McTaggart's last gasp leveller so richly deserved
|Kentish Observer League Cup Group D||Martin
Wiseman reports from the
|Slade Green||1||McTaggart 90|
|Beckenham Town||1||Meeko 9|
Kent League Cup (Group D) got underway in style on Saturday with a game
that fizzed and buzzed right from kick off all the way through to it’s
dramatic finale, which saw Slade Green grab a last minute leveller to hold
the all conquering Beckenham Town to a 1-1 draw, writes Martin Wiseman.
It was appropriate that Green’s last gasp hero marksman should be their centre forward, Glenn McTaggart, for the same player – 45 minutes earlier had traipsed off at half time puzzled as to why he had not bagged himself as many as four goals, in a crazy first half, when a string of near misses by Green, and two amazing saves by Beckenham’s 17 year old debut boy keeper Tim Roberts had prevented Green romping into an unmatchable lead.
As if not be outdone by his teenage opposite number, after the break Green’s custodian, Gary Arterton, put in possibly his best 45 minutes since joining the club from Whitstable Town, and in between the 57th and 75th minute – with Becks Joshua Smith proving he was a bit special – Arterton’s clean handling denied Carlton Pace (twice), Smith Cheeseman and Green, from adding to the visitors rather fortunate half time lead.
Earlier it had taken a sizeable deflection off a home defender to beat Arterton, when in the 9th minute Town’s skipper for the day, Cedric Meeko latched onto a badly sliced Green clearance to drill a shot goalwards and so open the scoring.
For starters, inside the opening three minutes, Scott Lewis headed Lee Jull’s centre against the bar, while McTaggart when clean through, had seen his perfectly respectable volley improbably saved by Roberts from point blank range.
With Beckenham ringing the changes, their new look defence failed to get to grips early on, with McTaggart’s off the ball movement. But Green’s forward was off target, albeit narrowly, with three scoreable chances (7, 14 and 43 minutes).
A quick flurry of four corners from Robert Browning provided four threats on Beckenham’s goal, none so close as when Mark Penny’s sharp header whisked the ball just too high.
At the other end Cheeseman, for Town, was also just over the bar with a chip. Then on 35 minutes a Green error let in Cheeseman again, but his close range effort hit a post and incongruously bounced back on the head of the prostrate home keeper.
Arterton’s second half saves were backed up by some vital last ditch blocks by Green’s doughty defenders.
At the other end the Beckenham keeper continued his good work of earlier by keeping out Jason Elliot’s bombshell of a free kick, and also a stunning shot on the turn from Shaun Malyon on 89 minutes.
But as the watch ticked onto 90 minutes, the valiant young keeper was denied his debut ‘clean sheet’ as McTaggart claimed a goal he and Slade Green so richly deserved.
Swooping on Ali Kuzey’s casual attempted square ball some 25 yards out, McTaggart ran on strongly to goal and tucked the ball inches inside Robert’s right hand post.
With less able goalkeeping, and sharper finishing, this entertaining thriller could so easily have ended up as double figured goal feast. As it was Green were happy to settle for a more orthodox 1-1.
And in the other group C opener, Curtis Williams' 32nd minute winner secured Thamesmead Town a 1-0 winner over Sevenoaks Town at Greatness Park.
Williams scored what proved to be the winner when good build up play from Lee Loveridge and Dean Burns created the opening, and having his first shot well saved, Thamesmead's top scorer was on hand to slot the ball home.
Speaking about their win, Mead's manager, Paul Blade said: "Although the scoreline does not look too impressive the result was never in doubt and with Slade Green getting a point at Beckenham, it has been a good day for us."
Green: Arterton, Lewis, Fern,
Barber, Penny, Morgan, Jull, Elliot, McTaggart, Malyon, Browning (Weir).
Other subs: Britton,
Beckenham Town: Roberts, Pluman, Barrett, Meeko (Green), Ahwan, Jaclson, Smith, Stewart (Kuzey), Price, Cheeseman, Martin. Other subs: Morris, Sinclair, Deniyi.