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Chatham Town 1 Beckenham Town 0 (after extra time) - Kent Senior Trophy final match report

By Steve Tervet

Chatham Town's long wait for silverware is over after they lifted the Kent Senior Trophy at the Gallagher Stadium on Sunday.

They missed a string of good chances against Beckenham Town, including a penalty, as the final went to extra time after 90 goalless minutes.

But a goal from substitute Michael Hagan was enough to win the Chats' first cup final for 20 years.

Chatham celebrate their Kent Senior Trophy win Picture: Steve Crispe
Chatham celebrate their Kent Senior Trophy win Picture: Steve Crispe

Chatham, backed by a noisy travelling contingent from Medway, made the better start with Paul Vines' shot from a Jon Pilbeam cross scrambled off the line.

Vines went close again when Michael McEntegart flapped at a deep cross although the Beckenham keeper looked much more assured when he rushed out to save bravely at Matt Bodkin's feet moments later after Vines had sent the winger racing into the box.

At the other end, Luis Medina's header from a free-kick was easily gathered by Dan Ellis but it was Chatham doing most of the attacking.

McEntegart flew across his goal to keep out Bodkin's curling free-kick from 25 yards and Byron Walker pulled the trigger when he got a yard of space in the Becks box, although a heavy deflection took the pace out of the shot before it reached McEntegart.

Medina was feeding off scraps up front for Beckenham and although he got his head to a right-wing cross, the ball sailed behind and he took a whack for his troubles, needing treatment.

Chatham's pressing was giving Becks no time on the ball and after Walker had done well to win a free-kick inside his own half, the ball ran for Tom Fitzgerald, whose shot was blocked on the line by Jez Hammond.

It should have been 1-0 just after the half-hour when Pilbeam dug out a great cross from the right but Vines, unmarked, headed wide from six yards. In his defence, Vines may not have been expecting the ball to beat the defender closest to him but it was still a bad miss.

The sheer persistence of Fitzgerald near the byline saw him win the ball back and force another smart save from McEntegart, with Bodkin twice denied by good blocks when the ball was returned into the middle.

Matt Bodkin takes on the Beckenham defence Picture: Steve Crispe
Matt Bodkin takes on the Beckenham defence Picture: Steve Crispe

Walker was convinced he should have had a penalty on the stroke of half-time after wriggling past two defenders and going to ground but referee Joe McKay wasn't interested. Beckenham broke quickly and looked to be in until Ben Wilson was booked for bringing his man down, with Medina also shown a yellow card for his role in the aftermath.

Chatham started the second half as they'd finished the first, with Pilbeam spinning free in the box and grazing the top of the bar with a left-footed shot.

Vines, on the stretch, headed Walker's cross wide after Fitzgerald had slipped him in down the left.

Chatham were then awarded a penalty when Nathan Daly sent Pilbeam flying at the end of a terrific move which started near Chatham's right-hand corner flag. Vines stepped up but his spot-kick was dreadful, sailing over the bar and clearing the Town End roof.

Still the chances kept coming for the Chats, Walker surging down the left and Bodkin teeing up Reece Butler for a rasping shot which McEntegart did well to hold onto.

Beckenham sent on Joe Healy shortly before the hour and Jimmy Rogers picked out Billy Bennett with a hanging cross but Bennett failed to hit the target with his header.

Jason Huntley's side were now enjoying their best spell of the match, passing the ball well and spending more time in the Chatham half.

Some of the fizz had gone out of Chatham's play and Stefan Cox worked a good opening down the Becks right, although his shot was so wayward it went out for a throw.

Jon Pilbeam gets Chatham moving forward Picture: Steve Crispe
Jon Pilbeam gets Chatham moving forward Picture: Steve Crispe

You could see Beckenham growing in confidence towards the end of the 90 minutes and James Collins responded with a change of his own, introducing Hagan wide on the left.

Hagan was straight into the action, his cross shovelled by McEntegart back into the danger zone but Butler blazing over when the ball reached him 20 yards out.

Into the last 10 minutes, you felt one goal would win it and Healy's driven cross was crying out for a touch as it flashed through Chatham's six-yard box.

A clever pass from Cox sent Richard Atkins running into the box but his rushed shot was never troubling Ellis as it skewed well wide of the near post.

Chatham peppered the Beckenham box late on but they were almost caught by a sucker-punch when Medina connected with a left-wing cross, forcing a good save from Ellis on the goal line.

Less than a minute into extra time, Ellis produced a fantastic reaction save to deny Atkins from point-blank range. Beckenham than had a goal disallowed after the ball appeared to go straight in from a long throw.

But it was Chatham who broke the deadlock in the 100th minute of the cup final. The goal owed much to the vision of right-back James Fray, who spotted the run of Bodkin down the inside-right channel, and when Bodkin latched onto his lofted pass and delivered a low cross, there was Hagan to force the ball high past McEntegart.

Atkins dragged a shot wide in the second period of extra time and Beckenham thought they'd forced penalties when Ike Robinson nodded Nathan Paul's cross down for Bennett, who turned the ball in only to see the assistant's flag raised for offside.

Ellis pulled off a superb double save to thwart Bennett and Atkins at the death and the Chats survived four added minutes to claim the win.

Chatham: Ellis, Fray (Grant 112mins), Parsons, Butler, Wilson, Evans, Pilbeam, Fitzgerald, Vines, Bodkin, Walker (Hagan 75mins). Subs not used: Walters-Wright, Jenner, Newcombe.

Beckenham: McEntegart, Paul, Johnson, Daly, Hammond (Britten 106mins), Branco (Healy 55mins), Rogers (Robinson 106mins), Bennett, Medina, Atkins, Cox. Subs not used: Adesina, Hope.

Attendance: 1,128.

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