Thursday 01st September 2005

Put your club before country


Instead of sitting in a pub on a Saturday afternoon screaming at a wide screen television watching Sven's men, why don't you go to Maidstone Road and cheer on Binks' boys in action, writes Stephen McCartney.

Chatham Town are currently unbeaten in league and cup matches this season, and at the same time as Beckham and Owen take to the field, they tackle Berkhamsted Town in a Southern League fixture.

Chatham manager Steve Binks, however, tells real football fans in the Medway - and the rest of Kent - to: "Get out in the sunshine and watch the Chats and tape the England game to watch it later. A whole day of football - what can be better than that."

And there can be no better time to watch Chatham. Unbeaten in five league games with nine points, they defeated Hellenic League outfit North Leigh 2-0 last Saturday to progress into the first qualifying round of the FA Cup, where they host Ryman League Division One side Leatherhead on Saturday, 10th September.

Binks, however, admitted he is pleased with their start to the season. In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk  he said: "Absolutely delighted and feel that we have been close to getting maximum points from all the games played so far. In two of the away draws we have conceded injury time equalisers."

But Binks' side had to work hard to crash North Leigh off the Road to Wembley. "Eventually we got what we deserved," he said. "Although I felt a little bit of a hollow victory as North Leigh had gone down to ten-men following a serious injury to one of their players.

"We weren't at our best, but it's a sign of a good team to win after not playing well."

Chatham followed up their FA Cup win with a tough 2-2 draw through Dartford tunnel at Aveley, which saw both sides score injury time goals - something that is happening to some of our Kent sides at the moment.

"It was a really tough game and Aveley won't stay at that end of the division if they continue to play like that," said the Chatham stalwart.

"I thought we won it having gone 2-1 up in the last minute before Aveley forced one corner too many to score an injury time equaliser.

"A lot of positives to take from the game considering that we lost the spine of the side."

Centre back Matt Bourne was ruled out before the game with a neck injury sustained against North Leigh and his partner at the back, Andy Larkin had to come off during the second half with a hamstring strain.

Chatham also lost striker Rob Denness (calf) and midfield star Steve Searle (groin) and striker Dexley Fidyk is currently recovering from an ankle injury. "It shows the strength of the squad and looked like we were going to win it. The dressing room was a bit deflated after having conceded such a late goal, but the unbeaten run goes on," said Binks.

However, he was quietly confident his side can bring success to the club with a number of impressive, young players.

"We have a great squad who I think have the ability to compete at the top end of the table," said Binks.

"Louis Green is an excellent goalkeeper, the defence with Tom Binks, Andy Boyle, Andy Larkin, Matt Bourne, Dan Larkin and Andy Garrett are proving a real tough nut to crack.

"We have a fantastic midfield of Mark Brooks, Steve Best, Steve Searle, Matt Solly, Byron Walker, Issy Armadi and Ross Finn and a real potent strike force with Rob Denness, Brendan Cass, Glen Billenness and Dexley Fidyk.

"I must mention the major contribution so far from four, yes four, teenagers. Centre half, Matt Bourne (18), midfielders Matt Solly (17), Byron Walker (19) and striker Rob Denness (17). They all have great ability, fantastic football brains and the desire to do well."

Binks is looking forward to an exciting game against Berkhamsted Town - and is hoping more people flock through the turnstiles to watch it.

"They are a very good footballing side, but have been going through quite a transition," he said.

"We had two excellent games against them last season losing by the odd goal each time. We will be looking to improve on that this time."

All the injured players will be receiving treatment this week and Binks will asses the situation after their training session on Thursday night.

Chatham Town v Berkhamsted Town
Southern League Division One East
Saturday 3rd September 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Maidstone Road, Chatham