A first-half own goal and a second half Kane Smith header were sufficient to give the Hoops victory over Chatham Town on Tuesday night.
But, as officials from the Medway club admitted afterwards, Deal’s fourth league win of the season was considerably more comfortable than the final scoreline suggests.
Relegated from the Isthmian League last season, Chatham are finding life in the Southern Counties East League pretty tough going so far, with only five points from eight games, and once the Hoops made their initial breakthrough nine minutes before half-time there was never much doubt about the final outcome.
That opening goal came after Connor Coyne’s superb volleyed pass set up Charlie Walsh for a near-post cross which was turned into his own net by Chats’ defender Charlie McCarthy.
Minutes later Walsh sent Andy Miller, the Hoops’ man-of-the-match, through for a clear run on goal but the midfielder was denied by Chatham keeper Ryan Nicholls and then Smith volleyed another chance over the bar so that Deal had to be content with a one-goal half-time lead.
However Smith quickly made amends in the second half, powering home Miller’s 50th-minute corner at the far post, and from then on it basically became a question of “how many” the Hoops would win by.
The fact they had to settle for a two-goal margin was mostly due to Nicholls, who highlighted his fine performance with a brilliant tip-over save to keep out Coyne’s fierce left-foot volley, and the Hoops’ target man also went close on two other occasions as he sought to celebrate his birthday with a goal.
But, with James Tonkin virtually untroubled at the other end, Deal could afford their several second-half “near misses” as they cruised to a victory which lifted them to fifth place in the table.
Deal: Tonkin, Paxman, Hark, K Smith, Hill, Scott, Adams (D Smith 66), Butcher (Anderson 86), Coyne, A Miller, Walsh.
Chatham: Nicholls, Bray, Butler, Gibson, McCarthy, Coburn, Ascheri , Edwards, Friend, Bearman-Dyce, Saunders. Subs: Brown 65, Peck 75, Grant 88.