Chatham Town 1-1 Beckenham Town - We've come here and we showed what a good side we are. I thought we outplayed them all over the pitch, says Beckenham Town assistant Billy Walton

Saturday 12th October 2019
Chatham Town 1 – 1 Beckenham Town
Location Maidstone Road Sports Ground, Bournville Avenue, Chatham, Kent ME4 6LR
Kickoff 12/10/2019 15:00

(after extra time)
The Buildbase FA Vase First Round
Saturday 12 October 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Maidstone Road

BECKENHAM TOWN assistant manager Billy Walton says his side get to life to fight another day despite dominating their FA Vase First Round tie at Chatham Town.

Beckenham Town went into this tie sitting top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 30 points from 11 games, five points clear of second-placed Chatham Town, who have played two games more.

Beckenham Town were the better side for the vast majority of the 120 minutes of football as Chatham Town were content to sit back and soak up the pressure and at times leave 11 men behind the ball.  Both teams kept the ball down on the floor and played some good football but this was a game that Jason Huntley’s men should have won.

Chatham Town grabbed the lead through a fluke of a cross from Byron Walker in the 63rd minute, which sailed over the keeper into the far corner but Beckenham Town forced extra time when super-sub Malik Nosike placed his header into the far corner of the net just two seconds of the game remaining to force extra-time.

“Really disappointed to be honest with you that we haven’t won the game.  I thought we dominated the game to be truthful with you, created quite a few chances,” said Walton.

“They’ve got one of the most flukiest of goals in the whole world, so I’m disappointed that we haven’t gone on and won the game but we’re still in the hat and we live to fight another day, against a very good side by the way, a very good side and try and go and win the tie on Wednesday night.

“I think everyone here today saw we was the team in the ascendancy and looked to win it but saying that Chatham didn’t look to win it, I thought they played well but I thought we outplayed them all over the pitch.”

Chatham Town boss Scott Lindsey has drawn both of his games (0-0 at home to Fisher in the league last Saturday) in charge since replacing James Collins.

“My thoughts are we got to the 90th minute and 30 seconds left to play and we conceded a goal, which kind of killed it really,” said Lindsey, who was assistant to Mark Cooper at League Two side Forest Green Rovers in his last job.

“I thought there were two really good sides out there, a good advertisement for the League. First-v-second place first and foremost. 

“I thought we defended excellently throughout the game – as did they – but give them a bit of credit. We put some good balls in their box, especially in the first half and I thought they defended it really well.

“There’s moments in the game where we could’ve been better for sure and I was very encouraged by what the players’ are trying to do which is the message I’m putting out there, how I want them to play and they’re kind of getting it. We just need to execute it better.”

On a soaking wet day, played on a 3G pitch, Beckenham Town took seven minutes and 35 seconds to create their first chance.

Holding midfielder Ashley Carew played the ball out to Stefan Cox on the right and he played the ball inside to central midfielder Luke Rooney, who fed the ball to right-wing-back Harvey Brand, who played the ball into Cox, who from a central position drilled his right-footed shot just over the crossbar from 30-yards.

Beckenham Town continued to play on the front foot and they got a shot on target in the 17th minute.

Central midfielder Andrew Mott rolled the ball out to left-wing-back Archie Johnson, who was given time and space to whip in a deep cross, which was headed away by Chatham left-back George Sheminant and fell to Ryan Hall, whose left-footed drive from the edge of the D was held by Jordan Carey, low to his right.

“I think it’s one of those games when we had so many opportunities and created so many chances I’ve run out of memory bank to be able to tell you what ones they were but it was another good chance for us,” said Walton.

“In saying that, did we really make their goalkeeper pull off some good saves? I don’t think so. The final bit let us down.”

Lindsey added: “I thought the first half there were ups and downs. There was dips in it where we had to defend. We had to sit behind the ball and they had a lot of possession. I don’t think they hurt us with it to a certain degree.  I felt that we need to get a position where we have more of the control, more of the possession.

“I was pleased with how we played from back-to-front really efficiently and quickly and created good goalscoring opportunities.”

Tackles were flying in within a competitive middle of the park as whoever wins this tie are expected to progress far in The FA Vase this season as both sides have a high number of high quality players in their ranks.

Central striker Shameek Farrell released Hall, who cut inside and was given a chance to shoot on goal after Chatham’s centre-half Leon Smith slipped and Hall’s low drive was charged down by Jack Evans.

Carew swung in the resulting corner in from the left which bounced off Farrell’s head at the back stick and went past the near post from inside the six-yard box.

Chatham Town had seven men behind the ball when Brand had the ball at his feet before he burst past Chatham’s centre-half Justyn Roberts to reach the by-line and Carey cut out the cut-back at his near-post and the ball trickled behind for a corner.

Chatham Town’s right-back Ikechukwa Orji made four pacey runs down the right touchline during the first half and put in a great cross in the 37th minute which flashed across the face of goal and a quiet Paul Vines slid in at the far post and failed to get a touch as the ball went out for a throw in by the corner-flag.

Lindsey said: “Ike’s 16 years of age and his performance today was very mature. He got some really good quality balls into the box, which we’ve worked on but they defended those balls really well.

“Nine times out of 10 you put a ball into the box like that with that kind of quality, you bet your mortgage on it that Vinsey’s going to get on the end of things but in all fairness to them, you have to give them credit and they defended very well.”

Walton added: “We know Vinsey’s a dangerman for them. They why he plays, so we marshalled him and took care of him really well.” 

Luke Rooney, who is on loan from Vanarama National League South side Welling United, went close with a right-footed free-kick from 25-yards, the diving Carey relieved to see the ball only just clear his crossbar.

Beckenham Town winger Cox cut in from the right and tried to bend a shot into the bottom far corner from 35-yards, but Carey was alert and dived low his right to smother the ball before it nestled into the goal.

Chatham Town’s first real clear cut chance came in the 43rd minute when Orji had time and space to float in a cross towards the edge of the six-yard box but winger Jon Pilbeam glanced his header across the keeper and past the far post.

Lindsey said: “I thought Ike was aggressive with his running. We kind of played in a way where the two wide players came off the shape a little bit to create that little bit of channel for him to run into. 

“George Sheminant had to stay at home a little bit more because their right-winger (Cox) was their danger man so we kept George at home a little bit more which allowed Ike to get forward a little bit more.”

Walton added: “I think it was a bit of a nothing header.  I couldn’t really see him scoring from there to be truthful with you.”

Beckenham Town dominated the first half but didn’t put many men in Chatham Town’s penalty area. The home side were happy to soak up the pressure, putting men behind the ball and failed to create anything at the other end.  It was a case of two very good sides cancelling each other out.

At half-time, Lindsey said:  Lindsey said: “We kind of went through a few things, which we felt would make the play more efficient. We could see what we were trying to do but we needed to be slightly more efficient with it, so we organised the team in a way where we felt that we could be more efficient without possession and it kind of worked second half. We felt we played through the lines a little bit better and were a little bot more efficient.”

Walton added: “I’ve just thought we could hurt them a little bit more if we moved the ball quicker.  If we played the ball from left-to-right and right-to-left quicker and got it to our front two quicker and work off the front two.”

Chatham Town upped their tempo during the early stages of the second half and called Michael McEntegart into making a comfortable save after only 95 seconds.

Pat Geddis gave Sheminant a chance to break out of his shackles to race down the left and the full-back crossed for Pilbeam, whose driven shot was pushed around the near post by the Australian stopper.

“There were a couple of good actions in the second half where we felt we played some good flowing football and we wanted to try to keep the ball on the deck and play and play possession based football but there has to be a purpose behind it,” explained Lindsey.

“We’re not playing for the sake of playing. We want to have an end product and we did open them up on a few occasions, when we did play that quick flowing passing football.”

Walton added: “I couldn’t really see them scoring from that angle. I think it was another effort on goal but it didn’t really threaten us.”

Referee David Joseph failed to send off two Chatham Town players in the 54th and 76 minutes as Geddis’ low two-footed tackle on Cox was followed later on by Smith’s nasty challenge on the Beckenham winger.  Both players were lucky to receive yellow cards.

Walton said: “I’ve just gone up to the referee and said to him ‘how on earth haven’t you given two straight red-cards?’

“Listen, I don’t want to see people being sent-off but in today’s Laws that’s blatant.  Could you imagine if it was the other way round? The whole stadium would’ve gone mad!

“I’m one for trying to keep 11-v-11 on the pitch but I think you go down to 10 they seem to work harder.”

Lindsey added: “I think there were yellow cards! I don’t think there was any malice in any of it.

“I looked at Leon Smith’s one. I think was probably the worst one. Having said that I did feel the ball was there to be won. I just think he missed the ball.

“Pat Geddis is a fully committed player, wins his headers and tackles and he’s very good at that. He breaks a lot of play down and when Leon had to come off - it looks like Leon’s broken his finger and got a bang to the head - Pat had to go back into the back four and I thought he didn’t look out of place and did really well for us.”

Chatham Town parked the bus, often putting all 11 men behind the ball as Beckenham played the ball out wide in search of the opening goal.

Beckenham Town won the corner count 13-2 and the game had a training ground of attack-v-defence to it as Chatham Town appeared to be happy with their defensive tactics.

An hour gone, Johnson delivered the away side’s eighth corner of the game. He played it short to Cox, who teed up Rooney, who swept his first time shot over the crossbar with his right-boot from 30-yards.

But a huge mistake from visiting keeper McEntegart gifted Chatham Town the lead with 17 minutes and 29 seconds on the clock.

Walker, who was playing in the number 10 role behind Vines, found himself down the left and within the channel and he whipped in a left-footed cross which appeared to be sailing out of play but the ball sailed over the keeper’s head and dipped into the top far corner of the goal.

Lindsey admitted: “Listen, sometimes you need a little bit of luck and I felt at that moment we had that little bit of luck in the game, which we kind of not had in the last game (against Fisher).

“Yes, he’ll probably say it was a shot but I’m sure it weren’t.  Listen, sometimes you need to take a little bit of luck!”

Walton said: “What was the crowd today? 425. I think 400 people blew it in so when the ball flew in the air I think the whole 400 Chatham supporters all breathed in at the same time and either sucked it into the goal or what because it was the biggest fluke that you’ve ever seen in your life! That happens but we responded well. We didn’t let it bother us and we got on.”

Chatham Town keeper Carey had an outstanding game and he frustrated Beckenham Town just 177 seconds after the opening goal.

Carew stroked his right-footed free-kick from 35-yards over the wall and the ball dipped towards the bottom corner, forcing Carey to dive low to his left and use both hands to push the ball away towards safety.

Walton said: “That was a great free-kick and a very good save from their goalkeeper. He threw himself down to his left, a good two-handed save and he pushed it really wide so we couldn’t get no rebound.”

Lindsey added: “One thing we spoke about at half-time was to try and stop the opposition getting opportunities to score and one of those areas was try not to give any free-kicks away because we know they’ve got dangerous players who are capable of scoring from distance.”

Chatham Town continued with their defensive set-up  and Lindsey replaced wingers Matt Bodkin and Pilbeam, who were very quiet indeed.

“I feel the players were really committed to the cause of it and really committed to doing that,” replied Lindsey when he was asked about his team sitting back in numbers.

James Jeffrey was introduced to the game and almost made an immediate impact, cutting in from the right flank and powering a low left-footed drive curling around the foot of the near post from 30-yards.

Chatham Town squandered a glorious chance to claim the victory in the final five minutes, hitting Beckenham on the counter-attack.

Evans released Jeffrey down the right and he ran into the box and he drilled a shot towards the top right-hand corner, forcing McEntegart to make amends to palm the ball away and the ball fell to Luis Dos Santos in the middle but he smashed his shot over the crossbar.

Lindsey said: “We had opportunities to score more goals so I was pleased with that. It wasn’t just a cause of they had the possession and we sit in. I felt we had our chances ourselves.”

The referee stuck four fingers up towards the Chatham dug-out but no board was raised so you can only assume that there was going to be four minutes of time added on.

With 47:01 on the clock, Rooney had his moment and went close to equalising, curling his left-footed shot agonisingly around the foot of the far post from 35-yards, holding his head in his hands in agony as the ball only just went wide.

Walton said: “How that missed? It’s a great shot on his weak side as well and just crept past the post. We did think it’s not going to come for us but Malik came on and won it for us.”

Lindsey added: “I kind of didn’t mind that. We’ve got a capable goalkeeper and we’ve not bothered if they shoot from distance at times.  We’ve got to make sure that we close that space down to make it hard for them but we want to block the middle of the pitch and make them play wide and when they make them play wide we have to stop crosses and mark in the box.”

Chatham Town were running the ball towards the corner flag but on this occasion Dos Santos ignored that tactic and swept the ball over to Jeffrey, who drilled his shot over the top of the post.

Beckenham Town deservedly equalised to force extra time with the goal coming with 48:58 on the clock.

The penalty box was packed with players from both sides as Cox floated in a great cross from the right and Nosike rose to place a sublime header across Carey into the far corner from 10-yards.

Walton said:  “From the most unlikeliest of source but I said to the lad when he went on, I said to him try to make that fourth-man up in attack and no one’s going to track you going into the box and he done exactly that.  Give him his due, he listened to everything we told him and he went on and done it!

“Great goal! I think if you do that from midfield, if you do a late run into the box none of the back four want to pick you up and you ghost into those areas and people score goals from it – Frank Lampard scored loads of goals from it and that’s what we asked Malik to do.”

Lindsey added: “I think what kills us a little bit is when it’s a moment in the game when it was 30 seconds to go, which is the bit that’s hard to take!

“I felt just before that moment we didn’t manage the situation in the bottom corner. I felt that we were in a position when the shot wasn’t on and we’ve taken the shot and I felt we could’ve come back out and kept possession but we had the shot and they attacked from that moment down the right-hand side.

“There were a lot of bodies in the box but I felt if we had managed that moment leading up to that better, it probably won’t have come to that situation.”

Beckenham Town were the more likely team to claim the victory during extra-time.

Walton said: “I thought we could go on and win it in extra-time to be honest with you.

“We were the better side and in the ascendancy and we scored right at the end of the game to give us all the belief in the world to go on and win it.

“I think extra-time there was one team that was going to win it unless Chatham got another one of those goals.”

Lindsey added: “It was really open throughout extra-time. Either team could’ve won it.  It was we attack, you attack, we attack, you attack and I felt that the boys stuck to their task really well.”

Eight minutes in, Brand’s first time cross from the right was poorly cleared out to Carew, who from a couple yards inside the Chatham box hit a right-footed drive, which forced Carey to dive high to his left and use his outstretched left hand to push the ball over the bar.

Lindsey said:  “Jordan had a couple of really good saves today. Those moments in the game, especially in extra-time, it becomes a little bit more open. You’ve got a lot of fatigued players out there. Usually when you’re fatigued you start making poor decisions and I thought either side looked weary and tired. It could’ve gone either way.”

Beckenham Town created an even better chance when Cox released Brand, in behind Dos Santos down the right and he cut a low ball back to Nosike at the near post, who dragged his shot past the foot of the far post when he only had Carey to beat from eight-yards.

“I thought that was going to be the winner. He had a great opportunity but Malik just pulled it wide with the goal gaping for him just to slot it home,” said Walton.

It was a game when Chatham Town would have one chance and take it but McEntegart made a comfortable save on his knees as Dos Santos stroked a right-footed drive from a central position 30-yards from goal. The ball kissed the wet turf on its way into the keeper’s hands.

“Without a doubt, that’s cup football and that does go through your mind.  You think you’ve dominated the game and are they going to get a corner or a set-play and they score but luckily they didn’t,” added Walton.

“Fair play to Chatham, they dug in, they worked hard and they got a lot of blocks and fought tooth and nail.”

Cox delivered a deep cross from the right which was met by a towering header from substitute striker Steven Townsend, which was plucked out of the air by the busy Carey at his near post.

Beckenham Town missed a glorious chance to claim the deserved victory just 44 seconds into the second period when Rooney let Chatham Town off the hook.

Nosike cut in from the left and put it on a plate for Rooney, who was in space on the penalty spot but side-footed a first-time shot straight at Carey, who made a vital save.

“Rooney had one when we rolled it to the edge of the box to him and he side-footed it straight at the keeper. Either side of the keeper and that’s in,” agonised Walton.

Geddis, who had dropped into the heart of defence after Smith was forced off through injury, took one for his team when he painfully blocked a driven shot from Johnson inside the penalty area.

Beckenham Town had one last chance but Hall’s left-footed free-kick from 35-yards sailed over the crossbar at the death.

Expect these two Southern Counties East Football League top-flight powerhouses to go all the way at Eden Park Avenue in Wednesday night’s replay.

Walton said: “We showed today, we’ve come here, this place and we showed what a bloody good side we are and I think every single player who had a Beckenham shirt on them played well.”

Lindsey added:  “We’re going to set up to try to win the game, obviously. We’ll re-asses the squad and we’ll train on Tuesday, look at what we’ve got available in terms of fitness, whose available and whose injured and then we’ll puck a team to try and win the game.

“It takes all sorts to win a game. If we have to win it on penalties, we’ll win it on penalties or we’ll try to win it on penalties but we’ll have a little practice on Tuesday (at training) before the game.”

Chatham Town: Jordan Carey, Ikechukwa Orji (Matthew Achuba 91), George Sheminant, Jack Evans, Leon Smith (Conrad Lee 81), Justyn Roberts, Matt Bodkin (Luis Dos Santos 63), Pat Geddis, Paul Vines, Byron Walker, Jon Pilbeam (James Jeffrey 73).
Subs: Michael Hagan, Harvey Brown, Dan Ellis

Goal: Byron Walker 63

Booked: Pat Geddis 54, Leon Smith 76

Beckenham Town: Michael McEntegart, Harvey Brand, Archie Johnson, Ashley Carew, Ike Robertson (Mudiagho Wanagho 98), Kiki Oshiloja, Stefan Cox, Luke Rooney, Shameek Farrell (Steven Townsend 78), Andrew Mott (Malik Nosike 73), Ryan Hall.
Subs: Mathieu Ramsamy, Billy Martins, Jamie Brown

Goal: Malik Nosike 90

Booked: Ike Robertson 22, Luke Rooney 116

Attendance: 425
Referee: Mr David Joseph (Hastings, East Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Darren Wilson (Rochester) & Mr Mohammed Uddin (Chatham)