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All action as Deal secure Vase victory

Deal Town 6 Hythe Town 4


THIS Carlsberg FA VASE 2nd qualifying round replay at the Charles Ground last night was one of those games that had to be seen to be believed.

At the end of it, Deal had booked a third-round trip to Eastleigh, but they certainly made hard work of it against a Hythe side who had three men sent off.

That Deal needed extra time to finish off Dave Linstrem's side was in itself a mystery because, with Hythe reduced to nine men, the game should have been all over when Steve Jones put the home side 4-2 ahead after 67 minutes. But one quality Linstrem's team do possess is durability, and with Deal a shadow of the side who had dominated the first half, Hythe mounted an unlikely late comeback.

With five minutes left, Darren Light headed in from close range after Jason Hughes had parried Dean Widnall's volley, and then in injury time Jason Brazier equalised from the penalty spot after he had been sent tumbling in the box. So extra time followed, with the possibility of a penalty shootout an obvious encouragement for Hythe's nine men, and they succeeded in keeping Deal out for the first extra period.

Five minutes into the second period, however, the home side finally broke through again when substitute Matt Goodban drove home his first goal in Deal's colours after Mark Seager's 30-yard rocket had come back off the bar.

Hythe appealed in vain for offside and Light became their third player to be shown a red card by referee Paul Kelly after making an abusive gesture to the linesman. And, with two minutes left, the tie finally was all over when Darren Hover burst through from the back before finding Seager, who in turn set up Jones to complete his hat-trick.

Afterwards Hythe officials said that they would be making their dissatisfaction with the referee's performance very clear in their report. They were particularly upset with the 60th minute dismissal of pint-sized striker Michael Heath, who had scored their opening two goals, for a dangerous tackle on Martin James. Midfielder Dave Gear followed him off the pitch immediately for dissent, and referee Kelly also booked three other Hythe players and three from Deal as he sought to keep control.

All this mayhem was in start contrast to the first 25 minutes when Deal, according to Bryany "playing their best football of the season", tore Hythe apart. With James delivering some superb crosses from the left wing and Steve Smith turning his marker inside out, Deal were irrestistible. Smith put them in front from Jones' pass after three minutes, and he then turned provider when picking out the unmarked James for Deal's second four minutes later.

But the Deal defence then threw Hythe a lifeline when they allowed Rhys Taylor-Ryall's long throw to reach Heath, who stabbed home his first goal. Deal never recovered their early fluency after that, even though Jones made it 3-1 early in the second period. Heath scored his second goal after 58 minutes before Jones seemed to finish them off with his second strike, but in fact the 'fun' was only just beginning.

Deal: Hughes; Bartholomew, Hover, Heather, Ingram; Marriott, Bowyer, (Waring 72mins) Seager, James (Thomas 63); Jones, Smith (Goodban 80).

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