Thursday 01st September 2005

Please credit Stephen McCartney - when using article 

Tuesday 22nd
March 2005
Go Travel Kent League
Premier Division
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue
Beckenham Town 2 Paul Vines 57
Lewis Wood 83
VCD Athletic 3 Marc Greatorex 41
Paul Foley 58
Steve Hogg 76

Becks suffer rare home defeat

VCD ATHLETIC inflicted Beckenham Town's first home defeat since 7th December, winning a five-goal thriller at Eden Park Avenue - which has the best playing surface in Kent - on Tuesday night.

Martin Ford's side made amends for their 2-1 Kent Senior Trophy semi-final defeat at the same venue three weeks ago, which saw Beckenham Town reach the final,  which takes place at Whitstable Town's Belmont ground, against local rivals Thamesmead Town on Saturday 16th April.

But Beckenham's long-serving secretary Peter Palmer has hit out at the Kent County Football Association's choice of venue for the showpiece final.

The Beckenham stalwart said: "I know the Kent County Football Association tried for Bromley and Welling but both are involved in ground sharing.  There was also talk of the final being played under floodlights during midweek or a Saturday night, which wasn't acceptable to us."

He added: "It's a shame that the venue could not have been decided on the toss of a coin, as it the practice for deciding the venue of the Kent Senior Cup final."

The home side, one of the quickest in Kent League football, made their intensions known early on, creating many chances in the opening 20 minutes.

Shots from Daniel Beszant (twice), Paul Vines and Grant Watts all deflected wide but Vines should have given them a 16th minute lead when he slid the ball past the goalkeeper but wide of the near post from 8 yards.

VCD defender, and man-of-the-match Paul Foley twice went close from headers in the first half, testing goalkeeper Gary Hopper after only 128 seconds and heading Danny Penny's free kick just over after 19 minutes.

Visiting goalkeeper Marc Brown, however, made the save of the half after 22 minutes when he dived to his right to push Vines' header - from Asher Edwards' cross from the right - around the post.

After changing their formation, VCD got back into the game and after Steve Hogg drove wide, and Marc Greatorex tested Hopper from a 25-yard drive, they took the lead with four minutes to go before the break.

Latching onto a defence splitting pass from skipper Gary Ward, Greatorex drew Hopper out of his goal and slotted home into an empty net.

Beckenham, however, responded well and deservedly equalised after 57 minutes.  Beszant delivered a superb cross from the right, which was brought under control by Vines and in an instant clipped the ball over substitute goalkeeper Dominic O'Connor, sailing into the top far corner of the net.

It was the former Cray Wanderers, Bromley and Erith & Belvedere striker's 16th goal of the season from only 19 games for the club.

VCD, however, regained their lead a minute later when Penny's corner was met by a powerful header from Foley, which found the roof of the net, over a crowded goal-mouth, from close range.

Beszant went close for the home side with a curling effort, which went the wrong side of the far post but O'Connor, who replaced Brown (thigh) at the interval was in fine form.

Vines' was played in by fellow striker Lewis Wood but his shot was blocked by O'Connor, who then dived to push Adam Heaslewood's free kick around the post.

But when Steve Hogg drove home the third goal for the visitors after 76 minutes it gave Ford's side a two goal cushion.

Wood's opportunist goal - his 18th goal from 20 games this season - with seven minutes left set up an exciting finale in a high tempo, exciting game.

O'Connor had one hand on the ball as he was about to release the ball but Wood knocked the ball out of his hand and slotted the ball into an empty net.

Beckenham's Martin West had a goal ruled out late on but Vickers held on for the win to consolidate fifth place.

"I wouldn't say revenge is the word," said Vickers boss Ford.  "Fair enough on the day in the cup they beat us fair and square.  But it's nice to come down here, a nice playing surface again so three welcomed points.  We need them."

Ford, however, wasn't fuming with the way Wood netted the home side's second goal.  "To be quite honest with you, the referee's explained the rules to us after the game and that's fair enough.

"He said the ball was only in one hand, pointing in the direction of play so the ball's live so full credit to Lewis Wood, his nicked it out of the hands and stuck it in the back of the net."

Ford added: "We were comfortable then, with seven minutes to go it caused us a few problems at the end.  We held on with some great defensive play.  I thought Paul Foley was massive for us tonight and David Hunt, who had a bit of a groin strain,  I thought did well.

"We had to change the tactics after 20 minutes as it wasn't working with a flat four.  I felt, when we went to a three and five in the middle we nullified their little bit of threat as Daniel Beszant was playing in the hole for Beckenham.

"I thought we done well.  We hung in there and deserved the win."

Beckenham Town: Gary Hopper, Nathan Paul, Asher Edwards (Adam Heaslewood 58), Tony Sinclair, Martin West, Matthew Belton (Capt), Daniel Beszant, Paul Smith (Billy Bateman 81), Paul Vines, Lewis Wood, Grant Watts (Darren Hall 62).  Sub: John Paul-Green

VCD Athletic: Marc Brown (Dominic O'Connor 46), Paul Dimmock, Kevin Winchcombe, David Hunt (Stuart Abbott 70), Paul Foley, Steve Coatham, Gary Ward (Capt), Mo Miah, Danny Penny (Danny McGuiness 81), Marc Greatorex, Steve Hogg.  Sub: Ben Coaker

Attendance: 95
Referee: Ian Cooper
Assistants: Will Crumbie & Bob Edwards