Thursday 01st September 2005

Stevens settles seven goal cup thriller


Saturday 10th
September 2005
FA Cup
First Qualifying Round
Neil Sanders reports from Maidstone Road
Chatham Town 3 Walker 44
Cass 45 (pen)
Denness 46
Leatherhead 4 Stevens 8,84
Alighieri 24
Sargent 64

In front of their biggest crowd of the season - 251 - this game had a bit of everything and Leatherhead took the lead after just eight minutes, writes Neil Sanders.

Marc Charles-Smith found space on the right and set up Dave Stevens who finished well with a shot on the turn into the bottom corner.

Chatham, however, seemed the be struggling with the over physical approach of their Ryman League division one opponents, and they increased their lead after 25 minutes.

Chats keeper Louis Green, under pressure from Charles-Smith, was unable to clear a high bouncing ball.  However, Dante Alighieri chested the ball in from close range.

With eleven minutes of stoppage time being played, Steve Binks' side took full advantage to get even before half-time.

With two minutes extra played, Israel Amadi got in behind the Leatherhead defence and picked out Byron Walker racing into the penalty area.  His header back across goal found the net just inside the far post.

Four minutes later Andy Larkin was "clothes lined" in mid air as Chatham attacked from a free kick.  Chatham born striker Brendon Cass coolly tucked away the resulting penalty after a further delay.

Chatham substitue Rob Denness made an immediate impact after the break, beating two defenders to score in the top corner at the second attempt after just two minutes.

However, Leatherhead then equalised with a neat left foot finish by Steve Sargent after 64 minutes.

The best save of the match followed when Leatherhead goalkeeper Tommy Dunne stretched to tip over a goalbound free kick from former Tonbridge Angels' striker Cass.

A good spell of Chatham pressure then ensued with Denness and Steve Best both forcing good saves from the former Sutton United goalkeeper.

In a great game it needed something special to settle in and Leatherhead's former Bromley and Crystal Palace striker Stevens produced an unstoppable 25-yard curler to do just that with only five minutes left.


Chatham Town: Green, Boyle, D.Larkin, A.Larkin (Binks 45), Bourne, Best, Armadi, Brooks (Denness 45), Billinness, Cass, B.Walker. Subs: T.Walker, Miles, Davey.

Leatherhead: Dunne, Beer, Carpenter, Hendry, Harper (Moorhouse 73), Alighieri (Thompson 86), Sargent, Doherty, Charles-Smith, Harrison, Stevens. Subs: Dooley, Wetherall, Harlow.