Chatham Town Preview

And now, the end is near…the last game of the season.  After the dramas of the Easter Weekend which saw us score seven goals, but conceding eight and end our play-off hopes.  Sixth place seems a step to far, based on the goal difference between us and Carshalton Athletic but we are in a big fight for 7th with Hythe Town, Faversham Town and South Park.  With Darren, Ross and Tony now committed to the club for another two years, the planning for next season has already started and the squad will start to take shape in the next few weeks.

Injuries hampered our efforts last weekend with Lloyd Cotton, Stephen Okoh, Steve Brinkhurst and Charlie Coppola late withdrawals from the squad on Monday, although the performance from the side, especially 16-year old Harry Reed making an impressive full debut at right-back.  George Landais came back into the squad after his spell at Newhaven Town.  For Saturday, Darren will definitely be without Stacey Freeman and Wilfreid Grimaud and he will make a late call on the walking wounded.

Chatham Town’s season has been one to forget, with their relegation back to the County League confirmed last weekend after their defeat to Molesey, although they will be looking up to the Isthmian League for a reprieve or a shuffle in the annual end of season shake-up.  On Monday they were hammered by Hythe Town 6-1. They’ve lost their last six home games with their last win at Maidstone Road coming back in October against Ramsgate – in fact they have the worst home record in the division, having taken just eight points all season.  Our away record is still good – we’ve won 12 on the road and drawn just two.  Town’s leading scorer this season is Luke Medley who scored 15 times before heading off to Cray Wanderers earlier in the year.

Our last six games

Lewes               W 1 D 2 L 3 GS 12 GA 12 Pts 5
Chatham Town  W1 D 1 L 4 GS 5 GA 17 Pts 4

Our last meeting – Lewes 2 Chatham Town 0 – August 2017

Two second-half goals from Lloyd Dawes helped Lewes to their first home win of the season against a Chatham Town side who finished the match with nine men on a warm afternoon at the Pan.  Lewes made the most of their numerical advantage by taking the lead that their second-half performance had deserved after 68 minutes, with Dawes hooking a cross from Malins over Lee, who was several yards off his line, and into the back of the net.

Lewes continued to push for a second goal and were given the chance to make the game safe in the closing stages from the penalty spot, as substitute Charlie Coppola dispossessed Lee just inside the area, before being fouled by the goalkeeper, leaving referee Craig Robson with no option but to send off a second Chatham player. Dawes took the penalty, and found the bottom corner to score his fifth goal in two games after his hat-trick against Redhill last week.

The Rooks dominated the closing stages but were unable to test the outfield player who had replaced Lee in goal with Chatham having used all of their substitutes, although Jack Dixon saw his deflected effort from the edge of the area well held by the makeshift goalkeeper in stoppage time.

Prior that we’ve not met Chatham Town since we lost to them at home in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Vase in 1996/97 season.

About Maidstone Road Sports Field
Maidstone Road is a mix of traditional and the unusual.  One large stand runs along one side of the pitch with some basic benches, whilst opposite is a small seated stand proudly displaying the club’s name.  It is behind the west goal that the unusual white structure takes your interest.  One end is the club bar with a huge vaulted roof.  Next to this is cafe bar, with a servery outside.  Then there are doors straight onto the terrace for the changing rooms.  The teams emerge from these behind a mesh fence before entering the pitch from behind the goal – not too dissimilar to the structure at Margate’s ground.

How to get to Maidstone Road Sports Field
Exit the M2 at junction 3, and follow directions for Chatham & Town Centre. You will then pass a Homebase & Toys ‘R’ Us on the left hand side. Continue straight over the roundabout and then there is a split in the road, where you should bear right into Maidstone Road.  Follow this, continuing straight over the cross roads and you will see a petrol station on the left. Bournville Road is opposite the petrol station on the left. Ground entrance is first left.  There is a decent size car park at the ground, alternatively it is street parking.  Journey time for the 73 mile trip is around 1 hour 20 minutes.

If you are coming by train then you will more than likely come via London Victoria.  It is easy to find although it is a fair walk uphill from the station.  Turn right on leaving the station and right again onto Maidstone Road.  Continue to walk uphill for fifteen minutes, then once you have passed the cemetery on your left, take the next left for the ground.  Journey time is around the 2 hour mark and should cost £37 for an Off-Peak Day Return.

Admission at Maidstone Road Sports Ground
Admission this season is £9 for adults, £5 for concessions (senior citizens, students and Under18s), and accompanied under 16s are £2.

Fancy a beer?
Chatham isn’t known for its decent football pubs so it may be better to jump off the train one step earlier in Rochester where there are only 15 drinking establishments along the mile-long High Street heading west from the station then grab a taxi from there.  There are very few drinking establishments near the ground.  The Prince of Wales in Railway Street is probably a good bet if you are coming to or from the station.