I returned to the Bauvill to see this Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division game between Chatham Town and Punjab United on a chilly Tuesday evening.
Chatham came into the game on the back of a 2-4 defeat at home to title rivals Glebe, which left them in 4th place and four points away from leaders Sheppey United.
Punjab United also lost 2-4 in their previous home fixture against Crowborough, which has left them battling just above the relegation places, in sixteenth place.
Dan Bradshaw, with 14 goals in 12 games, and Jack Evans, with 7 goals in 11 games are top scorers for Chatham Town. Paul Vines with 7 goals in 8 games and William Johnson-Cole with 6 goals in 12 games, are the top scorers for Punjab United.
The evening was dry and despite the chilly weather a decent crowd of 324 came out to see this game.
Chatham started the game with all the possession but lacked fluidity and momentum. They lacked the ability to release Ryan Hayes and Jack Richards to cause any real disruption to the Punjab United back line. On 24 minutes Punjab United scored against the run of play, through Paul Vines.
There was a lot of on field bickering in the Chatham side and the tough tackling from their opponents unsettled their usually steadfast defence. In the 31st minute Punjab United capitalised, on the disarray in the Chatham midfield and defence, to make it 0-2 through a Joe Jarvis goal.
Halftime arrived with Chatham Town leaving the pitch needing to change things. Punjab United left knowing they wouldn’t have a better chance to come away from the Bauvill Stadium with three points.
As the second half unfurled Chatham piled on the pressure. the addition of substitute Ike Oriji helped unleash some space and pace on the right hand side and began to test Punjab defender Warren Beattie, who had looked unbeatable in the first half.
The first Chatham goal came from top scorer Dan Bradshaw on 70 minutes. As Chatham celebrated you could sense the relief and almost feel the pressure build on the Punjab United players.
Just four minutes later the reliable Ryan Hayes saw a gap and drove the ball home to make it 2-2.
On 77 minutes Dan Bradshaw bagged his second to give Chatham the lead and to ensure that in just seven minutes the score had gone from 0-2 to 3-2.
The teams continued to battle but when the whistle blew both sides acknowledged that this had been a great match and a game of two very different halves.