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|Ian Muir reports from
Eden Park Avenue
|Tunbridge Wells||1||Barham 5|
Beckenham ooze style
AN EARLY morning pitch inspection allowed this contest between two of the best passing sides in the Kent League to go ahead.
The ever-increasing crowd at Eden Park Avenue were given value for money as Beckenham fought back from being a goal down within the first five minutes to finish comfortable winners.
Beckenham had problems before kick off when an injury ruled out former Bromley skipper Dean Forbes but were boosted when centre back Mario Celaire returned from injury after an absence of four games.
Tunbridge Wells actually started the brighter side, moving the ball about at a very lively pace and it was they who capitalised on an uncharacteristic defensive mistake to take the lead after only 5 minutes through Daniel Barham.
The visitors then had the better of the next 15 minutes as Beckenham simmered quietly as if they were getting ready to mount a massive come back.
Half time saw no changes to the home sides line up but what was evident was Beckenham had changed their style and began to shut out the quick passing by that was on show in the first period by the visitors-who now began to look as if they had run out of ideas; and apart from one chance that was well saved by Gary Hopper rarely threatened for the rest of the match.
After only five minutes of the re-start Paul Vines pounced on a through ball and quickly spun round to smash home an unstoppable shot from just inside the opponents penalty area.
Town's centre midfield duo of Adam Heaselwood and Matthew Belton constantly broke up Tunbridge Wells' moves who began to frustrate and this over boiled into some nasty fouls that saw the referee produce only a yellow card when the crowd were baying for a straight red.
Town continued to ooze style and now looking very comfortable. Tunbridge Wells were giving the ball away far too cheaply for their liking with their stray efforts putting their side in trouble on more than one occasion. Their attack was finding it difficult to find space up front, a problem that wasn't besetting Beckenham.
Wood had two good chances to extend the lead, the first going over; the second shot hit straight at the keeper.
With half an hour remaining, the breakthrough finally came. Hall played the ball through and the indefatigable Paul Vines held off his marker and fired past the advancing keeper to take Town into a well-deserved lead.
Town pushed forward hungry for more goals and Vines was denied a second-half hat trick by a last-ditch tackle from a Wells defender.
Movement on Beckenham's bench indicated that once again Town felt that a single goal advantage was enough with Grant Watts replacing Hall and the formation changed yet again with Town playing 5 across the mid-field.
This change soaked up any remaining Well's challenge. With ten minutes remaining Celaire out paced three challengers on the left flank and cut in to drive a fierce low-level shot past the flapping keeper to make it 3-1 to Town.
But even without that goal it had been a half of devastating attack play by Beckenham.
The visitors were now under siege and were lucky not to lose by a far bigger margin.
This was a professional display by Beckenham, who always look like scoring goals.
Beckenham Town's assistant Jason Taylor said after the game: " We were unfortunate to go behind after only a few minutes but the lads shown remarkable confidence in themselves to come back and not only win the game but win it convincingly against a good side. It was great for the club to see Mario (Celaire) return after injury."
Beckenham Town, Hopper, Paul, Sinclair, West, Celaire, Smith (Edwards), Belton, Heaselwood, Hall (Watts), Vines (Beszant), Wood.