A superb second half strike by Emmanuel Oloyede carried Corinthian three points clear at the top of the table and also completed a “hat-trick” of victories over Deal this season.
And, as in their two previous successes, a single-goal margin was enough for the visitors who have now racked up 12 victories on the trot as they target a possible league and cup “double”.
The decisive moment came two minutes after the interval when Oloyede chested down a long ball just outside the box before firing a thunderous shot into the top corner. Hoops manager Derek Hares said: “I don’t think there was a lot between the teams and their winning goal was unstoppable, there was nothing you could do about that.”
But the fact that one goal was enough to win the game reflected the Hoops’ current shortcomings in front of goal, with Hares admitting: We’ve struggled to score goals lately, that’s been our main problem, whereas a few months ago we always looked likely to score.”
With Sam Wilson ploughing a lone furrow up front for most of the game the striker, whose last goal came two months ago, had few genuine opportunities against a well-organised Corinthian defence. But Deal too defended with familiar determination which meant that half-time arrived with the scoreline still blank.
Oloyede, however, quickly changed that situation and for most of the second half it was the visitors who always looked the more likely to breakthrough again and they almost did so with the very last kick of the game when Sam Bewick clipped the Hoops crossbar.
But one goal was enough to leave Deal without a win in their last six home matches and Hares’ and Co may not be too disappointed that their next three games are all away from the Charles Ground, starting with a trip to second-from-bottom Rusthall on March 2. Hares added: “We’ve had a difficult run of games lately but we’ve now got a little bit of an easier run coming up, on paper anyway, and we’ve just got to knuckle down now in our remaining 10 games.”
Deal: Tonkin, Chapman, O’Brien, Maughan, Foster, Scott (Reeves 61), Bramble, Arthurs (Coyne 65), Wilson, Pilcher, A Miller (Alexander 80).