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Chatham Town manager-chairman Kevin Hake reacts to 6-3 Isthmian Premier home win against fellow promotion-chasing side Billericay Town

Manager-chairman Kevin Hake accepts Chatham’s Isthmian Premier home victory against Billericay felt bigger than most they have enjoyed this season.

Goal-friendly Chats won their top-three game against the third-placed visitors 6-3 as they recovered on Saturday, having trailed in the fifth minute.

Chatham boss Kevin Hake – was thrilled with his side’s performance in Saturday’s 6-3 Isthmian Premier win over Billericay. Picture: Max English (@max_ePhotos)
Chatham boss Kevin Hake – was thrilled with his side’s performance in Saturday’s 6-3 Isthmian Premier win over Billericay. Picture: Max English (@max_ePhotos)

Asked if the victory felt like a significant one for second-placed Chatham, Hake replied: “It does.

“We’ve got 10 (league) games to go now and they’re what we call the championship rounds for us - three points can feel like six. It doesn’t matter who you are playing, it’s always very hard.

“But to go and beat a rival to us who are in third place in the manner that we did, that was great.”

A fine free-kick from captain Jack Evans, alongside Kareem Isiaka’s first two goals of the afternoon and a header from Rowan Liburd, put Chats into a 4-2 half-time advantage after midfielder Adam Leathers had sent them behind.

Isiaka then completed his hat-trick and top scorer Jamie Yila also got among the goals with a Chats penalty before Gary McCann’s men grabbed a late consolation through on-loan debutant forward Sydney Ibie.

Report: Chatham 6-3 Billericay

Hake reflected: “We’re really pleased.

“I thought the boys performed really well today. They showed great character after going a goal down to get back into the game straight away.

“To hit four in the first half and two in the second, that was brilliant.”

Chatham’s six goals in front of another crowd of more than 2,000 fans at the Bauvill Stadium came after they had withdrawn experienced defender Simon Cooper (knee) from the starting line-up before kick-off, with Leathers then delivering the first blow.

“It was probably more of a precaution with Coops,” explained Hake, whose side were involved in another nine-goal game, having won 7-2 at home to Hythe in last Tuesday’s Kent Senior Cup Quarter-Final.

“But Miquel (Scarlett) came in and he did brilliantly today. He did really well.

Chatham defender Simon Cooper – was withdrawn from their starting line-up as a precaution shortly ahead of kick-off. Picture: Max English (@max_ePhotos)
Chatham defender Simon Cooper – was withdrawn from their starting line-up as a precaution shortly ahead of kick-off. Picture: Max English (@max_ePhotos)

“We have got really good strength-in-depth in the squad and we’ve managed to rotate it around a little bit in recent weeks, which is decent.

“As I keep saying to the boys, it’s a squad game.”

Chatham midfielder Evans levelled from around 30 yards to mark his 150th appearance for the club in style.

Hake noted: “Me and Keds (player-assistant Danny Kedwell) were saying that he hadn’t scored one like that in a while - then he goes and does that!

“It’s just what you need from your skipper. You are surprised in a way but, also, you’re not surprised when he goes and does something like that.

“It was another great performance from him.

“He’s 150 games in and he’s given us - and the supporters - some magical moments over the years.

“Long may it continue.”

Former Welling forward Isiaka’s treble moved him to 13 goals since he arrived at the Medway outfit in October.

Hake, who is set to take his team to play-off chasing Carshalton next Saturday, enthused: “Kareem was different class today.

“The work-rate that he brings to the team is absolutely immense. That hat-trick was no less than he deserved.

“I’m really pleased for him to do that against his old club.”

Chats - now only six points behind leaders Hornchurch but 15 points clear of sixth-placed Horsham - were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Carshalton in October.

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