The Hoops took the wind out of the sails of another in-form team as they moved up to sixth place in the table.
The previous weekend they had beaten Crowborough who came into the game on a four-match winning run while Saturday’s opponents were looking for their seventh successive victory in all competitions.
But Erith, like Crowborough, had to give second best to a Deal side whose display delighted manager Derek Hares. He said: “I can’t be more pleased really after what was another solid, all-round team performance. We defended stoutly to record the third clean sheet in our last four games, the Munday bothers (Billy and Jake) both did well in midfield while Connor Coyne and Sam Wilson were excellent up front.”
It was Wilson who grabbed the pick of the goals but Steve O’Brien led the way with a strike in each half, although the left-back would probably be prepared to admit that his first goal after 14 minutes could easily be accredited instead to Erith ‘keeper Adam Molloy. After working his way to the byline O’Brien drove in a low cross which deflected off Molloy’s body into the net but the goal, if somewhat fortunate, served as due reward for a fast start by the Hoops and they continued to dominate for the opening half hour.
A second goal, however, failed to materialise despite several near misses and Erith slowly began to produce moments of the sort of confident football you would expect from a side who had won their previous six matches. Their skipper Jack Hooper tested Hoops ‘keeper James Tonkin with a superbly-struck volley from a corner and then Steadman Callender was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Josh Maughan to ensure Deal reached half-time with their lead still intact.
The early stages of the second half then saw Erith look the more threatening until Wilson intervened just past the hour mark, curling in a “beauty” from just outside the box after the referee had played advantage following a foul on Billy Munday.
That goal gave Deal the breathing space they needed and Wilson then saw another effort cleared off the line before O’Brien wrapped up the three points from the penalty spot in added time after a foul on substitute Ben Cardwell.
Deal: Tonkin, Hark, O’Brien, Maughan, Foster, Scott (Chapman 25), J Munday (C Miller 71), A Miller, Coyne, Wilson, B Munday (Cardwell 85).