the game with his second headed goal of the afternoon. After the game the message from the management and players was clear, still plenty to work on, but the travelling Hythe support were keen to point out there is increasingly more to be proud of from their young side.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Conlon - 34 mins - Burchell - 50, 89 mins - East Grinstead Town - Sargent  - 39 mins (pen) - L Schaaf 67 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Jack Sullivan, Lewis Mingle (Lee Pleau 50), Dave Pilcher, Craig Cloke (c), Laurence Harvey, John Walker, James Morrish, Craig Thompson (Jordan Wells 90), Sam Conlon, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Harry Carr, Jamie White, Jamie Collado

Attendance - 118

Further Frustration


Herne Bay - 1 - Hythe Town - 0

Ryman South Division One - 12/08/14


There was more frustration for Tim Dixon’s improving side at Winch’s Field on Tuesday night. The Cannons’ supporters have almost certainly witnessed their side’s worst two defensive errors of the whole season already and we are only two games into the new campaign.


Without those two errors it would be two points on the board for the Reachfields outfit and if they had taken their chances against their old Kent League rivals, Herne Bay, it would be four points secured.


Hythe had started fairly well before yet another complete gift of a goal gave the hosts an unexpected lead, a poor back-pass not reaching Dan Eason and tucked away by a grateful Connor Sanders.


For a minute or two after that goal Hythe were a little in shock and they were thankful for the crossbar for denying a typically dangerous Stuart King header.


Josh Burchell’s corners were a threat throughout the first period of play and the very first one was scrambled off the line by the home defence before John Walker fired wide from the edge of the box.


Shortly after, another Burchell corner to the back-post was tipped away by Jack Delo, Craig Cloke putting the ball dangerously back across the six-yard box, only for Sam Conlon’s close-range effort to be smothered by the recovering Delo.


Conlon went close again, chasing down and blocking a Delo clearance that spun off into the path of Craig Thompson, who couldn’t quite get his shot away towards an unguarded goal.


The half ended with three successive corners for the Cannons, the final centre scrambled clear after Thompson again went close to breaking the deadlock.


Going into half-time it felt like the game was there for the taking for Tim Dixon’s side, that was proven moving into the second-half as the home side struggled to get out of their half for long periods.


It goes without saying that Hythe know they need to work on the fact that Delo wasn’t forced into any outstanding saves during that second period. However, they passed the ball with a confidence not seen by the Reachfields outfit for some time.


Thompson’s header went just over following some patient possession and a cross from Morrish. Delo was in a good position to save Morrish’s own goalbound header, following some more fine build-up play involving Walker, Jack Sullivan, and with the final cross, Conlon.


Moving into the closing stages the hosts became a threat on the counter-attack as Hythe moved players further forward in a bid to open up the stubborn home defence. Bay substitute Steven Ita was the main threat, blasting his best chance wide when clear on goal ten minutes from time.


The theme of the game continued right up until the final whistle as Hythe again swept forward dangerously only to fail to test Delo, Thompson's final shot of the evening flying wide.


Scorer - Herne Bay - Connor Sanders - 11 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Jack Sullivan, Lewis Mingle (Jordan Wells - 82), Dave Pilcher (Phil Stevenson - 65), Craig Cloke, Laurence Harvey, John Walker, James Morrish, Craig Thompson, Sam Conlon, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Jamie Collado, Lee Pleau, Roddy Hayward


Attendance - 168

Opening Day


Hythe Town - 0 - Burgess Hill Town - 1

Ryman South Division One - 09/08/14


It was a tough start to the new campaign for Tim Dixon’s rebuilt side, both on paper and on the day, as play-off hopefuls, Burgess Hill Town, were the first opponents of the season to visit Reachfields.


The visitors made a confident start to the new campaign, enjoying the majority of the possession in the opening ten minutes, however it was The Cannons who carved out the first real chance on goal as a slick passing move down the right ended with Craig Thompson’s volley being turned away by Josh James.


Jack Sullivan headed just wide of his own goal, after Joe Keehan nicked the ball past Dan Eason and crossed back dangerously across the Hythe six-yard box. The hosts had a similar chance midway through the opening period, when Josh Burchell’s corner was headed back across goal and just wide by new skipper, Craig Cloke.


Suddenly, the home side gifted Burgess Hill the one and only goal of the game, a poor pass from Laurence Harvey leading to Eason’s attempted clearance being blocked and rolled into the net by Greg Luer.


The opening period of play came to a close with Eason holding well following Luer’s half-volley. Tim Dixon wasted no time in making changes, introducing the steel of Jamie Collado to his midfield at half-time, a decision justified with an impressive forty-five minute display from the young midfielder.


The hour mark arrived with a fine diving save from Eason as Hythe struggled to clear their lines and Rob O’ Toole lifted a nice half-volley towards goal. At the other end of the pitch, Thompson fired a volley just wide.


The away side had the chance to seal all three points when Pat Harding combined with his captain, Darren Budd, to run clear on goal only to drag a one on one opportunity wide of the far post. The Cannons switched to three up front in the closing stages and finished the stronger of the two sides but just couldn’t quite make the breakthrough to claim a point.


Collado kept James honest in the Burgess Hill goal with a decent effort from twenty-five yards, before in the closing stages Hythe’s best chance arrived, Thompson combining with Sam Conlon to send the latter clear on goal, only for a brave save from James to secure the points.


Scorer - Burgess Hill Town - Greg Luer - 29 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Jack Sullivan, Lewis Mingle, John Walker (Phil Stevenson - 65), Craig Cloke, Laurence Harvey, Dave Pilcher (Jamie Collado - 45), James Morrish, Craig Thompson, Sam Conlon, Josh Burchell (Jordan Wells - 75) - Unused Subs - Lee Pleau, Roddy Hayward


Attendance - 235

Beginning To Click


Chatham Town - 1 - Hythe Town - 1

Pre-Season Friendly - 02/08/14


Very much a work in progress, but a massive step in the right direction, as Tim Dixon’s young, transitional Hythe Town side faced opposition from the same level of the football pyramid for the first time this season.


The result? Their best performance and result of their campaign so far, avoiding defeat and breaking their duck in front of goal for the first time in four games, away from home, against a dangerous Chatham Town side. Things are becoming increasingly pleasing for regular followers of the Reachfields outfit as their side look more like a ‘team’ week on week.


This Saturday at Reachfields is the big Ryman South kick-off, as Burgess Hill Town are the visitors. Will this side take another step forward and start the season with three points? Who knows, but you get the feeling that there will be more improvement, regardless of the result, which eventually can only result in success.


This game, ‘The Cannons’ sixth and final pre-season fixture, was full of positives. Hythe’s understudy centre-back pairing of John Walker and Lee Pleau made a good case for their unlikely partnership to continue, when the experienced duo of Craig Cloke and Laurence Harvey both return to the squad this Saturday.


Full-back Jack Sullivan (on loan from Maidstone United), enjoyed a fine debut, including an assist for Hythe’s equaliser, whilst James Morrish is beginning to show he can be the player to make this side tick, with an impressive showing as skipper for the day.


But the plaudits must go to the returning Sam Conlon, a player who originally lost his place in the squad at Reachfields due to inexperience, when The Cannons first entered the Ryman League. As we approach our fourth season at this level, the likeable forward looks ready to be the first name on the team-sheet.


An excellent first hour on the flank showed that he certainly has the pace and football brain for this level of football, before showing his versatility and eye for goal, moving up front to smash home Hythe’s equaliser.


The away side played some decent football in the opening stages, with Craig Thompson benefiting from his midfield finding him in more dangerous positions than recent weeks, the highlight a header from a Lewis Mingle cross that Lee Kidman saved well.


At the other end, what appeared a far more settled Chatham side, troubled Hythe with some lightning-quick counter-attacks. New home skipper, Lee Hales pulling the strings behind the impressive forward line of Kane Phillip, Ade Yusuff, and Luke Medley.


Conlon had a decent header just over and Josh Burchell almost got in on goal, the winger joining the forwards on a far more regular basis than in previous outings, possibly a product directly off the training ground.


The hosts finished the opening period of play strongly and probably just about deserved their lead at half-time. Yusuff had already fired two warning shots, forcing Dan Eason into two impressive low saves after decent lay-offs from Hales and Phillip.


On the stroke of half-time the impressive Yusuff managed to turn just inside the corner of Hythe’s penalty box, creating enough space to get away an excellent angled shot into the opposite bottom corner of Eason’s goal.


The second-half started with Eason making a fine low save from Medley, with that chance survived the Hythe defence stepped up their game even more to protect their keeper, the half progressing with a series of fine defensive blocks from the likes of Pleau, Walker and Morrish to frustrate the hosts.


The game appeared to really turn Hythe’s way with the return of Conlon to the forward-line, Thompson immediately feeding off his new strike-partner to fire just over from the edge of the box. Conlon then went close himself, shooting just wide after latching onto Burchell’s through-ball.


With ten minutes remaining the ‘Cannons’ got their deserved equaliser, Sullivan’s mazy run and through-ball releasing Conlon to fire confidently across goal into the far corner from just inside the box.


Late substitute, Ryan Philpott almost won the game for the visitors, his volley cleared to safety inside the six-yard box, after Pleau had headed Burchell’s corner back across goal, as an entertaining, end to end game drew to a close.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Sam Conlon - 80 mins - Chatham Town - Ade Yusuff - 44 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason (Roddy Hayward - 82), Jack Sullivan, Lewis Mingle, Dave Pilcher (Jamie Collado - 57), John Walker (Liam Clark - 75), Lee Pleau, Sam Conlon (Jamie White - 81), James Morrish (Harry Carr - 82), Craig Thompson (Ryan Philpott - 81), Jordan Wells (Simba Nyaruwa - 57), Josh Burchell


Attendance - 112

Quality Display From Stones


Hythe Town - 0 - Maidstone United - 3

Pre-Season Friendly - 29/07/14


Classy finishing from the Stones and some nervous defending from the Cannons, led to a scoreline that was about right in this, Hythe’s toughest friendly of pre-season, against a side gunning for promotion to the Conference South.


However, those who have taken in all of Hythe’s difficult pre-season campaign will have been encouraged by the home side’s second-half display, probably their best forty-five minutes of the last month or so.


The home side would have been disappointed to find themselves 2-0 down after the first third of this contest. Although Frannie Collins unstoppable long distance strike gave Dan Eason no chance and will easily sit in either side’s top three goals of the coming season.


The Hythe management team will be frustrated that the second goal to be conceded was of Hythe’s making, laid-back passing pounced upon and slotted home by young attacking prospect, Jack Harris.


In between those goals Hythe could have equalised, a fine centre from Sam Conlon headed over by Josh Burchell, who couldn’t quite adjust his body shape to head home.


Collin and Harris forced Eason into three typically outstanding sides, before the hosts settled down for a much improved second-half.


Dave Pilcher volleyed just wide as Hythe began to find their passing game going forward, before young substitute, Jamie White, gave his chances of a place in the starting line-up no harm at all, with a decent run down the right and cross for Thompson to fire just over, the highlight of a bright cameo.


Those chances together with some improved approach play led to Reachfields believing a goal was both imminent and deserved. Unfortunately, it was down to the set-piece quality of Maidstone substitute Michael Phillips to wrong foot Roddy Hayward for the only goal of the second-half.


Scorers - Maidstone United - Frannie Collin - 16 mins - Jack Harris 27 mins - Michael Phillips 87 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason (Roddy Hayward 81), John Walker, Lewis Mingle, Jamie Collado (Dave Pilcher 45), Craig Cloke, Lee Pleau, Ryan Philpott (Jamie White 61), James Morrish (Harry Carr 85), Jordan Wells (Craig Thompson 45), Sam Conlon, Josh Burchell - Unused Subs - Liam Clark, Rhys Mortimer


Attendance - 243

Keep Calm & Carry On


Hollands & Blair 2 - Hythe Town - 0

Pre-Season Friendly - 26/07/14


Tim Dixon's young side lost 2-0 to deserved winners and SCEFL side in waiting, Hollands & Blair. The new manager's side are clearly a work in progress and must be given time and patience to develop into the competitive Ryman South outfit they clearly have the potential to be.


In a fairly entertaining start to proceedings, Roddy Hayward made a fine save after his first two minutes in a Hythe shirt, whilst at the other end of the pitch Jordan Wells rolled a shot across goal and just wide after Craig Thompson had lobbed his strike-partner clear on goal.


Dave Pilcher curled a twenty-yard free-kick just wide, whilst for the home side the impressive Rob Denness thumped a long distance effort against the crossbar.


James Smith did well to smother at the feet of Thompson, after a neat one-two with Wells, it was Thompson who then went close again for the visitors, a decent header saved following Pilcher’s free-kick.


The hosts’ impressive strike partnership made the breakthrough seven minutes into the second-half, Denness lifting the ball into the net after running onto the dangerous James Mcdonald’s lay-off.


With just over fifteen minutes remaining, substitute Anthony Carlton scored with his first touch, slotting home a misplaced back-header by Craig Cloke.


Hythe had half-chances for both Cloke and Pilcher to score a consolation, but it was a day to forget in front of goal for the Cannons, despite the slow yet steady improvements being made to their play when in possession.


Scorers - Hollands & Blair - Rob Denness - 52 mins - Anthony Carlton - 74 mins


Hythe Town - Roddy Hayward (Jed Amor 83), John Walker (Liam Clark 75), Lewis Mingle, Jamie Collado (Sam Conlon 51), Craig Cloke, Lea Pleau, Dave Pilcher, Harry Carr (Rhys Mortimer 70), Craig Thompson, Jordan Wells, Josh Burchell


Attendance - 88


Learning Curve


Lordswood 2 - Hythe Town - 0

Pre-Season Friendly - 22/07/14


Tim Dixon probably learned more about his young side with this defeat to a side a division lower in the football pyramid, than he would have done if his opponents had rolled over and the result had been reversed.


That will be little consolation after the new Hythe Manager watched his side slip to their first defeat of the new campaign, but in the long run important lessons will have been learned and clearly this season will be a marathon not a sprint.


Jason Lillis’ new Lordswood side look to be a decent blend of players from his previous reign at the SCEFL side, along with a few that were involved during his stint at Whitstable Town, working under Nicky Southall last season.


From the moment Peter Huggens hit the crossbar from twenty-five yards, it was apparent the home side were taking things seriously. Lee Pleau’s header from a Dave Pilcher corner was headed off the line, but this was Hythe’s first decent chance, arriving after all of thirty minutes.


A needless altercation between James Morrish and Gary Cook led to both sides being reduced to ten men which at least left an even contest. The half closed with an excellent diving save from Dan Eason, but the damage had already been done five minutes earlier when Imran Englefield gave the home side the lead.


Hythe had plenty more of the ball during an improved second-half as Josh Burchell and Dave Pilcher both had chances to pull the visitors back into the game, before the usual spate of substitutions broke the game up for a period.


The game ended with Dixon’s side gambling men forward to try and break down the stubborn and well organised Lordswood defence, but the counter-attack threat clearly began to increase.


Laurence Harvey had already made an excellent saving tackle, when substitute Tom Woldridge fired home his side’s deserved second into the roof of Eason’s net, at the end of a quick breakaway, to give Hythe plenty to work on ahead of Saturday’s trip to Hollands & Blair.


Scorers - Lordswood - Imran Englefield - 40 mins - Tom Woldridge - 83 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker, Lewis Mingle (Lee Winfield - 68), Lee Pleau (Harry Carr - 68), Craig Cloke, Laurence Harvey, Dave Pilcher, James Morrish, Jordan Wells (Craig Thompson - 64), Sam Conlon (Ryan Philpott - 64), Josh Burchell (Jamie White - 68)


Attendance - 50

Glimpse Of The Future

Hythe Town - 4 - Canterbury City - 1
Pre-Season Friendly - 19/07/14

There was a buzz around Reachfields on Saturday, as Tim Dixon’s young and experimental side gave the new Hythe Town manager plenty to think about and ponder. With Dan Eason, Craig Cloke and Craig Thompson unavailable for selection, the Hythe support were given a glimpse of the future, and it was a very pleasant glimpse indeed.

The highlight of the afternoon was the performances of Jamie White and Harry Carr, both products of the ‘Hythe Stars & Stripes’ youth set-up that Tim and his team have embraced since arriving at Reachfields. Both still have plenty to learn about the senior game, but both showed their potential with involvement in Hythe’s first-half goals.

There was also the new strike partnership of Ryan Philpott and Jordan Wells to consider, with three clinical strikes between them. Josh Burchell marked his first action of the season with a well taken goal, as a mixture of senior, youth and triallists comfortably saw off this Canterbury City side.

Carr caught the eye after twenty minutes, heading just over after impressively breaking from midfield to join the attack, as the lively James Morrish floated a nice ball into the box. Four minutes later it was Carr who turned provider with a lovely through-ball sending Burchell clear to roll home a calm finish.

Some good work from White and Burchell led to Philpott bursting into the box, before pleasingly heading inside his marker, directly towards goal, to scramble home a finish past a probable foul from the City keeper.

With just over half an hour on the clock, the hosts grabbed a third, Wells tucking away the perfect penalty into the bottom corner, after Laurence Harvey had been fouled in the box. Debutant Lee Challis would have been happy that he then produced a decent save at the first time of asking, five minutes before half-time.

In the uncomfortable heat and with many substitutions from both sides the second-half was very much a low-key affair, but there was still a goal for both sets of supporters to enjoy. Sam Conlon’s mazy run into the box ended with a fine cross and an instinctive close-range finish from Wells.

Shortly after Hythe’s fourth the visitors grabbed a consolation with a well-worked close-range set-piece, but that was the only error from a Hythe defence marshalled by the again excellent Lee Pleau and Laurence Harvey.

Scorers - Hythe Town - Burchell - 24 mins - Philpott - 26 mins - Wells - 34 mins (pen), 63 mins

Hythe Town - Lee Challis (Jed Amor - 85), John Walker (Elliott Hayden - 85), Lewis Mingle, Harry Carr (Dave Pilcher - 45), Lee Pleau, Laurence Harvey (Liam Clark - 50), Jamie White (Lee Winfield - 45), James Morrish (Jamie Collado - 45), Jordan Wells (Rhys Mortimer - 75), Ryan Philpott (Sam Conlon - 45), Josh Burchell (Peter Carey - 69)

Attendance - 144

We’re Off!


Hythe Town - 1 - Ashford United - 1

Pre-Season Friendly - 12/07/14

Hythe Town FC Manager Tim Dixon and Dan Eason, who has signed a one year contract with 'The Cannons'
Hythe Town FC Manager Tim Dixon and Dan Eason, who has signed a one year contract with 'The Cannons'

This first pre-season game at Reachfields was a lively and well-attended affair. The now officially nicknamed "Cannons" started with a strong line-up at the back, where John Walker and Craig Cloke were joined by the returning Laurence Harvey and new signing Lewis Mingle.

The midfield also had a familiar ring to it with new signing David Pilcher joining regulars Lee Winfield, Jamie Collado and James Morrish. Up front was another former Hythe player in Sam Conlon joined by triallist Ryan Philpott. Missing were Josh Burchell (work) and Craig Thompson (after a minor operation), although the latter surprised everyone with a late cameo appearance.

Early play was frenzied at times with Ashford working hard to deny Hythe space, but despite this Winfield's dangerous cross was only an inch or two away from Conlon's head, whilst "Winnie" himself hit the crossbar with a volley following Pilcher's cross. Later, Collado had a twenty-five yard shot tipped around the post by impressive United keeper Joe Mant, before Tom Scorer shot just over at the other end ten minutes before half-time.

The Cannons were not to be denied though and after Pilcher finished a four man move by shooting just wide, the ex-Dover youngster had a cross rebound back out for Conlon to poke home from close-range. The second period saw Ashford creating more for themselves and Andy Irvine and Tom Scorer had further chances, although Cloke's fierce shot from twenty yards following a Hythe corner had the home fans recalling some similar efforts from last season.

However the 230 crowd were soon being reminded that this really was only a practice match as the first of a large number of substitutions began to break up the pattern of play. The most notable for home fans was when Lee Pleau replaced Harvey alongside Cloke at the back. Harvey had caught the eye with a powerful defensive display and along with Lewis Mingle had also made some lung-bursting runs forward, but the towering Pleau calmly took over to remind everyone of what he too is capable of.

Stars & Stripes youngsters, Jamie White and Harry Carr, also seem ready for squad inclusion which is a great complement to both as they will have had no Reserves team to work their way through, but in reality none of the triallists on view seemed out of place in the latter stages.

Ashford's work-rate finally paid off in the final quarter of the game when a speculative high lob from former Hythe star Kieron Byrne seemed to surprise Dan Eason and the ball came down and somehow trickled over the line. In truth both of the game's goals were rather soft and perhaps easier to take at this early stage rather than in a league fixture later on.

New manager Tim Dixon and his assistants will surely look back on this as a decent start to their reign. With a Ryman-sized crowd and live music playing in the clubhouse, the afternoon finished with star keeper Dan Eason putting his signature on a new contract in the Boardroom. We're off!

Match Report courtesy of Martin Giles

Scorers - Hythe Town - Sam Conlon - 44 mins - Ashford United - Kieran Byrne - 74 mins

Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker, Laurence Harvey (Lee Pleau 60), Craig Cloke, Lewis Mingle, Lee Winfield (Jamie White 73), Jamie Collado (Reece Mortimer 76), James Morrish, David Pilcher (Harry Carr 79), Ryan Philpott (Craig Thompson 79), Sam Conlon (Liam Clark 85) - Unused Sub - Ged Amor

Attendance - 230

Can This Season Just Continue?


Hythe Town - 6 - Walton Casuals - 0

Ryman League Division One South - 26/04/14


Another game, another win for the 'Cannons', their sixth in seven games in a long season that they now wish would never end!


With the highest amount of outfield appearances (51), Shaun Welford would probably like a couple of months off, but even he would be tempted to continue if he could, such is his goalscoring form.


Thirty-eight goals in a season a personal best, with two hat-tricks in two games the highlight of two excellent 6-0 wins in a row to end the campaign on a high note.


Saturday's result means we have maintained our record of not finishing below 8th in our three Ryman South seasons.


The impressive thing about this, Hythe’s final game, and win of the season was that in the first third of the contest, before the visitors were reduced to ten men, the home side did exactly what was required.


Scott Porter’s side soaked up the impressive, quick passing moves of one of the most forward thinking sides in the division, and made sure that a clean sheet was the priority. This soon became a counter-attacking brand of football that gave them a well deserved two goal lead.


Post red card, their opponents remained a threat due to the brave decision from their management to have their defence reduced by one, as opposed to the usual approach of removing a forward due to an early red card.


It was at this point that Hythe came into their own, upping their attacking instincts to blow their opponents away with a decent mixture of direct and patient moves that regularly had the Walton Casuals net bulging.


So in a nutshell, job done versus eleven and job done versus ten! Hythe pretty much scored from their first counter-attack, after their opponents had failed to trouble Dan Eason after long periods of possession in the opening six minutes.


The excellent Dan Stubbs broke from his own half to carry the ball all the way to the attacking third, evading a couple of challenges before playing Welford clear on goal with a delightful throughball with the outside of the boot, Welford didn’t hesitate, smashing home across goal, past Tom Welham into the top corner.


Almost in reaction to Hythe’s clinical approach, Walton Casuals tested Eason within a minute of the kick-off, Scott Day’s volley tipped over the bar with a brilliant fingertip save.


The away side had come alive, and Eason produced the save of the game, almost unsighted, as Jamil Okah fired through a crowded penalty box.


The game was living up to its build-up, with both sides so well matched, only separated by goal-difference in the league table. It was Hythe’s turn to go close, Welford striking the ball against the upright after running clear onto Eason’s goal-kick.


Stubbs was again the provider, as Louis Sprosen bent his run to go one on one with Welham, only to blast a rising shot just over from close-range, when possibly Welford was in a better position to finish.


A typically dangerous run into the box from Stubbs led to three successive fouls on the midfielder, all within the box, but all explained away by the referee as ‘out of his vision’.


Just one minute later, the decision had become largely irrelevant as Louis Sprosen was fouled, Hythe were awarded a spot-kick and Martin Dynan received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.


Welford smashing home the resulting penalty was the last action of note in what had been a non-stop first-half that actually ended in fairly low-key fashion.


Stubbs’ cross to the back-post found Welford, who could only find the side-netting, as Hythe began to crank up the pressure during the second period of play.


Midway through the half that pressure began to tell as their opponents started to crumble, Hythe so hungry for goals, even with the result and their final league position secured.


Keeper Welham was caught in possession by the again hard-working Morrish, who simply squared for Sprosen to slot home Hythe’s third.


Two minutes later, Welford completed his second hat-trick in as many games, firing home the rebound after Jamie Collado’s long-range effort proved too hot to handle.


Moving into the final fifteen minutes and Welham’s misery continued, the relentless Sprosen chasing down another lost cause, rushing an embarrassing ‘airshot’, it got worse, the Walton Casuals’ keeper trying to trip and prevent Sprosen a simple tap-in, only for the ball to roll into the net anyway!


Two minutes later, the thrashing was complete, Sprosen turning provider to release the again hard-working Morrish to slot home Hythe’s sixth goal of the afternoon, and final goal of the season.


In the closing moments youngster Jamie White produced a decent cameo to remain in Scott Porter’s thoughts over the summer.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Shaun Welford - 7, 31 (pen), 67 mins - Louis Sprosen - 65, 76 mins - James Morrish - 78 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Sam Bewick, Tommy Osborne, Lee Pleau, Craig Cloke, Jamie Collado, Dan Stubbs (Jamie White - 85), James Morrish, Shaun Welford (Blackman - 87), Louis Sprosen, Lee Winfield (Burchell - 69) - Unused Sub - John Walker


Attendance - 204

Six Of The Best


Crawley Down Gatwick - 0 - Hythe Town - 6

Ryman League Division One South - 21/04/14


This was a game between two sides with very different attitudes towards a fixture that was essentially for pride, although you could perhaps understand a lack of motivation or enthusiasm from the already relegated side from Gatwick.


The madness arrived after just twelve minutes, Wilfred Grimaud kicking Craig Cloke from behind during a break in play, completely unprovoked, as the Hythe defender picked the ball up for a free-kick from just in front of the totally unprofessional Crawley Down man.


Six minutes later, the visitors took the lead, as constant pressure from the kick-off finally told, Stubbs catching the home defence in possession and charging forwards into the box before finishing with aplomb from fifteen yards.


After a frustrating end to the first period of play, Hythe regrouped at half-time, before going on a five goal second-half rampage.


Three minutes after the restart, Welford headed home from a pinpoint delivery provided by a Stubbs corner-kick.


Six minutes later the exact same combination gave Hythe their third of the afternoon, once the referee’s assistant had confirmed the ball had crossed the line, strange given the fact the same official was reluctant to point out a foul in the box on Louis Sprosen moments earlier.


With twenty minutes remaining, a long throw from Welford caught the home defence flat-footed, strike-partner Craig Thompson running clear to smash home a deserved goal inside the near-post on the half-volley.


Two minutes later the same Stubbs and Welford combination struck, corner and header, to allow Welford to complete both his, and Hythe’s first hat-trick of the season.


Five minutes before the end Hythe’s afternoon was complete, player-coach Lloyd Blackman marking a rare cameo with an even rarer goal, heading home Lee Winfield’s cross.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Dan Stubbs - 18 mins - Shaun Welford - 48 mins, 54 mins, 72 mins - Craig Thompson - 70 mins - Lloyd Blackman - 85 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Sam Bewick, Tommy Osborne (Josh Burchell - 58), Jamie Collado, Craig Cloke, Danny Lye, Dan Stubbs, James Morrish, Shaun Welford (Lloyd Blackman - 73), Craig Thompson, Louis Sprosen (Lee Winfield - 63)


Attendance - 81

Thompson Hits Top Form!


Hythe Town - 2 - Chipstead - 0

Ryman League Division One South - 19/04/14

Three Goals In Two Games - Craig Thompson
Three Goals In Two Games - Craig Thompson

Three goals in two games from Craig Thompson have given Hythe Town six points in the last five days!


All three strikes from Thommo were headed finishes, the first to give his side a deserved victory on Tuesday night at Herne Bay.


On Saturday, Craig hit a brace as Hythe saw off the threat of the in-form Chipstead. It was also two clean sheets in two games for Scott Porter's side, as they end the season in tremendous form.


Lee Winfield also enjoyed two good performances, providing the assist for both goals in Saturday's game.


Hythe should have taken the lead as early as the seventh minute, Dan Stubbs playing a typically well executed throughball into the path of Thompson clear on goal, who timed his half-volley well, but was unable to steer the ball past Milan Stojsavljevic.


Stubbs was involved again when playing a lovely one-two with Louis Sprosen, ending with a Stubbs cross that Sam Charles did very well to head clear of Winfield closing in at the back-post.


Midway through the half an unfortunate slip from John Walker allowed Dan Moody to charge down the right flank, before cutting inside along the edge of the Hythe box and firing a rising shot just over Dan Eason’s crossbar.


Hythe took the lead just two minutes after that Chipstead chance, Winfield’s excellent corner, already flying directly into the goal at the near post, before Thompson made sure with a close-range header.

Two Assists - Lee Winfield
Two Assists - Lee Winfield

Stefan Joseph looked to hit back for the visitors, swivelling and shooting close to Eason’s goal, a dangerous shot deflecting wide thanks to committed defending from the home side.


Craig Cloke surprised everybody in the ground when he hit a thunderous free-kick from all of thirty-yards, the defender’s strike rising just over the crossbar.


Four minutes before half-time the hosts hit a crucial second goal, Stubbs cleverly occupying his opposite number high up the pitch to allow Sam Bewick to break forward from right-back and play a lovely crossfield ball to pick out Winfield.


The cross that followed was perfect for Thompson to glance into the top corner for a fine Hythe goal.


The second-half started with Hythe struggling to deal with the trickery of half-time substitute, Julian Owusu, but football suddenly became less important, as club stalwart John Walker was suddenly left lying unconscious on the floor following an aerial challenge.


There was no blame attached to any Chipstead player for a clearly accidental collision and fall, and we are pleased to confirm that John regained consciousness shortly after, and following several hours at hospital was confirmed okay by his nearest and dearest.


The long delay clearly disrupted the flow of the game, and for Hythe things got even more disjointed as Lee Pleau pulled up five minutes later to leave Hythe with three midfielders in defence, in the shape of Sam Bewick, Josh Burchell, and skipper Danny Lye.


Substitute Jamie Collado didn’t take long to settle into the game though, his run and cross so close to picking out the outstretched foot of an unmarked Louis Sprosen.

Second Successive Clean-Sheet - Craig Cloke
Second Successive Clean-Sheet - Craig Cloke

Dan Llacer was giving the home side a lot of problems down the left, one low shot deflecting off Hythe’s last recognised defender Cloke, wrong footing Eason but running just wide.


Hythe stirred again, another dangerous corner from Winfield hitting the joint of the Chipstead bar and post.


Thompson looked to complete his hat-trick with a bustling run that took him to the edge of the box, Stubbs taking over but blasting his effort over the bar.


Late substitute, player-coach Lloyd Blackman picked out an unmarked James Morrish, who failed to test Stojsavljevic at close-range.


When the safe hands of Eason held onto substitute Nathan Hull’s looping header it became apparent that the away side had registered their first shot on target.


This was testament to the efforts of a makeshift Hythe defence, marshalled by the brilliant Cloke. However, the plaudits should go to this entire Hythe squad, who when pushed to the limit, produced yet another hard-working performance that again squeezed the life out of their opponents.


Of course goals are never a problem for this side, who continue to attract criticism for successfully achieving the main objectives of the sport they play, on such a regular basis. Apart from their own supporters, nobody appears to love the cannons, but on this evidence they certainly don’t care!


Scorer - Hythe Town - Craig Thompson - 25, 41 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker (Josh Burchell - 50), Sam Bewick, Lee Pleau (Jamie Collado - 55), Craig Cloke, Danny Lye (c), Dan Stubbs, James Morrish, Craig Thompson (Lloyd Blackman - 88), Lee Winfield, Louis Sprosen


Attendance - 201

Thommo Hits Winner


Herne Bay - 0 - Hythe Town - 1

Ryman League Division One South - 15/04/14


It was a difficult playing surface and a tight game of few chances at our former Kent League rivals, we worked hard to earn a clean-sheet, before Thommo grabbed a deserved winner.


Herne Bay were the first of the two sides to threaten to open the scoring, Stuart King weaving his way to the near-post, before Dan Eason denied his former team-mate with an excellent low save.


Hythe were already missing Tommy Osborne and their defence suffered more injury disruption not long into the game, Graeme Andrews replaced by Lee Pleau.


The influential Sam Hasler surprised Eason with a twenty-five yard shot that kicked up off the difficult playing surface. Hythe were straight down the end, Shaun Welford going close after Dan Stubbs provided the assist on the counter-attack.


From the resulting corner, again supplied by Stubbs, Craig Cloke’s climbing header was clearly hooked away from behind the Herne Bay goal-line, the hosts surviving due to a lack of any intervention from the possibly unsighted officials.


The key point in the game arrived on the stroke of half-time when James Turner was sent tumbling in the Hythe penalty-box, only for the talented King to fire his spot-kick well wide, it seemed justice had been done.


Turner was again the threat five minutes after the restart, charging across the Hythe goal and firing a strike back across Eason and just wide.


As the hour mark passed it seemed that the Bay’s frustrations were beginning to surface, Scott Porter’s side again making the opposition feel like the away side on their own patch.


Several corners were won but not converted and James Morrish was denied a clear run on goal when the referee’s assistant reverted to the ‘old’ offside rule, much to Hythe’s frustration.


Stubbs’ cross was headed just wide by Welford, but Hythe were about to turn their territorial advantage into a winning goal. Hythe pressing high up the pitch to win possession, Morrish crossing perfectly for Thompson to flick his header over Jack Delo to give his side a crucial lead.


There wasn’t much danger caused by either side in the closing stages, Herne Bay remaining frustrated going forward, and the visitors content and confident enough to hold onto their lead.


Scorer - Hythe Town - Craig Thompson - 73 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker (Sam Bewick - 72), Louis Sprosen, Graeme Andrews (Lee Pleau - 18), Craig Cloke, Danny Lye (c), Dan Stubbs, James Morrish, Shaun Welford (Lloyd Blackman - 90), Craig Thompson, Lee Winfield,


Attendance - 170

Town Slip Up At Fighting Redhill


Redhill - 3 - Hythe Town - 1

Ryman League Division One South - 12/04/14

Several Excellent Saves - Dan Eason
Several Excellent Saves - Dan Eason

Dan Eason made several excellent saves as Hythe Town slipped to a 3-1 defeat at relegation threatened Redhill.


The home side were inspired by an outstanding display from their much-travelled striker, Richmond Kissi, who Hythe know from their Kent League days.


The player looks more like the finished article nowadays and his performance gave Scott Porter's side a lot of problems, including two goals, one from the penalty-spot.


The visitors were missing top scorer Shaun Welford due to injury, although Craig Thompson was able to return from suspension to bolster the forward line.


Dan Stubbs scored what turned out to be a consolation, the midfielder's first goal in a Hythe shirt.


Redhill first threatened to take the lead six minutes into the contest, Joe Bingham playing Kissi in for his first clear chance on Eason’s goal, the end result, the first of those excellent saves from the Hythe stopper, on this occasion from a half-volley.


Two minutes later Hythe fell behind, Rob Hill’s cross following a quick corner, met by a back-post header from John Difford that Gavin Gordon forced home at close-range.


Hythe looked to bounce straight back, Craig Thompson’s shot deflecting just wide after the hosts failed to clear John Walker’s free-kick into the penalty box.

Returned To Starting Line-Up - Craig Thompson
Returned To Starting Line-Up - Craig Thompson

At the other end of the pitch Bingham and Kissi were combining again, another one on one opportunity for Kissi foiled by Eason.


At this point the away side were forced into a change, Lee Pleau replacing the injured Tommy Osborne to come in at right-back, Walker switching to the left.


Gordon fed Kissi with another quality through-ball, Kissi twisting and turning before finding Eason standing firm in the Hythe goal.


However Eason couldn’t do anything to prevent Kissi firing home low into the corner from the penalty-spot, after a clumsy challenge on Gordon led to a Redhill spot-kick.


The impressive Bingham had a header scrambled clear off the line, as Hythe threatened to implode. Suddenly, two of their most reliable performers in recent weeks combined to give the visitors a lifeline.


Five minutes before the interval, Louis Sprosen slipped the offside trap to lift the ball past the advancing keeper, Andy Greaves, the forward checking his team-mate was in an onside position, before squaring for Stubbs to roll home into an empty net.


Inevitably, it was down to Eason to make sure Hythe’s big chance wasn’t thrown away, tipping Niall Egan’s curling free-kick over the bar on the stroke of half-time.

Set-Up Hythe Goal - Louis Sprosen
Set-Up Hythe Goal - Louis Sprosen

The second-half opened with a lovely passing move from the home side, Kissi and Egan combining to release Gordon into the box, before Eason made a fine stop with his legs.


Scott Porter’s side appeared to have regrouped at half-time, and a decent period of possession followed after that early chance.


Unfortunately, Kissi had other ideas, allowing a smart pass to run across his body, leaving the Hythe defence for dead to shoot running away from goal, into the opposite bottom-corner of the goal.


Soon after, Hythe had a golden opportunity to again make a game of it, Thompson’s flicked header from Stubbs’ free-kick beating Greaves in the Redhill goal but looping just over the crossbar.


Despite a lack of threat in the wide areas, and a nervous looking back-four, Hythe failed to narrow their game to take advantage of their host’s weaknesses. This was surprising given the players at Hythe’s disposal on the day, and their usual strengths going forward.


On this evidence, Redhill won’t be relegated, of course only their regular followers know if this type of attacking form is likely to continue for a consistent run of games. Whilst the Hythe support definitely expect a reaction at Herne Bay, given their side’s excellent recent form.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Dan Stubbs - 40 mins - Redhill - Gavin Gordon - 8 mins - Richmond Kissi - 28 mins (pen), 56 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker, Tommy Osborne (Lee Pleau - 23), Graeme Andrews, Craig Cloke, Danny Lye (c) (Jamie Collado - 77), Dan Stubbs, James Morrish (Lee Winfield - 67), Craig Thompson, Louis Sprosen, Sam Bewick - Unused sub - Lloyd Blackman


Attendance - 112

Captain’s Strike The Difference


Sittingbourne - 0 - Hythe Town - 1

Ryman League Division One South - 10/04/14


Club Secretary, Martin Giles, reports from our win at Sittingbourne…


Hythe maintained their superiority over their Kent neighbours with this hard-fought win at Woodstock Park, just 48 hours after both sides had emerged victorious from tough Tuesday night clashes.


Town had previously won 3-0 at Reachfields and had looked the more likely to win again in the game postponed due to fog, despite being down to ten men. Here they stamped their authority on proceedings early on and a determined attitude was evident all over the pitch throughout the game.


The ball was in the net after only two minutes through skipper Danny Lye, but the assistant had already flagged for offside. Just three minutes later Sam Bewick cracked a tremendous shot against the upright with home keeper Adam Molloy well beaten.


Sittingbourne looked to get involved and Dan Eason saved well from Nick Davis and the tempo seemed to be settling down. However on seventeen minutes James Morrish found Lye in the six-yard box and the Hythe captain took a touch, before firing home low into the net to give his side a deserved lead.


Louis Sprosen, who when fully fit, seems a player able to fill any position in the side, was much involved throughout and after collecting the first of five Hythe bookings he fired directly at Molloy, following Welford's flick-on.


Lye met Welford's long throw, this time shooting just wide of goal, before Sprosen turned in the area on another Welford header, only to have his attempt blocked at close-range.


Approaching half-time there was a controversial moment, when another Hythe attack was pulled up for what seemed an inaccurate offside flag. After some delay a free-kick was awarded to the home side for an earlier foul on the half-way line.


The second period saw further chances for Sprosen and the busy Morrish as Welford continued to dominate in the air, but Bourne were growing in confidence and substitute Tom Loynes shot just over after robbing Tommy Osborne. The same player misfired wildly after Nick Dunstan's free-kick came back off a post leaving him little time to react.


Tired legs were evident as the Hythe midfield were starting to lose possession to the eager hosts, but their back four held firm and it was the ever-involved Welford who was robbed by a last ditch tackle, as he sought to put the game finally to bed in the closing minutes.


As the leg-weary "Cannons" wound down on the pitch after the final whistle another rival Manager was heard saying "I wouldn't pay to watch" Hythe. That really is no problem as Hythe always allow such officials into Reachfields for free, providing of course that they are still in the job!


Scorer - Hythe Town - Danny Lye - 23 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker, Tommy Osborne, Graeme Andrews, Craig Cloke, Danny Lye (c), Dan Stubbs, James Morrish, Shaun Welford, Louis Sprosen (Lloyd Blackman - 90), Sam Bewick - Unused subs - Jamie Collado, Lee Winfield, Lee Pleau


Attendance - 147

Sprosen Hits Injury Time Winner!


Hythe Town - 3 - Merstham - 2

Ryman League Division One South - 08/04/14

93rd Minute Winner - Louis Sprosen
93rd Minute Winner - Louis Sprosen

Louis Sprosen hit a dramatic 93rd minute winner, as two of the form sides of the Ryman South played out a highly entertaining fixture at Reachfields.


Scott Porter's side took the lead all three times, on the final occasion there was no way back for a crestfallen Merstham.


Player of the Month for March, Shaun Welford, hit another brace to take his tally for the season to thirty-two goals.


Although Hythe did more than enough to earn three goals and with them the three points, they again missed some of their easier chances.


However on this occasion they were thankful for the generosity of visiting keeper Brannon Daly, who had a torrid night, gifting Hythe all three of their goals.


The hosts took the lead after five minutes, and to say it was coming would be an understatement. James Morrish had missed an open goal, Dan Stubbs had rifled a twenty-yard shot just over, and Louis Sprosen just ran out of space when played clear on goal.


All of those chances were survived by the away side, but they were already riding their luck massively when keeper Daly smashed a clearance straight into his own skipper Liam Cooper, to allow Welford to walk the ball into the empty net.


Taurean Roberts was a threat all night for Merstham, and Tommy Osborne needed all his experience to keep the winger at arms length, it was Osborne who made an excellent block on a low drilled shot from Roberts.

Showed Experience - Tommy Osborne
Showed Experience - Tommy Osborne

Morrish won possession high up the pitch before bursting down the flank and crossing to the back-post where Stubbs headed just over.


Sprosen had an inspired night as stand-in striker for the suspended Craig Thompson, increasing his value within Scott Porter’s squad more than ever, in what has been an impressive second-half of the season.


It was Sprosen who had Hythe’s next chance on goal, breaking clear onto the lively Morrish’s through-ball but just failing to get a clean shot away as the Merstham defence recovered.


Morrish provided the assist again with a header straight back from keeper Daly’s clearance into the path of Welford, Daly redeeming himself, tipping the striker’s shot around the base of the post.


Stubbs’ corner was only half-cleared, as skipper Danny Lye lashed a volley just wide from the edge of the box.


As the half-hour mark passed without the home side extending their lead, there was a growing feeling that they had again failed to score the goals their play deserved.


That feeling grew when Jordan Johnson played Tommy Hutchings clear on Hythe’s goal, the striker lashing his half-volley just wide. The visitors had warmed to the task in the final fifteen minutes of the half, and it wasn’t a surprise when Hutchings forced home Fabio Saraiva’s uncleared free-kick at close-range.


The second-half started with Merstham threatening to take the lead, Simon Cooper heading Hutchings’ corner just wide at the back-post.

Two More Goals - Shaun Welford
Two More Goals - Shaun Welford

Just when you felt that the threat from the away side was increasing, they totally lost their way, becoming more preoccupied with committing some poor challenges, Gerry Gonella and Tommy Hutchings both lucky to avoid red, with challenges that had little to no relevance with where the ball was.


On the hour mark Hythe made their opponents pay for losing their concentration, Welford taking advantage of another mix-up, keeper Daly again creating havoc with team-mate Elliott Johnson, Welford again running clear onto an empty goal, this time the angle was tighter, and the early finish more impressive.


From the kick-off Hythe made the mistake of sitting back on their lead, the impressive Roberts weaving his way into the penalty-box and taking advantage of the host’s defence backing off further, to fire home a low angled shot across Eason and inside the far-post.


Both teams seemed to take a breather, with less goalmouth action during a scrappier period of play. The odd chance came along from time to time, Bewick’s twenty-yard volley well held by Daly, and Eason saving confidently from Cooper’s header.


Before you knew it, this excellent contest had reached four minutes of injury-time, three of those minutes had passed when Daly had another rush of blood to the head, completely mis-kicking a clearance outside the box, Sprosen rolling home into the empty net to spark wild celebrations.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Shaun Welford - 5, 59 mins - Louis Sprosen - 90+3 mins - Merstham - Tommy Hutchings - 44 mins - Taurean Roberts - 61 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker, Tommy Osborne, Graeme Andrews, Craig Cloke, Danny Lye (c), Dan Stubbs, James Morrish, Shaun Welford, Lee Winfield (Sam Bewick - 45 mins), Louis Sprosen - Unused subs - Lee Pleau, Lloyd Blackman


Attendance - 117

Bewick Stars But Hythe Crash At Eastbourne


Eastbourne Town - 2 - Hythe Town - 0

Ryman League Division One South - 05/04/14


It was a hugely frustrating afternoon at Eastbourne, as the bottom side took advantage of some poor finishing to claim a surprise three points.


Hythe began their domination of the first-half with Craig Thompson flicking Josh Burchell clear on goal from a Dan Eason goal-kick, but the winger failed to get a clean connection on his half-volley.


Just two minutes later, Craig Cloke headed Sam Bewick’s free-kick back across goal and Shaun Welford blasted over with the goal at his mercy.


Next the home side failed to clear a cross from Tommy Osborne, and James Morrish volleyed just over from ten yards. Welford threatened to run clear on goal but a decent recovery tackle from the last defender continued to frustrate the visitors.


A tight offside decision denied Welford another run on goal, before John Walker’s through-ball gave Welford two further chances to test Joe Taylor in the Eastbourne goal, the home keeper up to the task of denying two blasted efforts from within the penalty box.


Hythe had a warning sign of what would eventually happen in the second-half, when Liam Upton surprised the visiting defence to slip the offside trap, Louis Sprosen making a brilliant goal-line clearance.


Good hold-up play from Thompson, was followed up by a burst forward from Bewick and a nice through-ball that gave Welford another shooting opportunity, Taylor palming a fierce shot round the base of the post.


With ten minutes remaining of a one-sided half, the usual threat of a Burchell corner, caused an almighty scramble, the frustrated Welford having a close-range effort hooked off the line.


The half closed in almost comical fashion for the away side as almost every attacking player seemed to waste a close-range opportunity to give their side a more than deserved half-time lead.


The half-time whistle arrived inevitably with another Hythe chance, Morrish glancing a header just wide, again from a Burchell corner.


As the second-half panned out, it became clear the hosts had spent half-time putting right a lot that was wrong with their shambolic defending. With that improvement, and Hythe’s growing desperation, a long and scrappy period of play unfolded.


In the space of three minutes, the visitors were shocked to find themselves two goals down. Firstly, Layton Schaaf’s cross to the back-post picked out Dom Clarke who headed home back across goal, unmarked at the back-post.


Substitute Greg Berry completed Hythe’s misery, toe-poking a smart finish home from well outside the box, as the away side completely over-committed, leaving Eason stranded off his goal-line.


The only positive thing that Scott Porter’s side could take from the afternoon, was an impressive performance from the now fit Sam Bewick, in his first start since signing last summer.


Scorers - Eastbourne Town - Dom Clarke - 76 mins - Gregg Berry - 78 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Louis Sprosen (Lloyd Blackman - 81), Tommy Osborne, John Walker, Craig Cloke, Danny Lye (c), Sam Bewick (Lee Winfield - 60), James Morrish, Shaun Welford, Craig Thompson, John Burchell


Attendance - 112

The Welford & Allen Show


Hythe Town - 1 - Guernsey - 1

Ryman League Division One South - 01/04/14

Second-Half Goal - Shaun Welford
Second-Half Goal - Shaun Welford

Hythe Town hosted Guernsey at Reachfields for the first ever time, a great game played out between two sides who simply couldn't finish the other off.


Inevitably, it was the clubs top scorers, who between them have scored sixty-nine Ryman South goals this season, who were the two players to find the back of the net.


Ross Allen's deflected strike found the net three minutes into the second-half, before Shaun Welford only took five minutes to respond for the hosts, who put in another hard-working performance for the home support.


After a competitive start to the game, the chances began to flow, Welford intercepting a poor pass across the edge of the Guernsey box, but unable to keep his shot down after bursting forward. For Guernsey, Matt Loarine lashed a deflected volley just wide.


The home side should have taken the lead at the end of a lovely move ending with Welford releasing Craig Thompson down the left, his pinpoint cross to the back-post picking out James Morrish, who couldn’t keep his header the right side of the post.


In recent games Morrish has improved his late runs into the box, and it again almost gave Hythe the lead, Thompson running through the Guernsey box, before feeding Jamie Collado, whose cross through the six-yard box just evaded Morrish, and was almost turned into his own net by Simon Geall.

Good Runout - Sam Bewick
Good Runout - Sam Bewick

Hythe lost Josh Burchell to injury on the half-hour mark, but on a brighter note it allowed Sam Bewick to come through an hour of competitive football unscathed. In fact, along with James Morrish, Collado, and skipper Danny Lye, the midfielders showed they had plenty in the tank during a hard-working second-half.


Ten minutes before half-time the hosts felt they received a double injustice, firstly Welford had a penalty appeal given as a foul against him, before the striker was unbelievably booked for diving minutes later when a spot-kick seemed even more nailed on.


To make things worse for the home club, a Guernsey forward escaped punishment for simulation in the second-half, with all three decisions mystifying those in attendance, and certainly in the case of the Hythe penalty appeals, causing amazement amongst followers from both clubs.


The first period of play ended with Thompson feeding Morrish clear into the box, although with the angle tight, the shot ran across goal and just wide.


At this stage most of the visitor’s half-chances had come in the shape of long-distance strikes at the end of some decent approach play, but Hythe had largely kept their opponents at arms length, with Dan Eason untroubled in the Hythe goal.


This all changed three minutes into the second-half, when Ryman South top scorer, Ross Allen, scored his 43rd league goal of the season, albeit from a flukey deflection of Graeme Andrews heel that completely wrong-footed Eason.

Crucial Clearance - John Walker
Crucial Clearance - John Walker

Hythe only took five minutes to respond, almost spurred on by the nature of Guernsey’s opener, Bewick launched an ambitious strike from distance that deflected into the path of Welford. There was still plenty to do, but Hythe’s main man found the bottom of the opposite corner to give Tom Creed no chance.


The final third of the game belonged to Guernsey, but still Hythe had chances to win the game themselves.


Rhys Jordan’s shot was almost redirected into the net from only three yards out by Allen, whilst for Hythe, Andrews headed against the woodwork from Bewick’s hanging free-kick.


John Walker made an excellent clearance off the line when an own goal seemed likely, before Eason made the save of the game, bravely at the feet of substitute Luke Winch, who got in behind Hythe for a clear run on goal on the counter-attack.


Allen headed over from Ryan-Zico Black’s free-kick and Tom De La Mare put wide of the post from Loarine’s close-range cross through the Hythe six-yard box. Credit to Scott Porter’s side who hung on to a point after two of the toughest games of the season took place within four days of each other.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Shaun Welford - 53 mins - Guernsey - Ross Allen - 48 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker, Tommy Osborne, Graeme Andrews, Craig Cloke, Danny Lye (c), Jamie Collado, James Morrish, Shaun Welford, Craig Thompson, John Burchell (Sam Bewick - 29 mins) - Unused Subs - Louis Sprosen, Lee Winfield, Lloyd Blackman


Attendance - 210

Town Test Champions In Waiting


Hythe Town - 1 - Peacehaven & Telscombe - 2

Ryman League Division One South - 29/03/14

Scored After Four Minutes - James Morrish
Scored After Four Minutes - James Morrish

Hythe Town's run of six consecutive wins came to an end, however Scott Porter's side gave champions in waiting, Peacehaven & Telscombe, a really decent test.


The home side took the lead after just four minutes, via James Morrish's fifth goal in a Hythe shirt.


There would be further chances for the hosts to deservedly extend their lead, although they weren’t to be converted. Either side of half-time, Sam Gargan headed home two goals to restore Peacehaven's confidence.


The game swung both ways in a more open second-half, with both sides hitting the crossbar after the interval, but there would be no further change to the scoreline.


Hythe made that perfect start in the fourth minute, good work from Craig Thompson leading to a Dan Stubbs cross that Morrish eventually tucked away at close-range.


The visitors were unexpectedly nervous at the back, and just a minute later there was almost a carbon-copy of the first goal, this time Shaun Welford supplying the cross after beating his man, but on this occasion Morrish failed to keep his shot down.


It was all Hythe, as Thompson did brilliantly to recover possession down by the corner flag, before crossing to Josh Burchell at the back-post, who forced Antony Di Bernardo into a good save, the visiting keeper probably thankful to finally get a decent pair of hands on the ball.


Peacehaven simply had no answer to the pace of Hythe’s game, as John Walker’s ball picked out the run of Welford, the striker clear on goal but wide, Di Bernardo making a fine save from the fierce angled shot.

Broke Up Play - Danny Lye
Broke Up Play - Danny Lye

Again, just another minute passed before the next Hythe chance, skipper Danny Lye breaking up the play in midfield, a regular feature of the first forty-five, before again finding Welford in a position clear on goal but wide. This time the angle was too much to ask, and the eventual shot was high and wide.


The half-hour mark arrived with the away-side surviving two goalmouth scrambles, as the height of Craig Cloke caused problems first from a Burchell free-kick, and then from a Welford long-throw.


In the last ten minutes of the half, Peacehaven finally managed to keep hold of possession, and with it came some opportunities, both from free-kicks and corners.


Gargan was a threat at the back-post all afternoon, and on the stroke of half-time the midfielder headed home Josh Jones’ cross to the back-post to change the complexion of the half-time discussions.


The opening minutes of the second-half felt like the end of the game, as play swept from one end to another, Tom Burton’s passed shot rolling just past the post, whilst for Hythe, Welford thumped a header against the crossbar, from Stubbs’ free-kick.


Eleven minutes into the half the league-leaders went ahead, frustratingly for Hythe in near-identical fashion to the first goal they conceded, this time it was a corner that picked out Gargan to head home at the back-post.


The visitors were now finally enjoying themselves, as Hythe did all they could to stay in the game. Gargan lashed a half-volley just over Eason’s bar, top-scorer Charlie Walker volleyed wide from Jon Marzetti’s cross, and Dan McLaughlin hit the crossbar.

 Save Of The Game - Dan Eason
Save Of The Game - Dan Eason

With plenty of fresh legs on the bench, Hythe’s decision to see out this spell with two up top was eventually justified, as the hosts slowly turned things back round to end the game on top.


Thompson almost won a chase to the ball with Di Bernardo, then provided Welford with a decent striking opportunity, before a throw-in from Welford was headed goalbound by Lye, but tipped over by Di Bernardo.


Thompson then played Welford clear on goal, whose surprise at being onside led to hesitancy that ended the chance as quickly as it came about. Whilst Burchell’s mazy dribble through the Peacehaven box threatened to provide a dramatic equaliser, before the away side scrambled clear.


As the Hythe chances on goal began to dry up, so the threat on the counter from Peacehaven returned. With four minutes remaining Eason made the save of the game, tipping Burton’s header onto the bar and over to prevent a scoreline that would have simply looked unfair.


Scorers - Hythe Town - James Morrish - 4 mins - Peacehaven & Telscombe - Sam Gargan - 45, 56 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, John Walker, Tommy Osborne, Graeme Andrews, Craig Cloke, Danny Lye (c), Dan Stubbs (Sam Bewick - 85), James Morrish, Shaun Welford, Craig Thompson, John Burchell (Jamie Collado - 81) Unused Subs - Louis Sprosen, Lee Winfield, Lloyd Blackman


Attendance - 229 

Six On The Spin!


Horsham - 0 - Hythe Town - 2

Ryman League Division One South - 25/03/14

First Hythe Goal - Lee Pleau
First Hythe Goal - Lee Pleau

It was more of the same from Scott Porter's side, as despite disruption to what has become a settled line-up, they came home from Horsham with another hard-earned three points.


With Craig Cloke unavailable, and skipper Danny Lye injured, Jamie Collado and John Walker came into the spine of the side with faultless displays. Lee Pleau capped an excellent night, adding a first Hythe goal to a clean-sheet, alongside his impressive defensive team-mates.


Shaun Welford's 29th goal of the season completed the 2-0 scoreline. The home side failed to register a shot on target, and had no answer to their opponents momentum, as a sixth successive win was secured.


The visitors had their first chance of the evening after ten minutes, Dan Stubbs laying off Craig Thompson’s flick from a Welford long throw. The chance fell to James Morrish, the midfielder returning to action from suspension, but on this occasion unable to convert.


The hosts side spent the entire first-half playing quick counter-attack football, often through impressive right-back Lewis Hamilton, who along with his team-mates fired cross after cross into the Hythe box, but that was dealt with either by impeccable handling from Dan Eason, or excellent aerial clearances from his back-four.


The host’s wing-play was also forcing a lot of corners, but again it was rare for the Hythe defence to panic, that rare one-off arrived midway through the half, Ashley Robinson controlling an uncleared ball before hooking a volley into the side-netting.


The away side then went so close to opening the scoring, Thompson dispossessing Horsham keeper Mark Zawadski, before running towards an unguarded goal, Ryan Woodford making an excellent recovery to clear off the line.

Zawadski not only came very close to giving away the first goal, he also got away with clipping Thompson’s heels, which would have led to a penalty and probable red card. However, the home keeper would eventually run out of luck.


Josh Burchell had another Hythe penalty shout, before Stubbs hit the side-netting when the midfielder seemed certain to open his goalscoring account in a Hythe shirt, following good work from Welford and the again lively, Burchell.


It would be Burchell who would set-up the opening Hythe goal, and it was yet another impossible to defend corner from the winger, that looked like it was going directly into the net, before young Lee Pleau forced home his first goal for Hythe Town.


Horsham looked to bounce back either side of half-time, Junior Kaffo heading a looping header just over and Robinson sending a dangerous shot just over the Hythe bar, to end a patient passing move soon after the restart.


Hythe were already looking in the mood for grinding out a 1-0 win, when Zawadski gifted his opponents with a two goal lead to defend. The home keeper yet again spent too much time on the ball, Welford chasing down and winning a simple block tackle to walk his simplest goal of the season into the empty net.


The rest of the second-half was about as routine as it gets for Hythe, with Horsham making substitutions, probing, but largely getting frustrated at Hythe’s zero-risk approach to defending. Something that should be applauded, as many a side would have got sucked into an end to end game with a probable random, who scored the last goal, outcome.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Lee Pleau - 40 mins - Shaun Welford - 56 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Louis Sprosen, Tommy Osborne, Lee Pleau, John Walker, Jamie Collado, Dan Stubbs, James Morrish, Shaun Welford (c), Craig Thompson, John Burchell (Bewick - 84) - Unused Subs - Lee Winfield, Lloyd Blackman


Attendance - 111

Five-Star Hythe!


Burgess Hill Town - 4 - Hythe Town - 5

Ryman League Division One South - 22/03/14

Scored Dramatic Winner - Shaun Welford
Scored Dramatic Winner - Shaun Welford

Hythe Town produced a stunning five-goal performance at play-off chasing Burgess Hill Town, as they recorded their fifth successive victory to maintain their excellent 'Five-Star' form!


The winner signalled the end of an amazing comeback, as Shaun Welford was the player to hit Hythe's dramatic 90th minute winner from the penalty-spot, with the top-scorer's second goal of the game.


The visitors came from 4-2 down to win the game 5-4. The other goals for Scott Porter's side coming from an own goal, Louis Sprosen and Craig Cloke.


Hythe started the stronger of the two sides possession wise, however it was Lee Harding who forced the first meaningful save out of Hythe’s Dan Eason.


It was a scrappy affair early on, with both sides unable to settle down into their preferred style of play. Hythe’s cause wasn’t helped by the early injury to skipper, Danny Lye, who was replaced after only twenty-one minutes by John Walker.


However, only a minute after that disruption to the visitor’s game-plan, they took a sudden lead, Josh Burchell playing a ball into the perfect position for Welford to exhibit his strength when under pressure, before rounding Matt Morrish to roll home the opening goal.


The hosts responded with Spencer Slaughter’s impressive volley forcing Eason into a smart save, before Lee Harding’s dangerous volley deflected just wide, as the home side rallied.


The corner count was increasing as Burgess Hill continued to crank up the pressure, and it was no surprise when Greg Luer’s excellent free-kick was met with an equally impressive glancing header from Sam Fisk into the net.

Scored & Hit Crossbar - Craig Cloke
Scored & Hit Crossbar - Craig Cloke

The away side now needed to regroup at half-time, but they couldn’t prevent further damage before the interval, as home captain, Darren Budd, finished off a fine flowing move down Hythe’s right, with Fisk turning provider.


Cloke then had his head in his hands, as he rattled the crossbar from a typically impressive Josh Burchell corner in first-half injury-time.


The first five minutes of the second-half were key to the outcome of the game, although you could easily argue the key passage of play was actually Hythe’s three goal comeback later in the game!


Two minutes after the restart, Eason made the save of the game as Harding directed Danny Curd’s cross towards the Hythe goal. Four minutes later Hythe were level, the Cloke and Burchell combination at corners, on this occasion, proving unstoppable, as the centre-back headed home with power.


Burgess Hill just about prevented Hythe retaking the lead, as another impressive Cloke header, this time directly from a Welford long-throw, was pushed over the bar by Morrish.


Two goals in two minutes from the hosts, on the hour mark, appeared to suddenly bring the game to a close, in a competitive sense.


Probably the best goal of the game gave Burgess Hill the lead, Neil Watt’s through-ball skilfully flicked on by Harding, into the path of Budd, to wriggle clear and slam home his second of the afternoon past Eason.


Next it was Harding’s turn to entertain the home support, lashing home a fine volley, from Fisk’s pass, again giving the Hythe keeper little to no hope of stopping the ball hitting the net.


Louis Sprosen, is a player who is flourishing into an integral member of the squad, with his ability to impress on both the flank and at full-back a rarity. It would be Sprosen, who also has an eye for goal in his locker, that would start the Hythe revival.

Goal Started Revival - Louis Sprosen
Goal Started Revival - Louis Sprosen

Eight minutes after Harding’s fine volleyed goal, Sprosen also smashed home across goal in confident fashion, after a lovely delayed pass from Dan Stubbs, Welford getting the move started.


With thirteen minutes remaining, the real turning point arrived, in unusual but unsurprising fashion. Welford’s long throws seemed to be panicking the home defence more than their young second-choice keeper, Matt Morrish.


Morrish was offered little protection as another Welford throw dipped dangerously at the near-post, before a combination of both post and crucially Morrish himself, sent the ball into the net.


Of course, a lack of a touch from a player from either side would have led to a disallowed goal, as you cannot score directly from a throw-in.


Another smart save from Eason, and a little bit of luck here and there for both sides, set-up a grandstand finish. It would be the threat and experience of Welford that would bring about Hythe’s dramatic winner.


Welford’s clever run across the home side’s box, brought about a nervous tug, and a clear spot-kick was awarded. It was left to the veteran striker, who in this reporter’s opinion looks in better form than ever, to confidently smash home his side’s winning goal.


Understandably, the final whistle brought about some rather excitable behaviour. As Hythe left the field of play to the away support’s applause, it also became apparent that the players have won a local paper’s competition to give the club a new nickname…


It appears that on this form, ‘The Cannons’ just can’t be stopped!


Scorers - Hythe Town - Shaun Welford - 22, 90 mins, Craig Cloke - 51 mins - Louis Sprosen - 68 mins - Matt Morrish (Own Goal) - 77 mins - Burgess Hill Town - Sam Fisk - 33 mins, Darren Budd - 44, 58 mins - Pat Harding - 60 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Louis Sprosen, Tommy Osborne, Lee Pleau, Craig Cloke, Danny Lye (John Walker - 21), Dan Stubbs, Lee Winfield (Sam Bewick - 82), Shaun Welford, Craig Thompson, John Burchell - Unused Sub - Lloyd Blackman


Attendance - 200

Burchell Stuns Title Chasers


Leatherhead - 0 - Hythe Town - 1

Ryman League Division One South - 19/03/14

Set-Up Winner - Josh Burchell
Set-Up Winner - Josh Burchell

Josh Burchell's second-half winner was the only goal of the evening, as Hythe Town stunned title-chasing Leatherhead on their own patch.


Scott Porter's side notched up their fourth successive win over an action-packed twelve days, the Ryman South finally seeing off the winter to complete a congested fixture list.


After flirting with a relegation scrap, Hythe now top the form table for the last fortnight, and look very much a side worthy of the play-off place they originally set out for at the start of this campaign.


They may have to settle for less this time round, but for now the Reachfields outfit have remembered their identity, and the results are coming as a result.


Club Secretary, Martin Giles, talks us through the action…


This latest win of the "Big Revival" came after the worst of starts off the pitch. Not only did reserve keeper Connor O'Hara fail to appear, but the ever-reliable John Walker was unfit through sickness, to add to the suspended James Morrish.


Every cloud has a silver lining though, and recovering mumps-victim, Dan Eason, came back in to play as well as ever whilst the other twelve players involved on the night were immense.


The back four of Louis Sprosen, Lee Pleau, Craig Cloke and Tommy Osborne formed a highly efficient unit that confounded and frustrated the prolific home attack.


Whilst the reshuffled midfield of Burchell, Lee Winfield, Dan Stubbs and captain Danny Lye all put in a decent shift in the middle of the park.


Up front, the Leatherhead defence will probably be suffering nightmares until next Saturday over the performances of both Shaun Welford and Craig Thompson, who were literally all over them for the entire game.

Impressed - Danny Lye
Impressed - Danny Lye

Jamie Collado was the first of two decent second-half substitutes for Hythe, but the real bonus was the first ever appearance of "new" signing Sam Bewick.


Sam has been a smiling and patient regular at most Hythe games this season, while he has waited and then recovered from an operation following his close-season move from Maidstone United.


On the evidence of recent training sessions and tonight's cameo performance, Hythe supporters will soon have a new favourite to cheer in the closing weeks of the season.


The first-half was an end-to-end affair notable for the aerial threat posed by Town's front two, and the many over-hit passes and shots by the home attack.


Shaun Welford had the ball in the net after just three minutes for Hythe but was offside, but a few minutes later the same player tested keeper Deren Ibrahim, with the assistant’s flag this time staying by his side.


At the other end, leading-scorer Tom Bradbrook, became the first home forward to fire wastefully high and wide.


An entertaining game developed and Eason pulled off a good save from Kevin Terry, whilst Welford and Thompson were being well supplied by the passes of Burchell, and in particular, Stubbs, for the visitors.


As the half developed the Tanners were to have the better scoring chances, and although many of those went right out of the ground, a header from Fairweather-Johnson hit the crossbar following good work from Jamie Coyle. Eason also made a smart reflex save after some pinball in the Hythe six-yard box.


The second-half opened in much the same way, but home players and supporters were growing frustrated by their promotion chasing side's inability to get past the Hythe back-four.

Long Awaited Return - Sam Bewick
Long Awaited Return - Sam Bewick

The ever-dangerous Stubbs was involved in Town's breakthrough in the 66th minute, his corner beaten back to the midfielder before his second cross saw Cloke's shot rebound to Burchell, who tucked the ball away from close-range. 


Leatherhead sent some dangerous low balls across from the right-flank in particular, but in reality the central pairing of the experienced Cloke and 18-year old Pleau were up to most of the aerial stuff when that ploy failed.


As the final ten minutes approached the home side sent on former Reachfields man Ryan Cooper, and Sam Bewick reached his personal target for Hythe.


His first action was a strong tackle on a home player, and not too long after that, Tommy Osborne's pass led to a fierce shot which nearly shaved Ibrahim's post, the talented youngster up and running.


Thompson's fine run had taken him past two men to fire strongly just wide of the post. On another day the home side could well have taken the points, but the sheer work-rate and team-spirit of this revived Hythe side made this a deserved away win.


Whilst some old favourites have fled the Reachfields scene, it would seem that they have been replaced by a few others who are well able to replicate not only their skills, but also that famous us-against-the-world attitude. Whisper it quietly but the passing is a bit better too.


Read Scott's comments to, following this latest win.


Scorer - Hythe Town - Josh Burchell - 66 mins


Hythe Town - Dan Eason, Louis Sprosen, Tommy Osborne, Lee Pleau, Craig Cloke, Danny Lye, Dan Stubbs (Jamie Collado - 71), Lee Winfield, Shaun Welford, Craig Thompson, John Burchell (Sam Bewick - 81) - Unused 
Sub - Lloyd Blackman


Attendance - 216

Thompson Brace Seals Win


Hythe Town - 4 - Worthing - 2

Ryman League Division One South - 15/03/14

Two Goals - Craig Thompson
Two Goals - Craig Thompson

Two goals from Craig Thompson, Shaun Welford's 25th goal of the season, and a late goal from James Morrish, saw off a young, determined and skilful Worthing side 4-2.


It was the Reachfields outfit's third successive win, and the third game in a row they have hit four goals. This was an excellent game for the neutral and a great advert for the Ryman South.


The game itself was an intriguing dual between Hythe's experience and the youth of Worthing, imported from Championship side Brighton's academy.


If the visitors can keep hold of some of the players on show and build on what they have, they will be a force to be reckoned with.


Both sides proved that it’s not about the length of a pass, but the quality, as Hythe’s aerial assault to the bang-in-form Thompson and Welford proved fruitful, with the accuracy of Dan Stubbs and Danny Lye’s passing in particular.


This Worthing side clearly prefer a shorter passing game, but to their credit the moves on display were progressive, as opposed to the tedious sideways game a lot of sides produce in this day and age.


Connor O’Hara, in goal for the unwell Dan Eason, showed he is a more than able replacement, and the youngster was called into action for the first time after ten minutes, George Gaskin getting his shot away from a tight angle within the Hythe box.


For Hythe, Lye flashed a header across goal and wide, following Stubbs’ corner to the near-post, a good game of football was already emerging.


The hosts struck first as Lye’s ball into the path of Welford allowed the striker to show excellent strength to keep possession, before blasting a half-volley past the helpless Jack Fagan at his near-post.

Introduced To Midfield - Lee Winfield
Introduced To Midfield - Lee Winfield

Five minutes later the home side struck a deserved second in sublime fashion. Stubbs’ raking crossfield pass picked out Thompson, whose first touch brought the ball completely under his control and away from the last defender in one motion.


With Fagan rushing out from goal, a lovely lob, that has become the player’s trademark, sailed into the net for Thompson’s second goal since returning ‘home’.


The away side then survived a key moment in the game, as Hythe failed to score a third goal in ten minutes, which surely would have secured the three points there and then.


Lye’s ball into Louis Sprosen led to a pinpoint cross that Stubbs simply couldn’t connect cleanly with at the back-post.


Out of nowhere, Max Howell’s fiercely driven shot from the edge of the box was fisted up into the air by O’Hara, as the Worthing support began to celebrate the Hythe keeper had different ideas, managing to smother the ball right on the goal-line.


Stubbs curled a twenty-yard free-kick just wide, but Worthing were about to get a foothold in the game, that resulted in a huge confidence boost for the remainder of the contest.


Gaskin played a dangerous ball into the path of Harvey Sparks, whose return pass was perfectly weighted back into the path of Gaskin to run clear on goal and calmly roll his finish home under O’Hara.


With the contest right back in the balance, and one would assume a half-time of refocus from both sides, the game took another quick twist three minutes after the restart, Thompson smashing home his second of the afternoon after Welford simply laid off for his strike-partner in a crowded area.


Right-back Will Hendon’s impressively long run through the Hythe half was in vain, as Gaskin took one touch too many before losing his shooting opportunity in the Hythe box.


Gaskin then swivelled at the end of a smart move to cross dangerously through the Hythe six-yard box, Craig Cloke in the right place to clear for the hosts.

Cleared Off Line - Tommy Osborne
Cleared Off Line - Tommy Osborne

Midway through the second-half, Hythe gave their young opponents a lifeline, as O’Hara and Pleau failed to decide who was going to deal with a dangerous low cross, Sparks stole in for a close-range tap-in.


Hythe were now struggling to get a grip of the midfield as their opponents put together some lovely passages of possession, although often ending with excellent defending or the failure to test O’Hara.


Scott Porter reacted with the introduction of Lee Winfield for Craig Thompson as Hythe increased their numbers in the centre of the park.


To a certain degree, this tactic worked, and a few minutes later Welford was again clear on goal, although on this occasion the ball just got away from him as he toed his shot into the side-netting.


Lee Carey, who had several set-piece opportunities in the closing stages, drilled a low free-kick that O’Hara did well to hold onto.


Another free-kick routine ended with Gaskin hooking a volley back across goal and just wide, Carey went close again with another free-kick, before Hythe hit back on the counter-attack with Lye releasing Stubbs, who couldn’t control his final shot.


With four minutes of injury-time announced, this young Worthing side had nothing to lose as it became evident there would be one more goal for one of the two sides.


Eventually, it was Hythe’s experience that told, as at one end, Tommy Osborne was in the right place at the right time to head off the line, before two minutes later, James Morrish drilled home Hythe’s fourth off the inside of the post.


For Hythe's fourth, Lye and Stubbs had again combined on the counter-attack, the latter picking out Morrish with another excellent pass across goal.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Welford - 19 mins, Thompson - 24, 48 mins, Morrish - 90 mins - Worthing - Gaskin - 42 mins - Sparks - 64 mins


Hythe Town - O’Hara, Walker, Osborne, Pleau, Cloke, Lye (c), Stubbs, Morrish, Welford (Collado - 85), Thompson (L Winfield - 69), Sprosen (Burchell - 78)- Unused Sub - Blackman


Attendance - 214

No Escape!


Sittingbourne - 0 - Hythe Town - 0 (game abandoned)

Ryman League Division One South - 13/03/14

For the second time this season, one of our games was struck by heavy fog, and this time round there was no escape, Club Secretary, Martin Giles reports...


With both sides playing their third match in six days, this latest Kent Derby was half-pantomime, half WWE!


The panto atmosphere came about largely because it appeared that a majority of players and spectators alike seemed to be on first-name terms with each other.


Ear-splitting protests and good-natured banter were exchanged in equal measures, and the thankfully Kent based official Nolan Wilde tolerated most of it with good humour.


However, even he had to draw a line in the sand when Lee Pleau launched into a WWE style assault on Bourne's Sam Hallett in the twelfth minute, Town’s young central defender seeing red.


Sittingbourne's line-up had been affected by their hectic schedule, but Hythe's team was unchanged from Tuesday and they were on top throughout, taking the loss of Pleau completely in their stride. If there were tired legs or injuries out there they were well hidden from view.


Louis Sprosen and Dan Stubbs created a number of half-chances for Shaun Welford, whilst Craig Thompson squandered Hythe's best chance when put through one on one with keeper Adam Molloy.


At the other end Dan Eason dealt well with the occasional reply and saved his best stop until the second-half from Joe Taylor's pile-driver. However by that time the dry ice from stage left and right had created an enormous white cloud about ten yards up and when this dropped it was as if the final curtain had been brought down.


Even before this Bourne's dark red shirts, with black numbering, had been flitting in and out of the mirk, the referee had virtually disappeared, and the benches were all sound and no sight.


Although Mr Wilde gave it another six or seven minutes the only real question was whether or not everyone would make it home safely, but amazingly much less than ten miles away visibility was crystal clear.


Hythe will look back on the evening with mixed feelings as their ten men were the better side and seemed set for three points, their energy levels more than matching the host club's.


Against that the third silly red card in recent games will add to a mounting number of suspensions in the closing weeks of the season when points will still be needed. Hectic schedules and battling displays like this will not be noticed by the powers-that-be who will sit in judgement and levy their fines, they ALWAYS win.

Last Minute Win!


Hythe Town - 4 - Corinthian-Casuals - 3

Ryman League Division One South - 11/03/14

90th Minute Winner - Craig Cloke
90th Minute Winner - Craig Cloke

Things are often not too simple when two sides play each other twice in four days, and so it proved as Scott Porter's side came out of a rollercoaster 4-3 game with three points.


For the second match in a row Corinthian-Casuals couldn't stop their opponents scoring on four separate occasions, however this time they brought their own shooting boots.


Shaun Welford scored his 20th league goal of the season as well as prompting an own goal, and Louis Sprosen scored the best goal of the evening. The most dramatic of winners was struck by Craig Cloke, in injury-time, to give Hythe their third win in four games.


It was clear it was going to be an eventful evening, when within ten seconds Welford found himself clear on goal, but a poor second touch took the striker too wide of goal and the chance was gone as quickly as it had arrived.


That missed chance would prove crucial to the opening exchanges, as after six minutes, Jamie Byatt opened the scoring for the visitors with a close-range tap-in, after a swift counter-attack move down Hythe’s right that would become a theme of the evening.


Seeing Corinthian-Casuals’ dangerman from Saturday, Dave Hodges, moved to left-back was a surprise. But it was clearly a change that worked as Danny Green went on to have a decent evening on the flank.


Visiting skipper, Joe Hicks, had a shot deflect just over the bar, whilst Green swivelled to shoot just over, following an uncleared corner. Byatt’s centre on the counter-attack sent Green clear on goal, Dan Eason making a brilliant one on one save, as Hythe arrived at the midway point of the first-half in disorganised fashion.

Twenty League Goals - Shaun Welford
Twenty League Goals - Shaun Welford

Louis Sprosen’s decent effort from distance whistled past the post to give the away side something to think about. It would be the start of a short period of pressure that would lead to a Hythe equaliser that showed up the deficiencies of the Corinthian-Casuals defence.


As the visitors failed to clear their lines, Sprosen gained possession in the penalty-box, before a dribble towards goal created a real scramble, Danny Bracken pushing one shot onto the post, before Welford was first to react for a simple tap-in.


A cynical challenge from Saheed Sankoh ended James Morrish’s run on goal after a powerful header forward from Welford. From the resulting free-kick, taken By Dan Stubbs, Craig Thompson headed over Bracken but just over the crossbar.


New signing, Stubbs, had a lively end to the first-half, playing Welford clear, but wide of goal, a fierce shot on the turn held well by Bracken. Before Stubbs himself went on a surging thirty-yard run to the edge of the box, that ended with a blasted shot over.


Half-time brought the introduction of dual-registration player, Rhys Lawson, the forward who left for Lordswood due to work commitments, is still able to bolster Hythe’s squad when it suits all parties.


The second-half began in scrappy fashion, but the hour mark would see the game spring back into life. Lee Pleau’s clearance went all the way forward to the onside Sprosen, although the winger could only hit the side-netting when finding himself unexpectedly one on one with Bracken.


The home side then took the lead, as Welford’s header from a Sprosen corner, found the back of the net via a combination of crossbar and keeper Bracken.

Set-Up Winner - Josh Burchell
Set-Up Winner - Josh Burchell

Just four minutes later, Corinthian-Casuals were back level, Joel Thompson correctly anticipating an innocent collision between Pleau and Byatt, to run clear on goal and smartly chip over the advancing Eason.


Only another four minutes had passed when the game took another turn, Mario Quiassaca sent off after a ridiculously clumsy challenge on Eason, receiving a second yellow card and his marching orders.


Remarkably, being reduced to ten men galvanised Hythe’s opponents, and it was no surprise when Ellis Wilson-Joseph headed home to give his side a shock lead with fifteen minutes to go.


That stirred Hythe back into life, and Sprosen produced the goal of the evening, collecting John Walker’s throughball, before evading two challenges and smashing home to bring his side level again.


The final ten minutes seemed to indicate both sides, possibly, were happy with a point. However, Hythe still had the fresh legs of Lee Winfield and Josh Burchell to introduce, and it was the latter who had some bright moments, eventually leading to an injury-time corner, taken by the winger himself, and dramatically headed home by Cloke to give Hythe full points.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Welford - 36 mins - Own Goal - 59 mins - Sprosen - 78 - Cloke - 90 - Corinthian-Casuals - Byatt - 6 mins - Thompson - 63 mins - Ellis Wilson-Joseph - 75 mins


Hythe Town - Eason, Walker, Osborne, Pleau, Cloke, Lye (c), Stubbs (L Winfield - 82), Morrish, Welford, Thompson (Lawson - 45), Sprosen (Burchell - 85) - Unused Sub - Blackman


Attendance - 115

Three Crucial Points


Corinthian-Casuals - 0 - Hythe Town - 4

Ryman League Division One South - 08/03/14

Scored a brace - James Morrish
Scored a brace - James Morrish

Hythe Town secured a crucial three points in their fight to move up to a safe position within the Ryman South table.


Performances have gone up a notch in the last three games, and today was further evidence that last week’s 3-0 defeat of Sittingbourne was no fluke. Two goals a piece from Shaun Welford and James Morrish secured the points as Corinthian-Casuals were thrashed 4-0 on their own patch.


The reverse fixture takes place on Tuesday night at Reachfields, and there was enough on show going forward from the hosts, to ensure Scott Porter’s side won’t take things lightly in a few nights time.


Just like he did in the emphatic home win over Sittingbourne, Dan Eason made a vital save at a key moment in the game. With only six minutes on the clock, Juevan Spencer snuck in behind the Hythe offside trap as they attempted to clear their lines, Eason making an outstanding double save, with both hands and feet to ensure the home side didn’t continue in the confident form that had led to three successive wins in the lead up to this game.


It was a feisty first twenty minutes, but Hythe managed to stick to their game-plan to soak up the host’s passing game and expose a suspect defence with some quick counter-attacks.


It took twenty minutes for this tactic to prove effective, and from that point on the away side were always the more likely. Craig Thompson was cynically brought down the moment he got in behind the Corinthian-Casuals’ defence for the first time. Shaun Welford fired the resulting free-kick into the arms of keeper, Danny Bracken, who held the strike with confidence.

Key Save - Dan Eason
Key Save - Dan Eason

Two minutes later, Thompson couldn’t be caught, running clear onto Louis Sprosen’s hooked pass, before sending a lobbed finish over Bracken but just wide.


Dave Hodges was a constant threat down the left for the home side, although that threat faded as the contest developed, nevertheless, one to watch on Tuesday night. The winger made a stunning run down the flank before supplying a dangerous low cross that Saheed Sankoh fired just wide at the near-post.


The first-half was summed up with the opening Hythe goal, Hodges’ dangerous shot deflected wide, from the resulting corner Hythe sprung a quick counter-attack that finished with Thompson sending James Morrish clear, to again lob Bracken, but this time successfully.


Straight from the kick-off Morrish returned the favour, but Thompson elected for power, only finding the side-netting as a result. The theme continued, Ellis Wilson-Joseph having a decent half-volley held by Eason. From the Hythe keeper’s long throw, Welford shrugged off his marker before shooting across goal and hitting the inside of the base of the post.


Wilson-Joseph’s shot kicked up off the surface to surprise Eason, Hodges was the first to respond but blasted over at close-range when an equaliser seemed certain. It had been a decent half of football, in lovely sunny conditions, the always impressive surface at Corinthian-Casuals already showing little sign of the winter is has just endured.


It didn’t take long for Hythe to carve out the first chance of the second-half, Dan Stubbs, making his first start in a Hythe shirt, playing a nice ball into the near-post area, that Morrish blasted at Bracken who held well.

Decent Second-Half - Louis Sprosen
Decent Second-Half - Louis Sprosen

Home skipper, Joe Hicks’ surprise volley, in a crowded Hythe area, forced Eason into a fine fingertip save over the crossbar. Sprosen had a decent second-half, and it was the winger’s excellent cross, following more good work from Stubbs, that led to a push in the box on Morrish.


Welford stepped up to convert the resulting penalty, the ball again striking the inside of the post, but this time rebounding into the net to give the visitors a deserved two goal lead.


With the hour mark approaching, Morrish lobbed onto the roof of the Corinthian-Casuals net, whilst the forward threat from the hosts called Eason into action again, a brilliant push into the air, and catch, preventing Sankoh getting his side back in the game with a looping volley.


John Walker almost scored an unlikely second goal of the season, the defender’s ball forward from just past the half-way line, surprising Bracken, who had to tip the ball over the bar.


Welford miscued another lobbed effort, after substitute Josh Burchell had played Hythe’s top scorer clear on goal. With nine minutes remaining, Hythe secured the points, Burchell’s inswinging corner so good that it was on the way in anyway before Morrish made sure with a close-range header.


Hythe were now enjoying themselves, as Thompson again found himself clear on goal, delaying his next move as long as possible before coolly shifting the ball into the path of the arriving Welford for a simple tap-in.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Morrish - 34, 81 mins - Welford - 53 (pen), 83 mins


Hythe Town - Eason, Walker, Osborne, Pleau, Cloke, Lye (c), Stubbs (Burchell - 71), Morrish, Welford, Thompson (Blackman - 84), Sprosen (L Winfield - 82)


Attendance - 122

Night & Day


Hythe Town - 0 - Walton & Hersham - 2

Ryman League Division One South - 04/03/14

Enjoyed Attacking Role - Jamie Collado
Enjoyed Attacking Role - Jamie Collado

The difference between Saturday afternoon’s 3-0 win over Sittingbourne and Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat to Walton & Hersham, was literally like night and day.


Hythe will be scratching their heads still, as the opposite of everything that happened on Saturday, took place on Tuesday night, even though the level of effort and commitment was no different.


The win at the weekend was over opponents bang in form, undefeated in eight, whilst this latest defeat was to a side with one win in thirteen! Although, perhaps crucially, that win was two days prior, and this was only new manager, Tony Reid’s second game (and win) since taking the job at Walton & Hersham.


On Saturday, everything hit the back of the net, but on this occasion the crossbar was struck on three separate occasions and what appeared to be a legitimate goal was disallowed.


Talking to a Walton & Hersham defender after the game, there was acknowledgement that the level of goal-line clearances in the second-half reached embarrassing levels, and he simply couldn’t understand how his side had kept the hosts out.


The other main difference between the two games, was Hythe errors to allow their opponents to both take, and extend their lead. It must be said that the level of effort from the visitors to then protect their lead was not of a struggling side, Walton & Hersham appear to be on the up, and Hythe found that out.


Scott Porter’s side will regroup, with a strengthened squad, and plenty of chances being made, they will still prepare for their crucial double-header with struggling Corinthian-Casuals next Saturday and Tuesday with confidence.

Hit Crossbar - Craig Cloke
Hit Crossbar - Craig Cloke

The away side took advantage of some poor defending in the third minute to secure a crucial early goal, taking the wind out of the sails of a side brimming with confidence after Saturday’s performance. Visiting skipper, Tom Nudge, stooped to head home unmarked, from Peter Wedgeworth’s corner.


Two minutes later came a pivotal moment, as Hythe came so close to an instant response. Brilliant work from Craig Thompson to break away from the half-way line, before forcing his way into the box and crossing perfectly to strike-partner Shaun Welford, who appeared to miss a touch at the back-post by no more than an inch!


The home side then received an unexpected boost, injury forcing Walton’s hat-trick hero from Saturday, Nehemiah Adams, into an early shower. Adams had been promoted from Reserves Coach for Reid’s first game in charge and had responded with a stunning twenty-minute hat-trick, we weren’t to find out if that was a freak occurrence or not.


Jamie Collado, who has really enjoyed a more attacking role in the last two games, surged forward to slip James Morrish clear on goal, although a totally miscued shot should have been a sign of what was to come to all those in Reachfields.


The hosts hit the woodwork for the first time on the half-hour mark, John Walker releasing Thompson one on one, only for the striker’s attempted lob to beat keeper Dan Coles but clip the top of the crossbar, falling to safety.


Morrish had another good chance shortly after, exchanging passes with the lively Walker, before surging into the box and firing a shot across goal that Coles beat away. Welford was in the perfect position to convert the rebound at close-range, unfortunately the last defender was also in the right place at the right time, to clear off the line.


Walker, Morrish, and Thompson helped create a couple of further half-chances for Welford, as Hythe continued to press, but a crucial second was about to be conceded.

Late Red Card - James Morrish
Late Red Card - James Morrish

Collado’s needless challenge on Matt Reece was a clear penalty, and the same player pulled himself off the floor to roll home the resulting spot-kick with ease, Dan Eason guessing the right way, but unable to stop a perfectly placed strike.


There was more crossbar drama either side of half-time, firstly Hassan’s free-kick was headed against the woodwork by Welford. Two minutes after the restart, Andre Scarlett suffered the same misfortune, although Hythe had to hook clear as the ball fired down off the underside of the bar.


New signing, ex-Dover and Maidstone midfielder, Dan Stubbs, along with Josh Burchell and Louis Sprosen, were all introduced in the final third of the game as Hythe pushed and pushed.


The most controversial point of the game arrived on the hour mark, as visiting keeper Coles simply made a clumsy aerial challenge outside his box that allowed Welford to win his header and roll the ball home into the empty net, nobody could understand why the goal was then disallowed.


The home side refused to have their momentum effected, Thompson running clear onto a Hassan throughball, Coles making a much braver challenge to deny Hythe a way back into the game. From the resulting corner, Thompson was again denied by Coles, his header tipped over the bar at full-stretch.


Craig Cloke was the next to feel frustrated, the defender heading against the bar from a Josh Burchell corner. The final ten minutes were farcical, Hythe unable to convert half a dozen goalmouth scrambles, Walton & Hersham hanging on with the final whistle in sight, both sides’ legs appeared to have gone, but it was the visitors who somehow managed to keep the ball out of the net to secure the points.


James Morrish received a second-yellow card and his marching orders in the final couple of minutes to add to Hythe’s frustration.


Scorers - Walton & Hersham - Tom Nudge - 3 mins - Matt Reece - 42 mins


Hythe Town - Eason, Walker, Osborne, Pleau (Sprosen - 79), Cloke, Lye (c), Collado (Stubbs - 55), Morrish, Welford, Thompson, Hassan (Burchell - 70) - Unused Subs - Quigley, Blackman


Attendance - 150

The Perfect Day


Hythe Town - 3 - Sittingbourne - 0

Ryman League Division One South - 01/03/14

Made One Scored One - Craig Thompson
Made One Scored One - Craig Thompson

Craig Thompson made one goal before scoring another, his first since rejoining the club from Whitstable Town, to help Hythe to a crucial three points. This was pretty much the perfect day for the home side, three goals, the other two from Shaun Welford, a clean sheet marshalled by the returning Craig Cloke and the excellent Dan Eason.


This was an impressive all-round team performance against a Sittingbourne side unbeaten in the previous eight games. Everybody contributed to a well-balanced display with every player making a case for the 'Man of the Match' award.


As already mentioned, it was a fine afternoon for Eason, the Hythe keeper was only called into serious action on two occasions throughout the game, and both times he showed his quality.


The first instance was after just eight minutes, Lee Pleau angered at a tight offside decision, Ryan Golding clear on goal, Eason narrowed the angle and the Sittingbourne number nine hit the side-netting.


The first real chance for Hythe came via a slipped through-ball from Walker, releasing James Morrish into the penalty-box, the midfielder’s shot running across goal and just wide.


Walker getting forward from right-back was a regular feature of the afternoon, and he did so again to find Thompson on the edge of the box, a lovely combination with Welford followed before a blasted shot flew just over the bar.

Regular Raids Forward - John Walker
Regular Raids Forward - John Walker

Thompson went close again, turning on a Walker throw-in to lash a half-volley just over. The returning crowd favourite seemed to revel in his role of getting the home support vocally behind their team, and his partnership with Welford is beginning to show signs of coming to fruition.


With both strikers threatening, new captain, Danny Lye, and Morrish pulling the strings in midfield, and Walker bombing on, this was as good as Hythe had played in recent memory, but a goal was still needed.


The home side’s best move of the half arrived ten minutes before half-time, the Hythe midfield shifting the ball from one side of the pitch to the other, before Walker crossed to the back-post where Welford had his header back across goal saved brilliantly by Adam Molloy.


The visitors were still a threat throughout the opening period of play, especially on the counter-attack, and Eason was about to produce the save of the game to keep his side level. Golding spun off the otherwise excellent Cloke, to play Joe Taylor clear on goal with an exquisite pass. Eason made a brilliant low save, before returning to his feet to rush a rebound strike that flew over the bar.


It’s hard to imagine where the game, or indeed the rest of the season, may have gone next if not for that moment from the ex-Herne Bay man, three minutes after the restart is proved to be even more important.


Thompson provided almost a replica of the previous Sittingbourne chance, with a swivel and a pass to send Welford clear on goal, Hythe’s top scorer showing brilliant strength to shrug off a final challenge and calmly slot home under Molloy.

Two More Goals - Shaun Welford
Two More Goals - Shaun Welford

The hosts were now flying, winning a free-kick on the edge of their opponents box, taken by Taser Hassan, put back in the mix by Collado, and converted at close-range by the infectious Thompson, his first goal of the season for Hythe, celebrated like a kid on Christmas Day!


The same two were involved again on the hour mark, Thompson crossing to the back-post where Collado fired a shot back across goal and just wide.


Next it was Hassan’s hooked pass and a Thompson flick sending Welford clear on goal, Molloy getting in on the action with a brave double save at Welford’s feet. Hythe quickly regained possession and Hassan crossed to Thompson whose glancing header flew just wide.


George Crimmen cleared off the line as Thompson followed up his own saved close-range volley, following a dangerous free-kick from Pleau. This period was probably Hythe’s best football of the season, as Walker’s cross almost dropped in at the back-post and Thompson lashed a half-volley against the bar.


There seemed to be little that the away side could do to stop Hythe’s momentum, and a deserved third goal arrived in the 90th minute, substitutes Josh Burchell and Louis Sprosen forcing their way into the box before the ball broke for Welford to force home at close-range.


There was still time for Morrish to attempt to enter the ‘Goal of the Season’ competition for the second time since moving to Reachfields, but his ambitious lob from distance was just spotted in time by Molloy. 


Scorers - Hythe Town - Welford - 48, 90 mins - Thompson - 51 mins


Hythe Town - Eason, Walker, Osborne, Pleau, Cloke, Lye (c), Collado, Morrish, Welford, Thompson (Sprosen - 83), Hassan (Burchell - 88) - Unused Subs - Quigley, Blackman


Attendance - 242

Hythe Struggles Continue


Three Bridges - 3 - Hythe Town - 0

Ryman League Division One South - 22/02/14

Came Close - Shaun Welford
Came Close - Shaun Welford

The season is on the verge of becoming a completely unexpected relegation dog-fight for Scott Porter’s side after this latest defeat at their bogey ground, the home of opponents Three Bridges.


It is now one win in nine games for last season’s play-off semi-finalists, who have worryingly conceded three goals in each of their last four games.


The imminent return of centre-back, Craig Cloke, to counteract the departures of Dave Cook and Pat Kingwell, now carries even more significance.The next two games will be away at, and then home to mid-table Sittingbourne, within the space of five days.


Hythe made the worst possible start to the afternoon’s proceedings, conceding a goal after only three minutes, Tony Garrod finding the finishing touch as Hythe tried and tried again to clear the danger from their own penalty box.


Elliott Romain continued the nervous start to the afternoon for the visiting Hythe support, crashing a shot off Dan Eason’s crossbar from speculative distance. One feature of the afternoon was the relentless attitude of top scorer Shaun Welford, who despite things not going well for his side, or himself in front of goal, never stopped working from the first minute to the last.


It would be Welford who had the first attempt on goal for Hythe, showing good strength to carve out a shooting opportunity that although from distance, troubled Martin Grant enough to force a fingertip save around the base of the post.

Worked Hard - James Morrish
Worked Hard - James Morrish

The game’s open nature continued as Romain wriggled clear on Dan Eason’s goal only to send his lob onto the roof of the net. Romain continued to be the main threat for the home side, the striker’s latest effort forcing Eason into an excellent low save to beat away another dangerous shot.


Ten minutes before half-time, Romain deservedly doubled the host’s lead, meeting a dipping free-kick with a header that Eason brilliantly tipped onto the underside of the Hythe crossbar, only for Romain to force home the rebound at close-range.


The hosts were beginning to turn the screw as they looked to wrap things up before half-time, but the visitors managed to keep the impressive duo of Romain and Garrod at bay until the interval.


For Hythe, there would be a gamble right at the beginning of the second-half, Scott Porter introducing Lee Winfield and Jamie Collado for Taser Hassan and Josh Burchell. It would mean a narrower, more combative midfield for the away side, which until a crucial flashpoint midway through the second-half, was looking like it would get Hythe back into the game.


Straight from kick-off, Welford found himself clear from a ball forward, the narrow angle leading to a shot just over the bar. For Three Bridges, Romain simply carried on where he left off. forcing Eason into a great low save that full-back Charlie Leach put wide with the goal at his mercy.


Welford’s cross was flicked on by the equally hard-working James Morrish, substitute Winfield toeing the ball just wide. Tommy Osborne’s cross picked out Collado, who chested down for Welford to fire just wide when perhaps he should have tested Grant in the Three Bridges’ goal.

Some Good Saves - Dan Eason
Some Good Saves - Dan Eason

Welford continued his eventful afternoon, managing to get goalside of defender Marlon Maxwell but again finding himself with an almost impossible shooting angle, but still coming close to getting his side back into the game with a blasted shot.


Thompson ran clear onto Welford’s flick before watching his lob from the edge of the box beat keeper Grant, only to crash off the Three Bridges’ crossbar.


It seemed just a matter of time before Hythe got themselves back in the game, but they were about to take things a step too far. Second-half substitute, Jamie Collado, was lucky enough to avoid red when reacting to Charlie Leach’s obvious bait as the players tangled after a tough tackle between the two.


However, just two minutes later, common sense went out the window as a poor challenge from the Hythe midfielder led to an inevitable second yellow-card and an early shower. Two of Hythe’s best players, Welford and Morrish, both carried the ball some distance before decent efforts on goal from both came close to a now unlikely Hythe goal.


As the clock ticked down, a Hythe comeback, of course with only ten men, became less and less likely. Eventually, the man advantage told as Garrod looked almost embarrassed to claim his second goal of the afternoon, a low cross from the left seemed to hit the striker en-route to the net as opposed to the ball being struck with any intention for the host’s third goal of the afternoon.


Scorers - Three Bridges - Garrod - 3, 89 mins - Romain - 35 mins


Hythe Town - Eason, Walker, Quigley, Pleau, Osborne, Lye (c), Burchell (L Winfield - 45), Morrish, Welford, Thompson, Hassan (Collado - 45) - Unused Subs - A Porter, Blackman


Attendance - 92

Lye Strikes On Return


Hastings United - 3 - Hythe Town - 2

Ryman League Division One South - 17/02/14

Goal On Comeback - Danny Lye
Goal On Comeback - Danny Lye

Hythe continued their winless streak since the turn of the year, remembering of course, that this was only their fourth game since the beginning of 2014. This was actually a very good game for the neutral, considering the lack of recent football for both sides.


In the end, the difference between the two sides was clinical finishing, along with a controversially disallowed goal and the home side getting their ‘match legs’ two days prior in this weather-ravaged season.


Hythe began promisingly, James Morrish bundling his way through a couple of challenges on the edge of the box, before setting up Shaun Welford for an unmarked shot that deflected to safety. For Hastings, Sam Adams blasted just over from twenty-yards, after a decent counter-attack led by the run of Kenny Pogue.


Thirteen minutes in, the lively Bailo Camara picked out the always dangerous Frankie Sawyer just inside the Hythe box. The striker’s shot on the turn arrowed towards the bottom-corner, across the diving Dan Eason, giving the Hythe keeper no chance, and the hosts the lead.


Pogue, who won the game as a late substitute in the reverse fixture at Reachfields, got a fierce shot away after more good work from Camara, but on this occasion Eason was equal to the shot. For Hythe, Taser Hassan fed John Walker on the overlap, the full-back’s cross met by a Craig Thompson header just wide at the near-post.


After a period where both sides seemed to settle down into a fairly even midfield battle, the home side suddenly doubled their lead. Adams’ first-time through ball from just inside his own half, enabled Pogue to slip the Hythe defensive line to run clear on goal and slot a calm low finish under Eason.

Return To Defence - Dave Cook
Return To Defence - Dave Cook

Five minutes later Hythe had a lifeline, Welford clumsily bundled over in the box, Dave Cook slotting home the resulting penalty into the bottom corner of Josh Pelling’s goal, giving the home goalkeeper no chance.


Following the sudden departure of Pat Kingwell, to spend more time with family along with work commitments, the Hythe skipper was back in the centre-back role he filled so successfully in the second-half of the Kent League title-winning campaign.


Both sides had the chance to build further momentum before the interval, Richard Quigley’s corner was missed completely by Pelling, but cleared off the line by the last Hastings defender to save his keeper’s blushes. For Hastings, Sawyer hit the side-netting on the half-volley, in typical opportunistic fashion.


After what you would expect was a fairly positive half-time regroup, Scott Porter’s side received a real hammer-blow, just three minutes after the restart. Tom Vicker’s shooting from the edge of the box had been, up until this point, as poor as it had been ambitious. However on this occasion it was deadly accurate, the ball rolled across the edge of the Hythe box, the midfielder hitting an unstoppable rising shot into the top-left corner of the Hythe goal.


Just a couple of minutes later, it was Hythe’s most high-profile departure of this transitional season, Ronnie Dolan, who hit a shot just over the post and crossbar. The game was now in danger of getting away from the visitors, Sawyer embarrassing the Hythe offside trap but finding Eason in defiant fashion.


Dolan again provided the assist, as Pogue got his shot away across goal but just wide. Much like their first-half goal, Hythe suddenly had a lifeline that they probably deserved for their overall efforts. Hassan’s corner to the back-post picking out Danny Lye, the big midfielder heading home in his first appearance since the 24th November due to injury problems.

Set-Up Hythe's Second - Taser Hassan
Set-Up Hythe's Second - Taser Hassan

With just over twenty minutes remaining, Hythe came the closest they would get to claiming a point from a tough away-day at opponents formerly of the Ryman Premier. Hassan managed to get to the byline and cross to Thompson, whose header was just tipped over the crossbar at full-stretch by Pelling.


From the resulting corner, again taken by Hassan, Pelling appeared to drop the ball into his own net. Most assumed the referee was correct with the usual decision of a foul on the keeper. However officials and supporters from both clubs, some stationed behind the Hastings goal, later confirmed that the foul on Pelling had actually been committed by his own team-mate.


Hastings has survived with their lead intact, but Hassan was enjoying a purple patch, as the winger again got the better of his marker to cross, this time the ball glancing off the back-post as Hastings breathed again.


The away side had one final chance to snatch a point, substitute Josh Burchell clipping a cute through-ball into the path of Thompson, but the home support were relieved to see that Pelling was alert and quick off his line to smother the ball and secure all three points.


Scorers - Hythe Town - Cook - 35 mins (pen) - Lye 64 mins - Hastings United - Sawyer - 13 mins - Pogue - 30 mins - Vickers - 48 mins


Hythe Town - Eason, Walker, Quigley, Lye, Osborne, L Winfield (Collado - 80), Cook (c), Morrish (Burchell - 73), Welford, Thompson, Hassan - Unused Sub - Sprosen


Attendance - 289

A Windy Night In Walton


Walton Casuals - 3 - Hythe Town - 1

Ryman League Division One South - 04/02/14

First Start Since Return - Craig Thompson
First Start Since Return - Craig Thompson

Walton Casuals won this battle of two sides that are really not enjoying the winter months of their respective Ryman South campaigns.


The result of Tuesday night’s game is the only difference between these two sides in the form table, with both struggling to fulfil fixtures and pick up wins since the turn of the New Year.


The game started in end to end fashion as both side’s forward lines looked lively, whilst the extremely windy conditions added an element of the unpredictable as and when the ball left the ground.


By the time the heavy rain arrived at half-time, it left the players a tough task to produce any kind of spectacle. Hythe fashioned the first chance of the evening as Taser Hassan’s through ball sent Shaun Welford clear on goal but wide, the striker’s shot flying just over.


All things considered, the playing surface was actually in pretty good condition, despite the need for sand in patches. Good work from Jamie Collado to win back possession, led to a hooked pass from Dave Cook that sent Welford clear on goal, only for the striker to miscue his finish.


The hosts had looked lively on the counter-attack, without carving out any clear chances on goal, however they took the lead with the first real opportunity offered to them. A raking cross caught the Hythe defence out of position, Gabriel Odunakie slotting home as Dan Eason tried to make amends by charging out from his goal.


Midway through the first-half, early substitute, John Walker, sent a ball forward that again provided Welford with a good shooting opportunity, this time the striker found the side-netting, as both sides continued to offer the other plenty of space on the counter-attack.

Early Second-Half Introduction - Lee Winfield
Early Second-Half Introduction - Lee Winfield

It was another of those swift counter-attacks that provided the next opportunity for the home side, Pat Kingwell taking the sting out of a Connor French shot with a good block, before Eason turned the rebound around the base of the Hythe post to safety.


Minutes into the second-half, Hythe’s starting line-up was again disrupted due to injury, Lee Winfield replacing Jamie Collado, although the experienced midfielder went on to enjoy a decent cameo in the middle of the park.


After a scrappy opening to the second period of play, Walton Casuals hit an opportunistic, but clinically taken second goal. Eason had made a good low save, after French had wriggled clear and got his shot away, but as Hythe failed to clear their lines, Casuals’ skipper, Liam Collins, smashed home the loose ball from the edge of the box at the second time of asking.


Hythe almost struck back within a minute of kick-off, Richard Quigley’s cross headed down by Cook, only for Welford to miss a close-range connection by an inch or two. Hythe’s top scorer was having an impressive night, but the ball just didn’t seem to want to run to allow him to add to his goalscoring tally for the season.


The visitors were now probably enjoying their best spell of the game, as Winfield robbed eccentric keeper Ferhat Askoy of the ball, only to see his shot from the narrowest of angles cleared off the line by a recovering Walton defender.


Hythe introduced Josh Burchell in a central position for the closing stages as they sniffed an unlikely point. Kingwell’s free-kick from a deep position was caught by the wind and bounced right up in front of goal, Askoy having to push the ball over his bar with a fine reflex save.

Rare Goal - John Walker
Rare Goal - John Walker

That was the slice of luck Hythe needed, as from the resulting Winfield corner, Askoy showed the other side of his game, dropping the ball at the feet of the unlikely John Walker, who gleefully fired home what he later claimed to be his ‘third goal in eight years’!


Hythe were now putting any set-piece opportunities right above the head of the nervous Askoy, Winfield’s free-kick deflected just wide, before another spill from Askoy almost allowed Walker to double his almost decade-long tally.


As the game approached its final five minutes, the Hythe revival was ended in abrupt fashion, Malik Ouani firing home impressively after Hythe again failed to clear their lines following a Walton Casuals free-kick, something they must improve on.


The clinical shooting from the hosts, along with their vulnerability at the back. explains why they have the lowest amount of draws, three, in the division, this Casuals side encourage games with goals. The open nature of their play wasn’t about to change in the final few minutes.


Welford’s header from Walker’s cross was tipped around the post by the now repreived Askoy. There was still time for a wind-assisted free-kick from Winfield to strike the crossbar, and Ouani to have a couple of decent attempts to complete a brace.


Scorers – Hythe Town – Walker - 75 mins - Walton Casuals - Odunakie - 16 mins - Collins - 60 mins - Ouani - 84 mins


Hythe Town – Eason, Sprosen (Walker - 13), Quigley, Kingwell, Osborne, Collado (L Winfield - 47), Cook (c), Morrish, Welford, Thompson, Hassan (Burchell - 74 mins) – Unused Sub – Blackman


Attendance - 83

Rams Raid Reachfields


Hythe Town – 2 – Ramsgate – 3

Ryman League Division One South – 21/01/14 

Opening Hythe Goal - Shaun Welford
Opening Hythe Goal - Shaun Welford

Hythe put in an improved attacking display, but unfortunately their defence were unable to handle an inspired performance from the experienced Ian Pulman. The skilful striker hit a brace, along with a strike from ex-Hythe man, James 'Ratty' Everitt.


The home side had led the Rams 2-1 at half-time after coming from behind during an entertaining first-half. One Hythe goal a Shaun Welford thunderbolt, the other an own-goal. Pulman completed his brace five minutes after the break, before Everitt hit the winner midway through the second-half.


Hythe almost made the perfect start after just one minute, but Josh Burchell’s first touch let him down as the forward ran clear on goal, following a lovely through-ball from Dave Cook.


Richard Quigley’s clearance was intercepted for Ian Pulman’s first sight of goal, although the striker’s early shot was comfortably held by Dan Eason.


Pulman and Burchell continued to threaten, the Rams’ man sending a half-volley just wide. Whilst Burchell ran onto Cook’s flick from an Eason kick, former Hythe keeper, Nick Shaw saving low.


Another ex-Hythe man, Ratty Everitt, forced Eason into a decent stop with a first-time effort from the impressive Tom Chapman’s cross.


The key moment in the game arrived shortly after, as Stephen Butcher pulled back Welford as the forward charged clear on goal.

Early Chances - Josh Burchell
Early Chances - Josh Burchell

With the ball within reach of the Hythe man for a clear goalscoring opportunity, and Butcher the last man by some distance, a red card seemed inevitable, therefore the yellow issued was controversial at the least.


Shaw produced the save of the game, after Welford ran clear onto Burchell’s hooked pass, only to stumble but still provide the centre for Taser Hassan, whose low shot found the legs of the visiting keeper.


After a fairly even start, the visitors began to turn the screw, Aaron Millbank with an excellent low shot back across goal but just wide, but the threat was still mainly coming from Pulman.


However, the home side contributed to their own downfall, as they backed off from Pulman’s mazy run until the point where he hit a fierce strike past Eason that was as impressive as Hythe’s defending was poor.


But it only took three minutes for Hythe to strike back, inevitably via Welford, the host’s top scorer smashing a thunderbolt of a strike past Shaw from the edge of the box. It was clinical finishing as the Rams’s defence threatened to make up for losing their man on the half-way line.


Scott Porter’s side were now right on top, James Morrish’s crossfield ball picked out Welford, a first-time half-volley fired just wide. Hassan’s excellent cross from the right was then turned into his own net by Ollie Schultz to give Hythe the lead.

Moved Forward - Pat Kingwell
Moved Forward - Pat Kingwell

Just before half-time the away side fired a warning that they were still in the game, Millbank dragging a shot back across goal and just wide as he ran across the Hythe box.


Scott Porter’s half-time team-talk would have been based around nullifying the threat of Pulman and wrapping up the points with a third goal. Unbelievably, the Hythe defence made the same mistake for Pulman’s second goal as they did the first.


The Ram’s striker weaved his way deep into the Hythe box past three men, the home defence guilty of both standing off, and allowing Pulman to move onto his shooting foot, much like the opening strike of the game. The finish gave Eason no chance and five minutes after the restart the visitors were back in it.


Pat Kingwell’s denied Pulman his hat-trick, as he made a vital block on Millbank’s centre, before Millbank himself forced Eason into a decent save at the end of a quick counter-attack, the momentum was now clearly with the Rams.


Midway through the half, the hosts again fell behind, this time to the final goal of the game. As Hythe failed to clear their lines, Eason’s clearance fell at the feet of Everitt who drove into the box to fire home a low hard finish.


The game ended with substitute, John Walker, clearing off the line following a cheeky lob from Everitt, before Eason made a fine double-save to deny Pulman his hat-trick. Hythe pushed Pat Kingwell forward in the closing stages, but their search for an equaliser was in vain.


Scorers – Hythe Town – Welford - 32 mins - Own Goal - 39 mins - Ramsgate - Pullman - 29. 50 mins - Everitt - 64 mins


Hythe Town – Eason, Sprosen, Quigley, Kingwell, Osborne, L Winfield (Pleau - 83), Cook (c), Morrish, Welford, Burchell (Walker - 66), Hassan – Unused Subs – White, Blackman


Attendance - 179

Building For The Future


Hythe Town – 1 – Crawley Down Gatwick – 1

Ryman League Division One South – 11/01/14 

Impressed - Jamie Collado
Impressed - Jamie Collado

Building for the future appeared to be the theme at Reachfields on Saturday, as an improving Crawley Down Gatwick side took advantage of some wasteful finishing from the hosts to secure a 1-1 draw.


The visitors have added to their squad since they shipped nineteen goals in the last two games, but are clearly still a work in progress. For Hythe, the talking points were the exciting futures of the younger players now featuring for Scott Porter's side.


Jamie Collado and recent addition Richard Quigley contested the man of the match award, the latter scoring his debut goal, whilst second-half substitute, seventeen year old Lee Pleau also impressed.


It was excellent defending that prevented Hythe taking the lead after just eight minutes. Collado won possession high up the pitch, before sending Shaun Welford clear on goal, Michael Daley making a fine saving tackle on Hythe’s top scorer.


Although he had a quiet game, it was clear Allan Tait hasn’t lost the knack of being in the right place at the right time, a scooped shot just over and a header just wide after twenty minutes the only evidence the Hythe defence needed. Stefan Cox forced Dan Eason into a low save, before Marcus Milner shot across goal but just wide.


Although Crawley Down were getting their shots away from distance, the home side were looking far more dangerous with their build-up play. The offside trap of the visiting defence was either brilliant, or possibly a little on the lucky side, depending on your point of view

Close To Scoring - James Morrish
Close To Scoring - James Morrish

Midway through the first-half Hythe took the lead, Quigley scoring on his second start since signing from Lydd Town, the full-back’s free-kick deceiving the otherwise excellent Luke Badiali in the visitor’s goal. Welford played his part, fouled for the free-kick and shaping to tap home Quigley’s delivery enough to cause Badiali to hesitate.


Hythe were now moving through the gears, Taser Hassan’s cross picking out Welford, who in turn headed back across an open goal, frustratingly, the Hythe forward was isolated on a fair few occasions throughout the afternoon.


Quigley’s free-kick was half-volleyed just wide by Welford, before the same player shot the wrong side of the post, after Tommy Osborne’s clearance had sent his former Maidstone team-mate clear on goal, albeit with a tough shooting angle.


It was the Quigley and Welford show as the two combined again, Welford firing another excellent cross towards goal at the back-post, only for Badiali to come up with the first of three outstanding saves to frustrate Hythe.


The visiting keeper put in a man of the match performance, and was one of six new signings for a much-improved side that had been dismantled by Folkestone (8-0) and Guernsey (11-0) in their previous two games.


However, all that aside, the home side knew they should have converted more than one chance on the day. Welford and Badiali carried on where they left off after the restart, another shot met by another outstanding save, after Louis Sprosen had set-up a close-range blast for his team-mate.

Shot Cleared Off Line - Josh Burchell
Shot Cleared Off Line - Josh Burchell

That chance aside, it was Crawley Down that started the second-half the stronger of the two sides, and it didn’t take long for them to draw level. Tait smashing home a rebound, after Osborne’s missed clearance had allowed Milner a clear run and shot on goal.


Scott Porter’s side didn’t seem to be getting the rub of the green, Hassan leaving the field of play due to injury, Sprosen moving forward only to have a penalty shout turned down, before he himself got injured.


The game ended in end to end fashion, Tait sending Cox clear on goal, the early shot from the edge of the box not enough to trouble Eason. Cox finished the afternoon as frustrated as Welford, sending two good chances just over the bar before Hythe took their chance to attack.


Another brilliant free-kick from Quigley, a feature of the afternoon, was met by Welford’s flick, and was forced into the net by Pat Kingwell, who unfortunately was in an offside position.


Finally, in injury-time, Badiali again denied Hythe all three points, with a brilliant reflex save from a close-range finish from Morrish. With the goal at his mercy, substitute Josh Burchell then calmly steered his shot away from the recovering keeper, only for a Crawley Down body to clear off the line.


Scorers – Hythe Town – Quigley – 24 mins – Crawley Down Gatwick – Tait – 56 mins


Hythe Town – Eason, Sprosen (Blackman – 71), Quigley, Kingwell, Osborne, L Winfield (Burchell – 45), Cook (c), Morrish, Welford, Collado, Hassan (Pleau – 60) – Unused Subs – White, O’Hara


Attendance - 204

Morrish Returns To Haunt The Belmont


Whitstable Town – 0 - Hythe Town – 1

Ryman League Division One South – 29/12/13

First Hythe Goal - James Morrish
First Hythe Goal - James Morrish

James Morrish returned to his former club, and left with a stunning match-winning strike to his name. With this the fifth encounter of the season between these two sides, and in very heavy playing conditions, this was never going to be a classic.


With both sides struggling to carve out clear chances on goal, the game came alive on the hour mark when Dan Eason remarkably made his third successive penalty save at the same ground.


It was left to Morrish to claim all three points, with a fantastic effort from the centre-circle to lob Luke Watkins in the Whitstable goal.


Oliver Brown had the first chance of the afternoon, a bustling run into the Hythe box ending with a low shot that Eason did well to get down to.


The next real chance for either side didn’t arrive until midway through the half, Jamie Collado driving just over from the edge of the box after good work from Taser Hassan and Louis Sprosen.

Another Penalty Save - Dan Eason
Another Penalty Save - Dan Eason

The next incident of any note was the introduction of Josh Burchell for Dave Cook ten minutes into the second-half, but as the second-half progressed the game began to come to life.


Brown’s dangerous shot for the home side was deflected to safety at the end of a quick counter-attack. However Hassan and Sprosen were beginning to combine on a more regular basis for Hythe down the right-flank.


Just before the hour mark, two players tangled at the opposite end of the pitch that they would normally be found, Shaun Welford adjudged to have fouled ex-Hythe defender and second-half makeshift forward Laurence Harvey within the Hythe penalty box.


Dan Wells stepped up to place his spot-kick low to Eason’s right, but the Hythe keeper continued his incredible run of penalty saves at the same ground with a good low stop.


The previous two saves came in the FA Trophy replay back at the start of November, ex-Hythe man Craig Thompson the first in the sequence to suffer. The next? James Morrish, who in this game was now about to score a brilliant winner, his first goal since moving between the two clubs.

Return To Centre-Back - Tommy Osborne
Return To Centre-Back - Tommy Osborne

Just a minute after the saved penalty came that spectacular goal, Luke Watkins’ poor clearance leaving him stranded on the edge of his box, the home keeper only able to watch as his former captain clipped a perfectly controlled lob from just inside the centre-circle in the Whitstable half, over his head and into the goal.


To their credit, the hosts kept on coming, Charlie Smith’s cross to the near-post headed agonisingly wide by Harvey, before Smith himself enjoyed a mazy run into the Hythe six-yard box that Eason did well to smother.


Brown’s volley deflected dangerously wide as Hythe held on to a much needed second win in eight games. Scott Porter’s side can now look to their attractive New Years Day trip to third placed Hastings United with improved confidence. 


Scorer - Hythe Town - Morrish – 61 mins


Hythe Town - Eason, Sprosen, Quigley, Pleau, Osborne, L Winfield, Cook (Burchell – 54), Morrish, Welford, Collado, Hassan – Unused Subs – White, Blackman, O’Hara


Attendance - 251

Invicta Claim Bragging Rights


Hythe Town – 2 – Folkestone Invicta - 3

Ryman League Division One South – 26/12/13

Dane Luchford & Tommy Osborne Duel - photo courtesy of
Dane Luchford & Tommy Osborne Duel - photo courtesy of

Louis Sprosen's first goal in a Hythe shirt capped a two goal fightback from Scott Porter's side that almost ended in victory, before the evergreen Paul Booth broke Hythe hearts.


Booth had opened the scoring midway through a first-half that had failed to impress. However, Chris Elliott's excellent curling free-kick for Invicta's second gave the home side nothing to lose as these two rivals finally let the shackles off.


Kieran Byrne's close-range finish gave the Hythe support hope, before Sprosen's strike made Hythe the favourites to become unlikely winners. With the game beginning to stretch, Booth delivered a late Christmas present to the Invicta faithful.


The hosts settled the quickest at the start of play, which was a pleasant surprise, given the absence of the unavailable Pat Kingwell and the suspended Shaun Welford, and also the youthfulness of the Hythe line-up.


Hythe’s two young centre-backs, Jordan Miller and Lee Pleau, both showed glimpses of the future, if either one or both choose to ply their trade at Reachfields in the long-term. Whilst the opening moments showed why Kieran Byrne remains a favourite with the Hythe supporters, on the rare occasion he is both available and required to return in a red shirt.


In regards to chances on goal, the game sprung into life after twenty minutes, the lively Taser Hassan slipping Byrne clear on Tim Roberts' goal only to be crowded out as he lined up his shot just inside the box. With the rare absence of Frankie Chappell for Invicta, that chance seemed to focus the minds of Liam Friend and company,


With that absence in mind, and the average age of the Hythe backline significantly younger than usual, the first goal was always going to be crucial. Johan Ter Horst and Paul Booth had already had their first sniffs in front of goal, when the latter stole in unmarked to convert a Folkestone free-kick that the hosts should have done better to clear.

Dan Eason Launches A Hythe Attack - photo courtesy of
Dan Eason Launches A Hythe Attack - photo courtesy of

The half ended with a typical run in behind the Hythe defensive line from Ter Horst, Dan Eason handling the youngster’s early shot with confidence. For Hythe, a promising move ended with Jamie Collado blasting a difficult half-volley over Roberts’ crossbar.


The visitors started the second-half with far more confidence than the first, Ter Horst almost clear on Eason’s goal from an Elliott long-throw, the highly-rated young left-back would go on to make a far more telling contribution.


Dane Luchford went close as Hythe failed to clear a corner, but a key moment in the game was to follow. Hassan’s free-kick surprised Roberts at the near-post, before the winger returned the ball into the box, Hythe captain, Dave Cook heading agonisingly wide, with Miller also in close attendance.


Moments later, Neil Cugley’s side had doubled their lead, Elliott curling in a perfectly-placed free-kick, from over twenty-yards, into the top-right hand corner to give Eason no chance.


Hythe were reeling as Ter Horst went on a typical run that took him deep into the penalty box past two Hythe defenders, before the forward simply ran out of room to manoeuvre.


Even though he been involved with Hythe’s brighter moments, Byrne, a winger by trade, had found himself in positions far deeper than the centre-forward berth he was tasked with covering on the day.


However, in the second-half he warmed to the task of being more of a threat in the penalty-box, and he reaped the rewards when he converted Dave Cook’s nod down at close-range to give Hythe a lifeline.

Hythe Celebrate Louis Sprosen's Equaliser - photo courtesy of
Hythe Celebrate Louis Sprosen's Equaliser - photo courtesy of

Collado and Byrne both had good shots blocked inside the Invicta box as Morrish began to make Hythe tick. Scott Porter sensed his chance and made a double substitution, Lee Winfield and Louis Sprosen both joining the fray.


Pleau headed Hassan’s free-kick onto the roof of the net, but a Hythe equaliser was right round the corner. Sprosen and Hassan worked a short-corner routine, Roberts miscued his catch under pressure from Cook, before Sprosen rifled home back across goal into the top corner.


Inevitably, the vocal support of both sides was split into the two opinions that Roberts was either fouled, or simply didn’t hold onto the ball as Cook charged in. Either way the scores were level, and both sets of supporters wouldn’t deny it now seemed like they were about to witness a dramatic Hythe turnaround.


However, such are the fine lines in football that it seemed like the home side went from low in confidence to cavalier in just a few short minutes. Cruelly, Invicta, the side in form, expertly picked Hythe off on the counter-attack, Booth found unmarked and slotting home confidently from just inside the box.


There was bound to be one more moment of drama, and with three minutes remaining, Cook sent a glorious close-range chance over the bar, following a low cross from Byrne, it didn’t make the Hythe contingent feel any better to see the offside flag raised anyway.


Match Photos - Courtesy of - Click Here


Scorers – Hythe Town – Byrne – 68 mins – Sprosen – 78 mins – Folkestone Invicta – Booth – 25, 80 mins – Elliott – 60 mins


Hythe Town – Eason, Walker (Cooper – 39), Osborne, Pleau, J Miller, Collado (L Winfield – 72), Cook, Morrish, Byrne, Burchell (Sprosen – 72), Hassan – Unused Subs – White, O’Hara


Attendance - 824

Frustrations Grow For Town At Tooting


Tooting & Mitcham United – 4 – Hythe Town - 1

Ryman League Division One South – 21/12/13

It was a miserable afternoon at Tooting on and off the pitch, as Scott Porter’s side were on the end of a heavy defeat in the driving wind and rain.


Hythe should have taken the lead in only the first minute, Josh Burchell heading Taser Hassan’s cross just wide of the post. It didn’t take long for the home side to make Hythe pay for that miss, Bashiru Alimi poking home a nod down from Frankie Sawyer’s corner.


Shortly after Sawyer had the ball in the net, but on this occasion the offside flag rescued the visitors, who in turn took the opportunity to settle things down, as both sides attempted to become accustomed to the awful playing conditions.


The half-hour mark arrived with a stunning save from Dan Eason, Colin Hartburn bringing the best out of the Hythe goalkeeper with an excellent close-range volley. The same two players were involved again, a decent headed effort from Hartburn again equalled by Eason.


Five minutes before half-time, a farcical period of play, from Hythe’s point of view, ended the game as a contest. First, John Walker made a needless tackle from behind on Max Noble to allow Sawyer to open his account on the day from the penalty-spot.


Just a minute later, the Hythe marking was all over the place as Sawyer tapped in his second in as many minutes from close-range, up into the roof of the net following Josh Turner’s low cross.


Eason made sure things didn’t get embarrassing, making a fine low save from Jordan Cheadle’s twenty-five yard free-kick on the stroke of half-time


As is too often the case at the moment, it took a regrouping at half-time for Hythe to produce their more competitive side. Five minutes into the half, James Morrish’s attempted lob fell just wide, after an uncleared Hassan corner.


Hassan picked up a loose ball and curled an ambitious effort just wide, but ten minutes into the half Hythe managed to find a goal, inevitably it was Shaun Welford who got the decisive touch to redirect Hassan’s quickly taken free-kick.


Unfortunately for Hythe, that would be as much of a hold as the hosts were prepared to give them in the game, Noble lighting up a poor afternoon’s football with a brilliant solo effort with just over ten minutes remaining.

Scorers – Hythe Town - Welford - 55 mins - Tooting & Mitcham United - Alimi - 6 mins - Sawyer - 40, 41 mins - Noble - 77 mins


Hythe Town – Eason, Cooper, Osborne, Kingwell, Pleau, Walker, Collado, Cook, Morrish, Welford, Burchell (White - 61), Hassan – Unused Subs – Sprosen, Webb, Blackman, O'Hara


Attendance - 124

Hythe Defeated In Local Derby


Hythe Town – 1 – Faversham Town - 2

Ryman League Division One South – 14/12/13

Taser Hassan under the watchful eye of Luke Harvey - Photo courtesy of
Taser Hassan under the watchful eye of Luke Harvey - Photo courtesy of

Taser Hassan set-up Shaun Welford's eleventh goal in as many games, but it was to be in vain as Faversham left Reachfields with all three points. Ray Turner's side rode their luck in a first-half that the home side dominated, despite only scoring the one goal.


Luke Harvey's fine strike just before half-time gave the visitors an unexpected equaliser. From there the script was written for ex-Hythe man, Brendon Cass, to score a winner not too long after the restart. Hythe weathered the storm as Faversham looked to extend their lead, before ending the game on top, although an equaliser remained elusive.


Hythe were all over their opponents from the start, Hassan and Welford combining in dangerous areas almost every time they gained possession. As early as the first minute Hassan won his side a corner that Josh Burchell took and Welford headed just wide.


Hassan’s free-kick from the edge of the box skidded off the surface and surprised Faversham keeper, Simon Overland, who pushed the ball into the path of Welford. On another day the striker would have found the net, but on this occasion he could only find the side-netting.


Welford headed Hassan’s near-post corner just wide, and it was no surprise when Hassan’s excellent low skidding cross was converted in some style by Welford, a curling effort giving Overland no chance.


It should be noted the unsung role that Ryan Cooper played in the majority of Hythe’s attacks, the full-back’s lung-busting runs and flicks on the overlap, the perfect foil for Hassan’s crossing ability.

Hythe celebrate Shaun Welford's goal - Photo courtesy of
Hythe celebrate Shaun Welford's goal - Photo courtesy of

Dan Eason was called into action for the first time, beating away Darren Marsden’s fiercely driven effort, Cass supplying the pass from the edge of the box. Eason then made a brilliant low save from former Herne Bay team-mate Luke Harvey, after the striker latched on to a clearance that put him clear on goal.


The hosts probed away down the flanks via Hassan and also the returning Josh Burchell, but the away side were beginning to threaten on the counter-attack via the excellent Harvey, often backed up by skipper Aaron Lacy’s long-throws. One such throw-in from the ex-Hythe man causing a scramble that was just cleared.


Three minutes before half-time Faversham found themselves level, Cass the provider on the counter-attack, Harvey turning his man brilliantly on the edge of the box, and this time getting the better of Eason.


A promising afternoon continued to unravel for Scott Porter’s side, who found themselves surprisingly behind after only four minutes of the second-half. Cass converting a typical poacher’s goal from close-range after his former side failed to clear a Dave Botterill free-kick flicked on inside the box.


Harvey and Eason continued their duel, the Hythe man coming out on top of Harvey’s latest chance on the counter-attack. When Cook uncharacteristically missed an easy headed opportunity on the hour-mark, it seemed odd the Hythe captain hadn’t at least been on target. Those closer to the action confirmed later that there was in fact a clear push that should have led to a Hythe penalty.


Hythe were now finding their way back into the game, the home side almost succeeding with a carbon-copy of the first Faversham goal. Pat Kingwell picking out James Morrish, who slipped clear into the box but only found the side-netting with his shot.

Shaun Welford heads towards goal - Photo courtesy of
Shaun Welford heads towards goal - Photo courtesy of

Frustration around Reachfields continued to grow as Cooper’s first-time shot was redirected by Welford and fired home by Cook, only for the offside flag to be raised just as Hythe thought they had their equaliser


Hythe continued to build pressure, Hassan flicking Morrish clear down the right, Burchell so close to converting a low cross to the near-post. Hassan’s cross then picked out substitute Luke Webb, who rolled a shot across goal that ran agonisingly wide.


Determined player-coach and substitute, Lloyd Blackman, came as close as anybody to a dramatic Hythe equaliser in the closing stages. His flicked header saved after Hassan had skipped past two challenges to whip in another dangerous cross.


It was Blackman again who smashed a volley into the side-netting as the game entered injury-time. The game then ended in controversial circumstances, as Kingwell’s shot appeared to be met by a raised Faversham arm in the box.


It was surprising that a spot-kick wasn’t awarded by either referee or his assistant closest to the action, but there was the small consolation that two sides who know each other well both on and off the pitch, had played out an excellent game of Ryman South football.


Photos courtesy of


Scorers – Hythe Town – Welford – 18 mins – Faversham Town – Harvey – 42 mins – Cass – 49 mins


Hythe Town – Eason, Cooper, Osborne, Kingwell, Walker, Burchell (Webb – 75), Cook, Morrish, Welford (Blackman – 72), L Winfield, Hassan – Unused Subs – White, Carey


Attendance - 216

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