Thursday 01st September 2005 - The Kent Website - Supporting Kentish Football


Saturday 25th
September 2004
FA Vase - Second Qualifying Round Stephen McCartney reports from Greatness Park
Sevenoaks Town 1 Andy Constable 51
Deal Town 2 Andy Ward 48
Nathan Mitford 88

Mitford seals former winners victory against debutants

DEAL TOWN - the only Kent side to win the FA Vase, after beating Chippenham Town 1-0 in the 2000 Wembley Final - progressed into the first round of this season's competition with a deserved 2-1 victory against fellow Go Travel Kent League side Sevenoaks Town at Greatness Park.

Sevenoaks Town, making their ever appearance in the competition, suffered heartbreak as Nathan Mitford headed powerfully into Darren Smart's goal two minutes from time to seal victory for Derek Hares' side.

The visitors looked the better side throughout the game.  However, the home team did have their selection problems with centre halves Sim Johnson and Ricky Underdown - a recent acquisition from local rivals Tunbridge Wells - were both unavailable to manager John James.

Deal midfielder Martin James, making his second appearance following his return to the club from local football, proved to be a key player for the visitors, delivering dangerous free kicks, and the stocky midfielder should have scored at least a hat-trick. 

His first chance saw him try his luck from long range but his sixth minute shot flew well wide of the post before he used his strength to his advantage holding off defender Ollie Miles, before firing a rising 30-yard shot, comfortably held by Smart.

Brad Draper's snap shot from 25-yards was pushed around the foot of the near post by visiting goalkeeper Jason Hughes, six minutes after the shot-stopper was caught by the striker as he cleared the ball from the edge of his penalty area, but carried on following treatment.

Just past the half-an-hour mark, Deal playmaker James delivered a free kick into the Sevenoaks penalty area but Mitford, who was unmarked, flashed a 14-yard header wide.

After getting the better of Liam Spillane and Stuart Clarke, Deal striker Lee Bosson was denied the opening goal by Smart who blocked the 12-yard shot with his legs.

However, the deadlock was finally broken by Deal in the 48th minute, but Sevenoaks' responded quickly, scoring their first ever goal in the FA Vase three minutes later through Andy Constable - netting his eighth goal of the season.

Danny Smith charged down the left wing, cut into the penalty area and Smart failed to cut out the low cross.  Ghosting in at the far post was Andy Ward and he slammed the ball into the back of the net to give the visitors a deserved lead.

Lewis Blake went close to drawling level, when he fired a loose ball from 20-yards that went agonisingly wide of the foot of the near post but the home side then drew level.

The pass of the game, from the smallest player on the pitch, Lee Aldridge, who was obviously inspired to do well as three of his friends asked for more from him throughout the game from the sidelines - played a perfect pass for Constable to latch onto some 30 yards from goal.

The former Bromley and Whitstable Town prolific striker ran into the penalty area and coolly fired Sevenoaks level from 16 yards.

Five minutes later the on-form hit-man almost doubled his account when his header, from Spillane's free kick close to the right corner flag, was caught at the second attempt by Hughes.

Deal created four good chances in a ten minute spell when David Bathgate dragged a shot agonisingly wide of the foot of the far post, Mitford turned to see his shot saved at the near post by Smart and man-of-the-match James twice blazed shots over the crossbar.

Deal defenders Adam Covey and Garry Miller were both taken out of the game, so to speak, following Phil Cramp's lovely pass down the right but Constable, rushing his shot, lifted his 20-yard effort over the bar.

The goalscorer turned provider when his cross from the left was met on a hooked volley by Draper, who under pressure, shot wide from 16 yards.

Sevenoaks' skipper Wayne Balmer's well thought off free kick was clipped into Constable at the near post, and with his back to goal and closely marked, he turned but shot over.

The goal that sent Deal Town into the first round of a competition that is very close to their hearts arrived with only 145 seconds from the end of 90 minutes.

Smith's cross from the left was met by a powerful header from Mitford from close range and the ball flew over goalkeeper Smart and high into the net, breaking Sevenoaks' hearts and Deal can now start thinking about a possible repeat of their exploits under Tommy Sampson four years ago.

Sevenoaks Town: Darren Smart, Phil Cramp, Liam Spillane, Stuart Clarke (Simon Blundell 70), Ollie Miles, Wayne Balmer (Capt), Lee Aldridge, Chris Ralph, Andy Constable, Brad Draper, Lewis Blake (Richard Bryce 80).  Sub: Justin Coles

Deal Town: Jason Hughes, Garry Miller, Josh Davison, Adam Covey, Darren Waring, Andy Ward, Martin James (Craig McCairn 90), David Bathgate (C), Lee Bosson (Darryl Bartholomew 90), Nathan Mitford, Danny Smith.  Subs: Luke Williams, Carl Whitehead, Andy Bigginton

Referee: Mr N Wilde
Assistants: Mr S Guilliard & Mr L Hart

Attendance: 77