Bearsted 4-2 Deal Town - We're a club that's kind of punching above our weight, says sixth-placed Bearsted coach Billy Jones

Tuesday 23rd October 2018
Bearsted 4 – 2 Deal Town
Location Otham Sports Ground, Honey Lane, Otham, Maidstone, Kent ME15 8RG
Kickoff 23/10/2018 19:30

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Tuesday 23 October 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Honey Lane

BEARSTED coach Billy Jones says his players are punching above their weight after they broke into the top six with an impressive performance against Deal Town.


Kevin Stevens’ men are now only six points adrift of Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division leaders Beckenham Town on 21 points from 11 games, while Derek Hares’ side slipped down a place into seventh with 21 points in the bag, but having played one game more.

Bearsted scored just the one goal during a dominant first half as striker Peter Williams notched his seventh goal of the season with a first time finish.

Lucian Scarlat scored his eighth-goal of the campaign after running through and slotting home nine minutes into the second half, before Deal Town grabbed a goal back through Harris Rodgers’ fifth goal of the season, a hooked volley in off the far post.

Reece Collins headed in a third for the home side, before Deal Town pulled a second goal back when substitute Harry Alexander found the bottom near corner, courtesy of a goalkeeper mistake, before Collins dinked a sublime fourth goal for Bearsted, which was his seventh goal of the season.

“It was just a very professional performance,” said Jones, whose side have won their last eight games at home.

“We created the better chances. I think looking at it and speaking to them after we’re actually gutted that we’ve conceded two goals.  I thought we dominated the game from start-to-finish. We created the better chances, the two goals were quite sloppy on our point but going forward I thought we were excellent this evening.”

Jones, 35, who played for the likes of Leyton Orient, Exeter City, Crewe Alexandra and Gloucester City during his playing days as a left-back, was full of praise of his lively forward line tonight.

“They have been all season. They’re very quick, very direct, work extremely hard for each other.  They don’t stay in the same positions, they always move and all three of them are capable of creating chances.”

After losing their third game on the bounce, Deal Town coach Steve King admitted: “I thought we were beaten by the better side! I thought Bearsted were excellent to be fair.  We didn’t defend very well, some sloppy goals and I thought throughout the night they were lively and they deserved the win so no real complaints from our point of view.”

Deal Town would have been third in the table had they won at Honey Lane tonight.

King added:  “I think we’ve just lost a bit of confidence. We’ve been on a very good run.  We’ve lost three on the bounce now. We’re a reasonably young side and we’ve just looked a bit flat again, which is a little bit worrying.”

King revealed that dual-registration signing Jake Munday from Bostik South East Division side Ramsgate was unavailable through sickness.

“We tried to change it up but we’ve had a couple of people sick today who we lost during the day that we were going to change the side up a little bit. I thought they (Bearsted) made us look flat, I thought they were very good, but I’m disappointed.

Bearsted started this game on the front foot and a sloppy pass from Deal Town midfielder Alfie Foster was intercepted by Cameron Croucher and Bearsted’s left-back charged forward before hitting a low left-footed angled drive, which was comfortably gobbled up by James Tonkin, after only 88 seconds.

Bearsted – who deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation, produced a slick move that should have been finished off by Williams in the eighth minute.

Collins, Matthew Garner and Lucian Scarlat all linked up well in the final third and Collins played in Williams but as the keeper rushed off his line his first time flicked shot rolled across the keeper and agonisingly past the far post.

Jones said: “It’s a bit unlike him because you put your money on for him to score.  It’s a chance! Pete’s been around the game long enough that he’ll go and get another chance and he did.  I thought he took his goal very well.”

King added: “I think their front four, they inter-change well.  Their touch was good, and we got away with one there so it probably just delayed what happened a little bit later. He probably should’ve scored to be honest.”

Deal Town created an opening in the 13th minute when left-back Steve O’Brien reached the by-line and cut the ball back for lone striker Connor Coyne, but his shot from inside the penalty area took a deflection and was gathered by Scott Andrews in the Bearsted goal.

Bearsted deservedly opened the scoring with 14 minutes and a second on the clock.

Jonathan Rogers played the ball into Flisher and his flick pass played in Collins down the right. He overhit a whipped in cross, which was retrieved on the other side of the pitch by Lucian Scarlat, who played in a low cross back from where it came from and an unmarked Williams flicked his shot across the keeper to nestle inside the bottom far corner.

Jones said: “It was a goal that was coming! I thought we started the game very well on the front foot. Everyone was on top of their game and you could just sense once we got the first maybe we could go on and get a little more and that first one just happened to go to us and it was coming we felt. He took his goal very well and as you say the front three are very dangerous and are always going to create chances for Pete.”

King added: “They played well.  They moved the ball quickly and we didn’t get tight. It was good play from them.  I think they deserve a lot of credit. I thought it was a good goal.”

Deal Town won their first corner of the night which was driven in by O’Brien but Bearsted swiftly cleared their lines and turned defence into attack.  Lucian Scarlat hit a 60-yard diagonal ball out from the left-back position which put David Baranowski through on goal down the middle but he drilled his right-footed drive over the top of the right-hand post as he only had Tonkin to beat.

Jones said:  “Again, it was us breaking very quickly. The pace that we’ve got in the side, it’s not a case we’re ambling up the ball up to front very quick. It’s very direct and we’ve got players that can run very quickly with the ball and without the ball. It was a chance that was very unlucky at the end.”

Foster floated in Deal’s second corner of the night in the 20th minute and Kane Smith came up from the back and had a couple of bites of the cherry at the far post before Bearsted cleared their lines and Smith hit a first time drive sailing harmlessly wide from 30-yards.

Coyne cut inside his marker some 30-yards from goal and played an inside pass to Scott, who set up a chance for Foster, but his low drive from 25-yards was saved by Andrews, diving low to his left.

“You only have to look at their record here, they’ve done very well,” said King.

“They score a lot of goals but they do concede and we had chances throughout the game but we needed to take every one tonight and that was a decent chance but he’s hit the target and the keeper’s made a good save.”

Jones said: “I think it ended up being quite a comfortable one for Scott. I think he was disappointed with the second one today but again we can’t fault Scott for what he does for us. What a servant he’s been to the club so far and so far this season, he’s been outstanding!”

Bearsted produced a clever free-kick routine that caught Deal Town cold in the 27th minute.

Expecting Lucian Scarlat to shoot from 30-yards, he waited for Baranowski to make a run into the penalty area before feeding him the ball on the right-hand side of the penalty area.  He floated in a cross which was met by Williams’ near-post header, which sailed across the goal and past the far post.

Jones said: “Another one that you probably think Pete could’ve done better with. I think Matt Garner was on the back post as well. You could’ve just nudged it in like he did a couple of weeks ago on the back stick.

“It’s another chance, it’s another real good chance for him and he felt at that time we were really on top and I think if the second goal would’ve gone in before half-time, we could’ve killed it a bit earlier.”

“I thought that summed it up,” added King. “I actually thought we defended the corner properly and we got two people out quickly. We’ve been done by a great bit of skill. They were just a bit sharper and a bit clever than what we were.”

Deal Town right-back Liam Hark was struggling to cope with Bearsted’s dominance down the left with Lucian Scarlat and Baranowski often linking up, while long diagonal balls out of Bearsted’s back four were causing problems for Deal too.

Deal Town went route one in the 37th minute when Tonkin launched a big kick up field and Coyne bulldozed his way through past Andy Foster before playing a short pass inside for Sam Wilson, who played the ball back for Coyne to sweep his shot across the keeper and past the far post with a first time effort.

King said:  “That’s when we fancied getting in, going quite direct over the full-backs. We had a bit of pace in both wide areas with Sam Wilson and with Harris Rodgers on the other side and we were looking to get in there.  Again it was a chance and we could’ve done a bit better and on another day it maybe popped in but we were probably feeding of scraps if we’re honest.”

Bearsted created the final chance of the half when Garner ran forward with the ball before playing the ball out wide to Lucian Scarlat.  His cross from the left was cleared out to Baranowski, who took a touch before drilling a left-footed drive screaming just past the top of the far post from 25-yards.

Impressive Bearsted should have gone into the break more than a goal-back but they were a lot more clinical in front of goal during the second half.

Jones said: “It was a very good performance in the first 45 minutes.  It was about every player being on top of their game and when they were we felt if anyone would come off it and not do their job like they did in the first half

“We felt if anyone would come off it and not do their job in the second half then we’ll have pressure against us and it just so happened, yes they conceded two but on the side-line especially us as a management team, we always feel very comfortable.”

“Bearsted were the better side. I thought that we worked hard. We had a couple of chances on the counter but I think probably it was a fair reflection at that point so no complaints,” said King.

“We just needed to have a little bit more confidence on the ball.  I thought we were panicking on the ball. We were giving it away. We looked like we were looking to try to go direct all the time – we weren’t – but the pressure they were putting us under, a little bit of a lack of composure.

“I said just believe in yourselves and just get on the football, try to move the football and see if we can go and get a chance, get back level and see where we go from there.”

Bearsted created an opening after only 137 seconds when Lucian Scarlat played Baranowski down the line and in behind Hark.  His cross was deep and Williams tried to bring the ball down under control but Deal cleared their lines and the ball was smacked just over by Flisher, who was rushing on to the ball and had a go from 30-yards.

Bearsted deservedly doubled their lead with 10 minutes and 50 seconds on the clock.

Baranowski and Lucian Scarlat had a great understanding down the left and Scarlat received a square pass from his team-mate some 35-yards from goal, cut in, ran at four Deal players and once inside the box he swept his shot into the bottom left-hand corner as the keeper rushed off his line.

Jones said: “That’s what he does! He’s very good at running with the ball and you’ve got David who can do that, Lucian, Reece, Cat. They can all do that. They’re all very comfortable doing it and we’re not giving them a structure that they can’t do it. If they see a gap and run into it, then he’s taken his goal very well.”

King added: “It was a good goal wasn’t it?  He’s picked it up in a wide area, we’ve given it away and he’s picked it up and driven at us and we didn’t get tight enough and it’s a great finish from the lad.

“I thought all of their front four were excellent. We didn’t really cope with them all if we’re completely honest.”

Deal Town pulled a goal back with 16 minutes and 1 second on the clock.

O’Brien drove in a free-kick with his left-boot from the left and Kane Smith flicked his header across goal.  Coyne put the ball back over from the right by-line and the ball was half-cleared out to Rodgers, who hooked his volley in off the top of the far post from 12-yards.

King said: “Harry has got that sort of ability. It was a bit of a lifeline at that point. It gave us a foothold in it. It was the sort of goal we needed, we needed a bit of a scrappy one but it was a great strike from Harris and we had a chance then didn’t we?”

“Harris is a good player, he’s got lots of ability. He just needs to keep working on getting in the right areas and sometimes he does a little bit too much too deep but when we get him in the top third he can be a real threat. I think that’s five goals he’s got for us already, so it’s another good finish.”

Jones added: “It ended up being a very good finish by Rodgers but from our point of view it was a sloppy goal.  We haven’t dealt with the first one very well and we certainly haven’t dealt with the second phase. I don’t think we got our quickly enough to him but to be fair to him he’s taken it very well but he shouldn’t be in that position in the first place!”

But Bearsted were clinical with their next chance and converted it with another sweeping move, the goal timed at 23 minutes and 33 seconds.

Baranowski moved the ball inside from the right to Lucian Scarlat, who found Williams in space down the left and he floated in a cross towards the far post for Collins to rise and head into the right-hand corner from six-yards.

Jones said: “From the bench it looked like he was reaching back. It looked like a very good header and he can do that. He pops up at the right places at the right time and I thought took that very well.”

King said: “We weren’t just tight enough. We got squared up for the cross, which is very unlike us.  Normally defensively we’re pretty organised but we got squared up. From their point of view it’s a good goal isn’t it but from our point of view we didn’t get tight and we didn’t defend that well enough.”

Deal Town were to be denied within the next couple of minutes when midfielder Josh Maughan played the ball along the deck to put Coyne in on goal but his drilled right-footed shot was beaten away by Andrews at head height.

“I thought Josh was outstanding tonight,” said King.

“I thought he was our best player. I thought he kept on going bearing in mind he’s a holding midfielder and he’s ended up being our holding midfielder and attacking midfielder in the second half.  He was all over the place.  Coyne hit it early, pretty comfortable from the keeper really. He’s a decent goalkeeper so pretty regulation for him.”

Jones added: “Again, Scott is very comfortable at shot-stopping those kinds of situations.  They’ve got in a bit too cheaply on our part but very comfortable with that.”

Deal Town enjoyed a decent spell after this and Coyne played the ball inside to Rodgers, who swept his first time shot past the diving keeper and flashing just past the foot of the left-hand post.

O’Brien then floated over another free-kick into the Bearsted box for Kane Smith to come up from the back to rise to hang his header across goal and past the far post.

Alexander made an immediate impact to the game when he came on for Coyne in the 77th minute, playing wide on the left.

Alexander released Wilson down the left and he reached the by-line before cutting the ball back for substitute Connor Miller to hook his volley bouncing past the far post when well-placed.

Deal Town scored their second goal of the night with 35 minutes and 34 seconds on the clock.

Rodgers finished the game in a dominant manner often breaking down the right and he swept a sublime diagonal pass along the deck to pick out Alexander out on the left and he cut in and drove his shot towards the bottom near corner.  The ball crossed the line, courtesy of keeper Andrews getting down low to his right and allowing the ball to bounce off him.

“Fair play to him, I thought he was lively when he came on,” said King.

“It was a good strike, he hit the target.  Scott’s a good goalkeeper, he should’ve saved it but it’s a lifeline isn’t it? We only had a lifeline for about 30 seconds but you just got a sniff then. It would’ve been nervous, I’m sure, their bench was getting a bit nervous thinking we’ve only got 10 minutes left or whatever it was but we shot ourselves in the foot so game over!”

Jones said: “He (Tonkin) said after it was a case of the post and his hands getting a bit muddled up. 

“It’s one so far this season and we can’t fault him for what he’s done for us so far this season, so we’re not going to hang him out to dry on that one mistake but it’s one he knows he could’ve done better with.”

Bearsted wrapped up a good night’s work when they scored their fourth goal, just 107 seconds after Deal scored.

Substitute Matt Hathway clipped a ball over which should have been cleared by last defender Smith, but a mistake let in Collins through on goal.  Once inside the box he dinked his shot over the advancing keeper and watched as the ball sail in just underneath the crossbar of an empty goal.

Jones said: “It ended up being a very good goal on the counter-attack again.  Reece can do that with his power and his pace and he’s’ taken it very well.”

King said: “Look let’s be fair, they finished excellent. It’s a good run, we didn’t defend it well enough. We know how to defend, I know it sounds stupid, but we know how to defend. We kept a clean sheet against a very good Canterbury side the other week but we’ve got mistakes in us at the minute and we’ve got to eradicate that.

“At this level the boys have been at work all day, we’re not going to hammer them.  It’s difficult, they’ve given their all and the old football saying we were beaten by the better side on the night.”

Deal Town host league leaders Beckenham Town to The Charles Sports Ground on Saturday and King admits his players are lacking confidence at present.

“I think we’ve lost a little bit of confidence. It seems strange because as I said before the game we had our best season for 15 years last year. We’re seven points up today on what we were last year but losing at Corinthian in the Vase and then losing at home on Saturday (3-0 to Hollands & Blair in the Kent Senior Trophy First Round), which was the first time since we lost at home since last December and then again tonight.

“I think Bearsted have got to take a lot of credit. I thought they were very good and they probably didn’t help us but we just lacked a little bit of confidence and we need a little bit of a shake-up but they’re good boys.  I’m not going to throw them under a bus. We’re a tight club, we’re a tight group and we’ll work out this, I’ve got no doubt.”

When asked whether his club are dark horses for the league title, Jones replied: “It’s too early! I think that’s too early to say. We don’t set ourselves targets. We’re a club that’s kind of punching above our weight at the minute but what we have got is a side that want to work hard for one another, aren’t afraid to make mistakes, give the ball away, chase back after it.  Look after your team mate, stay strong together and we’ve got a very strong side this year.”

Breasted travel to fifth-placed Sheppey United in the League on Saturday, with their 8-1 humiliation at the same ground fresh in their mind. 

“We’ve played a lot of games in October and we looked at it. We’ve got a good reserve side underneath the first team that we had an opportunity because we don’t see them play because they play on a Saturday as well,” explained Jones.

“It wasn’t a result the reserve side wanted but for us it was a good opportunity to see some second-string players in it.  Hopefully it will be a different outcome this Saturday.”

Bearsted: Scott Andrews, Sam Flisher, Cameron Croucher, Matthew Garner, Jamie Hurst, Andy Foster, Reece Collins, Jonathan Rogers, Peter Williams (Constantin Scarlat 73), David Baranowski (Matt Hathway 82), Lucian Scarlat.
Subs: Michael Holliday, Matthew Weller, Maxwell Smith

Goals: Peter Williams 15, Lucian Scarlat 56, Reece Collins 69, 83

Deal Town: James Tonkin, Liam Hark, Steve O’Brien, Josh Maughan, Kane Smith, Luke Bigginton, Sam Wilson, Lee Scott (Connor Miller 60), Connor Coyne (Harry Alexander 77), Alfie Foster (Ben Cardwell 55), Harris Rodgers.
Subs: Ben Chapman, Troy Howard

Goals: Harris Rodgers 62, Harry Alexander 81

Booked: Kane Smith 39

Attendance: 97
Referee: Mr Jack Owen (Sevenoaks)
Assistants: Mr Steven Tunnicliffe (Maidstone) & Mr Michael Donnelly (Headcorn)