Waltham Forest 3 Chatham Town 1

Sunday 26th February 2006

Chatham travelled to East London to take on their playoff rivals with a somewhat depleted squad. Rob Denness remains on the sidelines with a calf injury whilst Glen Billenness has left the club, writes Neil Sanders.

Waltham Forest used the strong wind to their advantage early on, playing a number of passes over the Chats defence for their forwards to run on to.

On one occasion Kevin Fewell acted as sweeper, coming 10 yards out of this area to head clear as two opponents closed in.

Waltham Forest took the lead after 12 minutes when a long range shot from De De Asaikpuka crept through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner.

Chatham's best efforts of a quiet first half came from Matt Bourne. He first headed just wide from a free kick and then saw his shot from the edge of the box saved by home keeper Charlie Hasler.

With the wind behind them for the second half Chatham took just three minutes to equalise.

Luke Harvey latched onto a long ball from Danny Larkin and provided a good finish just inside the far post.

At this point the game could have gone either way and both teams created chances from headers.

Just after the hour mark there were penalty appeals at both ends, both of which looked fair claims, but neither were given.

However, after 78 minutes Waltham Forest were awarded a penalty. Tom Binks was adjudged to have tripped Jermaine Hughes, although to most onlookers it appeared to be more of a case of Hughes launching himself.

Kevin Fewell, the former Sittingbourne goalkeeper made an excellent save from Hughes's spot kick, but then found himself facing a retake as the officials appeared to indicate he had come off his line too soon.

To say this was a harsh decision would be an understatement. The second attempt was drilled home into the roof of the net.

The home side made the game safe five minutes later when Stuart Houghton finished well from just outside the box, as Chats had pushed forward looking for an equaliser.

They nearly pulled a goal back just before full time, when Hasler misjudged a high bouncing ball and had to watch as it went over his head but inches wide of the goal.

A frustrating afternoon for Chatham, largely down to two decisions within a minute going against them.

They now face a trip to Wivenhoe on Tuesday night before entertaining runaway leaders Boreham Wood at Maidstone Road next Saturday.

Chatham Town: Fewell, Binks, D.Larkin, Boyle, Bourne, Best, A.Larkin, Brooks (Mortimore 86), Akhazzan (Lyons 88), Harvey, Botterrill (Whitnall 66). Sub: Miles