Deal Town end disastrous run
Deal Town 2-1 Slade Green
Go Travel Kent League Premier Division
Saturday 3 April 2004
by Peter Wiseman
AFTER AN hour of scrappy stalemate in Slade Green's visit to Deal Town last Saturday all the action of any consequence was condensed into the final quarter of the game.
This last 23 minutes saw green go 2 goals down; pull one back from the penalty spot; and then minutes from time, be denied a leveller as Mark Barton was begrudged a personal second goal when the young striker saw his volley crash against the angle of bar and post with the home keeper well beaten.
Between them over the past three months, these two Kent League strugglers had put together 23 consecutive games without a win (12 to Deal, 11 to Slade Green); both clubs had been forced to field over 40 players in their disjointed seasons of comings and goings; added to which a high wind and heavily grassed lumpy pitch made for testing conditions.
It came as no surprise therefore that the fare on offer in a dour first half provided less than inspirationally watching for the hardy band of spectators at the Charles Sports Ground.
Despite needing extended attention following a rash challenge from a home forward, Green keeper Paul Vines did well to push away John Ovard's snappy cross-shot, while the same Deal player could have done better with a diving header on 41 minutes which Vines had little trouble in fielding.
A suspect home defence regularly showed hesitation and miscued several of their attempted clearances, but there was not the bite and awareness in the visitors attack for them to punish these elementary errors.
Green's Shaun Malyon and Dean Corrigan got in threatening shots on target, while a good cross from Andy Brown had Malyon coming close to making what may have provided a productive contact.
The start of the second half hinted that there were perhaps better things to come as a rasping 35 yard cracker-jack on 48 minutes from Green skipper Darren Upson, fizzed just past a Deal upright. A minute later Marriotâ's free kick had Vines going full length to provide a corner for Deal: their first, compared with the five already occurred by Green.
A hopeful punt into Deal's box landed awkwardly just in front of keeper Hughes who kneed the ball away to Andy Brown whose shot Hughes was able to gather more cleanly.
Without a win since their 4-0 demolition of Lordswood in mid January, Green's real chance to end their barren spell took a blow on 68 minutes when their inability to clear their ranks saw a probing Deal cross float in from the angle of the penalty area, and Nathan Mitford pounced to sweep the ball home from close range.
And it was the same Deal striker who 6 minutes later cashed in on Joe Frimpong's failure to get the ball back to his keeper, and as the Green defender stumbled, Mitford gratefully swooped to stab the ball past Vines.
Green made little use of their superior corner count mainly due to their flag deliveries, nearly all into a strong crosswind, failing to reach the danger area. So when on 79 minutes they won another corner they tried a short version, which led to Paul McCarthy being unceremoniously up headed in the box.
Mark Barton stepped up to renew Green's hopes with a well taken spot kick. Yet another corner (by Brown) and another Barton strike, was a combination that so nearly earned Green a draw on 87 minutes.
Deal's attempt to clear saw the ball loop up to Barton some 15 yards out. His strike was clean and forceful but just a couple of inches too high. The ball struck the goal frame, and so Deal survived and went onto record their first success of 2004. Green were left to reflect on their twelfth straight outing without a win.
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