Beckenham Town 2-0 Corinthian - We won’t go top but the second place is up for grabs and that’s what we’re aiming for, says Beckenham Town assistant manager Billy Walton

Wednesday 21st March 2018
Beckenham Town 2 – 0 Corinthian
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 21/03/2018 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Wednesday 21 March 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

BECKENHAM TOWN assistant manager Billy Walton says there will be many twists and turns to see which club will join Sevenoaks Town in the Bostik League next season.


Sevenoaks Town remain top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 63 points in the bag from 27 games, followed by Beckenham Town (56 points from 29 games).

Crowborough Athletic are in third-place (53 points from 26 games), Whitstable Town (50 points from 25 games), Croydon (46 points from 29 games) and Corinthian (46 points from 29 games).

Beckenham Town won a hard-fought battle courtesy of second half goals from Marvin Alebiosu and an injury-time penalty from Harry Ottaway as Corinthian finished the game with nine men after senior players Jack Bath and Jamie Billings were both shown straight red-cards for dissent over the controversial penalty decision.

“I thought it was good, considering they beat us 2-1 two weeks ago,” said Walton after Jason Huntley’s men won their 18th league game of the season.

“The little bit of work that we’ve done during the bad weather has paid off, so I’m really pleased with the defensive display.

“Corinthian are a young, enthusiastic side but we had some players back tonight. The players who we’ve had back tonight made a lot of difference.”

Corinthian manager Michael Golding, who operates on a zero budget, said: “Bitterly disappointed if I’m honest.  I thought the boys worked tremendously hard off the ball again. 

“We changed things slightly in terms of the way we’re playing.  I think that’s benefited us, the last couple of results have been positive.

“I don’t think we were terrific on the ball tonight. I thought Beckenham dominated in terms of possession up until the halfway line.  I’m just bitterly disappointed for the boys tonight, that’s probably the overriding feeling.

“There were a few cards tonight but that’s what you get.  Beckenham are a good side.  I know Bill and I respect them as a side and they’ve got some good players.  They change their side and you never know who you’re going to get.  They’ve got some great players but our boys were up for it as well. 

“We’ve been on a good couple of results, we beat them a couple of weeks ago.  There were a few cards but I particularly don’t think there was anything bad or malicious, it was entertaining in terms of tackles but no real action other than that.”

The game was played at a frenetic pace with tackles flying in as both sides put in a committed display.

Corinthian created the first chance inside the opening seven minutes when midfielder Oscar Housego played the ball into left-back Alexander Jack Billings, whose shot on the turn deflected off Dan Fleming and was comfortably gathered by Tyler McCarthy at his near post.

Corinthian midfielder Bath clipped a long ball over the top of the Beckenham back four to put in striker Luke Tanner, whose daisy-cutter from the right-hand side of the box from 16-yards was held by McCarthy, saving comfortably low to his right.

Golding, who was without injured striker Michael Hurcomb, said: “I thought when we spun them on the counter-attack, I thought we done ok.  There was no real power behind the shot. It was a comfortable save but it gave us the confidence that we could get in behind them. 

“We fancied that we could put pressure on their back four and we thought they might make mistakes at times and we just needed to capitalise on that and unfortunately, we couldn’t quite make it happen.”

Walton said: “Compared to when we played them last time, I thought they were a bit lacklustre up front. I didn’t think they caused us too many problems.  I wasn’t that bothered about the way they were attacking us. That’s not being disrespectful to them, I don’t think they caused us half as many problems like they did two weeks ago.”

Beckenham winger Shameek Farrell impressed and he cut in from the left to curl his left-footed shot over the top of the far post from distance.

Beckenham Town were to be denied the breakthrough on the half-hour mark, courtesy of a fine save from former Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Aiden Prall.

Farrell floated in a free-kick towards the far post and Ottaway cracked a right-footed volley towards the near corner from a right angle, which was pushed over by Prall, high to his left.

“It was a good move, a good set-play and Harry got on the end of it. It was a good save from Aiden, who is a good goalkeeper.  You ain’t been at Charlton for 10 years to not be a good goalkeeper the lad,” said Walton.

Golding added: “I thought Aiden dealt with what he had to do tonight. He feels he should’ve saved the penalty later on.  I thought they had the free-kick moved about 400 yards, again, I don’t know what’s happened there.  I thought that was in! It was a decent strike.  You expect that from Beckenham, they’ve got good player and you expect good delivery from set-pieces.”

Farrell slipped a diagonal pass to another winger, Alebiouso, who cut inside and curled his right-footed shot over the crossbar from closer in.

Corinthian went close when Housego swept the ball out to Malik Ouani on the right wing and he cut the ball back for Conor Johnson, who was denied by a great block at the near post by Adam Wadmore, who slotted in at the heart of defence following Fleming’s withdrawal through injury.

The home side were to be denied by the post in the 44th minute when Alebiosu cut inside his man and drilled his right-footed shot against the far post from 25-yards.

Walton said: “That means nothing to me! You could hit the post, hit the bar, you might as well hit the corner flag! It means nothing, that stat to me.  People go we were unlucky, we hit the bar three times, so what! Don’t hit the bar! Put it in the back of the net!”

Golding added: “Great strike! I was right behind it and it’s moved both ways.  It was a hell of a strike. If they go in you clap them into the top corner. We were disappointed with the defensive point of view.  Once he came inside the full-back the midfielders didn’t get across quick enough to close the gap so we spoke about that at half-time because we always want to stop shots. 

“We want to limit them to shots outside the area but when somebody strikes like that it screams into the top corner and there’s not much you can do so just relieved it bounced away.”

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the break.

Walton said: “It was a tight fought game, not many chances, not too much quality in the final third from both teams. it was a tight feisty affair and it was pretty even.

“I just felt we didn’t get the ball wide enough. We played with two wide players that we didn’t have against them before and I just felt that we could get the ball wide.  We’ve got two handfuls up front and if we got the ball into wide areas I thought Shameek and Marvin could get at their full backs and take them on.  Shameek beats them nine times out of 10, which I felt he did tonight.”

Golding said: “More of the same really but to be a little bit more clinical when we went forward because I thought when we went forward a couple of times we had to move the ball quicker when we had possession and move it and get it into the wider areas. I just wanted more of the same effort and we had to take our chances when they came.”

Beckenham Town went close just 72 seconds into the second half when Farrell cut in and slid his left-footed shot flashing past the keeper and past the far post from 25-yards.

“He’s a good player. We’ve missed him for the last month, he’s not been available through work commitments. The lad travels from Colchester so to get here tonight he’s proved his character. To travel all that way and to play like that. He’s a great lad, really pleased that he’s come back for us.”

Beckenham left-back, Archie Johnson, who has been recalled from Vanarama National League South side Welling United, played the ball into Ottaway, who drilled his shot into the side netting from the edge of the Corinthian box.

But Beckenham Town deservedly smashed the stalemate by taking the lead with 14 minutes and 30 seconds on the clock.

It came from their eighth and final corner, which was swung in from the right by Farrell, the ball was knocked back across goal at the far post by George Benner and Alebiosu drilled his hooked shot through a crowd of players into the far corner from 10-yards.

“It’s not something we worked on,” admitted Walton.

“What we did say to George, if you get in those positions to head it back across the goal. It was fortunate it either falls to you or it falls to them and this time it fell to us. We got in a shot and Marvin got on the end of it.”

Golding added: “I’m sure they’ll be pleased with it but I’m really, really disappointed in the goal from a set-piece.

“We’ve been defending really well and attacking set-pieces, really well recently. It was a long deep corner and we’ve not picked up the first man or the second so really frustrating.

“The boys have worked so hard for an hour, to then be undone by a set-piece, if it was a bit of magic with a shot that goes in the top corner there’s not much we can do but to be beaten from a set-piece is really frustrating.”

Corinthian squandered a glorious chance to grab an equaliser 10 minutes after going behind.

Housego played the ball into Conor Johnson, who played a quality diagonal pass to pick out Alexander Jack Billings, who put the ball on a plate for substitute winger Louis Clarke and only he will know how he skied his shot over the bar while sliding in at the near post inside the six-yard box.

“He’s got to score! It didn’t quite happen for Louis tonight,” said Golding.

“Louis is a massive asset for us.   We don’t want to crucify the kid, he’s got to score! There’s no hiding behind that.  I think if that goes in, it goes one-all, similar to two weeks ago. If we got a goal back I fancied us to go on and get the three points but goals change games and big misses also and that was very frustrating at that point.”

Walton added: “From their point of view, it’s a shocking, shocking miss.  I don’t know how he got it up over the bar from that close in – but thank god he did!”

McCarthy pulled off a great save to deny Corinthian a second chance of scoring an equaliser in the final seven minutes.

Central defender Sam Groombridge advanced forward to clip the ball into the Beckenham box, the ball was brought down by targetman substitute Chris McDermott and Bath’s lashed his shot towards goal, which was tipped over the bar by the Beckenham stopper.

Golding said: “Great save, close range, great save. We probably have to shoot low there and across the goalkeeper and either or it probably goes in.

“It was a great touch from Chris McDermot.  He’s gone away and he’s unfortunately not been able to get back in the side whilst we’ve been on a half decent run.

“It was a great save and they’re the chances we have to take and that was the difference between the two sides.”

“Great save but bad defending from us really to let him have a free shot in our penalty area but a great save, a great save,” said Walton.

“That’s what he’s there to do, that’s why they’re in goal for, to make saves like that.”

Jamie Billings’ corner produced a spell of head tennis inside the Beckenham box and Bath’s looping header dropped into McCarthy’s hands for a comfortable catch.

Walton admitted to feeling worried as the game went on and three points were a must if they are to remain in the top two promotion race.

“Yes, I was.  I don’t really get nervous or anything. I was looking at it and the way that we’ve conceded goals, I thought we’ll probably let one in but we stayed strong, stayed solid and we saw it out.”

Once again the standard of refereeing in the Southern Counties East Football League came into the spotlight when referee Andrea Timpani awarded a penalty for an initial shirt pull that happened outside of the box.

Jamie Billings appeared to be outside the box when he tugged Ottaway’s shirt and the referee awarded Beckenham a penalty after consulting his assistant referee Joshua Marshall.

Already on a booking, Bath was shown a straight red-card and the Beckenham penalty looked likely to be taken by Stefan Wright, but Ottaway grabbed the ball off him and stroked his right-footed penalty into the right-hand corner, despite Prall going the right way.

The referee then pulled out a second straight red card for Jamie Billings (who was already on a yellow card) as he joined his team-mate in the changing room.

Golding added: “I’m 50 yards away, I’m not going to give it the Arsene Wenger but for me the first one was outside the box.  I don’t think Jamie would pull him back in the box, he was not that stupid.  There’s then a coming together or a trip or a stopping of the run and somehow the officials have decided that’s in the box and then warrants people being booked and two people being sent-off.  For me it’s outside the box.

“The penalty’s despatched well. Aiden fancies he maybe could’ve got a stronger hand to it but there’s no expectation or pressure on Aiden that comes from himself.”

Golding added: “Disappointed with the two red cards from two senior players. Emotions are running high, frustrations are very high at that point in the game because they feel it was a little bit unjust and the officials are maybe starting to get involved and influence the game a little bit more. That’s not to say they changed the result because they didn’t.”

When asked whether his two players were sent off for dissent, Golding replied: “The ref refused to speak to me! As far as I’m aware it’s for dissent.  I don’t know what they said. We sent our secretary to speak to him afterwards and I haven’t spoken to the boys personally. I’ll speak to them tonight and find out what was said and we’ll deal with that internally.”

“To be honest with you, I thought it was outside.  I thought it was outside the penalty area,” admitted Walton.

“I just shouted, as you do, for a penalty and the linesman’s looking straight across the line. I thought it was outside. I don’t know but he’s looking across the line.  From his angle it might’ve been inside but from where I was it looked outside to me.  Unfortunately we haven’t got television replays, VAR so we can’t look at it again but I would be disappointed if that was given against us.”

When asked about who should have taken the penalty, Walton added: “I don’t know what went on there because Richard Atkins normally takes the penalties but he’s just come off so in my eyes the preferred one was the other centre forward.  That’s what he’s there to do, to score goals so why wouldn’t you want to take it? He took it and scored.”

When asked about the two red-cards, Walton said: “I don’t know what happened. He must’ve said something but there again to me the referee and the linesman should use their common sense and have a word with them, don’t send the lads off, there was no point, no point.”

Beckenham Town host Lordswood to Eden Park Avenue on Saturday and have seven league games left to play.

“It’s massive for us, we’ve stopped the rot. We lost three on the trop, not with that team, we haven’t lost with that team.  It’s vital for us to get back into it.

“I think there will be a few other twists and turns. We won’t go top but the second place is up for grabs and that’s what we’re aiming for. We’re competing with Crowborough and Whitstable in that respect.”

Corinthian are without another Saturday game but welcome Erith Town to Gay Dawn Farm next Tuesday 27 March.

“Another Saturday (without a game), it’s the third one in a row, I’m not quite sure how that’s happened. Erith Town are playing on Saturday so we’ll get out and have a watch.”
Beckenham Town: Tyler McCarthy, Jack Hope, Archie Johnson, Stefan Wright, George Benner, Dan Fleming (Adam Wadmore 30), Marvin Alebiosu, Adam Allen, Richard Atkins (Freddie Parker 66), Harry Ottaway, Shameek Farrell.
Subs: James Duckworth, Hassan Oshilaja, Junior Kaffo

Goals: Marvin Alebiosu 60, Harry Ottaway 90 (penalty)

Booked: Stefan Wright 10, Harry Ottaway 83, George Benner 90

Corinthian: Aiden Prall, Jordan Campbell, Alexander Jack Billings, Jack Bath, Jamie Billings, Sam Groombridge, Malik Ouani (Jack Holland 78), Oscar Housego, Conor Johnson, Luke Tanner (Chris McDermott 73), Donvieve Jones (Louis Clarke 22).
Subs: Cameron Heffernan, Sam Bewick

Booked: Sam Groombridge 15, Aiden Prall 17, Alexander Jack Billings 76, Jack Bath 90, Jamie Billings 90

Sent Off:  Jack Bath 90, Jamie Billings 90

Attendance: 112
Referee: Mr Andrea Timpani (Ashford)
Assistants: Mr Joshua Marshall (Welling) & Mr Abdulaziz Olol (Elmers End)

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