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Deal Town boss Steve King on signing Adam Molloy after fellow goalkeeper Henry Newcombe suffers season-ending knee injury in 5-1 Challenge Cup win

An experienced goalkeeper who has proved a thorn in Deal’s side this season has joined the Hoops - with their No.1 dealt a season-ending injury blow.

Adam Molloy will aim to make it a hat-trick of Southern Counties East Premier Division successes at Deal after signing for them.

Deal debutant Ashley Miller is denied by a last-gasp challenge in Saturday’s 2-0 FA Vase victory. Picture: Paul Willmott
Deal debutant Ashley Miller is denied by a last-gasp challenge in Saturday’s 2-0 FA Vase victory. Picture: Paul Willmott

The former Erith & Belvedere, Snodland, Sittingbourne and Sheppey man replaces Henry Newcombe, who seriously injured his knee in last Tuesday’s 5-1 Challenge Cup win against Staplehurst.

Two-goal Rory Smith, left-back Jack Penny, midfielder Wes Hennessey and substitute Jamie Kennedy were on target.

The fifth-placed Hoops have remarkably lost just twice in their last 24 matches - both times to Snodland, in the Kent Senior Trophy and in the league.

Indeed, a stellar Molloy display proved a catalyst for Snodland’s 2-1 Trophy triumph in October.

Manager Steve King, who played James Tonkin in their weekend FA Vase 2-0 home victory against Cobham, with Molloy cup-tied, explained on Saturday: “Henry had a scan on Friday.

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“We expect him to be out for quite a significant amount of time. We’ve managed to bring in Adam Molloy from Snodland.

“He was at Erith & Belvedere and Sheppey before that, and has won the SCEFL title the last two years. Adam played for me at Kent under-18s a long time ago.

“Obviously, we would love to have Tonks but his work dictates that he cannot commit. Adam is coming in for Wednesday’s game at Lydd and will be with us for the rest of the season.

“He will be cup-tied in the Vase. The plan, hopefully, will be to work Tonks’ work around those games.

“It was very disappointing to lose Henry on Tuesday. It was an innocuous one, making a save.

Tom Chapman leads Deal celebrations. Picture: Paul Willmott
Tom Chapman leads Deal celebrations. Picture: Paul Willmott

“We have had to act quite quickly. We don’t know the prognosis but, if you saw him on Saturday, Henry’s not in a great way. I think he will do well to play again this season.”

On social media on Tuesday, Newcombe updated fans on his injury, writing: "Thank you all for reaching out over the past week.

"Unfortunately, my MRI scan has come back and I have a Grade 3 tear in MCL and other damage in my knee that means my season is over.

"I will be behind Kingy and the lads every step of the way. Up the Hoops."

Another new face as the 2000 FA Vase winners reached the Fifth Round was winger Ashley Miller. He has joined from rivals Faversham.

While midfielder Ben Chapman and forward Smith got the goals against Cobham, Miller put in a hard-working performance.

Deal defender Alex Green on the ball. Picture: Paul Willmott
Deal defender Alex Green on the ball. Picture: Paul Willmott

King noted: “He was outstanding.

“I’ve known Ash since he was eight. I taught him at school, he’s played a lot of football for me over the years, and I’ve tried to get him here ever since I’ve been here!

“That wasn’t an Ashley Miller game - a bobbly, difficult, pitch and big and physical opposition, and we didn’t get the ball down the sides like we would have liked to because the pitch made it difficult - but I was delighted with his work-rate and his link-up play.

“I know, over the rest of this season and hopefully moving forward, he’s going to be a massive player for this football club.

“I’ve worked with a lot of players but he’s as good as I’ve worked with.”

Miller nicely fits into King’s squad where he will work alongside top scorer Aaron Millbank - who he started out with at Gillingham - and other players in Smith and Tom Chapman, who he played alongside at Ramsgate.

King said: “He grew up with Aaron Millbank at Gillingham and has played with Rory and Tom Chapman, and he’s known me a long time.

“He went to school with Kane Smith.

“We try to bring in players like him - that’s how we work - and I think he’s fitted into the group seamlessly.”

The Hoops have a league derby at Lydd tonight, with James Rogers’ side already having ended Deal’s FA Cup campaign in August.

The ambitious Lydders have signed former Dover boss Mitch Brundle, 29, who made a surprise playing return as they won 3-1 at basement boys Stansfeld last weekend.

They then host Fisher, who beat them 3-1 on the opening day this season, this Saturday and have a Challenge Cup Quarter-Final at Kennington on Tuesday.

Deal have been drawn away to Western League Bridgwater United, who beat much-fancied Farnham Town 2-1 at the weekend, in the FA Vase Fifth Round.

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