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Chatham Town 1 Bognor Regis Town 0 match report: Jamie Yila scores as Chats get off to a winning Isthmian Premier start

There was a victorious Isthmian Premier start for Chatham who edged past Bognor Regis on Saturday.

Jamie Yila deservedly gave Chats a half-time advantage and, while the visitors were much better after the restart - and there was a huge amount of stoppage time added on at the death - Chatham held on for a well-earned clean sheet and a 1-0 win.

Chairman-manager Kevin Hake – saw Chatham Town get off to a winning Isthmian Premier start on Saturday. Picture: Ian Scammell
Chairman-manager Kevin Hake – saw Chatham Town get off to a winning Isthmian Premier start on Saturday. Picture: Ian Scammell

The hosts had the first opportunity on six minutes at the Bauvill Stadium, Kristian Campbell heading wide Jack Evans’ corner at the far post.

A minute later, Bognor goalkeeper Ryan Hall made a big block to thwart Evans who had broken through before the 30-year-old again threatened.

The 13th minute saw the away team have their first chance of note as Tommy-Lee Higgs sent his first-time effort wide from distance.

With Chatham growing into the game nicely, Ashley Nzala blasted inches over midway through the first period after he had done well to cut inside away players.

Midfielder Sam De St Croix then threatened at the other end, two minutes later, only to fire an effort straight at home keeper Ben Bridle-Card.

Matt Bodkin, 39, set up Jamie Yila for the only goal. Picture: PSP Images
Matt Bodkin, 39, set up Jamie Yila for the only goal. Picture: PSP Images

But Chats deservedly netted the only goal on 33 minutes in front of a crowd of 1,553. A corner was taken quickly and 39-year-old Matt Bodkin sent a delicious right-wing delivery to the far post, where Yila opened Chatham’s account for the competitive campaign.

Three minutes before the interval, forward Jasper Mather headed a cross wide while Bognor also had penalty protests waved away by referee Jacob Wright.

Visiting captain Calvin Davies drove into the box and went down under pressure from midfielder Jordy Robins, already on a yellow card, but the Rocks’ appeals were correctly dismissed.

A half-time substitution was made by Bognor boss Robbie Blake, which saw Dan Smith replace Higgs, before Matthew Burgess came on for Eric Dellaud in the 53rd minute.

Chats’ first change amid an uneventful start to the second period saw Che Krabbendam come on for scorer Yila.

Shortly after, a scuffle then resulted in home player-assistant Danny Kedwell and Davies both getting cautioned.

There was a delay midway through the half, Bridle-Card able to clear under pressure from Mather and continuing after a lengthy treatment delay.

Burgess sent a 72nd-minute long-range strike wide as the away team pushed for an equaliser.

The hosts’ final change came 11 minutes from time, which saw recent recruit Chinedu McKenzie come on for Nzala while Bridle-Card produced another great gather under pressure.

When stoppage time was finally indicated, the 12-minute allocation was met by plenty of groans by the home contingent.

Another Bognor opening saw Alex Breto bravely launch himself in the way of a goal-bound shot which flew over the crossbar.

In the penultimate minute, Hall remained alert to beat away an Evans free-kick.

But Chatham held on throughout something of a second-half onslaught – albeit clear-cut chances remained at a premium - and incredibly they still haven’t lost a home league game since October 2021.

Chairman-manager Kevin Hake gave first competitive Chats starts to experienced defender Campbell, Yila, Brefo and Cameron Brodie.

Former Carshalton and Tonbridge forward McKenzie, whose arrival at Chatham was announced the day before the big kick-off, was introduced in the second half.

There had been fears Rocks defender Kieran Douglas wouldn’t arrive in time for kick-off but he played the full 90 minutes.

Chatham Town: Bridle-Card, Campbell, Robins, Beckwith, Evans, Kedwell, Yila (Krabbendam 62mins), Brefo, Brodie (Sanogo 72mins), Bodkin, Nzala (McKenzie 79mins). Subs not used: Taylor, Bobomurodov.

Bognor Regis Town: Hall, Anderson, Dellaud (Burgess 53mins), Davies, Douglas, Robson, St Croix (Howick 62mins), Whyte, Mather, Higgs (Smith 46mins), Pattenden. Sub not used: Howick.

Referee: Jacob Wright.

Attendance: 1,553.

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