I think it’s an interesting one because I think we go into it as underdogs, which probably Corinthian won’t agree, but I think we do, says Chatham Town boss James Collins

Saturday 04th May 2019

CHATHAM TOWN manager James Collins says his side are the underdogs going into today’s Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Final tie against Corinthian.

Chatham Town finished their league campaign in fourth-place in the Premier Division table, having collected 79 points from their 38 games, finishing 11 points adrift of runners-up Corinthian.

“I’m slightly disappointed with the way it kind of ended in terms of the league,” admitted Collins, whose side beat Beckenham Town 1-0 after extra time to win the Kent Senior Trophy on 14 April 2019 and are going for a cup double.

“We left ourselves in a, we had a good chance of sort of probably doing a little bit better.

“We were in and around it and sort of petered out towards the end, so slightly disappointed with the way it ended really.”

Looking ahead to the showpiece final at Longmead Stadium in Tonbridge this afternoon, Collins said: “I think it will be a good game. I said to the players I think whoever wants to win it more on the day will win it.

“I think it’s an interesting one because I think we go into it as underdogs, which probably Corinthian won’t agree, but I think we do.

“They finished above us in the league, they’ve just had the disappointment of losing, finishing runners-up in the league.  They don’t want to finish runners-up in the cup as well, so I think the pressure is on them really.

“It will be an interesting one but I would imagine they’ve never want to win a game more than they want to win in their life as much as they want to do today.

“It’s going to be tough for sure. I think it will be probably tight and cagey, it will be physical and I thought the Beckenham game in the Kent Senior Trophy Final would have goals in it and there would be free flowing football.  I’m not sure if will be like that tomorrow, it probably will now!

“I think it will be a competitive and tight game. I think the team who wants to win it the most on the day, will.”

Corinthian finished their campaign on 90 points but they suffered a 2-1 defeat at third-placed finishers Fisher in their penultimate game and Kevin Watson’s Cray Valley thrashed Croydon 5-0 to go top for the first time during the season, before coming away from Canterbury City with a final day 2-0 win to claim the league title by one point.

Corinthian completed their campaign with a 5-0 home win over Bearsted at Gay Dawn Farm and have trained twice since them and morale is good going into today’s showpiece final at Longmead Stadium.

“I think when we look back on the season as a whole there’s immense pride of what we’ve achieved this year but disappointment and frustration that we couldn’t quite see the job through,” said Corinthian manager Michael Golding.

“The league isn’t won or lost on the last day, it’s over the course of the season.

“We’ve trained well this week. We had the boys in on Tuesday and Thursday and they were in good spirits and I think having the caveat of this cup final has given them something to take their minds of the league campaign."

Golding is keen to deny Chatham Town winning a cup double.

“It will be another tough game. When you look back on our run to get to the final, we’ve played Cray Valley away and it went into extra-time, Fisher and Deal went into extra-time. I don’t think anyone can say we don’t deserve to be here but they’re a good side, full of good, experienced players at this level and the level above, so we’ll have to be absolutely on it to have a chance.

“When the dust settles I think the boys can and the club as a whole will look back on the season with immense pride.

“It has been a tough season but if we can win the cup – and we go into it as massive underdogs – although we finished 11 points ahead of them, when you look at the calibre and the names that they’ve got, it is going to be incredibly hard for us but we’ll go with a game plan and we’ve got belief in the squad.

“Chatham will be incredibly disappointed that they didn’t go on to win the league this year. They will certainly be one of the sides challenging next year.   For people calling us the favourites going into this game is a massive compliment to the boys that we’ve got here.  We are well aware that we’re the underdogs going into this game.”

Chatham Town  v  Corinthian
Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Final
Saturday 4 May 2019
Kick Off 2:00pm
at Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN10 3JF