An improved second half performance ensured that the Hoops avoided becoming the first team to lose to Croydon in the league this season.
Derek Hares’ side went in at half-time on Saturday fortunate to be 2-1 up against their bottom-of-the-league opponents, but Deal then dug in after the break before Connor Coyne wrapped up the points with his eighth goal in eight games.
Yet it had looked like it was going to be all plain sailing for the Hoops after they went in front with just four minutes gone, Kane Smith powering home a header from Steve O’Brien’s corner.
But the Trams, fielding a number of new players after their manager, Craig Davies, had quit earlier in the week, weren’t ready to roll over without a fight even after Sam Wilson made it 2-0 on 32 minutes following a poor back pass.
Croydon then proceeded to put the Deal defence under heavy pressure and James Tonkin produced four superb saves while the Trams also hit the woodwork twice before they were finally rewarded with a 44th-minute close-range strike from Malik Nosike.
That goal gave Croydon reason to hope during half-time that they could finally end their dismal losing run, but instead it was the Hoops who stepped up a gear. With Lee Scott having an excellent game in midfield, Deal ensured that Tonkin didn’t have any further saves of note to make in the second half.
And the Hoops then struck again seven minutes from time when, following good work by Ben Cardwell, Coyne fired home from just inside the box.
Hoops head coach Steve King “tweeted” afterwards: “Great battling performance from the boys today. Not at our best in the first half but did everything required in the second.”
Deal: Tonkin, Butcher, Bigginton, K Smith, O’Brien, C Miller, Scott, Cardwell, Wilson, Coyne, Rodgers.
Subs used: Hark, Foster, Adams.