The Hoops suffered their fourth defeat of the season at the hands of league leaders Corinthian on Saturday.
And whereas their previous losses had been by single-goal margins, Deal were soundly beaten on this occasion as Corinthian took a convincing step closer towards the title. The home side were helped by the Hoops having Alfie Foster sent off late in the first half but by that stage Corinthian were already 3-0 up.
Derek Hares’ team found themselves under pressure right from the kick-off but some stout defending meant Corinthian had to wait 21 minutes before opening their account through Jack Billings.
Five minutes later however Andreas Tobon made it 2-0 and Emanuel Oloyede added Corinthian’s third on 39 minutes before Foster received a harsh red card just before the break.
That meant the second half became a case of “damage limitation” for the 10-man Hoops, who brought on Macauley Murray and Jude Arthurs for Connor Coyne and Dave Pilcher, but within seven minutes of the restart Oloyede added his second goal and then Liam Hark’s 68th-minute own goal made it 5-0.
The Hoops did achieve some consolation three minutes later when Sam Wilson headed home his 15th goal of the season from Murray’s pinpoint free-kick, but Corinthian were already secure in the knowledge that wins in their remaining two matches would guarantee them the title.
Deal: Tonkin, Hark (Alexander 73), Smith, Maughan, O’Brien, Foster, Pilcher (Arthurs 46), B Munday, Chapman, Coyne (Murray 46), Wilson.