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Chatham Town chairman-manager Kevin Hake reacts to opening-day Isthmian Premier 1-0 home success against Bognor Regis Town

Chatham have already made a better league start this season than they did last term - when they went on to win the division!

There was a victorious Isthmian Premier start for Chats who beat Bognor Regis 1-0 at home through debutant Jamie Yila’s first-half header on Saturday.

It was a positive first all-round performance at Step 3 for boss Kevin Hake’s troops after winning the 2022/23 Isthmian South East crown, despite having lost their opener 1-0 at East Grinstead.

Bognor gave Chatham a stern test but the Medway club held on, including through a mammoth 12 minutes of stoppage time, for a well-earned clean sheet.

“The lads dealt with it,” Hake said. “There were a plethora of corners but the lads dealt with it brilliantly.

“To keep a clean sheet, and get our first three points in this division, that’s unreal.

“It’s three points more than we’d got last season - when we went on to win the league! But we’re not getting carried away.

Report: Chatham 1-0 Bognor Regis

“We know our home form will be crucial to what we do.”

Yila scored the game’s only goal when he nodded home veteran right-back Matt Bodkin’s cross shortly after the half-hour mark in front of another huge crowd of 1,553 at the Bauvill Stadium.

Hake, whose side visit Kent rivals Folkestone on Tuesday, reflected: “It’s always important to get off to a good start.

“The lads were outstanding today. To a man, they were unbelievable. There was 12 minutes of extra time, as well, but I think we reduced them to barely a shot on target.

“It was great to see Jamie Yila open his account for the club, great to see the number of fans - over 1,500 here again - which was unreal.

“It was a great day for the club.”

Forward Yila counts Eastbourne Borough, Chelmsford and Cray Wanderers among his old clubs.

“Jamie’s a player I have admired for a long time,” revealed Hake.

“We’ve managed to get him in - albeit late on. It was great for him to open his account.

“He caused them real problems.”

Chats have another away game against Cheshunt next weekend before they return to home action against Potters Bar on Saturday, August 26.

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