Success is coming first, we don't want to go up coming second, we want to go up being champions, says Beckenham Town assistant manager Billy Walton

Thursday 03rd February 2022

BECKENHAM TOWN assistant manager Billy Walton has challenged his side to collect three points in their top-of-the-table clash at Walton & Hersham on Saturday.

Both sides are locked on 53 points at the top of the Combined Counties League Premier Division South but second-placed Beckenham Town do have a couple of games in hand over Scott Harris’ side.

The two sides played out a goal-less draw at Eden Park Avenue on 16 October, with Jason Huntley’s men being the better side during the contest.

Beckenham Town made it six league wins on the spin by winning their local derby at AFC Croydon Athletic on Tuesday night by three goals to nil.

“It was a good win. It’s always a difficult place to go. It’s not a great pitch, a bit dark and dingy over there but the boys stuck to the game plan,” said Walton, 59.

“We changed everything round and put a real big strong side against them and I thought we outmuscled them and out fought them everywhere really and scored a couple of decent goals, basically dominated most of the game.

“I didn’t see them causing us any sort of problems, unless we messed up but overall a good night’s work and three points in the bag that we desperately wanted, so really pleasing.”

Walton & Hersham go into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw at struggling Molesey, a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of National League South Dorking Wanderers in the Surrey Senior Cup and a 3-0 defeat at Badshot Lea last Saturday.

“We wanted to go there in the position we’re in. It’s going to be a totally different game of football on that (3G) pitch against Walton & Hersham,” said Walton.

“They’re an extremely good footballing side, they’ve got a lot of good players and we’ve got to get our tactics right and the players who we pick on the day, we’ve rotated quite a lot and everyone whose come in has always done a job and not let anyone down, so we’ll see what we’re like when we’re over there, which is going to be an extremely difficult game.”

Third-placed Jersey Bulls have a game in hand on Beckenham Town and are four points behind title-chasing Beckenham.

This is a game that Beckenham Town must win if they are to win promotion into the Isthmian League for the very first time in their history, while Walton & Hersham dropped into Step Six football for a couple of Covid-19 interupted campaigns, having lost their Isthmian League status in 2016.

“I think it will be end-to-end, pretty open. They’re an exciting football team to watch and I’m a bit of a fan of theirs myself with the style of football they play, so we’re really looking forward to going there, really looking forward,” added Walton.

“That’s why you’re in football, you want to be fighting for honours and trophies and stuff and the lads have put themselves in a really good position to go and achieve something this year.

“The first game of the season (a 1-0 home win over Jersey Bulls, despite playing with 10 men for 58 minutes) was a big game and we come through that and this is a big game.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the biggest game, every game we play seems to be a big game. The pressure is on.  The old cliché, we’ve got 17 cup finals to play so this is just one of them on Saturday.”

So which club are under the most pressure going into this eagerly-awaited six-pointer clash?

Walton added: “It’s certainly not on us, I don’t really look at that. If you can’t take any pressure, don’t play football. Every game is pressure.  You’ve got to get three points and it’s just another game.  Maybe Walton & Hersham are under a tad more pressure than us, I would say, in their position.

“Success is coming first, we don’t want to go up coming second or coming third. We want to go up being champions and that’s the way that I’ve always looked at it in any competition.  Being in football, it’s all about winning trophies.  There’s a trophy to be won.

“As my old schoolteacher used to say to me, ‘you come second, you’re the first loser’, and that’s the way I’ve always looked at it.”

Walton & Hersham, meanwhile, have announced the signing of striker Taurean Roberts, who scored eight goals for Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division side Sheppey United while at Holm Park this season.

Visit Beckenham Town’s website:

Walton & Hersham  v  Beckenham Town
Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Saturday 5 February 2022
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Waterside Drive, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 2JP