City Hit a Festive Four in Victory Over Landlords Deal
A decisive victory for City as defence and attack both shine brightly
Canterbury City 4 Deal Town 1
This was an outstanding and splendid win for City against their landlords Deal Town and a great performance too. Some clinical finishing in the first half laid the foundations which was then followed by a centre-halves defensive master class from messrs. Harvey and McCallum that kept the hosts down to a single breakaway response.
A lively and competitive opening saw the first couple of efforts fall Deal's way as City keeper Jack Delo made a comfortable save from Joe Reeves while from a corner, Euan Sahadow headed wide. It was City that struck first however when a sparkling run down the right from Pat Nzuzi saw his cross take a couple of blocked rebounds but the ball rolled loose to Sam Lawford, who steadied himself, before slotting it home past keeper James Tonkin for 1-0.
Sahadow was then lucky only to be booked when he made an agricultural tackle through the back of Jamie Maxted, while that plus a following attempted kick out made many thought he should have been seeing red. City however, buoyed by their lead, continued to surge forward as Joe Nelder fired over and Tonkin saved from Lawford as he sped through on goal. Another opportunity passed City by as Lawford and Rob Lawrence combined well to put Matt Martin through on the overlap but he could only lob the ball wide from a good position.
Deal were becalmed and although Sahadow charged through the defence - only firing narrowly wide of the far post as Delo rushed out to close him down, it was City that soon doubled their advantage. On twenty-three minutes a lovely chipped ball forward from the lively Lawrence split the home defence apart and the even livelier Lawford burst through and after a deft little first touch he stroked the ball home, with some aplomb, across the floundering Tonkin and into the far side of the net for 2-0.
A Connor Coyne shot then saw a scrambling Delo need two attempts to save but it was a rare respite for Deal, as with their defence and midfield seemingly running in treacle, City soon grabbed a third. The ball was fed into acres of space down the City right and Nzuzi, playing like an orthodox winger from right-back, flew down the wing and sent over another inviting cross and as the ball came back out to the edge of the box, Dan Keyte thumped it home past a statuesque Tonkin for 3-0.
Deal tried to respond and as City started to give away a few free-kicks, one nearly gave them a goal back when a header at the far post went just wide. A couple of other balls were launched into the City box but some controlled defending saw them away before Nzuzi was off down the wing again with some wonderful play that saw him send over three crosses in quick succession, ending with a Lawrence shot being blocked as a hungry City looked for a festive fourth.
City finished the half in control as a Dave Pilcher free-kick was headed wide by Laurence Harvey while Martin and Lawrence almost walked another goal in before a hurried clearance conceded a corner from which Tonkin made an agile catch just snatching the ball off of Harvey's head in the process.
The break arrived and a cracker of a first half saw City tree goals to the good after merrily unwrapping the home defence and Deal now seemingly, having snow chance of a comeback.
A presumably chastened home side were out early for the second half making two changes and they restarted brightly but their efforts lacked any cutting edge. An early free-kick from near the corner of the City box was easily dealt with as was the follow up ball back in, while Delo dealt comfortably with a Reeves shot. Kane Smith headed a Deal corner wide, while Harvey headed another over for City.
The game was simmering along nicely, Deal were plugging away but a solid and impressive display at the heart of the City defence from Harvey and Josh McCallum just kept the home strikers quiet and subdued while a yellow card for Martin, for what the referee perceived as simulation, then saw City boss Ben Smith dismissed from the bench for his unseasonal reaction.
Martin and Lawrence then combined well and almost forced their way through but a couple of nicked deflections hampered their progress and the move ended with Martin seeing his shot deflected and looping up and over the bar. Deal then flashed a free-kick right across the City goal before on sixty minutes, they struck a goal back when Reeves hit City on the break to make it 3-1.
City's response was immediate and within a couple of minutes they had restored their three goal advantage. A huge ball sent forward bounced over the Deal defence and left them all looking forlornly at each other as Lawrence sprinted through and chased it down only to be clattered by Tonkin as the City man got his shot off. It was a clear penalty and a yellow card for the keeper and there could have therefore been no real complaints as Pilcher stepped up and crashed the spot-kick home for 4-1.
The final thirty minutes or so was a procession of stop-start football as City managed the game out. Deal's much hoped for revival at 1-3 was strangled at birth and they had little to offer after City's fourth as they just couldn't get past the City defence. Reeves skied a hurried shot high and wide, while substitute Danny Adams saw his long range effort also skid wide of the upright.
With just ten minutes to go, a fracas following a poor tackle on Harvey then saw Deal reduced to ten men when Andy Miller saw red and Deal's poor afternoon ended with another couple of yellow cards as well.
A well deserved, superb and decisive victory for City who were far quicker on the day in speed of thought and mind as well as action.
Final score: Canterbury City 4 Deal Town 1
City; Jack Delo, Pat Nzuzi, Jamie Maxted, Dan Keyte, Laurence Harvey, Josh McCallum, Matt Martin, Joe Nelder, Rob Lawrence (Dan Gonzalez-Bello), Dave Pilcher (Connor Hendricks), Sam Lawford (Billy Lewins).