Newhaven 1-4 Deal Town - We like the Vase, we want to go as far as we can, says Deal Town boss Steve King

Saturday 11th November 2023
Newhaven 1 – 4 Deal Town
Location The Trafalgar Ground, Fort Road, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9DA
Kickoff 11/11/2023 15:00

The Isuzu FA Vase Second Round
Saturday 11 November 2023
Stephen McCartney reports from The Trafalgar Ground

DEAL TOWN manager Steve King hailed the quality of his side’s finishing after comfortably booking their place in the last 64 of The FA Vase for the fourth time in the last five years.


Jointly-managed by Sean Breach and Andy Cook, Newhaven went into this tie in second-place in the Southern Combination League Premier Division table with 32 points (nine wins, five draws and one defeat), six points adrift of league leaders Crowborough Athletic.

The Dockers beat Rusthall (2-0) and Sporting Bengal United (4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw) to reach the Second Round of the competition.

Deal Town - FA Vase winners under Tommy Sampson in 2000 with a 1-0 win over now National League South side Chippenham Town - were in eighth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 23 points (seven wins, two draws and three defeats) and this was their first FA Vase tie of the campaign after reaching the Fourth Round last season, losing 1-0 away to Corsham Town, who went on to reach the Semi-Finals, losing 5-4 on penalties at home to Ascot United after a 1-1 draw.

Deal Town’s first two goals came from headers from brothers Ben and Tom Chapman, taking their goalscoring accounts for the season to seven and four goals respectively.

The Kent side sealed the victory with a third goal just 16 seconds into the second half from attacker Rory Smith, who also added a second, his eighth-goal of the season.

Newhaven showed great character and had a go, pulling a goal back through winger Callum Edwards’ ninth goal of the season with fourteen minutes remaining.

Newhaven made three changes to the side that beat relegated side Haywards Heath Town 3-2 here last weekend, while King kept faith with the same starting 11 that came away from then league leaders Glebe with a 3-1 win in Chislehurst.

Long-serving targetman Connor Coyne did not make the coach journey down to the East Sussex coast due to a twinge in his back that he sustained in training.

“Obviously really pleased, a tough place to come. They’re going well in their league and I thought we were dominant throughout, scored some fantastic goals. I was really pleased with it,” said King.

“I didn’t think our performance was the greatest.  I thought we were a little bit sloppy at times but our quality for the goals was excellent.

“Look, at 4-0 we got a little bit sloppy, I think that’s understandable.  I let them off that but yes, look, if you come to a team that’s lost once in the league all season to win that comfortably, delighted.”

When asked what his players gave him today, King replied: “I think quality goals. All four goals were quality.  Work-rate, as ever and just desire and togetherness.  We’re a close group of players, everyone knows that. I’m not giving any secrets away there.

“We like away journey’s, we like to come away in the Vase, it pulls us all together again and we like being the underdog a little bit.  A lot of the time in the league, we’re expected to win games, which is understandable.

“Today it was a really good team performance, great desire, great effort and quality goals.”

King was quick to praise the large and vocal travelling contingent who made their own way to Newhaven.

“Fantastic support! Our supporters are brilliant. Our home and away support is brilliant and we really appreciate it. It gives the boys a massive lift when they’re out there before the game and making a racket and it just gives them that extra lift.  It’s important at this level, it really helps.”

Deal Town started the game on the front foot and recalled Newhaven goalkeeper Paul Woods was called into action after only 91 seconds following the away side’s first of four corners.

Left-back Jack Penny drilled a deep delivery in from the right towards the unmarked centre-half Alex Green at the back stick.  The ball sailed back across the face of goal towards the back post where Billy Munday’s downward header was held by Woods, getting down low to his left to ensure the ball didn’t bounce inside the bottom right-hand corner.

“We’ve done our homework. We thought they had a bit of a weakness defending set-pieces and we wanted to exploit that,” said King, who revealed Newhaven let out their trade secrets on the veo match recording system.

“We didn’t score from one, which was a little bit disappointing. We started the game well, we started the game bright and I was pleased with that.

“I tried to come down last week but our game against Glebe was on, so we relied on Veo’s. We managed to get hold off (some footage) and we were watching that and we thought they had a bit of a weakness defending crosses. We got two goals in the first half, the first three goals all came from crosses.

“I think when you set up a game plan as a coaching and management team and the players see it working early on in the game, it gives them confidence, so that was good.”

Penny whipped in a cross from the left towards the edge of the Newhaven box and seven-goal striker Aaron Millbank found a pocket of space to hook his volley across the keeper and just past the foot of the far post from 16-yards.

Deal Town kept knocking on the door and Woods made a comfortable save down on his knees to deny right-back Joe Reeves from scoring with a right-footed free-kick from 35-yards, with nine minutes and 57 seconds on the clock.

The home fans were getting frustrated with their side who played out from the back but Deal Town’s attackers were always on the front foot and pressing and causing numerous mistakes in Newhaven’s defensive third.

Dominant Deal Town took a deserved lead, with 20 minutes and 28 seconds on the clock, following a three-man move.

Green was inside Newhaven’s half and he played the ball out to the impressive Penny, who whipped in a great cross from the left and Ben Chapman just wanted it more than Newhaven centre-half Robbie Keith, burying his header across the keeper to find the bottom left-hand corner.

King said: “I thought it was a brilliant goal.  A great pass from Greenie right in front of Jack Penny’s pass, a great cross, a great header.

“The boys are having a bit of a laugh because I was having a little bit of a pop at Ben on the way up on the coach, because he’s missed a few headers recently, so that shuts me up!

“A great header in the corner and I think any Vase game the first goal is always going to be important, so that was a big boost for us.”

Newhaven linked up well in the 28th minute with right-back Harry Reed and Edwards linking up well before Reed’s defensive splitting through ball played striker Lee Robinson in behind Green but he lacked composure and his deflected shot nestled into the base of the side netting.

Edwards floated in the resulting corner from the right and visiting goalkeeper Henry Newcombe failed to gather but Newhaven’s centre-half Josh Tuck steered his header over the crossbar from six-yards.

Reeves swept a right-footed free-kick into the Newhaven penalty area which was met by central midfielder Billy Munday’s header from 16-yards, which bounced off the artificial turf and was comfortably gathered by an untroubled Woods.

Newhaven switched formation to a back three with Reed (right), Keith (centre) and substitute Bailie Rogers (left) with Alfie Rogers and Ian Robinson wing-backs, with 19-goal Alfie Rogers now playing up front, having started wide left.

Deal Town doubled their lead with 36 minutes and 29 seconds on the clock and King was impressed with Rory Smith’s contribution.

Faced with Reed and Edwards down the touchline, magical skill from Smith saw him easily beat the Newhaven pair down the left, storm 20-yards forward with the ball before whipping in a high quality cross with his left-foot for Tom Chapman to bury his header, in off the underside of the crossbar, aiming for the top left-hand corner.

King added: “Another brilliant goal.  A brilliant bit of skill from Rory on the touchline. He’s been outstanding the last couple of weeks. A great cross, a great header. It’s just a really good goal.

“If you watched an Isthmian Prem game, not being rude, if a team scored a goal like we scored today, it wouldn’t have looked out of place, so I thought the quality of our four goals was really, really good.”

Newhaven missed a glorious chance to pull a goal back with 44:55 on the clock.

Deal Town didn’t press Keith, who was given time and space to pick out a lovely through pass in behind Tom Chapman to play in Ian Robinson, who cut the ball back for the unmarked Alfie Rogers, who swept his first-time shot across Newcombe and past the far post from 15-yards.

“We knew that they were a good side going forward.  The boy Rogers has got 19 goals but we did think we could get at them and that’s how it panned out in the end,” said King.

“You have to respect teams that are up there in their league. They’re going to create chances. You’re not going to come away, especially in the later rounds of the Vase, which we are now – I know it’s the first game we’ve played – but when you get to the Second, Third Rounds you’re not going to come away to sides and not concede chances.

“I thought we managed their chances really well.  There was nothing where I was overly panicked, so yes, look, they’re going to have some half-chances but I thought we defended pretty well.”

Deal Town also had a chance to score their fourth goal before the break, following a long throw from Green from the right.

Alfie Foster flicked the ball on at the near post and Reeves teed up Tom Chapman, who hooked a looping shot towards the top far corner, only for Woods to push the ball over his crossbar, stretching high to his right.

“We tried to get that third one just before half-time but it was a bit of a half-chance wasn’t it,” admitted King.

“We know we’re dangerous from set-pieces.  Weve got a lot of different ways of scoring goals. We’ve got a lot of people who can score goals, so we know we can create chances through different routes, which is good.

“I said (at half-time) I didn’t think we played very well in the first half.  The goals were very good but I didn’t think our all-round performance was.

“Last week I praised the boys at half-time at Glebe – we were only 1-0 up – but I thought we were outstanding (in that game last weekend).

“I didn’t think we were so good today.  I thought we were a little bit sloppy.  I think the phrase I used was ‘I think we’re in second gear and we’ve got another couple of gears to go, let’s go and hit it and kill the game’.

“They took it on board and we got into fifth gear pretty quick because we scored after 16 seconds of the second half.”

Deal Town kicked-off for the second half and killed the game off by scoring their third goal after just 16 seconds.

Reeves played the ball into a deep Millbank, before Reeves played a first-time pass along the deck into Ben Chapman, who stabbed the ball some 10 yards to his brother Tom, who whipped in a sublime first time cross from the right towards the near post for Rory Smith to stab the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from three-yards.

King said: “Lovely! I didn’t think I’ve even known that in my career, take kick-off and the other team have not touched the ball and you’re 3-0 up!

“As a manager, you always want what you say at half-time to have an impact. It was nice, it was good.”

Newhaven could have scored from their third corner of the game, which came in from the left from Alfie Rogers towards the back post but Keith steered his header straight at Newcombe, who grabbed the ball at his near post.

Reeves threw the ball to Millbank, who laid the ball off to Tom Chapman, who drilled a low left-footed angled drive across the keeper and flashing just past the foot of the far post from 22-yards.

Deal Town scored their fourth goal with five minutes and 55 seconds on the clock.

Holding midfielder Jack Hanson rolled the ball out to Penny, who cut in from the left and his cross was cushioned away by Keith – Newhaven’s weak link in defence.

Rory Smith showed a burst of pace to easily sprint past Keith before rifling his left-footed shot into the roof of the net from 12-yards.

“The boy’s class. It was just an unbelievable first touch on the top of the box, beating a defender and then a great finish as well,” said King.

“I thought that period between half-time and scoring the fourth goal, we were absolutely outstanding! 

“I think after scoring the fourth goal we weren’t great but we were 4-0 up. I thought for that six minutes, for that period of time,  we were absolutely outstanding and we did everything right.”

Hanson was called into defensive duties to deny Newhaven in the 55th minute.

Lee Robinson – who has the main stand named after him “in recognition of his hard work and loyalty to the club” released Ian Robinson in behind Foster and he cut the ball back from the left by-line towards Alfie Rogers, who took a touch and his driven shot from the edge of the six-yard box was blocked by Hanson and the shot went over the crossbar.

Newcombe made a flying save from 52 seconds later, diving high to his left to push over Edwards’ right-footed drive from 35-yards.

King admitted: “Partly my fault!  I said at half-time about getting out quick and getting a goal. I said if we go 4-0 up, we can ease off.  I didn’t expect us to be four-nil up inside six minutes, so it ended up biting me on the backside a little bit.

“Henry’s been very good for us again this season. He makes a lot of very good saves and his distribution was good today.  His kicking was very good.  They were good sides, probably ones I expect him to make and he made it quite comfortable for us in the second half.”

A poor clearance from Newhaven goalkeeper Woods went straight to Munday (who was more advanced than his usual holding midfielder role) who played the ball into Millbank, whose looping shot was clawed out underneath his crossbar by the Newhaven keeper, looking to make amends.

Newhaven kept plugging away, however, and Newcombe had to use his legs to make another save in the 59th minute.

Ian Robinson, Robert Malila and Edwards all combined before the ball was worked to Reed, who ghosted into the penalty area but his low shot was blocked by the keeper.

Referee Stephen Ryan didn’t penalise Reeves for pulling Alfie Rogers’ shirt as he cut inside him but did penalise the Deal right-back for a foul on the same man just seconds later.

Alfie Rogers hit a right-footed free-kick over the crossbar from the resulting 28-yard free-kick in a central position.

Tom Chapman’s cross from the right sailed over to Penny on the other side of the pitch and his left-footed rasping drive went straight down Woods throat before Newhaven went up the other end and missed a headed chance.

Keith’s fine 30-yard pass released substitute striker Finley Agnihotri down the left and he cut in and put over a cross from within the left-channel but four-goal striker Lee Robinson got in between two centre-halves but glanced his header across Newcombe and past the far post when well-placed.

Newhaven deserved a consolation goal when it arrived with 28 minutes and 43 seconds on the clock.

An unmarked Bailie Rogers was in a central position some 30-yards from goal and drilled a speculative low drive, which bounced off Lee Robinson on the edge of the box and this fell kindly for Edwards to sweep his shot across Newcombe to find the bottom far corner from a tight angle inside the six-yard box.

“The boys are adamant it was offside but I thought they deserved a goal. They were a threat going forward, they’ve got good forward players. I can see why they are where they are in their league. I’ve got no complaints about that,” added King.

Penny whipped in a quality set-piece which was met by Munday, who headed across the keeper and just past the far post inside the final 10 minutes.

Newhaven produced a three-man move when Keith split open Reeves to release Ian Robinson, who cut the ball back to Agnihotri, who cut inside Reeves and bent a right-footed shot towards the bottom far corner from 22-yards, forcing Newcombe to dive to his left to push towards safety.

King added: “They were the better side in the last 15 minutes.  We wanted to get through with no bookings, no injuries and get back on the bus at that point.”

Newhaven went close with their last effort on goal, a dipping left-footed free-kick from Edwards from 28-yards, which only just cleared the crossbar, although Newcombe had it covered by raising both of his arms above his head, as Edwards tried to find the roof of the net.

Deal Town put in a professional performance and should go far in The FA Vase this season.

“We’ve played another decent Step Five side, a side up there vying for promotion. I thought we won the game quite comfortably,” said King.

“It just shows that I think we’re a side at this level to be respected and we don’t blow our own trumpet but I think we’ve come to a team in a different league and we’ve shown our quality.

“We like the Vase – we want to go as far as we can.

“We wrote up in the dressing room before the game, the last four year’s we’ve lost to Consett, who got to the Final. We lost to Binfield, who got to the final. Lost to Littlehampton, who got to the final.  Last year we lost to Corsham, who lost in the Semi-Finals on penalties, so it proves it takes a good side to knock us out.

“If you knock us out, you’ve probably got a good chance of getting close to Wembley, so that will be the same over the next few rounds.

“All we hope is if we don’t make it all the way, it’s very, very difficult with our resources and stuff like that because a lot of teams are investing a lot more money than we are.  The side that knocks us out goes a long way and if that happens, I haven’t got a problem with that.”

Looking ahead to the Third Round on Saturday 3 December, King said: “Let’s see how far we can go in the Vase. We’re in Round Three now, so we’ll see what happens in the draw. Hopefully we can have a home draw and Round Four after Christmas and you just never know.”

Deal Town return to League action with a home game against Scott Porter’s Hollands & Blair on Tuesday night.

The Gillingham based outfit have slumped into the bottom four with 11 points (three wins, two draws and eight defeats) after losing 1-0 away to now tenth-placed Bearsted today, while Deal Town have slipped down a place into ninth.

Faversham Town (33 points from 14 games) are top, while the play-off places are currently occupied by Glebe (31 points from 15 games), Erith Town (29 points from 15 games), Whitstable Town (25 points from 14 games) and Corinthian (24 points from 13 games).

With his side just a point adrift of the play-offs, King wants to finish in the top five this season, with a shot at promotion into the Isthmian League South East Division.

“Hollands & Blair are always tough. Scott Porter’s sides are always tough. They’ve got Dean Grant up front who is a real goal threat and scores a lot of goals.

“We’ll be looking to win the game but we have to play very well.  I think it was a game that cost us promotion last year. We drew one-all at home and were very dominant and didn’t put the game to bed.  That two points at the end of the season ended up – people look at games you lose but sometimes I think it’s games you draw that kill you, especially when you’ve been dominant.

“Scott will have them fired up.  They’ll come down trying to make it very difficult for us and we’ll have to make sure that we don’t bounce back off today and we have to play really well.

“We want to get into the play-offs, so there is no secret about that.  We’d like to try to get promoted. I think we’ve got a side that are good enough, on our day, to get promoted.

“We’re progressing the youth system. We’re doing it properly as a club, so if and when we achieve promotion, it’s not a short-term thing. It’s not a spend loads of money one year and get promoted and come straight back down.

“We want to come to a point where if we do get promoted, we’ve got that continuity and that’s our aim. We’re getting good crowds, the club is in a good place but we’re in Deal and it doesn’t make it easy when it comes to recruitment.”

King, meanwhile, is not a fan of FA Vase ties going straight to a penalty shoot-out if scores are level at full-time.

“You try to get to Wembley and you know every game you’ve got a chance of winning because you’re playing a Step Five (or Step Six) side every single game.

“That’s why I feel sorry sometimes for Step Three or Four sides because they’re in The FA Trophy and they’re never going to win it. 

“This one (The FA Vase) the dream is there. There’s a lot of teams (597) that enter it, only two get there (to Wembley Stadium) but you’ve always got a chance.

“I think for people at this level, you get to travel around the country, you get to come on away days like we have today and you never go into a game as a massive underdog.

“I think it’s an excellent competition.  The only thing I don’t like about it is this ridiculous 90 minutes, straight to penalties. I think it makes it a bit of a lottery and there should be at least extra time.

“Did we practice penalties? No because we haven’t had time to be honest, we’ve played that many games.  We didn’t work the boys too hard on Tuesday night, they had a little bit of a recovery session.  We know who our penalty takers are, we do quite a bit of work on it anyway.”

Newhaven: Paul Woods, Harry Reed (Luca Page 76), Ian Robinson, Ryan Blunt, Josh Tuck (Bailie Rogers 32), Robbie Keith, Alfie Rogers (Finley Agnihotri 69), Ryan Warwick, Lee Robinson, Robert Malila, Callum Edwards.
Subs: Toby Reeder, Lincoln Shearing, Ezra Roeg, Ryan Walton

Goal: Callum Edwards 74

Booked: Josh Tuck 9, Alfie Rogers 65, Lee Robinson 90

Deal Town: Henry Newcombe, Joe Reeves, Jack Penny, Jack Hanson (Macauley Murray 61), Alex Green, Alfie Foster, Ben Chapman, Billy Munday, Aaron Millbank (Kaeden Jefferys 68), Rory Smith, Tom Chapman (Liam Hark 83).
Subs: Alex Smith, Kane Smith, Kieron Hollier

Goals: Ben Chapman 21, Tom Chapman 37, Rory Smith 46, 51

Attendance: 226
Referee: Mr Stephen Ryan
Assistants: Mr Michael Barnes & Mr Duncan Brooker