The league is out of our hands now, admits Huntley - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

Monday 23rd October 2006

Beckenham Town manager Jason Huntley has admitted his side have put themselves out of the running for the Kent League title, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Eden Park Avenue outfit took champions Maidstone United all the way last season, but had to settle for runners-up spot under previous manager Gavin Rose, whose still coaching Fisher Athletic’s youth side.

Despite holding Whitstable Town to a 3-3 draw on Saturday, ending Marc Seager’s side 100% record in the process, Huntley’s side are nine points off top spot, having played more games than their rivals.
An injury time leveller from Jones Awuah prevented Whitstable winning their eighth successive league game as ten-man Beckenham claimed a deserved point at Eden Park Avenue.

”The league is out of our hands now by a long way,” Huntley admitted EXCLUSIVELY to afterwards,
The former Stansfeld Oxford & Bermondsey Club manager rues a sorry September when his side picked up just three points (a 9-0 victory over Sporting Bengal United).

Before his side played the poor east London side, his team lost to Faversham Town, Lordswood, VCD Athletic, Greenwich Borough and Thamesmead Town.
“We had that run of five games and we got five defeats on the trot and to be fair anyone at the games we didn’t deserve to get beat five times,” he said.

”Every time we made an error we got punished.  It makes a big difference.  You can’t afford to lose five games in any division.  That’s put us out of the race for the league definitely.”
Huntley’s side travels to Erith Town tonight in their League Cup Group D campaign and is expected to field a strong squad.

”We’re going to give a couple of the lads a run who haven’t been playing – the boys on the bench,” he revealed.

”We still have a strong squad out because we’ve got strength in depth at the moment because it’s hard to keep everyone happy when you haven’t got a reserve side.

”In these games we aim to give some lads who haven’t been playing the last couple of weeks a full 90 minutes.

”We could do with a reserve side, we certainly going to think about one next year because we had a squad of 20 odd players and we had to trim it down because we can’t keep everyone happy. 

”We still got 18 and there’s two lads that don’t get stripped off.”
Erith Town manager Mark Tompkins, whose nursing a knee injury, has seen his side lose their last five games, after an initial one win and two draws in his first three games in charge after replacing Peter Little at the helm.

Despite losing 3-0 at VCD Athletic in their last outing on Thursday night, the much-travelled striker was pleased with his side’s performance.
The Dockers sprayed the ball around the lush Oakwood pitch but lacked ideas in the final third, but two quick goals either side of the half-time break, and a third after 53 minutes caused their downfall.
“I thought we played well,” Tompkins said.  “Got to be honest I thought we was the better side first half.
“But a lack of switching on at the end of the first half and the same again, we came out weren’t switched on – two quick goals and that cost us in the end.

”I would have liked to seen if we hadn’t switched off on them two, how it would have been.
“But other than that I’m quite proud off the boys.  I thought their movement off the ball was quality.  We kept the ball at times, moved them about the place.”
But the injury-hit Dockers need to start picking up league points.  They have only picked up a win and two draws from their first 10 league games and only have under performing Tunbridge Wells below them in the table.
“We need that rub of the green,” said Tompkins.  We need the ball to drop and smash it home.

”I fancy we move on from now, it’s all positives for me.  It’s not negative, I know we’ve lost five on the bounce now but there’s not one game since I’ve been manager where we’ve been outplayed but we lack the cutting edge at the minute.”

But Tompkins insists he is the man to turn around the club’s fortunes – despite not having a playing budget.

”It won’t be this season,” he said.  “I told you this the other week, it’s going to be the case of keep working to get some consistency.

”The club’s had five managers in two years so it’s been a complete overhaul all the time.  We need a settlement here and we go from there.”

Looking ahead to tonight’s cup clash against Beckenham Town, Tompkins added: “Another toughie.  We’re playing a run of sides who are up the top and with budgets so it ain’t easy.

”You know me I don’t mind a challenge.  I’ve been at clubs where we’ve been fighting – bring it on!

”I said to the boys be positive.  The way we played on Thursday night if we can keep on doing that we will turn the corner.  We’re not getting hammered."

Erith Town  v  Beckenham Town
Kent League Cup Group D
Monday 23rd October 2006
Kick Off 7:30pm

At Erith Sports Stadium, Avenue Road, Erith