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Matt Bodkin with four assists as Kevin Hake's Chatham Town thump Hythe Town and go top of Isthmian League South East

Chatham Town wide-man Matt Bodkin is an inspiration for aspiring footballers everywhere according to his boss Kevin Hake.

Bodkin turned 39 in September but produced a stunning display from left-back at the weekend as Chatham put six past Hythe Town to go top of Isthmian League South East.

Praise for Chatham wide-man Matt Bodkin after big win Picture: Andy Jones
Praise for Chatham wide-man Matt Bodkin after big win Picture: Andy Jones

On a day of standout performances, Bodkin was the main man for Chats from left-back, crossing the ball in for three of the goals and setting up another from a short corner, as the hosts ran riot at the Bauvill Stadium.

“Bods has been a revelation,” said his manager. “To go and get four assists from left-back, it is unreal. He is a true inspiration for any youngster out there looking at how to condition your body.

“He has a positive mentally, he always has a smile on his face and while others hung their boots up years ago he is looking as fresh as ever. He’s 39 now but looking great.”

The former Nottingham Forest trainee and Gillingham professional comfortably made the KentOnline team-of-the-week. Dropping back from his more accustomed wing-man role to left-back has been a real positive for the Chats.

“I would like to say it was managerial genius, but we just stumbled across it,” joked the Chats boss, whose side continued their good form at Merstham on Monday night with a 3-0 win in the Velocity Cup.

“He has been great as either full-back, he can play wide in all of the positions, we are going to try and get him in every position on the pitch over the course of the season, that’s the aim!”

Bodkin was given a slight breather on Monday, starting on the bench and coming on as a 68th minute substitute in the second round tie.

While Chatham made Hythe crumble on Saturday with their balls from out wide the goal of the day came from captain Jack Evans, lobbing the visiting keeper from 45 yards. Not bad for a player who wasn’t feeling well and went off with an hour played.

Hake said: “The amount of times I have been thinking ‘surely not?’ but then Jack just pops up with one. It is not the first one. We have scored some great goals this season.

“Since he has been at the club he has scored some great ones and that is right up there with them, to have the vision and application to do that is unreal.

“I was so pleased for him and he had been feeing rough as well all day, he wasn’t 100% but is doing things like that for us.”

Evans’ replacement was Callum Peck, marking his return to the club with a goal, set up by Bodkin, of course.

“I was really pleased to get him back at the club,” said the Chats boss. “I wanted to get him when he was at Kennington but then he went on contract at Ramsgate, we kept tabs on him. We want the best local talent around and the best local boys and he fits into the category. It was really pleasing to see him come off the bench and get his goal.”

Evans missed the game on Monday as did striker Dan Bradshaw - who scored twice on Saturday - after he was taken off as a precaution following a knock against Hythe.

Chatham won Monday night's game against Merstham with goals from Fabio Saraiva, Jacob Gilbert and Daniel Thompson.

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