Punjab United 2-2 Chatham Town
Punjab United 2-2 Chatham Town

Twice in front in the early exchanges before being pegged back, Chatham Town still top the fledgling SCEFL table after an entertaining evening in Gravesend when last season’s First Division Champions earned a point that could well have been three with two amazing chances late on. 

But at the end of the day a point each was probably about right…

The leaders were in front before some of the crowd were even in place as Byron Walker gave Chatham the lead inside the first ninety seconds as the home side were caught cold from a great ball in from the left wing.

The lead lasted just under ten minutes as the home team rallied – Anthony Adesite made room for himself from the edge of the box before arrowing a great drive into the bottom corner of the Chatham net.

The response?  Instant!  Thompson sprinted down the slope wide on the right and his terrific ball across the edge of the box was perfect into the stride of Jack Mahoney whose first time shot disappeared into the bottom corner.

Bradshaw then had to be alert in the Chatham goal to keep out Adesite’s shot with his feet, but the keeper was powerless on 32 minutes when Simon Cuthbert got between two defenders unopposed to head home Gosal’s cross.

The second half was by no less intriguing but had no more goals!

Quite how the visitors weren’t awarded a penalty early in the second half when Pilbeam was flattened by keeper Kidman only the referee will be able to explain – as the ball dropped, Pilbeam knocked the ball back towards the edge of the box at the same time as the home keeper scythed the Chatham man’s legs from under him.

Both sides had the chances to win the game as first the visitors twice went close – McDonagh’s header was cleared off the line before Mahoney forced the keeper into a fine save to his left, the big central defender was left hanging his head as his free header crashed into the netting behind the goal.

In the closing stages, the home side had two glorious chances to win the game, but a mixture of great defending and poor finishing meant the scoreline remained level.  Cole somehow got in beyond and behind the Chatham defence only to see his shot brilliantly turned aside by Bradshaw before in stoppage time, Adesite managed to get the ball past an advancing keeper only to fractionally delay allowing Bedford to hack the ball to safety.