Thursday 01st September 2005

Chats move into second place

Tuesday 27th
September 2005
Southern League
Division One East
Stephen McCartney reports from 
Maidstone Road
Chatham Town 1 Brendon Cass 70
Dartford 0  

Brendon Cass' ninth goal of the season sent Chatham Town into second place in the Southern League Division One East table following their "workmanlike" performance against Kent rivals Dartford at Maidstone Road tonight, writes Stephen McCartney.

The former Tonbridge Angels' striker settled this entertaining Kent derby with 20 minutes remaining when he powered home a header past Kevin Hudson into the top far corner following Steve Searle's cross from the right.

The Medway side have now collected 18 points from their first nine league games and are just three points behind leaders Boreham Wood - who travel to Sittingbourne on Saturday.  Chatham travel to Enfield Town, which will provide them with another tough test.

But Dartford were the side on top during the first half, and found Chats' goalkeeper Louis Green in top-form, although at times his goal led a charmed life.

The Darts - supported brilliantly by their vocal fans - squandered many chances as they dominated proceedings with Dave Martin, Ian Pulman and Jim Carter going close in the first half hour.

Chatham's best two chances came from Mark Brooks, whose returned to the side after missing their last two games.

Good work from strikers Glenn Billenness and Cass sent Brooks towards goal but with Hudson coming off his line, the former Dover Athletic striker fired wide.

And on the stroke of half-time, the winger fired agonisinly wide of the left upright, following a run across the penalty area.

But Dartford were unlucky not to take a deserved lead after 50 minutes when former Erith & Belvedere striker, Ian Pulman unleashed a shot from outside the penalty area, which crashed off the crossbar, following his penetrating run.

Pulman went close again when his shot bounced wide of the left upright and also Steve Hafner's snap shot was driven wide.

But Chatham dealt the killer blow to maintain Dart's run of defeats, which has seen them lose four league games and one cup game (the 1-0 defeat to Chatham at Stonebridge Road seven days ago), which now sees them sitting in eleventh place in the table, despite enjoying impressive early season form.

Chatham substitute Israel Amadi - who replaced Steve Best (knee) at the interval - went close to doubling the scoreline, but his shot sailed over following his burst towards goal.

Speaking in the post-match press conference, a delighted Chatham Town manager Steve Binks paid tribute to Dartford with the way they played.

He told www.kentishfootball.co.uk: "Absolutely delighted with the result.  I think Dartford are a really good side, they are a really good footballing side and they try to play football the right way.

"Whilst they are on a bad run at the moment I am convinced they are capable of beating any side in this division.

"That was a fantastic result tonight, because I felt it was a really hard, workmanlike 1-0 result that successful teams have to grind out if you're going to do well in this league."

And Darts' boss Tony Burman insists his side will return to winning ways - if they turn dominance into goals.

"We played well tonight," he said.  "Since the Corby game where we got a hammering, I think we've improved but things aren't quite going right for us.

"But I can't fault the effort of the players and as it happens tonight, I'm pleased with the effort of the supporters as they got behind us tonight and gave it a good go and their pleased that the team has given 100%.

Missing Kevin Spriggs (ankle ligaments), Burman explained why he only gave talented winger Ryan Hayes a five minute cameo role tonight.

"I rested Ryan tonight, he's done nothing wrong but I felt it was time to give him a rest.  We've changed the formation tonight and Ian Pulman, whose been patient, waiting for his chance, has done well."

Burman is convinced his side can return to winning ways when Berkhamsted Town visit Stonebridge Road on Saturday.

And I'm sure if he speaks to his Chatham counterpart leading up to the game, he will be able to pick up some knowledge from Binks, as his side defeated them 3-0 at Maidstone Road in early September.

"I've heard they are a big, physical team and we'll get some information on them before Saturday," revealed Burman.

"I am not worried (about the losing run).  We are gradually getting back to our (early season form) and hopefully something will go right for us.

"We just have to keep looking on the bright side and as I've said to the lads in the dressing room, they've come off the field and given their all. 

"Unfortunately they are on the back of a defeat but it's encouraging the way they've tried to play."

Chatham Town: Louis Green, Tom Binks, Andy Garrett, Andrew Boyle, Matthew Bourne, Steve Best (Capt) (Israel Amadi 45), Matt Solly, Steve Searle, Glen Billinness, Brendon Cass, Mark Brooks.  Subs: Byron Walker, Ross Finn, Dan Larkin, Phil Miles

Dartford: Kevin Hudson, Gary Carter (Ryan Hayes 85), Tommy Osborne (Capt), Anthony Henry, Richard Avery, Steve Hafner, Ryan Briggs, Ian Pulman, Jim Carter, Eddie McClements, Dave Martin.  Subs: Craig Maguire, Dominic Elmes, Tom Olson.

Attendance: 200
Referee: Mr M McCoy (Herne Bay)
Assistants: Mr A Carter (Dover) & Mr J Rowles (Maidstone)