Rose: The standard of Kent League football is high (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS)

Sunday 26th March 2006
Erith Town’s assistant manager John Adams is expecting a tough time when Beckenham Town visit the Erith Sports Stadium on Monday night, writes Stephen McCartney.


Beckenham, who drew their top-of-the-table clash at Maidstone United on Saturday, can reclaim their place at the summit with a victory over the Dockers.

But Dartford resident Adams, who returned to Erith Town before their 3-0 reverse at Whitstable Town on 18th February, following a stint with league rivals Sevenoaks Town, knows his side are in for a tough game – especially on their lush playing surface.

When asked what he was expecting, the highly respected man in Kent League circles replied: “Well, after our disappointment on Saturday we know we are in for one hell of a game.

The Dockers lost the Erith derby 4-0 to Erith & Belvedere yesterday, as the Deres consolidated third spot in the Kentish Observer League table.

“We just have to give it everything we can,” he added.  “Beckenham are a special side, quality throughout the team and on a decent pitch, what they like playing on, it’s going to be one hell of a game for us.”

Erith Town recently produced a shock result when they held Maidstone United to a 1-1 draw but Adams will be hoping goalkeeper Chris Conneally passes a fitness test after missing Saturday’s defeat with a stomach upset, which forced them to play Danny Smith.

”He had to pull out after the warm up,” said Adams.  “Disappointing for us, but we’ve had to put a rookie 18-year-old whose been hovering around the reserve team.

But Adams refuses to blame Smith for their heavy defeat against Wayne Brown’s side.

“We lacked the experience in goal, he was the only one available and we had to stick with him – it was a massive game for him.

“Chris had a complete upset stomach,” revealed Adams.  “He just felt weak and tired and on the bloody toilet all the time.

“He got changed to warm up and he came back in afterwards and told us he wasn’t well – he was all over the place.

“I don’t want the pressure on the 18-year-old, the team have to take responsibility.  You can’t blame an 18-year-old goalkeeper - but we’ve been having a good run at the moment.”

It is clear that along with Slade Green - who are doing well in ninth plac -and Erith Town are the only sides in the league not paying out any money.

With Adams’ former club, Sevenoaks Town rooted to the foot of the Kentish Observer League table with just 12 points (with four games remaining), Erith Town are second from bottom with two more points – but with six games left, Adams wants to finish above the Greatness Park outfit, Sporting Bengal and Greenwich Borough.

“We’ve got some good youngsters there, it's disappointing being down at the bottom like Sevenoaks but when you’re down there it’s hard to come out of it.  We’re pleased with our recent run but our hiccup was Saturday. 

“At this stage you have to look for next season,” said Adams.  “We just want to claw our way out of the bottom four and to look at getting as many points in the bag.”

Adams and manager Peter Little, feel the same way as the Slade Green management team of Phil Miles and Terry Malin.

“I suppose if the truth be known I’d probably should have never left four or five years ago,” said Adams.

“It’s a club where it has a positive, great committee, a fabulous ground, but the only downside is they can’t pay that money to get quality players in.

“I know the Slade Green boys are a bit uptight but you get a good young player, somebody puts in a seven-day approach and you can’t stop it.”

Meanwhile, Beckenham Town manager Gavin Rose, will be hoping his side will be able to turn on the style on the Dockers’ lush playing surface to return to the top of the table – albeit level on points with Maidstone United, but with a superior goal difference.

Rose was forced to adopt long ball tactics in the Bourne Park mud on Saturday.

“It’s our game in hand so obviously we have to win that,” he said.  “There’s no point doing what we did at Maidstone if we don’t.

”Erith’s pitch is nice but we’re not going to get sucked into thinking we can go and have a pass up or a jolly up – we’re going to know we’’ve got to be affective so at the end of the day we’re going to try to pass the ball but we have to be affective with it.”

With this being Rose’s first season involved with Kent League football, he did admit he was surprised with the good standard of football.

The 29-year-old said: "I haven’t had the opportunity to watch Erith this season but everyone’s told me their a good team and have got a couple of good young players.

“So we know what we’re going to expect and at this stage of the season teams playing against us want to be the ones to upset us, and rightly so.

”This is my first season playing in the Kent League, let alone managing and I wasn’t sure what the standard would be like but the standard is very high.

“It’s higher than I thought it would be and I imagine teams that would be promoted from this league into the higher league and compete again.

”Ramsgate have proved that this season, their top of Ryman League Division One and I don’t see any reason why if Maidstone or Beckenham got promoted wouldn’t do well – I think it’s a very competitive league to be honest with you.”

* Deal Town play VCD Athletic in the league’s other game on Monday night.

* are covering Erith Town's clash with Beckenham Town, and you can read the report and reaction on Tuesday.

Monday: H Beckenham Town
Saturday 1 April:  a Sporting Bengal United
Saturday 8 April:  a Beckenham Town
Friday 14 April:  H  Greenwich Borough (1pm)
Monday 17 April:  H  Herne Bay
Saturday 22 April:  a VCD Athletic

Erith Town v Beckenham Town
Kentish Observer League
Monday 27th March 2006
Kick Off 7:30pm
at Erith Sports Stadium, Avenue Road, Erith