Beckenham Town 0-1 Corinthian - It gives the boys a litlte bit more belief and start to believe in themselves, says Corinthian boss Michael Golding

Saturday 22nd December 2018
Beckenham Town 0 – 1 Corinthian
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 22/12/2018 13:00

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 22 December 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

CORINTHIAN manager Michael Golding says their deserved win over fellow title challengers Beckenham Town will allow his players to start believing in themselves.

Corinthian striker Sam Bewick kept his composure to slot in his sixth goal of the season to score the winning goal on the stroke of half-time to keep the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division title race exciting heading towards the new year.

Fisher’s eight-game winning run came to an end when they suffered a 2-1 defeat at lowly Erith Town today, while former Corinthian striker Michael Hagan scored a late winner as Chatham Town came away from Cray Valley with a 1-0 win.

Fisher remain top of the tree at Christmas, sitting on 43 points from 20 games, followed by Beckenham Town (42 points from 21 games); Corinthian (41 points from 19 games); Chatham Town (37 points from 18 games); Cray Valley (34 points from 18 games) and Sheppey United (33 points from 18 games).

Beckenham Town had their manager Jason Huntley sent off in the 59th minute as the 110 people inside Eden Park Avenue heard him shout out “f**k off” towards the referee as he contested a throw-in decision and referee Joe Kasper issued Beckenham centre-half Adam Wadmore a red-card for a second bookable offence with 13 minutes of a hard-fought battle left.

Beckenham Town assistant manager Billy Walton revealed it was a tragic day for brave centre-half Ike Robinson, who came on for concussed Calum McGeehan at half-time.

Walton said: “My emotions are all over the place at the moment. I didn’t think it was a particularly great game but I thought for most of it we dominated but not in the final third and I think the final third of the pitch hurts, we didn’t create a lot nor did they.

“It was a bit bitty the game to be honest with you. It weren’t what we expected.

“I must stress in light of what’s happened to Ike Robinson, this morning his mum passed away in the early hours of the morning and I’m not saying that defeat is the cause of it.  I was hoping I would come out here and say ‘that was for Ike’s mum’ but it wasn’t to be.

“His emotions were all over the place the lad. I know myself, it happened to me and I just tried to give my experience to him and my experience was I went and played and I said to him ‘your mum would want him to play, it’s tough.”

Golding’s men have now made it three wins in a row after beating Sheppey United (4-2), Erith Town (3-0) and this win makes them serious title contenders.

“Pleased, very pleased today. I thought it was a good game between two good sides. I thought we kept our shape very well, took our chances. We limited them to long-range shots so overall the feeling is very pleased today,” said Golding.

“I think there’s six or seven, potentially eight teams still involved in and around the top so it’s not decided now. It’s the end of December and when you’re in and around the top teams every game is a big game, every point and three points is massive so nothing really changes today. It’s just another game to roll out a cliché but beating a team in and around you it’s always pleasing.”

Golding played down the phrase that his side “wanted it more” than Beckenham.

“Wanting it is a strange expression. We did more to show that we wanted it in a way. Technically they’re very, very good. We know a lot of their boys, they’ve got good coaches, a good management team that we get on well with. I don’t think Beckenham didn’t want it. I just thought maybe we showed a little bit more in terms of our grit and our determination.”

Beckenham Town left-back Greg Benbow went close with a left-footed free-kick from 30-yards, which sailed over the keeper’s right shoulder and dipped just over the top of the far post after 72 seconds.

Jake Rose fed the ball into 15-goal striker Richard Atkins, who released Jesse Darko down the right but the striker turned wideman dragged his shot across the keeper and Corinthian cleared their lines.

Stefan Wright started the game as the holding midfielder for Beckenham but he was moved to the right of the midfield diamond and was replaced in that role by Rose.

Beckenham Town started the game with plenty of possession but Corinthian were the side that created the chances in the first half.

Corinthian weathered the storm and created the first opening in the 16th minute when Jamie Miller played the ball into Bewick, who cut onto his right boot and from 20-yards his low drive was gathered by goalkeeper Michael McEntegart down by his knees.

Golding said: “Sam has come back from his operation and he’s absolutely on fire! I thought we were wasteful when we’re sitting off and we’re allowing them to have possession. When we do get possession particularly in their half we needed to be a lot better and the boys were told that. I thought when we had the ball and we kept it we showed a little bit, we looked ok.”

“It was a good little move for them but that’s how the game went, there weren’t no clear cut chances, they were all half chances for both teams,” said Walton.

Both sides did cancel each other out and Atkins wasted a chance for Beckenham Town in the 24th minute.

Centre-half Wadmore hit a long ball over the top, which sailed over Darko’s head and Atkins smacked his left-footed half-volley high over the crossbar from 25-yards.

“We encourage people to shoot and unfortunately he just hasn’t caught it right and it’s knocked Father Christmas out of the tree,” said Walton.

After losing centre-half Chris McDermott to a hamstring injury inside the opening nine minutes, Jack Holland switched from right-back to partner Jack Bath at the heart of Corinthian’s defence and Alexander Jack Billings stayed at left-back.  The quartet were outstanding and kept Beckenham’s attacking threat quiet

Golding added: “Atkins was top scorer in the league last year. He’s a goal threat. I thought Jack Holland and Jack Bath when Jack Holland went into centre half, I thought the pair of them were magnificent.

“Chris has torn his hamstring, I’m gutted for him. He’s been on the side lines for a long time. He’s started two games this season and came off injured in both. He injured his ankle against Fisher and he’s been on the bench a lot and he’s come on and been a bit-part player.  I gave him his chance today, Jack Healey was away so I was looking forward to get him back.  It’s just devastating for the bloke that he’s come off with a torn hamstring.”

Corinthian striker Shaun Brown shrugged off Wadmore down the right channel and winger Andres Felipe Losada Tobon had a couple of bites of the cherry, one blocked inside the box and his second attempt took a deflection and trickled past the far post and behind for a corner.

Corinthian went close in the 33rd minute when Alexander Jack Billings threw the ball into Conor Johnson and the left-winger played the ball into Brown’s feet, who took a touch before dragging his shot across the keeper and trickling past the far post from 22-yards.

Golding said: “Shaun was poor in the first half. That opportunity, when he dragged it, we had an overload with Andres on the right. We had a two-v-one with their left-back but listen Shaun’s a striker. I’m never going to moan at him for shooting from 20-yards. He’s another one whose been brilliant since he’s come in for us.”

Walton added: “He didn’t have the greatest opportunity and dragged the shot wide. I’d be surprised if he beat Macca from there.”

Corinthian then missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock when Johnson’s hooked pass put Bewick in behind Calum McGeehan but his left-footed drive from 16-yards stung McEntegart’s fingers after he moved off his line to narrow the angle.

Golding said: “Sam brings a completely different dimension to our team to what we’ve got.  I’ve said it before what we’ve got this year is a squad. We left a couple out today. Luke Tanner is injured so hopefully he’ll be back over the next week or two but that’s the difference we had last year. We might’ve had 11 or 12 or 13 players that played every single week. This year we’ve got a squad of 18, potentially 20 players.”

Walton added: “There again, a long-range effort. Nothing really to threaten Macca, a normal save from him.”

Corinthian’s winning goal was deserved and it arrived two minutes and 13 seconds into time added on.

Johnson found himself down the right-hand side of the penalty area and he threaded the ball along the pristine playing surface to pick out an unmarked Bewick, who kept his composure to take a touch before stroking his left-footed shot past the keeper to find the bottom right-hand corner from 15-yards.

“There was a couple of nasty ones today with knocks on the head. We’ve got a couple of boys bruised and battered. It’s never nice to heart the centre-half is concussed,” said Golding.

“We work on overload and Sam has had a couple of sighters and a couple of warm-up attempts and he’s hit the back of the net and I’m very, very happy with that just before half-time. It was on his weaker foot as well, left-foot and he’s put it past the keeper. He’s scored six in three starts since he’s come back. He’s completely different to what we’ve got and he’s a very good player at this level.”

Walton revealed that centre-half McGeehan was suffering from concussion following a bang to his head earlier in the first half – and official medical guidelines tell coaches that they should replace the player immediately.

“I wish I had a video of the goal because they get a throw just after the half-way line by the dug-outs and they throw it inside and two passes and we’re all over the shop at the back and from where I was sitting I just think how is he standing there on how own? They’ve rolled it to him, I don’t know where our players went and where did they go? I just didn’t know where they went!

“Calum was concussed and he did well to stay on for 20 minutes because he just literally couldn’t see, he was going dizzy and everything and he was going all over the place and he done well to stay on. I don’t know if it was through that or Calum didn’t see him or pick him up. I’d love to see it again but obviously we can’t do that.”

Both Walton and Golding were asked their thoughts at the interval.

Walton said: “I just didn’t think we were doing enough to go on and win the game. I didn’t think our shape hurt them enough so we changed the shape. In hindsight I wish we had changed the shape with the personnel that we had on the bench but they’ve been out for a long time and they’re just coming back.  You can’t push them on to the pitch, you have to take care of them.”

Golding added: “It’s a great time to score! Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t change the half-time team talk. We were wasteful in front of goal and in possession when we got possession but defensively we were working hard and we just felt if we could limit them to long-range efforts then we back ourselves.”

Beckenham Town created their first opening of the second half after 102 seconds.

Billy Bennett fed Atkins, who played the ball out to right-back Nathan Paul and Darko whipped in a cross from the right wing for Atkins to nip in front of Bath to hit a volley harmlessly wide of the mark at the near post.

“Good effort, you’re just hoping that Atkins hits one and it’s on target and it goes in – but it’s not to be,” added Walton.

Beckenham Town started to implode and they lost their manager Huntley, who always stands to the left of the home dug-out in front of or behind the pitch perimeter fencing, after using foul language as he contested a decision for a throw-in.

The longer the game went on the more needle there was out on the pitch and as a spectacle the game was disappointing.

Walton said:  “I thought Corinthian are not a particularly good side to me, they’re very disruptive. They bring all their parents along for a start, it’s like a kids game.  It takes Aidan Prall forever and a day to take a goal kick and I’ve seen him to do it hundreds and hundreds of times. It’s good when it’s your side but it isn’t good when you’re on the end of it!”

Golding added: “It’s going to be like that when you’ve got two teams at the top of the table! Every point is important, every game is important. I don’t think it’s anything to do with the players, the players don’t hate each other but it’s two teams that are wanting to do well.

“If there wasn’t needle or passion in a second-v-third game then I think the 110 people that were here would worry what was going on!

“I don’t think there was anything malicious, anything horrific but there wasn’t any bad tackles, there was a few late tackles but at this level you expect that as the players get tired.”

Beckenham Town went agonisingly close to grabbing an equaliser in the 65th minute, following a set-piece from the right.

Rose swept a free-kick into the box, which was cleared out to Wright who smacked a stunning left-footed volley, which screamed just past the left-hand post from 25-yards.

“I was up, I thought it was in and we were celebrating. What a great volley that is. What a great effort! I thought it was in. It literally goes the wrong side, it’s not our day,” said Walton.

Golding added: “Unbelievable strike! They had a couple from long-range. If they go in there’s not much you can do about that! You’re just looking for a little bit of luck and they don’t go in the back of your net but I thought all three good efforts form long range we’re all off-target so they’re good efforts but they didn’t work Aiden.”

Corinthian substitute striker Steven Ita had a chance to claim the victory a couple of minutes later.

Brown played the ball into Tobon and he returned the ball to Brown, who from the right hit a deep cross towards the far post.  Bewick tried to flick his header towards goal but the ball bounced off his head and fell kindly at Ita’s feet but his left-footed drive was blocked by McEntegart, who stuck out a long left leg to make a vital block.

Golding said: “A good save from their keeper. Steve’s been unlucky not to start today. He’s been very, very good in the last couple of games but we’ve got that squad and we have been rotating slightly. It was a good connection. Steve has got a wonderful left foot and almost from there eight-yards out he’s worked the goalkeeper and that’s all you can ask from him there but 2-0 at that stage would’ve been goodnight.”

Walton added: “I’ve known Steve for quite a while. He can hit a decent ball and he’s got a good left-foot and it was a good effort from him.”

Corinthian parked the bus and were resilient in defence and had many bodies back for substitute right-winger Shameek Farrell to cut inside and curl his left-footed drive sailing just over the crossbar from 35-yards.

Walton said:  “Sham’s curling effort, left-foot shot, how that hasn’t gone in? I don’t know and Luis shot as well, some good opportunities but then again they’re 25-30 yards out and we didn’t really create a clear cut chance where you say go and finish that.”

Substitutes Farrell (right); Luis Medina (centre) and the disappointing Darko (left) was the home side’s front line for the final 25 minutes and Darko latched onto Bennett’s pass but the outstanding Bath came across and shut the door firmly in Darko’s face as the ball flashed past the far post.

Beckenham Town were reduced to ten-men with 13 minutes remaining when Wadmore picked up his second yellow card of the game.

Benbow put Beckenham’s fifth corner into the Corinthian penalty area and the ball was cleared out to Rose, who put the ball back into the box.

Jamie Billings put his head down low in an attempt to clear his lines with a diving header but Wadmore put his boot in his face and flattened the Corinthian holding midfielder and was punished by the referee.

“We can talk about the referees and whatever they do and we all know it’s a particularly hard job and I wouldn’t do it for all the money in the world but if you’re getting paid to do it and somewhere along the line you’ve got to be consistent,” said Walton.

“It’s another thing Corinthian do really well, they scream and they shout for every decision. There were worse things than what Adam done. I can assure you throughout the game when no one’s got booked.

“The one where he got sent-off, personally from my angle from where I’m standing the guys dived down to clear the header, two and a half, three feet off the floor and Adam’s gone and kicked it and kicked him in the face. It’s an accident!

“If the guys brave enough to put his head down there, he put his head there and he got kicked in the face and Adam’s been sent-off for it.  It’s different if Adam’s kicked him and he’s standing six feet in the air.”

Golding added: “I think it’s a red card. I thought Adam got away with a couple. I thought the ref let a lot go. I thought he was ok but he let a lot go.  Jamie has gone to head the ball and Adam’s come in with a high foot and when really on a yellow card anything like that your running a tight rope. I don’t think there were too many arguments. I haven’t spoken to Bill and Jason yet.”

Beckenham Town created a couple of late chances but Medina found acres of space at the near post to guide Rose’s corner onto the roof of the net and Farrell drilled in a low angled shot which was held by Corinthian keeper Aidan Prall at his near post, which was comfortably gobbled up by the former Charlton Athletic youngster, who was hardly tested throughout the game.

Both sides are next in action next Saturday, 29 December.  Beckenham Town travel to basement side Croydon (13:00); while Corinthian host bottom-four side Punjab United at Gay Dawn Farm (15:00).

Croydon have claimed just one win from their 18 games and lost 2-1 at their local rivals AFC Croydon Athletic, while Punjab United, who have banked 15 points from 19 games beat Crowborough Athletic 3-0.

“I’m just really gutted for the emotions for that man (Ike Robinson). I’m choked talking to you,” said Walton.

“I just said to them in there, we’ve lost the battle, we haven’t lost the war! There’s a long way to go. There will be twists and turns throughout the season.  Listen, as what’s been proven today with Ike, it’s a game of football. The poor man has lost his mum so I’m not going to get disappointed or down that we’ve lost a game of football.”

Reflecting on their win, Golding said: “It gives the boys a little bit of belief, they start to believe in themselves and they start to think we’re alright. We’re beating teams at the top and in the middle and we had a blip against Tunbridge Wells and Chatham but actually it’s just the belief that these wins are giving the squad. I’m not saying we’re going to do this, that or the other but the boys are confident they trust each other and they’re doing alright.”

Beckenham Town: Michael McEntegart, Nathan Paul, Greg Benbow, Stefan Wright, Adam Wadmore, Calum McGeehan (Ike Robinson 46), Taylor Fisher (Shameek Farrell 66), Billy Bennett, Richard Atkins (Luis Medina 65), Jesse Darko, Jake Rose.
Subs: Jack Hope, Jez Hammond

Booked: Adam Wadmore 63

Sent Off:  Jason Huntley (manager) 59, Adam Wadmore 77

Corinthian: Aidan Prall, Jack Holland, Alexander Jack Billings, Jamie Billings, Chris McDermott (Jordan Campbell 9), Jack Bath, Andres Felipe Losada Tobon, Jamie Miller (Oscar Housego 77), Shaun Brown, Sam Bewick, Conor Johnson (Steven Ita 61).
Subs: Kameron Gyeabour, Jacob Gilbert

Goal: Sam Bewick 45

Booked: Oscar Housego 87, Shaun Brown 89, Jordan Campbell 90

Attendance: 110
Referee: Mr Joe Kasper (Gravesend)
Assistants: Mr Daniel Sanchez (Camberwell, London SE17) &
Mr Ashley Barnes (Bromley)