Published: 22:00, 12 October 2021
| Updated: 08:19, 13 October 2021
Whitstable Town beat Gillingham with a late goal to book their place in the final of the Kent Senior Cup.
Tom Carlton won the match with his stoppage-time goal against a youthful Gills team. Whitstable will now play Dartford in the final of the delayed 2019/20 competition.
Gillingham sent a youthful side to The Belmont with first-year pros Harvey Lintott and Gerald Sithole among the starters. Youth player Bailey Akehurst was the only other player with first team experience in the League 1 side.
Whitstable’s new manager Keith McMahon took charge of his first game and he had several former Gillingham players in his squad. Harry Stannard, Danny Walder, Jake MacKenzie and James Brown had all been on the books at Priestfield in their youth.
Sithole put an early chance wide for the Gills and later in the opening half struck a shot over the bar.
Carlton - a former Chelsea youngster - came close for the hosts as his shot hit the underside of the bar.
Walder also nearly found the net for the Oystermen in the early stages of the second half while Gills striker Joseph Gbode hit an effort against a post.
Freddie Carter had a good chance for the Gills soon after and once again the woodwork was rattled, this time Lintott putting a shot against the crossbar.
Ronald Sithole - younger brother of Gerald - came off the bench and had a couple of efforts that weren’t far off the target but it was Whitstable that finally found the net.
Carlton beat Gills keeper Tommy Crump with a well-placed shot into the bottom corner, a goal which was enough to send the Isthmian League side through to the final.
Winning boss McMahon tweeted: "Wow what a first game in charge of Whitstable Town. I thought the players and supporters were excellent...a great feeling."
Whitstable: Eason, MacKenzie, Brown, Walder, Miles, Mills, Barnes (Stannard 84mins), Griffiths, Goodger (Gray 90mins), Carlton, Cham (Deslandes 90mins). Subs not used: Thomas, McKroy.
Gillingham: Crump, Lintott, Giles, Carter, Akehurst, Kuhr, E Smith, Moore, MacArthur (R Sithole 64mins), G Sithole, Gbode. Subs not used: T Smith, Woodliffe, Hutcheon, Garrett.
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