Chatham Town 4-1 Deal Town
Chatham Town 4-1 Deal Town

New look stadium, new look team and a perfect start to the SCEFL season – all is looking rosy in the Medway garden of Chatham Town.

Yet for 45 minutes, Deal Town more than matched the home side and but for a very smart piece of defending from Leon Smith early on could even have taken the lead. 

Out of nowhere, Matt Bodkin drove the Chats into the lead in stoppage time and seconds later Jack Evans stroked home the second from the spot. Further goals in the second half from Harry Harding and a second from Evans in the final minute sent the Chats top.  Connor Coyne pulled one back for Deal at three-nil but after their first half efforts the score-line was tough on the visitors.

After all that followed, ironically Deal had the best chance early on and but from a brilliant goal-line clearance from Smith after keeper Jordan Carey had been beaten by Coyne’s shot, perhaps the outcome may have been different. 

The best half chance, Chatham created saw Harding fire over after a free kick came back off keeper James Tonkin.

With forty-five minutes on the clock and most of the 300 plus crowd heading for the bar, Chatham struck out of nothing as skipper Bodkin picked up a loose ball from a corner and drilled the ball into the bottom corner of the net. 

There was still time for Harding to race away only to be felled in full flight by keeper Tonkin and Evans stepped up and fired the spot kick straight down the middle of the goal.

The game was as good as over on the hour when Harding swept home a cross and celebrated with the crowd behind the goal.  Deal kept probing but the final ball just wasn’t there for them on the day with Smith and Danny Fitzsimmons clearing almost every ball into the Chatham box. 

On a rare occasion they didn’t, Liam Hark thudded a drive into Carey’s chest from Charlie Walsh’s lay back whilst at the other end, last season’s top scorer Paul Vines on a substitute saw a header saved with his first touch.

Deal did pull a goal back on 86 minutes when Coyne fired into the roof of the net after a corner wasn’t cleared but just as the visitors seemingly settled Evan was side footing home Chatham’s fourth to send the home side top of the fledgling SCEFL Premier Division table.


CHATHAM TOWN – Jordan Carey, Pat Geddis, George Sheminant, Reece Butler, Leon Smith, Danny Fitzsimmons, Harvey Brown (Jon Pilbeam 74), Jack Evans (Josh Beadle 85), Harry Harding, Matt Bodkin, Josh Jackson (Paul Vines 80)

Subs – Justin Roberts, Zac Wells


DEAL TOWN – James Tonkin, Liam Hark, Steve O’Brien, Luke Bigginton, Kane Smith (Daniel Bartlett 80), Josh Maughan, Dave Pilcher, Macauley Murray, Connor Coyne, Harry Alexander (Ben Cardwell 56), Jack Penny (Charlie Walsh 65)

Subs – Sam Wilson, Billy Munday


Referee – Mr Owen

Assistants – Mr Smart and Mr Hewson