Thursday 02nd September 2004
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Beckenham going in right direction

BECKENHAM TOWN suffered London Senior Cup Preliminary Round heartbreak going out in a cruel penalty shoot-out, after having victory stolen from their grasp thirty seconds before the end of normal time at Oakside Stadium on Wednesday night, writes Stephen McCartney. 

Beckenham thought they had done enough to dispose of second placed Essex Senior League side Barkingside, taking the lead in the 68th minute. 

Mario Celaire headed the Go Travel Kent League visitors into the lead from Kvieu Aliy’s corner kick.

However, Barkingside substitute, 21-year-old Sam Bonham touched home Dean Gibbs’ low centre from close range at the near post to score a dramatic late leveller for the Essex side.

Although Beckenham goalkeeper Gary Hopper saved two penalties in the shoot-out, Russell Kirkby lost his nerve with the 13th kick, which was pushed over the bar by Barkingside goalkeeper Chris Jenkins, and Peter Truman fired the Essex side into the next round to break Beckenham’s hearts.

Jason Taylor, Beckenham’s assistant manager, however, was pleased with his team’s performance.

He said: “Well, I thought we did fairly well in the first half, when we had to do a lot of defending.

“I thought in the second half we came out and created a few chances.

“I felt we did enough to win the game, but we got done right at the end.

“I thought there was a suspicion of offside, (with their goal) but that’s the way it goes.”

Beckenham’s best chances of the first half fell to Danny Vella and Asher Edwards.

Vella’s well struck left-footed 30-yard drive stung the hands of Jenkins before a mazy run into the penalty area by Edwards saw his fierce shot go wide of the left post.

The home sides major threat came from Scott Williams’ set-pieces and on both occasions just before the half an hour mark, Beckenham stopper Hopper pushed over the free kick on the edge of the penalty area, and his second effort sailed narrowly over the bar.

The visitors grew in confidence just before the interval and Tony Sinclair blasted over when well placed and a long-range drive from Darren Hall flew inches wide of the far post from 30-yards.

Barkingside increased their urgency early in the second half, and another Williams’ free kick just outside the penalty box, after Kirkby was harshly penalised for handball, deflected off the wall and rolled the wrong side of the far post.

At the other end, Sinclair sent a header across the face of goal but Daniel Beszant shot wide.

The home side looked dangerous on the break and gave Beckenham another warning in the 56th minute when Paul Barnes blazed a 28-yard shot over the bar.

Vella flashed a fierce drive across the face of goal two minutes before the visitors took the lead in the 68th minute.

Aliy did ever so well on the right flank winning his side a corner, which he took himself, and Celaire rose about the defence and headed down and into the left hand side of the net to give Beckenham the lead.

By this time, Barkingside had brought on all three substitutes, and the Essex side came close to equalising with ten minutes remaining.

Bonham, sliding in at the far post, was inches away from connecting with Barnes’ low cross.

Two minutes later, the woodwork saved the home side, when substitute Danny Wilson tried his luck from the left, his looping cross striking the far post.

Barkingside stopper Jenkins made a fantastic save with six minutes remaining when he clawed the ball off Beszant’s head after Celaire played the ball into space down the right channel, which Wilson latched onto and delivered a pin-point cross.

However, unbeaten Barkingside stole the victory away from Beckenham thirty seconds from the end of 90 minutes.

Gibbs’ ran into the left hand side of the penalty area and his low centre was touched home from on the goal line at the near post by Bonham to break Beckenham’s hearts.

Barkingside had the better of the first period of extra time, crashing a shot from outside the penalty area against the crossbar, and a free header from Bonham from Williams' whipped in free kick, dropping narrowly wide of the post.

Within 117 seconds of the second period, Hopper made a comfortable save from Paul Carr’s shot as he tried to place the ball into the net when well placed.

It was no surprise the game went into the lottery of penalties, and the first six were converted by both sides; Wilson, Kenny Beany and Aliy all finding the net for Beckenham.

However, Sinclair felt the pressure, his right footed spot kick bringing a good save from Jenkins, but Hopper went the right way to save Carr’s spot kick.

Beszant gave Beckenham the initiative giving them the 4-3 lead but Gibbs coolly despatched his spot kick to make the score 4-4.

Edwards had a chance to give the advantage back to the Kent League side but he blazed his penalty high over the bar and into the car park.

Danny Whyne-Saunders delayed the Barkingside celebrations as his penalty was well saved by Hopper, diving to his left.

With a chance to win the game for Beckenham, Kirkby’s spot kick was pushed over by Jenkins and the victory was sealed with the fourteenth spot kick when Truman fired into the bottom left hand corner.

The penalty shoot-out defeat just sums up Beckenham’s luck at present, admits Taylor.

He said: “It’s just the way it’s going for us at the moment.

“We are doing everything but win games.

“We’ve created chances, but just can’t finish games off,  unfortunately.

“We will keep our heads up, we’ve got a lot of young players, we’ve changed the side around a lot; and we play nice football, but we aren’t getting our rewards.”

Hythe Town are Beckenham’s next opponents, when they take to the new Eden Park Avenue pitch on the 11th September, and Taylor admitted it’s a game they can win.

“We are good at home and we are confident we can win that game.

“We should have beaten Ramsgate on Saturday.

“We will keep at it, like I say, we’ve got a lot of young players, and if we keep believing in ourselves we will turn the corner.”

With a new chairman at the club, there is a breath of fresh air within the club, and their first win of the season isn’t too far away predicts Taylor.

“The changes have benefited the club,” he admitted

“We’ve got a new chairman whose come in and financed the side and we’ve got a new pitch and we are going in the right direction.

“We are happy with what is going on, it’s just on the pitch, it’s not going our way at the moment.”

Barkingside: Chris Jenkins, Corey Ellis, Rob Field, Louis Perkins (Sam Bonham 69), Kris Taylor (Capt), Scott Williams, Darroll Yellop (Peter Truman 60), Paul Barnes (Paul Carr 76), Illir Limanji, Danny Whyne-Saunders, Dean Gibbs.  Subs: Danny Snowsill

Beckenham Town: Gary Hopper, Tony Sinclair, Anthony Savage (Nathan Paul 125), Russell Kirkby, Mario Celaire, Asher Edwards, Daniel Beszant, Danny Vella, Darren Hall (Danny Wilson 70), Kvieu Aliy,  Matthew Belton (Kenny Beany 76).  Subs: Paul Smith, Sean Cooney

Referee: Roy Pitters

Assistants: Steve Kelly & Mustafa Ergun

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