Unbeaten Run Ends In Controversy at Deal Town
By Kevin Olver
Local derby defeat for nine man City at former landlords Deal Town
Canterbury City 0 Deal Town 1
City's eight game unbeaten run came to an end in controversial circumstances as they suffered this single goal defeat. The strike that won the game was worthy of winning any match, but on the night, it was far from being the only story.
A stunning start from the hosts saw them take an early lead in the third minute when Steve O'Brien struck a superb, twenty-five yard free-kick into the top corner of Jack Delo's net giving the keeper no chance for 0-1.
An open and attacking game then ensued with the home side shading the first half. The pace of the game was quick and neither side allowed their opponents any time on the ball and consequently there were far too many overturns of possession for either bench's liking. Chances were being created but in truth neither keeper was really troubled. Adam Woollcott fired wide on the volley for City, while after a neat turn, Sam Wilson rolled his effort wide of the far post for Deal.
Another tame home effort went harmlessly wide, while Liam Quinn's header from a free-kick was well off target for City. Ben Cardwell won the ball in midfield before going on a threatening run towards the City goal but shot over the bar, while the same fate befell Michael Turner at the other end as the right-back got forward and latched onto a pass from Remell Davis.
Andy Miller powered a handily placed free-kick straight at the City wall, while Jordan Casey did well to control the ball and get an effort off under pressure, but again the strike was not on target. The game was fast and furious to the point of being a little scrappy, but Deal did appear to be carrying the greater goal threat especially when Cardwell cut inside and saw his fierce snap-shot brilliantly beaten away one handed by Delo as the ball swerved in the air in front of him.
A half of lots of effort and endeavour from both sides, but not too much to report as the break arrived with the home side still that early goal ahead.
From a City perspective, the game was far from lost and some recent performances when coming back from behind would have meant the confidence of turning this game around would certainly have been there. Indeed they started the second-half brightly and all of the early chances fell their way with Woollcott very much in the thick of it. His long range effort flew low and through bodies but ultimately was a comfortable stop for Deal keeper James Tonkin, while moments later his glancing header from a Dave Pilcher free-kick drifted wide of the far post as neither of two City runners could get close enough to touch it home.
Another chance then went when a ball across popped up in front of him as he charged into the Deal box, but although he did well to get anything on it, his header on the run just looped up and over the bar. A lovely cross-field pass from Casey then picked out Turner moving up again on the right, but having made progress towards the Deal box, he could only shoot wide. City were employing the long throw from Casey, but more than once a heavily defended home box saw them clear the ball without too many anxieties.
Pilcher saw a shot blocked, while at the other end, Delo did well to dive down to his right, beating out a goal bound effort in the process only to see the rebound hammered home past him, but then relief came by way of a disputed offside flag.
Deal were now definitely getting back into the game as City's Dan Keyte pulled off a perfectly timed blocking tackle to keep out a Miller shot before the home side's chances of hanging onto the points were further enhanced as City's Gary Sayer was red-carded leaving the visitors down to ten men - can't have been many complaints from City about that decision and to be fair there wasn't.
From thereon, a depleted City threw everything at Deal to try and rescue the game. A City corner saw Davis spurn a chance to equalise as he plopped the ball over the bar from close in while Casey continued to launch the long throws into the box at every opportunity. Davis was then booked for something only the linesman had seen as he curiously decided to intervene into the decision making process for the first time all night when another City corner was sent into the box, a decision that was to have a further repercussion shortly after.
In the eighty-second minute, loud City appeals for a penalty were waved away as James Turner chasing the ball into the box went down under a heavy challenge from behind, the referee showing no interest whatsoever. That injustice was then trumped by another as Davis bore down on goal on the nearside this time and got in front of his marker only to be fouled by a last ditch tackle from behind. Penalty was the immediate shout, contact was clearly seen and heard but despite this the referee only saw fit to second yellow card Davis for diving and therefore send him off.
With City now down to nine men, they literally threw the lot at their opponents and despite some frantic 'kitchen-sinking' at the end, they just couldn't create a clear cut chance with just substitute Josh Froggatt's effort fired well over the bar in the final minute.
Final score: Canterbury City 0 Deal Town 1
City: Jack Delo, Michael Turner, Gary Sayer, Laurence Harvey, Liam Quinn, Dan Keyte (Josh Froggatt), Adam Woollcott, Remell Davis, Jordan Casey, Dave Pilcher (Josh McCallum), James Turner
Unused subs: Rob Lawrence, James Nurden, Tom Barton