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Chatham Town 3 Corinthian 2 SCEFL Challenge Cup final match report

By Matthew Panting

Chatham came from two goals down to win the Southern Counties East League Challenge Cup final on Saturday.

It means James Collins' team have done the cup 'double' after lifting the Kent Senior Trophy last month.

Corinthian appeared on course to bounce back from the disappointment of losing out on the league title in the final week of the season - but Chatham had other ideas.

Conor Johnson puts Corinthian 2-0 up on Saturday. Picture: Alan Coomes
Conor Johnson puts Corinthian 2-0 up on Saturday. Picture: Alan Coomes

With their wind in their favour in the first half, Corinthian took full advantage. They were quicker to the loose balls in midfield, Luke Tanner proved a useful focal point to their attack and Oscar Housego added the creativity.

Chances were at a premium before Corinthian took a 23rd-minute lead. A neat move down the left saw the ball worked inside for Jamie Billings, whose low shot was deflected high beyond keeper Dan Ellis by Chats defender Corey Walters-Wright.

Corinthian doubled their lead six minutes before the break when Conor Johnson drove home from close range.

Chatham got themselves back into the contest on the stroke of half-time, leading marksman Paul Vines turning the ball in from close range after good work down the left by Michael Hagan.

Lifted by the goal and with their wind in their favour during the second half, Chatham started brightly and put Corinthian under pressure. They were rewarded on 56 minutes when Hagan nipped in to slot home the equaliser.

A good block by Jack Holland denied Vines as Chats continued to dominate, while Kameron Gyeabour's near-post effort was saved at the other end in a rare Corinthian attack.

Richard Avery fires home the winner for Chatham. Picture: Alan Coomes
Richard Avery fires home the winner for Chatham. Picture: Alan Coomes

Chatham went ahead with 17 minutes left. Substitute Marcus Evans' close-range effort was blocked on the line but Richard Avery turned home the loose ball despite the best efforts of keeper Aidan Prall.

Matt Bodkin nearly added a fourth for Chatham in the 89th minute but his 40-yard effort went just wide of the upright after Prall slipped.

Corinthian: Prall, Holland, Jack Billings, Jamie Billings, Healey, Bath, Gyeabour (Gilbert 72mins), McKinlay (Milton 80mins), Tanner, Housego, Johnson (Ita 50mins). Subs not used: Campbell, Brown.

Chatham: Ellis, Grant, Parsons, Butler, Avery, Walters-Wright (M Evans 46mins), Carnegie, J Evans (Fitzgerald 74mins), Vines, Bodkin, Hagan (Pilbeam 80mins). Subs not used: Fray, Walker.

Attendance: 345.

Chatham skipper Paul Vines receives the trophy from SCEFL chairman Denise Richmond. Picture: Alan Coomes
Chatham skipper Paul Vines receives the trophy from SCEFL chairman Denise Richmond. Picture: Alan Coomes

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