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Chatham Town reach their first cup final for 20 years after beating Hollands & Blair in Kent Senior Trophy

Chatham are through to their first cup final in 20 years after beating Hollands & Blair in the last four of the Kent Senior Trophy.

Byron Walker broke the deadlock midway through the second half on Saturday and Paul Vines clinched victory from the penalty spot as Chats set up a meeting with Beckenham or St Peter.

Chatham boss James Collins said: "The chairman (Kevin Hake) did a presentation on the history of the club so the players were well aware and we spoke about it before the game.

Chatham captain Paul Vines, red, scored the crucial second goal Picture: Steve Crispe
Chatham captain Paul Vines, red, scored the crucial second goal Picture: Steve Crispe

"We've got some younger players and some players who've had success elsewhere but I said to the players you don't get a chance to reach a final every week.

"To put into perspective, if you've played for Chatham for the last 20 years you've won nothing.

"It's important you don't pass up these opportunities.

"Chatham's a big club and it's been without success for too long.

"I'm desperate to win for the club and the players are as well.

"Initially, when players join, they probably don't understand the club but they now see it's a special club and it does mean a lot to them.

"We've now played Hollands & Blair four times this season and every single one's been a hard game.

"I'm really not sure why they are where they are in the table."

Chatham's Jack Evans comes out on top in this battle with Blair man Jason Fregene Picture: Steve Crispe
Chatham's Jack Evans comes out on top in this battle with Blair man Jason Fregene Picture: Steve Crispe

Blair boss Darren Blackburn appreciated Collins’ praise of his side.

He said: “It's kind of James to say what he did.

"He's been managing longer than me and he knows the league and it's nice to hear it from him because that's also how I see where we're at.

"Saturday was a free hit for us because not many people expected us to reach a semi-final, especially after the tough season we've had.

"We set our stall out and the lads stuck to the game plan for 65 minutes but we made a little mistake and a team with Chatham's quality will punish you.

"I was more than happy at half-time because we'd defended brilliantly.

"We tried to stop them getting the ball into Byron Walker and Paul Vines' feet, because they've hurt us that way in the games we've played this season, and we did that.

"I spoke to James after the game and we both felt whoever got the first goal, however it came, would have something to hold on to."


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