The Hoops and a young Gillingham XI combined to produce six goals and a highly entertaining friendly in front of a crowd of over 200 at the Charles Ground on Tuesday.
The Gills’ side consisted almost entirely of players from their Under-23 and Academy teams apart from the notable exception of former England U20 international Dean Parrett.
And the 27-year-old midfielder scored one of the goals of the night with a stunning 25-yard free-kick 10 minutes from time but that wasn’t enough to prevent Deal from recording an encouraging victory in the wake of their heavy defeat by Hemel Hempstead three days earlier.
They had to come from behind though after some early Gills pressure was rewarded with a 21st minute close-range strike by James Witt.
But five minutes later the Hoops equalised with another candidate for “goal of the game”. It came from new signing Jack Penny who, after being picked out by Macauley Murray’s long ball into the box, struck a beautiful left-foot volley into the far corner.
And Penny was also involved in Deal’s second goal five minutes later. The Gills’ keeper could only parry his shot and Charlie Walsh was on hand to bundle the ball home.
With Parrett pulling the strings in midfield, the Gills continued to look dangerous but it was the Hoops who went in at the break with a somewhat flattering 3-1 lead after Steve O’Brien set up Connor Coyne for another close-range finish right on the half-time whistle.
Deal made several changes for the second half and it was one of the substitutes, Louie Tumilty, who made it 4-1 six minutes after the restart and from that point the Hoops were able to relax knowing that their first win of the season was “in the bag” despite Parrett’s late strike.