In getting a ticket I had been very fortunate for this FA Vase 3rd round fixture. Due to being in Tier 3 Chatham had limited tickets to 150 and I tried to get two tickets for myself and a friend but was only able to secure the one, which turned out to be the final ticket. The Bauvill stadium was bathed in sun as I arrived going through the now familiar track and trace system and temperature checks before being admitted.
The last Chatham game I attended, was on the 31st October, and it was interesting to see the programme detailing the huge number of goals the team have scored this season. (They are still the highest scoring side in the top flights of football in England).
A confident Chatham warmed up to the sounds of Oasis before kick off. Flackwell Heath Fc came into the game equally as confident, sitting high in fourth place in their own Hellenic League Premier Division, behind the Bishop Cleeve side I reported on earlier in this blog (October 3rd).
Chatham and Flackwell Heath exchanged chances in the opening 15 minutes with both keepers being forced to stop a sequence of longer range shots. Evans began to find space on the left for Chatham.
Then on 20 minutes the Flackwell Heath Number 11, Khalid Simmo, found some room and after an individual run, chipped a goal past Jordan Carey, to make it 0-1 to Flackwell.
Chatham went on the attack for the next 15 minutes. This chance being as close as they got.
The rest of the half saw Chatham press in attack again and again. Evans supplied corner after corner but to no avail. At half time the teams left the pitch with the score still 0-1 to Flackwell Heath.
The second half opened the way the first had ended with Chatham pressing for an equaliser.
On 65 minutes Chatham brought on two substitutes, Ike Orji and Andy Pugh, taking off Ryan Hayes and Mikey Dalton. Flackwell Heath had a brief period of pressure, with two near chances at the Chatham end.
Chatham pressed forward for the rest of the half without looking like they would ever convert. In the dying minutes Jack Evans was sent off for a bad challenge. Chatham kept trying to press for the equaliser with corner after corner but they didn’t get close enough!! At the final whistle the Flackwell Heath players celebrated loudly. The players left the pitch with the fans wondering when in this stop-start season they will see their team again!