After a quiet weekend where the FA had decided to cancel football at all levels, for three days, as a mark of respect for the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, I returned to watching football at the Cobdown Stadium for a Monday night Southern Counties East (SCEFL) Premier Division fixture.
K Sports, managed by Ian and George Batten, sons of Ernie Batten, Director of football at Sheppey United, have made a mixed start to the season. They thumped Tunbridge Wells 4-1 and beat a revitalised Lordswood team, 0-1 away. Unfortunately they have also been heavily beaten 4-1 at Punjab United, 4-0 by Erith & Belvedere and more recently 7-1 to Hollands & Blair.
While K Sports sit in 14th place, they will be concerned about a defence that has left them with a -10 goal difference after just six games, currently the worst in the league. Up front Richard Jimoh, with four goals, leads the club and indeed the SCEFL league, scoring charts.
Deal Town have started well this season, picking up where they ended the 2021/22 season. Four wins in five games sees Deal Town sitting in third place, with manager, Steve King, striving for automatic promotion this season.
Deal Town’s only loss this season came away at Kennington, with Ben Chapman leading the way in the goal scoring stakes, with four goals, which like K Sports Richard Jimoh, puts him at the joint top of the league scoring charts. This was a tie that looked to promise plenty of goals.
The game started brightly, with K Sports playing confidently and looking like they were the SCEFL league’s top three side. after 16 minutes Callum Rollings fired a free kick past Newcombe, the Deal Town keeper, to put K Sports 1-0 up.
In the 32nd minute, Billy Lewins broke free and slid the ball home, putting K Sports 2-0 ahead.
Deal Town began, finally, to play with some verve and passion, resulting in Aaron Millbank chesting the ball home, from a corner, to make the score 2-1.
At half time the sides went in with K Sports just 2-1 ahead. Deal Town’s late goal had given them confidence and the second half promised to be entertaining.
In the 50th minute a handball in the K Sports penalty area, gave Deal Town a penalty. Aaron Millbank confidently finished from the spot, to tie the scores at 2-2.
Deal Town missed three or four set piece opportunities to take the lead. In the 71st minute, Jordan Sarfo broke away for K Sports and tucked the ball away, to put the home side in the lead for the second time, 3-2.
For the final quarter, Deal Town threw everything into trying to equalise. Millbank worked hard to hunt down his hat trick goal, but without reward. When the whistle blew it was the home team leaving with three points, that had seemed unlikely, at the start of the match. All the spectators could agree that the game had been entertaining and fast paced.