Goals in each half from Joe Reeves and Connor Coyne enabled the Hoops to end their run of six matches without a win and also complete a league “double” over Crowborough.
And the fact the Crows had won their four previous league games made Saturday’s success even more satisfying for Hoops manager Derek Hares, who said: “I thought the lads put in a strong, solid performance against a decent side and showed the sort of form that we had been producing regularly up until a month or so ago.
“It was important that we started to get back on track and, with our next two league games also at home, we’ve now got the chance to build on it.”
The Hoops looked lively right from the start but Steve O’Brien and Kane Smith both fired over early on when well placed and, with his side having failed to score in their previous two matches, Hares acknowledged: “It was important that we scored the first goal because if we had gone behind again it could have hit our confidence “
And the Hoops had a let off midway through the first half when Crowborough’s Ansu Janneh showed pace and skill to set up a good shooting opportunity only to then scuff his effort wide.
But, with the stiff breeze in their favour, it was Deal who remained the more likely to make the breakthrough and it finally came two minutes before half-time when man-of-the-match Reeves drove the ball low into the far corner from the edge of the box.
It gave Hares’ men just the lift they needed as they faced the prospect of playing into the wind in the second half, and they received a further boost 11 minutes after the restart when Coyne made it 2-0. The striker, who had scored a hat-trick in Deal’s 4-2 win at Crowborough in early September, volleyed home from close range following an O’Brien corner.
That was clearly a body blow for Crowborough and although James Tonkin had to make one reflex save from a Janneh header while Luke Leppard volleyed another chance wide, for the most part the Deal defence coped admirably with a Crows attack who had scored 11 times in their four-game winning run.
With Billy Munday, signed on loan from Ramsgate, making his debut as a substitute and joining his brother Jake in the Hoops line-up, it could have been a really positive day for Deal but for the fact Smith had to be taken to hospital after the game after suffering in the closing stages what looked like a bad ankle injury. His dominating presence in the heart of the Hoops defence will be sorely missed, with Hares saying: “Obviously the only blight on the day is the injury to Kane and we are just hoping that it’s not too serious.”
Deal: Tonkin, Hark, O’Brien, Maughan, Smith, Scott, J Munday, A Miller (C Miller 75), Coyne (B Munday 80), Rodgers, Reeves (Cardwell 53).