Thursday 17th March 2005

To advertise telephone Stephen McCartney 07979 418 360

Chatham aiming for highest finish

CHATHAM TOWN will be looking to pile more misery on relegation threatened Great Wakering Rovers and do Kent rivals Erith & Belvedere a favour by collecting three points in Essex on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

Rovers currently occupy the second relegation spot with 25 points from 33 games with Steve Robinson's Deres - who travel to Waltham Forest - looking over their shoulder with two more points although the Essex side have a game in hand.

Chatham on the other hand, are the highest ranked Kent side in the Southern League Division One East table sitting in 14th place with 40 points with eight games left and manager Steve Binks admits he is looking for a top half finish.

Looking ahead to the game, the 54-year-old  IT consultant from Rainham said: "I know they have been struggling of late, losing their last four games and I think they are struggling to score at the moment.

"They are a bit of an unknown as we haven't played them yet this season.  We play them at home in our second last game.

"I am not going to take them likely as any team can beat anybody in this league.

"We've played well against some of the best sides, against Fisher and East Thurrock and dropped silly points against sides at the bottom.  We just need to be consistent."

And Binks, who has served the Medway outfit for ten years, "serving his apprenticeship under Clive Walker" is enjoying his time as first team boss.

He added: "We are trying to finish as well as we can.  This is our third season in the league and it would be nice to finish in the top half, building good habits and keep the squad together for next season."

Binks is pleased with his two recent additions, striker Brendon Cass and midfielder Steve Searle, who joined from Ryman Premier League strugglers Tonbridge Angels last month.

"They have fitted in superbly," he said.

"Steve Searle was excellent on Saturday, which we didn't captalise on.  Brendon scored a hat-trick on his debut, scoring his first goal within three minutes of our 4-0 win against Erith & Belvedere.

"I've known Steve a long time having played football with his dad Malcolm.  I've tried to get him to the club before but as soon as I knew he was being released I wanted him.

"I've contacted Brendon before as Andy Larkin played with him at Tonbridge.

"They've both agreed to sign this time and we are delighted to get them.  They have the quality we need.  Steve is experienced, has ability on the ball and likes to pass it simple and keep the ball and Brendon's movement up front is perfect for Darren Adams."

Binks is grateful to current Dover Athletic boss Clive Walker for helping his managerial career at first team level to get of the ground.

The Chatham manager added: "I am loving every minute of it.  I've worked up through the youth and reserve sides and I was Clive's assistant for a season and a half.  I have gained my apprenticeship under Clive.  I know the players well and I made it clear that I wanted to manage the first team, which I have waited for the opening.

"When Clive left the club, he told the committee that there was only one person to run the side and that was me.  Obviously it depends on results but I am hopeful we can go on and build from here."

Binks did, however, put his hands up admitting his mistakes cost his side three points against Wingate & Finchley at Maidstone Road last Saturday.

Despite going a goal down, against the run of play to Danny Grimsdell 66th minute opener, Israel Amadi equalised just two minutes later to bring Chatham level.  However, Sam Sloma stole the points for the North Londoners despite the Kent side performing well and finding visiting goalkeeper Ed Thompson in top form.

"We were really very much on top for most of the game and just didn't get the goal our football deserved," reflected Binks.

"Their goalkeeper pulled of several good saves and you felt it was a matter of time we would score.

"We got a penalty (Darren Adams) and their goalkeeper saved it and I think that was the turning point of the game.  They went  down the other end and they took the lead against the run of play.  To be fair to our lads we got the equaliser almost immediately.

"I pushed another player from the back (Michael Smissen) and pushed him into midfield but the space he vacated allowed them to get the winner.

"We was unlucky not to get an equaliser.  I was pleased with the way we played.  I should have been more patient."

Kevin Spriggs is now back in training having broken his leg in a Kent Senior Cup tie against Cray Wanderers at Hayes Lane in December.  Binks, however, admitted he wasn't sure when the midfielder will be back in action.  Gary Tilley, whose broken his leg twice in as many years, is expected to have his plaster removed in a months time.

Meanwhile, Dan Larkin (knee) and Tom Binks (groin) are expected to be in the squad for their trip on Saturday.

Great Wakering Rovers v Chatham Town
Southern League Division One East
Saturday 19th March 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Burroughs Park, Little Wakering Hall Lane, Great Wakering, Essex

Please credit this article to: Stephen McCartney - www.kentishfootball.co.uk