Corinthian 3-1 Beckenham Town - We're in a great position to gain promotion, it might be a blessing in disguise being knocked out, says Beckenham Town assistant manager Billy Walton

Tuesday 18th February 2020
Corinthian 3 – 1 Beckenham Town
Location Gay Dawn Farm, Valley Road, Longfield, Kent DA3 8LY
Kickoff 18/02/2020 19:45

Kent Senior Trophy Semi-Final
Tuesday 18 February 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Gay Dawn Farm

BECKENHAM TOWN assistant manager Billy Walton believes being knocked out of the Kent Senior Trophy in the Semi-Finals by their promotion rivals Corinthian might be a blessing in disguise.

Jason Huntley’s side remain at the top of the Sea Pioneer Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 48 points from their 22 games, while Corinthian are in second-place, just a couple of points behind and both sides have 14 league games left to play in an exciting six-horse title race.

Corinthian defeated Deal Town (3-1); Bridon Ropes (4-0) and Kennington (3-0) to reach this stage of the competition and they will play Sheppey United in the Kent Senior Trophy Final on Sunday 19 April 2020 at Maidstone United’s stadium on James Whatman Way.

Beckenham Town progressed after beating Lydd Town (7-0); Hollands & Blair (2-1) and Glebe (6-2).

Corinthian seemed to be more up for it than their visitors’ and deservedly opened the scoring through a rare headed goal from winger Andres Felipe Losada Tobon.

However, their lead lasted only five minutes as Beckenham Town grabbed an equaliser through Steve Townsend’s deflected drive.

Corinthian regained the lead on the stroke of half-time through Oscar Housego’s desire, scoring his 15th goal of the season, before Tobon scored his second goal of the night and his ninth of the season inside the final 10 minutes.

“Very pleased for the boys, pleased for the club, I thought we deserved it tonight,” said Golding, whose side lost 3-2 to double-cup winners Chatham Town in the Challenge Cup Final at Longmead Stadium last May.

“I thought we were the better side. I thought we suffocated them, I thought we got on top of them.  They probably had 10-15 minutes where they got on top.

“They’re a side full of quality and they’re top of the league for a reason, they’re the best side in the league at the moment so for them to come down here for the second time and for us to beat them quite convincingly, I’m really, happy.

“We’ve got another final to look forward to try to put the wrongs right from last year against Chatham but I’m really pleased for the clubs and the club and it will be a good occasion against Sheppey.”

Walton added: “Obviously disappointed. I thought the best team won on the night to be honest with you.

“Apart from a 25 minutes spell in the second half where we dominated and we had some great chances to score and unfortunately we didn’t.

“I thought all round, I thought they wanted it more than us and that’s what they’re about Corinthian. They’ve got a young enthusiastic side with a few older players, not a lot of older players but one or two and they work extremely hard.

“You’ve got to match their work-rate and hopefully your ability gets you goals but I just don’t think we’ve worked hard enough.

“They were more up for it than us. I don’t know why really, it’s a semi-final. Why you’re not up for it against one of your main rivals in the league? I find it a bit hard to believe really.”

Corinthian started the game on the front foot and created their first opening with six minutes and 45 seconds on the clock.

Housego swung in their opening corner in from the left and they had a couple of bites of the cherry with blocked shots inside the box before the ball came out to Chris Kinnear who drilled a left-footed shot just past the foot of the near post from 25-yards.

However, the 29-year-old took a whack to the head shortly afterwards and was bandaged up by the clubs medical staff and insisted he “was fine” but Golding withdrew him for George Snelling in the 23rd minute, fearing concussion.

“Chris Kinnear going off in the first half, we kind of lost our shape a little bit and they went through us a few times,” said Golding.

“He didn’t want to come off. He got a bad cut just before his left eye, I think it was, but the physio wasn’t quite sure, obviously with concussion and head injuries and you just can’t take the risk.

“Chris is disappointed, he’s a big game player and he wanted to stay on but George Snelling came on and played a great ball to James Trueman for the second goal, so George is more than a capable player to go in there and he’s done a job.

“He’s played at centre-back and central midfield this season and we’re lucky that we’ve got the options to bring someone like George but it’s disappointing to lose Chris.”

Corinthian were to be denied a deserved lead with 15 minutes on the clock when visiting keeper Michael McEntegart saved Beckenham Town’s bacon.

Tobon swept a ball in from the left touchline to pick out an unmarked Josh Stirman, who played a clever reverse pass to put Tobon through on goal but Tobon scuffed his left-footed shot and hit it straight at the legs of the advancing keeper from 15-yards.

Golding said: “Really good save.  Being critical, you’ve got to take that chance and you’re thinking you’re playing against a top-of-the-league side in a cup semi-final, you’re probably not going to get too many chances but I thought Andres was good tonight in fits and starts. 

“It’s frustrating, he doesn’t shoot enough and doesn’t take his opportunities when he does get them but it was a good save from the keeper.”

Walton added: “There again, it’s a slow start from us and we’ve given them an opportunity to break, what they do well. They break really quick and they hit you on the counter-attack and they’ve got willing runners who want to get past you and get on the end of things and that’s one of the things they did for that first opportunity.”

Corinthian deservedly took the lead with 21 minutes and 36 seconds on the clock, through good link-up play down the right-wing.

Stirman and right-back Alexander Jack Billings linked up, exchanging passes a couple of times before Stirman floated in a great cross towards the far post where an unmarked Tobon sneaked in as Jamie Brown (right-back) and Mudiagha Wanogho (centre-half) both switched off and allowed Tobon to guide his header back across goal and just inside the far post to score from four-yards.

“A bit of a collectors’ item, an Andres’ header! He doesn’t score many headers but it was really good from Josh Stirman. Yet again he’s picked it up the last few weeks and he’s doing really well at the moment. He’s still a young kid, he’s come from Tonbridge Angels and he’s learning the right way,” said Golding.

“He’s started well for us. He was out of the squad for a little while but he’s come back in for the last four or five games and he’s doing really well so to get another assistant is good for him, personally for his confidence and a bit of a collectors’ items that Andres’ got in at the back post and he’s read it well and really brave to put it in.”

Walton added: “I mean, there again, I can only keep on saying to players what I expect and what I’ve told them to do. It baffles me when they break you’ve got no one marking a player at the back post to have a free header.  It’s kids’ stuff, it’s so, so disappointing.”

Beckenham Town’s players woke up from their 22 minute doze and Harvey Brand shrugged past Snelling to drive straight down the heart of the pitch before drilling his right-footed shot just past the foot of the left-hand post from 25-yards.

“We put Harvey in midfield tonight to give us that energy and that willingness to get forward and attack from there and I thought he did that and was a threat for most of the night from that position and he broke really well then and done what we asked him to do and unfortunately it just went wide,” said Walton.

Beckenham Town grabbed an equaliser with 26 minutes and 40 seconds on the clock through the ever-impressive Townsend, who has taken his chance at a higher level after being plucked out of the reserves at Farnborough Old Boys Guild.

Set-piece specialist Luke Rooney floated a free-kick in from just outside the corner of the box on the right-hand side; Housego headed the ball clear at the near post and the ball came out to Townsend, who was lurking in space on the edge of the Corinthian box. 

Townsend took a touch before drilling his right-footed shot from 22-yards, which deflected off a pressing Alexander Jack Billings and screamed past the diving keeper and nestled inside the bottom left-hand corner.

Walton said: “Surfaces like that, it’s one of the things you talk about, get your shots off in this weather, on this surface! Get your shots off on target and something will happen and that proved a point. He got a shot off, it took a slight deflection and bang! It’s in the bottom corner!

“You don’t score if you don’t shoot and you’ve got to shoot and out there I would relish the opportunity to play out there and my first thought would be as a forward, I want to hit that target!

“I thought Steve was excellent tonight for us. He was a thorn in their side all night and caused them a load of problems. It’s just a shame he was on the losing side.”

Golding admitted: “It was poor from us, Oscar’s header wasn’t great but he’s on the screen for a reason to get a contact on it but it’s probably a management decision, my decision there.

“We’ve tried to be brave and left two up and unfortunately we left Townsend free on the edge of the box and you’re always hoping it doesn’t go to the man and this time he did have a touch and he’s a player whose scored loads of goals last year at a different level and he’s a good player. He’s lively and he’s good on the ball.  It was an avoidable goal but good technique.”

Corinthian forced a free-kick on the by-line and Jack Mahoney clipped the outside of the near post after delivering a left-footed free-kick from the tightest of angles.

The equaliser sparked Beckenham Town into life and previously isolated striker Ryan Hall exploded into life by driving down the left and cutting into the box but his weak shot rolled into the hands of Corinthian keeper Aiden Prall, who collected the ball on his knees at his near post.

Corinthian are a hard-working side, showing plenty of togetherness and desire and are a threat on the counter-attack.

Tobon whipped in a cross from the left and the ball was cleared out to Alexander Jack Billings, who lofted his right-footed shot which was plucked out of the air by Michael McEntegart.

Beckenham Town then restored dominance and created a couple of goalscoring opportunities on a pitch suited for shooting from distance on a wet night.

Firstly, midfield play-maker Rooney fed Brand, who played the ball out to right-winger Stefan Cox, who cut into the box, going on the outside of his marker before his right-footed shot from eight-yards forced Prall to get down low to his right at his near post and use a strong right-hand to push the ball towards safety.

Rooney showed his battling qualities when he slid in on Snelling on the halfway line and poked the ball through to Townsend, who strode forward before unleashing a right-footed dipping drive from 30-yards, which was pushed away by Prall, diving to his right, with the ball destined to nestle into the bottom left-hand corner.

“I say it all the time about Aiden. He’s got very good hands for a goalkeeper. We back him from that kind of distance and if someone’s having a shot and it goes flying in the top corner then there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Golding.

“We kind of expected them to have those kind of shots in these conditions. It’s pouring down with rain in different stages. The pitch is wet, it’s very muddy and very boggy down that bottom end, particularly if someone’s shooting from there but we back Aiden.”

Walton added: “It was a good save.  I say it every time I come here, I know Aiden, I took him from Charlton to Beckenham so he’s a good goalkeeper the lad.”

Corinthian grabbed the lead with 45:01 on the clock, catching Beckenham on the break.

Snelling was inside his own half and he released advanced left-back James Trueman inside the final third, who cut towards the edge of the Beckenham box but his shot was poor, scuffing it across the face of goal and out from nowhere Housego appeared and smashed the ball into the back of the net from a tight angle.  Beckenham’s Brown tried to clear the ball off the line and ended up smashing his attempted clearance into the back of his own net.

Golding said: “We’ve never seen such speed from Oscar!  It’s an unbelievable goal from being under the cosh a little bit.

“I thought Harvey Brand, when he was playing in that false nine role, he was getting on the ball and all off a sudden it broke. It was a great ball from George Snelling into the space and James Trueman has got that energy to run and run and run and we’ve had similar goals like that this season but the desire for James Trueman to get there and then where Oscar came from, we have no idea! We have to wait and see the video but the desire and the commitment and the quality to get there and to hit the target and he hasn’t given the defender a chance, it’s just a great goal!

“It’s not the pleasing goal on the eye for the football purist but for us it sums up what Corinthian Football Club are. It was heart, desire and commitment and it was unbelievable and to score just before half-time it tears up the half-time team-talk and it makes ours slightly easier and it gives us something to hold onto which is always pleasing.”

Walton added: “First and foremost when someone counter-attacks you from a corner, you do not let them pick the ball up on the halfway line and get the next pass off to their forward runners, you engage them on the halfway line. Whether you foul him or you stop him at all costs but you re-group and you defend the free-kick from 50-yards out, that’s really disappointing.

“I don’t want to swear but I don’t want to sound like Danny Wakeling (who often swore during his post-match interview after his Welling Town side were beaten 5-1 at home to Corinthian on 12 February) but you’ve got to manage the game and have a bit more about you to stop those things happening. 

“We could’ve dealt with it on the halfway line and took a foul. The referee was lenient tonight, he let quite a lot of fouls go for both sides, so I think you could’ve taken a foul there.”

On Housego’s desire to react first to score, Walton added: “That’s what good forwards do, they always react.  A forward will react quickest because he’s instinct is to go and score.” 

Beckenham Town immediately went up the other end and called Prall into making a comfortable save to deny Hall scoring with a deflected drive, which clipped Corinthian centre-half Jamie Billings on the way through.

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the interval.

Golding said: “It was a great time to score! I don’t know if we deserved to be ahead at half-time but yes it completely changes the team talk and with us attacking down the hill in the second half we always back ourselves getting a goal going down the hill and they had to score two in the second half.”

Walton added: “Furious, absolutely furious at half-time! To come to a place like this where you’ve got to work hard and not to work hard after being told time and time again to work harder than them in between the lines, work harder across the pitch, work harder than them going forward and you’ll win a game and we didn’t do that – second half we did!”

Beckenham Town dominated large parts of the second half and they appeared to be the side that were more likely to score.

They created an opening after 101 seconds but Townsend lacked composure when put through on goal, smashing his shot against the roof of the building behind the goal rather than in the goal after Rooney and Hall linked up well in the build-up.

Prall pulled off a great save to prevent Beckenham Town scoring a deserved equaliser with five minutes and 41 seconds on the clock.

Alexander Jack Billings clipped Townsend’s heels just outside the left corner of the Corinthian penalty area and they almost paid the price.

Rooney whipped in a quality delivery with his right-boot around 25-yards from goal and the ball was destined to curl into the bottom far corner after bouncing just in front of the keeper, only for Prall to make a great save diving to his left to tip the ball around the post.

Walton said: “That’s something else we talked about at half-time, our delivery from set-plays weren’t good enough and we upped it in the second half and we got in some great corners, some great free-kicks and some great crosses and in all fairness I don’t know how we haven’t scored.”

Golding added: “Really good save. I think he had two or three good saves in the second half that were very, very good saves.

“It was about that delivery and we go on about it all of the time, how important it is, it’s important at all levels but particularly at this level. It makes such a big difference that ball going in at that far post. It’s so difficult for goalkeepers so Aiden’s reactions there to wait for the ball to bounce on a sticky surface and then to palm it away, was unbelievable!”

Rooney swung in the resulting corner from the right and Junior Kaffo held his head in his hands in despair after steering his towering header past the far post from eight-yards.

Walton handed former AFC Croydon Athletic striker Dominic Ogun his debut and he played a central striker role with Cox (right) and Townsend (left) on the flanks.

The game then had a five minute fiery spell with tackles flying in as the tempo and urgency levels of the players’ increased.

A poor throw from McEntegart towards Rooney was intercepted by Mahoney and his left-footed shot from 30-yards brought a comfortable save from the visiting keeper.

Beckenham should have been level at the halfway point but for a world-class save from highly-rated former Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Prall.

Townsend whipped in a great cross from the left towards the edge of the six-yard box for an unmarked Hall to loop his header towards the top right-hand corner, only for Prall to claw the ball away, high to his left.

Walton said: “You’re right, that’s a top drawer save! Fair play to him. That’s what goalkeepers are there for, stop the ball going in the net and that’s what he’s done!”

Golding said: “That’s what he’s there for, he’s very, very good and we’re lucky to have someone like Aiden. He’s learning his trade, I think he’s close to 150 games for us now in the first-team in the three and a half years he’s been here and he’s very, very good, there’s no denying it.

“Hopefully he moves on to a higher level and hopefully that’s with us but when he chooses the right time, he’ll move on. He’ll be an asset to any club he moves to.

“He works very closely with our goalkeeper coach Deren Ibrahim and he thinks very highly of him. That save was tremendous, it really, really was. It’s probably a game changer.”

The outstanding Townsend reached the by-line and whipped in another cross which was met by Beckenham centre-half Kiki Oshilaja – who had stayed up for an earlier set-piece – but he steered his header across the keeper and past the far post from eight-yards.

Corinthian were certainly hanging on and they escaped a couple of goal-line scrambles after Rooney put in some high-quality deliveries from corners, as Beckenham forced four corners on the bounce.

“We showed that little bit of luck and that little bit of desire and we’ve got bodies in there that are willing to put themselves in front of the ball and put their bodies on the line, which is great to see,” added Golding.

However, Corinthian sealed their progress by producing a sweeping move with 34 minutes and 20 seconds on the clock, punishing Beckenham who now had three centre-halves instead of a back four.

Right-back Alexander Jack Billings was around 35-yards from his goal and played a lovely diagonal pass on the deck to Stirman, who fed Tobon, who drilled his right-footed shot across the keeper into the bottom far corner from the edge of the D.

“A football purist will probably say it’s a great goal and it’s not come from 25 passes in a row but anyone trying to pass that ball out there 25 times in the rain tonight is probably going to struggle,” said Golding.

“We’re on at Andres and Oscar to be shooting from the edge of the area and to be taking those opportunities and Andres had one in the first half when he’s run through and he’s one-on-one and he’s checked back and he’s not had a shot but to see that nestle in and it gives you that little bit of breathing space going into the last 10 minutes.

“It was a good goal. Jack Billings was heavily involved, good from Josh Stirman and a very, very good finish from Andres and we just have to see that on a more regular basis.”

Walton added: “You know when you’re chasing a game in a cup game and you’re chasing it you’re always liable to get caught. We left it skinny at the back and took a gamble and we got caught, simple as that.

“I actually clapped that, it’s a great goal, it’s a great goa. You’ve got to stand here and say well done!”

Corinthian created a late chance when Mahoney whipped a left-footed free-kick towards the top left-hand corner from 22-yards, which was palmed away by the Australian McEntegart, high to his right.

Golding added: “Comfortable, it was never really hit with any venom.  I suppose for the stats it’s a shot on target but a keeper of his quality will be expected to save that.”

Kaffo played the ball up to Rooney, who hit a right-footed 35-yarder into Prall’s midriff for a comfortable catch, before McEntegart dived to his right to tip Snelling’s angled drive around the post at the other end.

Golding’s side are still on course of wining the treble. They are involved in an exciting six-horse title race, are contesting the Kent Senior Trophy Final and are in the Quarter-Finals of The Buildbase FA Vase where they play Leighton Town here at Gay Dawn Farm on Saturday 29 February.

“As a management team we’re very happy. We work very hard but for me the Final is for the players to go out and express themselves and hopefully there will be a good crowd there and people will come out and watch us,” said Golding.

“Sheppey will be well supported, we know that, so we’ll go there with a lesser support and we’ll go there with probably the underdog tag yet again but we’ve got a good record against Sheppey and that goes out of the window in cup finals.

“It’s a great occasion for the players to go out there and perform in front of a good crowd and more importantly to give something back to the club.”

With a potential 19 more games to play in all competitions, Golding has worked miracles on a zero playing budget to be competing against some big guns in the title race.

“Very exciting. It’s a good time to be involved in the club. There’s a real positive feel around the senior section of the club. It’s a great club and I’ll talk for ever how great this club is and anyone who wants to listen to me I’ll always talk to them what a great club Corinthian is. It’s a special, special club and reaching a cup final, it’s for the people behind the scenes, the small band of parents or supporters or whatever we’ve got and Sue Billings does so much for the club and Bonze as the chairman. The cup final is for them and it’s my way, the management team’s way of saying thank you to them.”

Sheppey United manager Ernie Batten was sat in the stand to cast his eye on both sides.

Beckenham Town travel to fourth-placed side Sheppey United (seven points behind with a game in hand) on Saturday, while Corinthian host tenth-placed K Sports.

Walton said: “Disappointing being bridesmaid coming and being beaten in a semi-final, It’s disappointing but our main objective is what we started out for at the beginning of the season.

“We’re in a great position to gain promotion. It might be a blessing in disguise. It might be a blessing in disguise getting knocked out.”

Corinthian: Aiden Prall, Alexander Jack Billings, James Trueman, Jack Mahoney, Jamie Billings, Jack Bath, Andres Felipe Losada Tobon (Jordan Campbell 83), Chris Kinnear (George Snelling 23), Luke Tanner, Oscar Housego (Ryan Sawyer 90), Josh Stirman.
Subs: Kameron Gyeabour, Frankie Morgan

Goals: Andres Felipe Losada Tobon 22, 80, Oscar Housego 45

Booked: James Trueman 60, Oscar Housego 84

Beckenham Town: Michael McEntegart, Jamie Brown (Dominic Ogun 54), Archie Johnson, Junior Kaffo, Mudiagha Wanogho (Malik Nosike 85), Kiki Oshilaja, Steve Townsend, Luke Rooney, Ryan Hall, Harvey Brand, Stefan Cox (Shameek Farrell 78).
Subs: Joe Bannon, Bertie Valler

Goal: Steve Townsend 27

Booked: Junior Kaffo 87

Attendance: 99
Referee: Mr Joseph Dann-Pye
Assistants: Mr Bartosz Chmielecki & Mr Michael Donnelly
Fourth Official:  Mr Matthew Grist