Beckenham Town 0-2 Sevenoaks Town - Our league form is poor but we're not panicking just yet, says Jason Clews

Wednesday 09th November 2016
Beckenham Town 0 – 2 Sevenoaks Town
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 09/11/2016 19:45

Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Second Round
Wednesday 9th November 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

BECKENHAM TOWN coach Jason Clews says there’s no reason to panic despite extending their miserable winless run to 10 games.


Sevenoaks Town arrived at Eden Park Avenue in fifth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 27 points from 12 games – seven points adrift of leaders Ashford United but with three games in hand.

Beckenham Town after suffering a miserable campaign and went into this Challenge Cup tie sitting in the bottom two with 12 points from 15 games.

Sevenoaks Town comfortably booked their place in the last 16 of the Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup courtesy of a goal in each half.

Kieron McCann capped off a man-of-the-match display by scoring his sixth goal of the season, before late arriving midfielder Billy Bennett scored his seventh with the last kick of the game.

Sevenoaks Town manager Micky Collins said: “It was a good game actually. The pitch was slick, looked nice, pleased with the win.

“I take every game quite seriously. We rested four tonight but we had to. Some of them was enforced but you still want to go full-strength.  We haven’t got 24 in a squad, we’ve only got 18-20 and you want to win every game you play.  It's pleasing to get a clean sheet as well away from home and we’re in the next round, it’s good.”

Beckenham Town coach Clews said: “Disappointing again, obviously another defeat.  I thought the lads played well first half. It was just a mistake, a defending mistake with the header, which has cost us. 

“It seems to be the way in the last run of games, our own mistakes causing us problems. Every time we make a mistake other teams seem to be scoring so disappointed with that but I thought we played well first half and worked hard.

“Both teams did play some good football, quick passing on a skiddy surface. I thought it was our best performance in our last three games.”

The first half was played at a frenetic pace, neither side could put their foot on the ball and clear cut chances were few and far between despite both teams playing an eye-pleasing passing game on the wet Eden Park Avenue carpet.

Sevenoaks Town left-back Greg Benbow cut inside down the right (after the ball came back to him following his corner) but his left-footed drive sailed harmlessly past the far post from 12-yards.

But Sevenoaks Town opened the lead, with the goal timed at 12 minutes and 10 seconds, courtesy of a mistake from Beckenham Town right-back Aziz Kanu.

Corey Holder played a back-pass back to his goalkeeper Rob French, who hit a big kick, which wasn’t headed away by Kanu, which let in McCann, who cut inside and unleashed a left-footed angled drive from 15-yards, which flashed under the keeper and nestled inside the bottom far corner.

Collins said: “Kieron’s been doing that all season, whether he goes and wins the header or whether he waits for it to drop.  The guy’s (Kanu) got under it. The best bit was the composure. He could’ve hit it early and he didn’t. He settled because it was on his weak foot and drilled it through the goalie. Good finish.

“He’s been quality, most of them have. We show it at times. We do show some of the quality we’ve got and at other times we switch off and we get a bit lackadaisical because that’s the level we’re at.”

Clews said: “He’s put it away well but again it’s just one of our mistakes.  I think it was the only one we done in the first half and we got punished for it and it’s something that we’ve got to try to cut out.”

Sevenoaks striker Yacine Gnahore then cracked a dipping drive that only just cleared the crossbar from the left-hand side just 59 seconds later.

Sevenoaks right-back Chris Edwards floated in a free-kick into the Beckenham penalty area, the ball was knocked down by John Brown and Gnahore’s low shot on the turn forced Adam Highsted to dive full-length to his right to save at the second attempt.

Beckenham Town’s finishing in front of goal was poor.  Eddie Sharman played a low ball in from the right and Richmond Kissi played a one-two with Jamie Humphries but drove his shot high and wide from 30-yards.

Beckenham Town were enjoying a good spell of pressure just before the half-hour mark.  Jamie Humphries was inside the centre circle when he pinged a Hollywood pass towards the edge of the Sevenoaks penalty area but a sliding Richmond Kissi failed to make contact.

Humphries scored 24 goals for Beckenham Town last season and has only one to his name this time around.

Clews said: “He’s had a little knock on his ankle, it’s swollen up so we ‘re hoping to ice him up for tomorrow and hopefully for Saturday, so we told him on Thursday and Friday to make sure he rests it when he’s at home.

“He’s probably lacking a little bit of confidence. He’s doing things that he wouldn’t normally do, trying a little bit too much with the ball, I think, looking at his performance if he gets one goal, one or two will come for him.”

Beckenham Town created a glorious chance to equalise in the 37th minute.

Keeper Highsted caught a cross and threw the ball down the middle to left-winger Marvin Alebilosu, who strode forward before hitting a right-footed drive from 35-yards, which skidded off the wet turf and forced Rob French to dive low to his right to hold onto the shot.

Clews said: “Marvin is a danger when he gets the ball and his running at people. We don’t do enough in the games at the moment but one of only a few chances that we created.”

Collins added: “It’s from a distance but he (Alebilosu) looked lively for them. I was impressed with him. During the early stages of the game he caused us problems.  The pitch suited him as well. He got his shot off but he was stretching at distance and it was comfortable for Rob.”

Humphries final piece of action came on the stroke of half-time when he threw the ball to Alebilosu, who cut into the penalty area before steering his shot just past the foot of the near post.

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the break.

Clews said: “We’re still in the game, a Cup game, still in it.  Carry on.  The first half we were playing some good football, keep it going! I think we did for the first 15-20 minutes of the second half.

“We changed the formation to try to get into the game, going more attacking, going three at the back. You know they’re going to create chances because they’ve got a lot of pace up top. They’re quite a well-organised side, a good solid defence. The midfield is strong and win a lot of balls in the air. We said try to keep it down, play football and create more chances, but not too many (came).”

Collins added: “I think both teams tried to pass it.  You want to. It’s a beautiful pitch and you want to pass it.  We tried to do that quite a lot at times.  We caused our own problems because we over-passed. Sometimes we need to be a bit more direct and we’re not and both defences snuffed each other out a little bit.

“I wanted better quality in the final third. We got the ball to the edge of the box probably on 10-12 occasions in the first half and we should’ve crossed it at times and we kept it and at other times we kept it when we shouldn’t. That little bit of quality in the final third needs to improve.”

Highsted made a comfortable save at his near post inside the opening three minutes to deny Gnahore poking his shot into the bottom corner after he was played in behind by Joe Bingham.

Beckenham Town need to become more settled in key areas on the pitch.

Clews said: “We haven’t had a solid back for a run of games yet and it’s always chopping and changing. We’ve had five or six central defensive partnerships in the last five or six games. It’s changed every game so there’s no consistency together due to injuries and work commitments.

“We had to change it. Adam Wadmore (who was replaced just before kick-off for Kanu) pulled up before the game because he was a starter today. He’s complaining of shin splints in the warm-up.”

Collins said: “Yacine has done really well to get there, a great pass from Bings.  A lack of composure in front of goal, he’s gone for a toe-poke. He’s really got time. He can settle himself and pick a corner and that sums us up. If you look at the whole night overall that’s us all over until a bit of quality at the end.”

McCann played the ball inside to Bingham, the central midfielder sweeping the ball out to Harrison Carnegie, but the right winger cut inside to drive a low shot into the base of the side netting after 56 minutes.

Beckenham Town were getting frustrated. Manager Jason Huntley changed his formation from 4-5-1 in the first half to a more attacking in the second, but nothing was going their way.

However, the game livened up during the final 15 minutes.

McCann’s low right-footed drive brought a save out of Highsted, low to his left, the Beckenham keeper pouncing on to the loose ball.

Gnahore’s angled drive deflected past the far post and Sevenoaks Town struck the underside of the crossbar from the resulting corner in the 79th minute.

Edwards swung in the ball from the left and Jack Miles’ near post header sailed across the keeper and hit the underside of the crossbar.

Ryman Premier League side Tonbridge Angels have been sniffing around the 21-year-old, especially after Miles’ consistent and impressive defensive performances during this season.

“A great header from Jack, he was unlucky, he rose well,” said Collins.

“He’s been awesome Jack for us this season. He’s played every minute of every game and he’s drawn the attention of quite a few clubs and that’s why he’s on contract now. He stays on contract with us until the end of next season.

“If he leant to talk he’d play in the Football League. He likes to enjoy mute football. You can see tonight he’s quality. He hoofs and heads it when he needs to, he can play and he’s got a great delivery when he chooses to use it correctly.

“Paul Lansdale (the chairman) and I spoke about it and decided to protect him not because we don’t want him to move on because we want him to play higher, but we protected him so any approaches that come in we can vet them before they can come in and make sure they’re right for him. 

“His dad Ray is one of our directors at the club as well so we all agreed it. We think it’s the right move for him and we’ll protect him and when the time’s right he will go on and play higher.”

Clews added: “That was another chance that they had.  He just outjumped, I don’t think he was unmarked, he just outjumped a defender. I think he’s got to get more touch-tight (on Miles) on him to stop him from jumping or even getting a chance.”

Both teams will need to work on their finishing. Bingham’s first time shot went over the Beckenham bar, before Beckenham squandered two late chances.

Holding substitute midfielder Jamie Turner pinged a deep free-kick into the Sevenoaks box, French dropped the ball and Harry Draper’s poor shot was cleared away by Mikey Dalton.

“Harry Draper has had another chance when the keeper fumbled it. Harry said it was sort of underneath him. He couldn’t get his feet out. It was just one of those.”

But they really should have taken the game into extra time by grabbing an equaliser with the clock showing 44:21.

Jack Hope’s long ball out of defence wasn’t dealt with by Corey Holder and Kissi whipped in a cross from the right wing.  Alebilosu was left unmarked just 15-yards from goal but the seven-goal attacker hooked his shot over the crossbar.

Clews said: “Another chance! We’re not getting the rub of the green. A lot of chances Marvin has had, he’d probably stuck them away. You’d probably bet your house on him sticking them away but he seems to be a goal threat for us and probably the only one at the moment for the last few games.”

Collins added: “Summed up the night for all forwards really. That bit of composure. If he had just taken his time and slotted it, they would’ve been back in the game and then it’s game on for extra-time. Glad it never because my feet were freezing!

“That was going to happen. We should’ve put the game to bed.  The amount of times we broke away and overplayed and didn’t put the right pass or the right shot to put the game out of sight and we didn’t.

“You always run the risk of them breaking and getting a goal and it could’ve happened!”

Beckenham’s wide man, substitute Rick Davis cut the ball onto his right foot before hitting his shot over the crossbar.

Sevenoaks Town wrapped up their comfortable victory with Bennett’s classy finish, timed at 48:47.

Gnahore held the ball up down the left channel before playing the ball inside to McCann, who played the ball inside to an unmarked Bennett, who controlled the ball and placed his right-footed shot into the top right-hand corner from 25-yards.

Collins said: “Probably maybe the eighth or ninth time we got in that position in the second half and it’s gone to Bill and Bill’s taken his time and picked his corner and slotted it where as we’d probably rushed it before or we would’ve had a rubbish shot and gone over the bar.

“He’s taken his time and finished the game off and that’s it. We needed that.  I wished it had been half-an-hour before that so I could sit in the changing room and get warm.”

When asked to explain why the highly-rated Bennett was substitute and came on after 71 minutes, Collins revealed: “Bill turned up late from work, his train got cancelled which is typical, so he texted me and said his running late.  He would’ve started but we went with the young lad John Brown up front and Yacine needed the minutes as well, so it was good for him. Maybe if it was a league game we maybe would’ve waited a bit longer and maybe started Bill. He wanted to come off the bench and as soon as I said “are you ready?” he was on. Bang! He wanted to play.”

Clews added: “We’re pushing forward to try to get the equaliser.  We knew they were going to catch us on the counter and break, especially going three at the back.”

Clews revealed that he spoke to holding midfielder Turner for giving Bennett time and space to pick his spot.

“I had a word with Jamie Turner at the end there because I thought his position for not marking Billy for the goal. He was five or ten yards in front of him so yes it's something he needs to work on. He’s just coming back from about four or five games so he’s getting his fitness back.  He knows what he should be doing for that, he should be doing better.”

Beckenham Town host thirteenth-placed Erith & Belvedere at Eden Park Avenue in the League on Saturday, while Sevenoaks Town welcome seventh-placed Cray Valley to Greatness Park.

“We’ve got a great little outfit here,” said Collins. “There’s some good players in that squad and they want to win. They’ve proved that tonight because they’ve turned up and given a good performance, were solid, got a clean sheet away from home and in the next round of the Cup.”

Clews is refusing to panic over Beckenham Town’s poor run of form.

He said: “Looking at the table, as we said before the game, we know it’s not a league game today but league form is pretty poor.  We’re discussing it and three points will take us up seven places so we’re not panicking just yet. We know it’s going to come for us but it’s something that we’ve got to work on in training.”

Beckenham Town: Adam Highsted, Jordan Clark, Aziz Kanu, Harry Stacey (Kelvin Ogboe 70), Jack Hope, Harry Draper, Eddie Sharman, Charlie Sharman (Jamie Turner 46), Richmond Kissi, Jamie Humphries (Rick Davis 46), Marvin Alebilosu.
Sub: Adam Wadmore

Booked: Richmond Kissi 67, Harry Draper 82

Sevenoaks Town: Rob French, Chris Edwards, Greg Benbow, Mikey Dalton, Jack Miles, Corey Holder, Harrison Carnegie, Joe Bingham, Yacine Gnahore, John Brown (Billy Bennett 71), Kieron McCann.
Subs: John Lord, Jimmy Rogers, Byron Walker, Stephen Camacho

Goals: Kieron McCann 13, Billy Bennett 90

Booked: Kieron McCann 85

Attendance: 68
Referee: Mr Emmanuel Nketiah (Thamesmead, London SE26)
Assistants: Mr Steve Tunnicliffe (Maidstone) & Mr Joseph Dann-Pye (Maidstone)

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