Beckenham Town 3-0 Lordswood - I couldn't be more hurt or embarrassed after today's game, says concerned Lordswood boss Richard Styles

Saturday 25th February 2017
Beckenham Town 3 – 0 Lordswood
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 25/02/2017 15:00

BECKENHAM TOWN  3-0 LORDSWOOD
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 25th February 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

LORDSWOOD manager Richard Styles says he demands his players to show fight and battle to keep the club in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division after their embarrassing thrashing at bottom-of-the-table Beckenham Town.

Beckenham Town went 20 games without a win before last weekend’s 1-0 win at Rochester United, courtesy of a goal from Bromley Academy prospect, right-back Michak Stanic-Stewart, which lifted confidence going into this relegation dog-fight at Eden Park Avenue.

Beckenham Town hauled themselves off the foot of the table with a 3-0 victory, against Lordswood, who have now lost their last six games and extended their miserable record to nine without a win.

Beckenham Town striker Jamie Humphris had a penalty saved, but showed great character to score just 55 seconds later to give Beckenham the lead going into the break.

An own-goal from Lordswood central defender Charlie Plummer gifted Beckenham Town a second goal, just 24 seconds into the second half, before Hassan Jalloh drilled in his fifth goal of the season for Jason Huntley’s men, which was the 84th League goal that Lordswood have leaked in their 28 league outings.

Beckenham substitute Lywayne Greenwood was sent-off for a late challenge on Sam Lovage as the hosts played the last 10 minutes with ten-men.

Fisher slip back down to the foot of the table with 18 points from 28 games, Beckenham Town are now second-from-bottom on 19 points from 27 games.

Erith & Belvedere (20 points from 27 games), Tunbridge Wells (20 points from 24 games), Lordswood (21 points from 28 games), Erith Town (24 points from 27 games) and Bearsted (27 points from 26 games) are all involved in the relegation dog-fight to avoid the drop into the First Division.

Beckenham Town coach Billy Walton, who led the team with Huntley watching the match with a mate in the stand, said: “A great result for us, back-to-back wins, the first time this season, two clean sheets, four goals, can’t be happier.

“We just found out about the other teams around us all lost so I said to them a while ago let’s get in amongst the pack, which we have done now. We’re in amongst the pack of four or five teams and only one point behind and now we’ve put some pressure on them. We’ve sucked them in.

“We’re not under pressure, I don’t think the players feel the pressure, some of them are good players. I certainly don’t feel the pressure, just go and play and put pressure on them.

“It means everything (to win today). It means we’re off the bottom of the league. It’s very important. Today was a massive, massive game for us against someone else who’s struggling down there with us and to beat them 3-0, it’s a great result.”

When asked what a maiden relegation would mean to Beckenham Town, Walton replied: “Absolute disaster! I’ve never been relegated in anything I’ve done in my life so an absolute disaster!

“But when I came here I’ve seen the players that we had. I like a challenge, not saying that we definitely will stay up. We’ve got a chance and we’ve got a chance of going down.”

Styles initially sent out coach Dan Morrin to say that the Lordswood manager was declining a post-match interview, but he did come out to speak after a period of reflection inside the away dressing room.

“Absolutely gutted beyond belief. There’s not a lot more I can really, gutted, absolutely gutted,” said Styles, who’s current form in his first season in charge of the club could end in relegation.

“Nothing changes an awful lot. It just means Beckenham are a little bit closer to us. It makes the battle even more so now until the end of the season.”

When asked whether he’s thought about Lordswood suffering relegation at the end of the season (10 games), Styles replied: “No I haven’t.  That’s not the way I am. I’m a positive person. I haven’t even considered the thought of us being relegated.  It’s easy to say we’re too good to be relegated but we’ve got to show that on the pitch and based on today’s performance, if we carry on playing like that, we’re going to, it’s going to go right to the wire.

“But by the way it’s looking, it’s going to go to the stage where we’ll be relying on other teams and stuff like that, which I don’t want to do but it’s part and parcel at the moment.”

It could have been a different story had Lordswood scored with only 13 seconds on the clock.

They kicked-off and Josh Wooley’s diagonal pass was played in behind Beckenham’s left-wing-back Alex Arif and Kyle McDowall chased the ball as it rolled towards the by-line.  He stole the ball from Jack Hope, cut into the penalty area and his angled drive was beaten away by keeper Bradley Morgan at his near post.

“The first 10 minutes, I think we had four shots on goal and that says it all really. You’ve got to score when you’re having your spell,” said Styles.

“I’ve just spoken to Billy Walton, who I know really well because I used to play for him at Fisher, and he said the same.  If you go one or two up after the first 10 minutes and they’re chasing it then, their heads would’ve gone.

“It’s really hard to be really positive at the moment looking at that but if a couple of them goes in then it’s a different story and it will be a different game, I’m sure.”

“I laid into them a bit in the warm-up and I sensed that people weren’t at the races,” added Walton.

“I said to them ‘I’m not getting the right vibes that I got last week’.  I sensed they thought it was a bit of an easier game because they won last week.

“I feel sorry for Lordswood because I’ve been in that position a lot in my time as a manager where you’ve started really well, you’re struggling and really they should’ve gone 1-0 up in 13 seconds.  I felt sorry for them.”

The importance of the game was too much for Beckenham captain Hope, who gave the ball away on four occasions within the opening six minutes as Lordswood started the game on the front foot, against a nervous looking Beckenham side.

Wooley delivered a free-kick from the left wing, which was poorly cleared by Hope and fell to Grant McIIheron, but Lordswood’s captain poked his shot into the hands of Morgan, who made a comfortable save.

Lordswood’s Wooley then released his strike partner David Smith, who saw Stanic-Stewart come across to close him down, but Smith found winger Sam Hallet with a low cross but his shot whilst being put under pressure by Gassimu Jalloh flashed wide.

Beckenham Town coach Walton realised playing the wing-back system was not working and changed back to a 4-4-2 formation after nine minutes.

Walton revealed: “I blame Simon Halsey for that because Simon told me a few things about them, which weren’t totally true so we set out with the formation, it was totally wrong so we changed it to a flat back four to make it 4-4-2, sorry 4-4-3 and it sorted us out a bit.  I was told they had no pace up front and to play a high line and for the first 15 minutes they absolutely slaughtered us, so wrong information.”

A big kick from Lordswood keeper Ryan Chandler found Wooley, who cut in and drove his low angled drive across the keeper and past the far post from the edge of the Beckenham box.

McDowall then played in Wooley, but Morgan advanced to smother the ball off the Lordswood striker but despite Lordswood’s early dominance frustration started to creep in.

Referee Piotr Zachwieja was too lenient towards Lordswood’s foul-mouthed goalkeeper Chandler who kept shouting out the F word during the entire first half and wasn’t even spoken by the referee until a quiet word in his ear from assistant referee Ashley Barnes as he checked the netting just before the start of the second half.

Chandler was the busier of the two goalkeepers and he denied Beckenham an equaliser in the 17th minute.

Morgan launched a big kick up-field and the ball was flicked on by Nathan Ferguson. Humphris played the ball inside to Ferguson, who drove a 25-yard shot towards the bottom near corner, which forced the former Gillingham keeper to dive to his left to parry.  The keeper then put behind Chan Quan’s follow-up shot.

Quan swung in Beckenham’s second corner of the game and Hope’s downward header at the far post clipped the near post.

Walton said: “I think their goalkeeper was their best player. I thought he done some excellent saves, the kid.  I said to him when he came off ‘some great saves there’, but there again we created numerous chances to score and I think it was only a matter of them really before we did score.

“Jack Hope, he should’ve scored. I don’t care how many times people hit the post or the bar, you don’t get nothing for that so you might as well hit the corner flag!”

Lordswood boss Styles was full of praise for his keeper, saying: “Poor defending! Bogdan’s in goal, he’s been superb. He’s had a great game today. He was absolutely superb. He was our best player today and it was just sloppy defending yet again!”

Ferguson was man-of-the-match for pinging some lovely passes from the middle of the park, exploiting the sublime playing surface at Eden Park Avenue to great effect and showing great composure during a high-pressure game.

Walton was equally impressed, saying: “I had a word with him before the game, I spoke to him at half-time, spoke to him last week about what I expect from somebody of his ability and today on our pitch he stood out.  There’s a lot more to come from the kid. He’s got all the attributes, his height, his strength, his good vision. He’s very calm on the ball, he's a good player.”

Ferguson and Humphris linked-up but Hassan Jalloh produced a woeful finish, despite several step-overs, but he drilled his shot high and wide from 20-yards.

Walton was left frustrated when Humphris won his side a penalty only for it to be saved by foul-mouthed Chandler with 24:17 on the clock.

Referee Zachwieja pointed to the spot following Jake Everitt’s foul but Humphris’ right-footed penalty towards the bottom right-hand corner, was held by Chandler beside the post as he dived to his left.

“What can I say? It’s an absolutely poor penalty! It just straight at him,” admitted Walton.

“He’s suffering from a bit of a lack of confidence. I was surprised. It’s one of the things that we don’t talk about, who’s taking penalties.  I just leave it to them.  Jamie stepped up, it’s just a poor penalty area, it didn’t test the keeper at all!

“I just thought ‘typical!’  You think to yourself we’ve got a break. We’ve been under the cosh for the first 15 minutes, we’ve took over a little bit and then got our rewards and you’ve missed the penalty and you think ‘here we go again, it’s going to be one of those days,’ where they’re missing, we’re missing.”

Styles added: “Great save! Keeper’s are up against it with penalties so any time they save one it’s a credit to him.

“Jamie’s a young lad, he’ll learn from it. You’re learning every game.  Yes, it probably was a pen, but I think David Smith has been brought down at the other end in on goal. It was a great shout for us to have a penalty as well.”

Humphris could have so easily disappeared out of the game for a long period but he showed character to recover from that set-back by opening the scoring just 55 seconds later.

Hassan Jalloh played in Humphris down the right, cutting into the box to skip past Chandler and then skipping over Plummer’s sliding tackle before rolling his right-footed shot into the back of an empty net, the goal timed at 25:22.

Walton said: “He can do things like that, Jamie. I think when the kids got his confidence and for me he took that goal really well. He went around the keeper, rode the challenge and slotted it home so he made amends for the penalty miss.

“He’s always a goal threat Jamie. I haven’t worked with him that much but he was on fire a couple of years ago and last year and he’s just had a bit of a blip this year.”

Styles admitted: “And that’s where we shot ourselves in the foot!  You can’t do it.  You just can’t defend that way.  You’ve just saved a penalty, you have that elation, go up the other end and create some chances!  Don’t invite it straight back in and concede a sloppy goal like we did!”

Humphris fifth goal of the season lifted the pressure of Beckenham’s shoulders and right-winger Ryan Dolby started to get into the game.

Hassan Jalloh cut the ball back to the former Bromley and Welling United Conference South footballer and he cut the ball onto his left-foot and his 30-yard curler was palmed away superbly by Chandler, diving high to his right to use his left hand to push over the crossbar.

Walton said: “Great effort from Ryan, bent it, from where I was standing it was in the top corner and the keeper’s made an absolutely one of them great saves.  I actually applauded the kid, one for the shot and one for the save so a good bit of football that.”

Styles added: “Dolby, we know all about him, he cuts in on his left foot, he’s got no right foot. He cuts in and whips it and we said that to the boys but me telling the boys and them doing it on the pitch at the moment are two different things!”

Humphris then gave Dolby a second pop at goal, cutting in on to his left-foot and staying on his feet following a challenge before drilling his shot over the crossbar from just inside the box on the right hand side.

Hassan Jalloh threw the ball inside to Humphries, who cut inside before rolling a pass into Dolby’s path, who turned to stroke another left-footed drive from 22-yards towards the bottom near corner, forcing Chandler to dive to his left to push away using his left-hand.

At the other end, Lordswood striker Wooley rolled the ball out to right-back Jake Creed, who took a touch and hit his speculative 35-yard right-footed drive sailing harmlessly over the crossbar.

Beckenham central midfielder Quan rolled the ball out to Dolby, who once again cut into the box and his shot sailed just over the crossbar as Chandler rushed off his line to try to smother the ball.

Hope played a ball out of defence that released Hassan Jalloh down the right channel and he teed up Dolby, who curled his left-footed shot just past the foot of the far post from 22-yards, as Dolby dominated Lordswood left-back Bode Olajide.

Chandler’s language was disgusting throughout the first half.

Wooley swung in a corner into the Beckenham box from the left, Beckenham keeper Morgan punched poorly but was able to gather the ball without a challenge from a Lordswood player and Chandler, who was standing outside his own penalty box at the other end of the pitch, shouted out “f****ng embarrassing, f****ng embarrassing!”

Both managers were not happy during the half-time interval.

Walton said: “I was disappointed. I sort of talk at half-time and I was disappointed with our shape and I apologised for the wrong information I sent them out there with and I said their threat was the ball over the top for their pacy number nine (Smith) and their 10 (Wooley) who was causing us a lot of trouble, so I said to the boys let’s just sit a little bit deeper, stop the threat of the ball over the top and we should really kill them off and second half we were a lot, lot better than what we were.”

Styles added: “I was upset. I wasn’t happy with the way things were going but the game wasn’t over at 1-0. It was anyone’s game because if we come out and create the chances and put one away, I was confident we’ll get two or three.”

Two mistakes helped Beckenham Town to score their second goal with only 24 seconds on the clock.

A poor back header from Creed went straight to Humphris in midfield, who released Quan down the left wing.  He cut into the box and played the ball across the face of goal and Plummer slid in to poke the ball into his own goal.

Walton said: “Great finish, absolutely great finish, top drawer finish, but unfortunately when you’re in Lordswood’s situation and our situation I said to Richard (Styles) at the end of the game, ‘I feel sorry for you because that’s what happens’. Twenty odd seconds into the second half you go 2-0 down from an own-goal like that. Basically killed them, it killed them. There was only going to be one winner after that.”

Styles added: “But the second half goal. I may as well not have said anything in that changing room at half-time. I may as well stayed out in the dug-out because the boys have come out and within 24 seconds conceded an own-goal, which just can’t happen! It’s sloppy.

“It was a poor header from Jake Creed, but he’s 16-years-old so I can’t dig him out too much. It’s his second or third game in men’s football but he knows the header should’ve gone further and then we’ve been hit on the break and to concede the own goal was just embarrassing.”

Wooley’s  corner from the left was met by Plummer’s header at the far post, which forced Morgan into tipping the ball away low to his right.

“I thought the kid was going to make amends for his mistake. He went up there and got a good header and unfortunately it seems like things aren’t going for them.  We’ve had that for the last 15 or 16 games. We’ve got away from that in the last two and turned the corner,” admitted Walton.

Styles admitted: “It would’ve bene a consolation. It would’ve given us a bit of fight to carry on so it would’ve been nice if it had gone in but obviously it wasn’t to be.”

Wooley then crossed but his strike partner Smith poked his shot past the foot of the near post whilst being under pressure before Beckenham Town killed off the game with their third goal, timed at three minutes and 38 seconds into the second half.

Hassan Jalloh collected the ball outside the box, cut towards the by-line and from a tight angle and drove his shot across the keeper for the ball to nestle into the bottom far corner – as Chandler would put it “f****ng embarrassing!” from a slow Lordswood defence and the keeper.

“We played some nice football up until that point,” said Walton. “We knocked it about well and I thought that was the best goal out of the three really. A good bit of passing, nice bits of football, scored and we really should’ve scored a few more there when we were in and we had two or three good chances after that.”

Styles said: “That was the final nail in the coffin really, it was game over.

“The boys worked and carried on but within four minutes of the second half starting to concede two is just pathetic, just pure embarrassing, just pure embarrassment.  I couldn’t be more hurt or embarrassed after today’s game because of the manner of it, the way we did it. We’ve just let ourselves down massively.”

Olajide should have been booked but was only spoken to by the referee for fouling Humphris as the Beckenham striker danced towards the penalty area, but Chandler pulled off another fine save, diving low to his right to prevent Dolby bending his left-footed free-kick into the bottom far corner from 25-yards, and Creed was on hand to put the ball out for a corner.

It would appear on his performance that the big signing of Dolby should keep Beckenham Town in the top-flight.

“Another good bit of good football, another good effort on goal and another good save,” said Walton.

“I tried to tell him to do the things that he does at a higher level, don’t try to do anything flashy.  He showed glimpses of it today. He hasn’t played for a long time and he showed a lot of glimpses.  If he can get fit he’ll be a real threat for us. He’s here for the rest of the season, we’ve signed him permanently”

Lordswood went close too when Wooley cut the ball onto his right foot and his shot curled agonisingly around the far post from 20-yards.

Lordswood manager Styles made a tactical change when he changed his formation to 3-5-2 and put Plummer up front alongside Smith, playing with three centre halves, two wing-backs.

Impressive right-winger McDowall whipped in a cross, which sailed over Plummer’s head and was hit over the bar on the half-volley by Sam Hallett, as the winger ghosted in at the far post.

Beckenham Town substitute Frankie Warren’s first touch saw him latch onto Humphris’ crossfield pass only to crack his first time right-footed drive sailing over the crossbar from 25-yards in the 66th minute.

Beckenham Town played the ball out calmly out of defence and their secretary Peter Palmer screamed out to “get rid of it,” only for Walton to shout out “Peter, calm down! Don’t tell them to get rid of it!,” as Walton likes to get the ball down and play carpet football.

The hosts should have increased their lead in the 70th minute when Hassan Jalloh rode Grant McIIhereon’s sliding challenge through the heart of Lordswood’s defence to play in Dolby, but he swept his first time shot across Chandler and past the far post.

“He could’ve took it on a bit more and put it in the bet. Another one of those good chances that we missed in the second half,” added Walton.

Lordswood hit the woodwork for the second time in the game when McDowall’s 25-yard looping shot (after Plummer’s lay-off) clipped the crossbar in the 73rd minute.

“There again, as I said to you, you might as well hit the corner flag! I don’t care if it hits the bar. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest if it hits the bar. It didn’t go in the net,” added Walton.

Styles said: “Kyle’s done well there, the best bit of play we had during the game. Again, that sums up our luck at the minute and I do mention luck. I know it’s easy to put it on, we’re just not getting the bounce at the minute. We’re not getting the luck of the draw and that could’ve so easily had gone top corner. I’m sure if that was another team against us, it probably would’ve done.”

McDowall was Lordswood’s brightest outfield player and heaped praise from Styles.

He said: “Kyle’s come in and done alright. He’s getting fitter and fitter. He hasn’t played much before coming to us. He’s come in, his confidence is back and he put in a good shift.”

Hassan Jalloh swung in a corner from the left towards the near post where the Lordswood defence allowed Humphris to make space for himself to glance his header across the face of goal and just past the far post.

Substitute Greenwood lasted less than a minute as he was sent-off for a late challenge on Lovage as the Lordswood defender attempted to clear his lines.

Arsene Wenger, sorry Walton said: “The kid’s playing at a lower level and last week he didn’t get on and he was really disappointed. He’s scored about 35 goals for his lower level side that he’s played at. I said to him go on play centre forward, do the basics, get yourself in the box and I didn’t even see (the challenge). I was putting the water bottles back and I turned round and he got sent off!

“I didn’t even see the tackle so I couldn’t tell you what went on but he’s disappointed and I’m disappointed for him because he just wanted to go out and prove a point really.  I think it’s a bit of enthusiasm that’s overshadowed a bit.”

Styles reflected on the only card issued by the referee during the whole game, saying, “It wasn’t a feisty game. It wasn’t a dirty game at all, which sometimes it is against Beckenham in the past.  But he was late. He caught Sam on the foot.  You see it every week so the ref’s made the right decision on that one.”

Beckenham keeper Morgan’s big kick down the middle saw Hassan Jalloh outpace the slow Lovage but he produced a weak finish towards goal with only Chandler to beat, the Lordswood keeper making a comfortable low save to his right.

“He could’ve took it on another three or four and slotted it but Hassan is a bit of away with the fairy’s sometimes. He tries to make things complicated when if you do the basic things, you’ll score,” added Walton, as Beckenham Town ran out comfortable winners in the end.

Lordswood created the last chance of the game with five minutes left when substitute left-winger Tom Carter played in a low cross to Smith, who dragged his shot across the keeper and past the foot of the far post.

Beckenham Town’s next two games are against third-placed Sevenoaks Town at Greatness Park next Saturday, before hosting leaders Crowborough Athletic at Eden Park Avenue on Wednesday, 8 March.

“I’m gutted really that Fisher have gone back bottom because for me what would be perfect is we stay up, Fisher stay up but if it’s one or the other, Fisher go down and we stay up,” said former Fisher man Walton.

Lordswood, meanwhile, need vast improvement on their defence having leaked 84 goals in 28 league games and travel to title chasing Ashford United next Saturday, before hosting fifth-placed Sheppey United seven days later.

“I’m mega concerned. I couldn’t be more concerned if I tried at this moment in time, I’m so concerned,” said Styles, who’s side have scored 41 league goals.

“There’s a lot of things running through my head at the moment. My intensions are the same, my outlook is the same, I don’t want to concede goals, I don’t want to concede as many as we are.

“We’re conceding goals and we’re not scoring so there’s a lot of pressure on our back line and they’ve not really been helped by our forward line so it’s sort of full circle at the moment.”

While Beckenham Town appear to be throwing money to get out of their prediclament, Styles admits his hands are tied, working without a budget.

“There’s some people I can’t support anymore and there’s some people who need to show it on the pitch, what they are about. If not I’ve got to have a serious think about what I do and how we go about it and who I bring in.

“It’s certainly not made it easy the amount of players I’ve lost.  The situation at the club (operating without a budget), the amount of points that we’ve got on the board.  I try to be as positive as I can and set up as positive and as professional as I can.

“Sometimes the players have got to stand up and be counted.  They’ve got to battle for me now and fight for me and it’s as simple as that.  Players who aren’t and haven’t got it then they won’t be around, it’s as simple as that!”

Beckenham Town: Bradley Morgan, Michak Stanic-Stewart, Alex Arif, Chan Quan (Frankie Warren 66), Gassimu Jalloh, Jack Hope, Nathan Ferguson, Hassan Oshilaja (Damien Ramsamy 72), Hassan Jalloh, Jamie Humphris, Ryan Dolby (Lywayne Greenwood 79).
Subs: Lakan Bakere, Jordan Kokoua

Goals: Jamie Humphris 26, Charlie Plummer 46 (own goal), Hassan Jalloh 49

Sent Off: Lywayne Greenwood 80

Lordswood: Ryan Chandler, Jake Creed (Chris Axon 72), Bode Olajide, Grant McIIheron, Sam Lovage, Charlie Plummer, Sam Hallett (Tom Carter 60), Jake Everitt, David Smith, Josh Wooley, Kyle McDowall.
Subs: Remell Shefton-Davis, Shane Uings

Attendance: 65
Referee:  Mr Piotr Zachwieja (Chatham)
Assistants: Mr Harry Graham (Orpington) & Mr Ashley Barnes (Bromley)

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