Beckenham Town 1-2 Erith & Belvedere

Saturday 12th August 2006

Kent League
Saturday 12th August 2006
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

Erith & Belvedere got their Kent League campaign off to a winning start, with a deserved victory at Eden Park Avenue today.

Two goals from former Beckenham Town midfielder Danny Beszant gave the Deres the points as the new Kent League season got off to a wet start.

It was, however, the preverbal game of two halves, as the Deres dominated the first half with Beckenham Town, who finished runners-up to Maidstone United last season, clawing their way back into the game early in the second half.

But Beszant dashed their hopes with a later winner - direct from a corner.

New Beckenham Town boss Jason Huntley, whose arrived from Kent County League premier division side Stansfeld Oxford & Bermondsey Club, handed all of his 16-man squad debuts.

Not one of Gavin Rose’s squad from last season remain at the club, and home fans sitting in the stand weren’t pleased with the way their new-look squad played football, having watched total-football last term.

Huntley has brought Billy Hughes (the club’s new skipper), Jamie Turner and Jack Barnes from his former club to the Eden Park Avenue outfit.

Another player whose arrived from the Kent County League was unused substitute Nicky Curran - signed from Metrogas.

But three players have arrived from League clubs. Goalscorer Ashley Carew, whose recently played for Gillingham and Bromley, arrives from Aston Villa, and Jason Rose and Joe McDonald join from Millwall.

And then you’ve got players that have joined from non-league clubs at various levels.

Former Ashford Town defender Steve McKenzie joins from Southall, Ted Hart (Tooting & Mitcham United), Tony Gallagher (Slade Green), Danny Lawson (Sittingbourne), Leon Dussard (East Thurrock United), Ross Cable (Thamesmead Town) and Danny Harris (Cray Wanderers).

Former Sevenoaks Town player Charlie Hawkes and Jamie Carter, who was unattached, weren’t in the match-day squad.

Former Fisher Athletic midfielder Michael Smith impressed for the home side but goalkeeper Darren Ibrahim, whose been released by Gillingham and Welling United in the past two summers, was picking the ball out of his net after just 358 seconds into the match.

Austin Berkley, a midfielder whose played in the Football League with Barnet and Shrewsbury Town, was fouled on the edge of the penalty area by Rose.

And up stepped Beszant, and from 19-yards, his right-footed free kick went over the wall and flew into the roof of the net.

Erith & Belvedere, meanwhile, handed debuts to seven of their 16-man squad.

Goalkeeper Darren Placid (Heybridge Swifts) Matt Bedford (Harlow Town), Vinny Durrant (Crystal Palace), Matt Johnson (Harlow Town), Beszant (Slade Green), Anton Smith (Wealdstone) and unused substitute Daryl Wilson (Waltham Forest) are new faces at Park View Road.

The Deres should have doubled their lead after 13 minutes but Anton Smith powered his header over.

But they should have been reduced to ten-men six minutes later after Berkley lost his head and kicked out at Hart after the Deres were awarded a free kick.

The 33-year-old midfielder was shown just a yellow card by Maidstone referee Mr Graeme Ions.

But Mr Ions banished Beckenham coach Dave Ward from the technical area moments after the incident.

Mr Ions also showed four yellow cards to Beckenham Town players; Ibrahim, Harris, Hughes and Smith.

Another chance was squandered by the Deres when former Margate striker Leon Braithwaite headed Harris’ cross from the right over.

But Michael Smith had the home side’s best chances during the first half, driving straight at Placid in the 27th minute and then seeing his right-footed free kick from the right, from just 19-yards, sail past the far post.

Hughes failed to cut out Berkley’s defence splitting pass to Braithwaite and his cross from the right was met by his strike partner Anton Smith.

But Ibrahim made a fine block to prevent the Deres running riot.

Beckenham did put the ball into the back of the net on the stroke of half time, but McKenzie’s goal was ruled out after a foul on the goalkeeper from McDonald’s flag-kick.

Was this the start of their much-needed revival? Carew latched onto McDonald’s pass inside the opening six minutes of the second half but his angled drive was parried by Placid.

But Placid was picking the ball out of his net after 55 minutes when he was beaten by Carew’s volley, which crashed into his net, following Harris’ cross from the left.

This goal stopped the negative comments coming from home fans sitting in the stand, as they were complaining about the football played by their side throughout.

Erith & Belvedere though went agonisingly close following a well-worked corner kick.

Mark Nougher touched a corner to Beszant, who cut the ball back to Berkley, who slipped the ball back to Nougher inside the area, who cut in from the right.

But Nougher saw his low drive take a deflection and flashed agonisingly past the far post.

But on the hour mark Beckenham almost stole the lead after Carew latched onto Smith’s defence splitting pass.

Carew, springing the offside trap, raced towards goal but his angled drive was saved low down by Placid, at the second attempt, after the ball took a wicked bounce right in front of the former Heybridge Swifts’ goalkeeper.

Beckenham fans did see a glimsp of the total football their side played last season.

Playing the ball across the back for the first time in the match, they patiently carved open a chance when Michael Smith threaded a pass to McDonald, but his 16-yard right-footed drive went agonisingly past the far post.

Rose launched a long throw into the Deres penalty area with 15 minutes left but Placid made a comfortable save from McKenzie’s looping header.

But Beckenham should have stolen the lead soon after when substitute Cable crossed from the left but Hart poked the ball across the face of goal and wide.

However, Ibrahim was guilty of handing the Deres all three points with four minutes remaining when he allowed Beszant’s right-footed whipped in corner curl inside the far post.

Beckenham squandered a late chance when Leon Dussard’s cross from the right found Hart unmarked inside the penalty area, and he unselfishly laid the ball to Danny Lawson, but he was denied by a fine block from Placid.

Both sides will, however, have to improve if they are to be crowned Kent League champions in April.


Beckenham Town: Darren Ibrahim, Danny Lawson, Danny Harris, Jason Rose, Steve McKenzie, Billy Hughes (Leon Dussard 90), Ted Hart, Michael Smith (Ross Cable 78), Ashley Carew, Joe McDonald, Tony Gallagher (Jamie Turner 90).
Subs: Nicky Curran, Jack Barnes.

Goals: Ashley Carew 55

Erith & Belvedere: Darren Placid, Matt Bedford, Vinny Durrant, Harrison Tague, Wayne Brown, Matt Johnson, Danny Beszant (Mitch Crawley 88), Austin Berkley, Leon Braithwaite, Anton Smith (Steve White 78), Mark Naugher (Tommy Martin 78).
Subs: Daryl Wilson, Steve Taylor.

Goals: Danny Beszant 6, 86

Attendance: 98
Referee: Mr Graeme Ions (Maidstone)
Assistants: Mr Steve Roots (Tunbridge Wells) & Mr Chris Dodd (Eltham)


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