Two late goals denied the Hoops any reward from their opening league fixture against Crowborough Athletic on Saturday.
The match was played on the 3G pitch at Maidstone’s United Gallagher Stadium, where the Crows are currently groundsharing, and Deal looked poised to pull off an excellent victory after they led for virtually the whole game following Sam Wilson’s second goal in two matches.
But Crowborough equalised in the 89th-minute through Jason Barton and then Tom Pearson snatched their winner in added time to produce a cruel ending for the Hoops who, following their excellent midweek FA Cup win, gave another encouraging performance against the side who were last season’s runners-up.
After Wilson’s sweet strike, following Harry Alexander’s seventh-minute cross, Deal more than held their own for the remainder of the first half against a Crowborough side who rapped in 96 league goals last season.
And, with James Tonkin having a superb game in goal, the Hoops continued to fend off everything Crowborough could throw at them after the break while still looking dangerous themselves on the break – but then came the two late goals which turned the result on its head.
Deal: Tonkin, Butcher, K Smith, O’Brien, Hark, Scott, Miller, Bigginton (Connolly), Alexander (Gregory), Philpott (Zureiqi), Wilson.