Deal kept their third home “clean sheet” in a row as they extended their recent improved run of form to one defeat in the last nine league matches.
That’s the “good news” from Saturday’s game as far as the Hoops are concerned but in terms of entertainment this was one of the poorest games at the Charles Ground for some time. As Deal manager Derek Hares admitted: “It wasn’t the best of games to watch, there were a couple of chances at each end but otherwise it was pretty much a stalemate.
“The windy conditions didn’t help but I’ve got to give Lordswood some credit. They came here desperate for the three points and made it difficult for us.”
Lying second from bottom of the table, the Walderslade outfit certainly didn’t have the look of a side facing relegation in terms of their spirit and aggressive approach and fully deserved a share of the spoils against a Deal team who took a long time to get out of third gear.
It might have been a different story if the hard-working Charlie Walsh had accepted an early chance following a superb pass from Dan Adams, but otherwise Deal found it difficult to keep possession playing into the strong wind in the first half and were grateful for a last-ditch clearance from Liam Hark for keeping the scoreline blank at half-time.
The Hoops then did slowly gain the initiative in the second half but were unable to produce a decisive finish and it needed another important challenge in their own area, this time by substitute Joe Reeves, to keep the home “clean sheet” run going.
Hares added: “In the last few weeks we’ve done really well against some of the top teams but when we play against sides at the bottom of the league we tend to drop to their standard, and that’s a bit of an Achilles heel for us that we’ve got to learn to overcome.”
Deal: Tonkin, Paxman, O’Brien, Hill, K Smith, Hark, Scott, Anderson, Walsh, Philpott (Reeves 56), Adams (Gregory 66).