Late goals from Sam Wilson and Dan Adams earned the Hoops their first league win of the season on Saturday.
Coming after the midweek FA Cup exit at Glebe, it was a result that delighted manager Derek Hares who said: “I thought the boys showed great character today to bounce back like that, especially as we had to change the side around because of injuries, but everyone in the squad responded.”
Luke Bigginton and Charlie Walsh both limped off in the first half, which meant an early chance off the subs’ bench for new signing Connor Miller.
But, crucially, Hares was able to start with his two most experienced players, captain Dean Hill and Steve Butcher, following their recovery from injury, and their calming presence helped the Hoops to achieve a second successive home league “cleansheet” with a resolute defensive display typified by man-of-the-match Liam Hark.
Beckenham, for their part, had arrived at the Charles Ground top of the league with two wins out of two, and both sides created a number of chances in the first half without being able to apply the finishing touch.
And the “near misses” continued after the break, first when Wilson struck the outside of a post with 55 minutes gone and then a minute later at the other end when Josh Gonzalez-Stirling fired over the Hoops’ crossbar after a deflection off Lee Scott fell nicely into his path.
But Deal’s biggest “let off” followed just past the hour mark when, in a hectic goalmouth scramble, Beckenham fired in four or five close-range shots which were either blocked by Hoops’ keeper James Tonkin or his fellow defenders before Steve O’Brien finally hacked the ball clear.
Deal then introduced their final substitute, Connor Coyne, soon afterwards, and the striker made an important contribution to the Hoops’ opening goal two minutes from time, heading a Tonkin clearance into the path of Andy Miller who burst into the Beckenham box before setting up Wilson for a shot which rolled into the net off the body of keeper’ Rilwan Anibaba.
And the Hoops sealed the three points in time added on when Miller was tripped just inside the area and Adams coolly tucked away the spot kick.
Deal: Tonkin, Butcher, Hark, Hill, Scott, O’Brien, Walsh (C Miller 39), Bigginton (Adams 20), A Miller, Reeves (Coyne 66), Wilson.