The Hoops’ last hope of silverware this season slipped away on Tuesday night after they suffered an extra-time defeat to Corinthian in this League Challenge Cup third round tie.
It was the second time that Deal had lost to the Longfield club in a cup competition this season, having been beaten 3-2 at Corinthian in the FA Vase back in October. On that occasion they had a player sent off and the same thing happened in this latest meeting when Connor Coyne, who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes after coming on as a 65th-minute substitute for Luke Bigginton, was shown a straight red card by referee Stuart Marriott for kicking out at a Corinthian player.
Deal were trailing 1-0 at the time to a 10th-minute Sam Bewick goal after ’keeper James Tonkin misjudged a long free-kick into his area and Corinthian, playing with a stiff breeze in their favour, remained on top for the rest of the half playing the sort of controlled football which has lifted them into joint first place in the SCEL Premier Division table.
But the Hoops, boosted by the half-time introduction of Charlie Walsh in midfield, made more of an attacking impact in the second half and, despite the loss of Coyne, were rewarded for their efforts in the dying seconds of normal time when Ben Chapman converted Andy Miller’s low driven cross at the far post.
So the tie went into extra-time and although the Hoops’ 10 men continued to lack nothing in commitment, they began to show some tired legs and Corinthian regained the lead 10 minutes into the first period with a fierce cross-shot into the far corner from Steven Ita.
Deal kept plugging away in the final period but they were unable to come from behind for a second time as Corinthian took another step towards a possible league and cup “double”.
Deal: Tonkin, Chapman, Hark, Bigginton (Coyne 65), Foster (Maughan 89), Scott, B Munday (Walsh 46), Pilcher, Wilson, A Miller, Rodgers.