Beckenham Town 4-1 Crowborough Athletic - How do we stay in the league? We all have to stick together and we do have to strengthen the squad and I think we will stay up, says Crowborough boss Sean Muggeridge

Wednesday 02nd October 2019
Beckenham Town 4 – 1 Crowborough Athletic
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 02/10/2019 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Wednesday 2 October 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

CROWBOROUGH ATHLETIC manager Sean Muggeridge says sticking together and strengthening the squad will help maintain their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division status.

The Crows have now lost their last five games in all competitions after throwing away a shock lead to go on to lose 4-1 away to title-chasing Beckenham Town.

Pacey lone striker Keiran Scantlebury scored his eighth goal of the season to give Crowborough Athletic the lead after only 204 seconds and the striker wasted a couple more glorious chances to extend their lead before Steve Townsend scored to get Jason Huntley’s side out of a hole.

Beckenham Town then scored three goals in the space of 10 minutes after the hour-mark as winger Townsend went on to score his hat-trick, taking his goalscoring tally to eight goals following his switch from Farnborough Old Boys Guild’s Sunday side, before substitute winger turned central striker Shameek Farrell scored a collectors’ item goal with his head.

Beckenham Town remain in second-place in the table with 24 points from nine games, level on points with Chatham Town but with three games in hand.

Crowborough Athletic, meanwhile, remain second-from-bottom in the pecking order with three points from nine games, a point clear of basement side Punjab United, who have a game in hand.

“Very good first half. I don’t want to big headed or anything but I think we could’ve been three-up,” said Muggeridge, after his struggling side kept Beckenham quiet for an hour.

“They missed a header, it could’ve been 3-1. We could’ve been 3-0 up. I just think if we did put them away we’d probably have won the game.

“I’m very, very disappointed to be honest with you because I thought we played really well.  We haven’t been playing very well but we didn’t give up tonight.

“I thought they had the second half but the second goal has absolutely killed us because it’s miles offside and the linesman (Paul Greenfield) couldn’t even tell me which player was playing him on when I asked him.

“The way that we’ve been playing, shipping in goals (34 goals in nine games after tonight) and it just knocked the stuffing out of us really.

“I don’t want to keep going on about decisions but it could’ve been a push on Harvey Killick for the fourth goal so the really good thing is we didn’t give them a goal tonight. We’ve been giving teams goals and making mistakes but tonight we didn’t give them.  They worked hard to get their goals tonight and I think they know they’ve been in a game.

“We didn’t give up, we are where we are with this team at the moment and we are trying new things out and I think it’s quite a good performance. I know it’s finished 4-1 but it’s not a bad performance, I know that sounds silly really.”

Beckenham Town assistant manager Billy Walton added: “Not so good first half. I thought we were slow out of the blocks, which in terms of league positions of both teams it was to be expected.  Second half we played some decent football and scored some very good goals.

“I remember about two and a half years ago Beckenham were bottom of the league and Crowborough were top and they came here and we gave them a football lesson that night and I think they managed to beat us 3-2 at the end.

“From that day I got a real good bond with Sean and I remember him saying to me ‘stick at it and keep going, you’ve got a very good side’, and that’s what I said tonight. They’re second-from-bottom and we’re second from top and it’s a free hit for them.  They can come here and have a go like we did that day. We just didn’t have the right mentality to start off with.”

Beckenham Town created the first opening after only 102 seconds following their first of six corners.

Set-piece specialist Ashley Carew swung the ball in from the left and centre-half Ike Robertson flicked his free header over the crossbar from three-yards out at the near post.

Crowborough Athletic took a shock lead with two minutes and 24 seconds on the clock, courtesy of a clinical counter-attack.

Goalkeeper Billy Johnson, 20, played the ball out to right-back Harvey Killick, who drove a long ball over the top of Robertson to put Scantlebury through on goal and after skipping past the last-defender (Robertson), the lone striker kept his composure to drive his shot into the bottom right-hand corner from eight-yards.

Muggeridge said: “We looked really dangerous up there. He’s put the ball away and then he’s had two more one-on-ones which he done really well. He’s actually worked it himself.  It’s been him getting the ball and beating the last defender. 

“We knew he was going to cause problems tonight. We’ve missed him up there. At 1-0 we’re looking forward. I just couldn’t see us not scoring any more goals after that.”

Walton added: “Well first and foremost I didn’t have my glasses with me tonight so I’m really, really can’t really see to be honest with you so they were like blurs so I don’t know whose who and what’s what so I’m a really a bit at fault for all of your questions tonight because I couldn’t really see the game. I could only see the ball hit the back of the net!”

Carew’s drifting 30-yard free-kick from the right sailed over Johnson’s right-shoulder and the ball kissed the top of the crossbar before Crowborough had another chance on the counter-attack shortly afterwards.

“He’s getting there Ashley with free-kicks, he’s getting closer and closer.  Eventually one will go in.  He’s a dead-ball specialist so hopefully he’ll stick one in on Saturday,” said Walton.

“I remember him hitting the wall, I don’t remember him hitting the bar,” said Muggeridge, who paused and reflected on the spell of the game where his side made Beckenham look poor, before adding, “Billy had it covered anyway.  That wasn’t really a chance in my eyes. Billy would’ve easily taken it!”

Crowborough’s left-winger Trey Masikini, who was soon withdrawn after picking up an ankle injury during the warm-up, split open centre-halves Kiki Oshilaja and Robertson to put Scantlebury in but goalkeeper Michael McEntegart rushed off his line to smother the ball.

Beckenham Town were off the pace during a poor first half performance and Robertson poked the ball straight at Johnson after the ball fell at his feet after Carew played the ball in from the right.

Beckenham Town’s central midfielder Billy Martins lined up a first time right-footed drive which screamed past the top of the right-hand post as he was forced to shoot from 30-yards at the halfway point.

Crowborough Athletic were fighting for every ball and was led by their captain Luke Leppard, who despite playing out wide on the left, covered every blade of grass to challenge Beckenham’s more talented players.

Carew floated in a right-footed free-kick from the left which skimmed off Townsend’s head at the near post some 10-yards out and was easily gathered by Johnson in the Crowborough goal.

But it should have been 2-0 for Crowborough on the half-hour mark when Scantlebury missed a glorious chance on the break.

Left-back Jason Barton sprung out from within the gloom to hit a long ball which released Scantlebury, who easily won a footrace against Oshilaja and Robertson and drilled his left-footed shot past the top of the left-hand post with only the keeper to beat.

“He was causing so many problems up there. It was just unlucky really.  He hit it so well, we were waiting for the net to set off but it didn’t,” said Muggeridge.

“When those chances don’t go in, it deflates the team a little bit and you think can we hold on? That could’ve been two or three nil up and that’s what happens in football unfortunately.”

Walton admitted: “I was expecting him to score to be honest with you. It’s just a massive let-off for us. It could’ve been a totally different game from then on!”

The miss proved costly as Beckenham Town grabbed an equaliser with 32 minutes and 19 seconds on the clock.

Martins spread the play with a ball from the centre of the pitch over to the left touchline and a mistake from Killick let in Townsend, who cut into the box and from eight-yards drilled his right-footed shot across the diving keeper for the ball to nestle into the bottom far corner, despite Johnson getting his outstretched left-hand to the ball.

“There again, a good ball from Bill puts Steve in the right area and get him one-on-one in the box and he’s going to beat you most times and he’s going to put it in the back of the net and that’s what he did tonight,” said Walton.

“What was missing tonight? Just our intensity. The way we normally set about teams, we’re at home. We know what we’re going to get from other teams and we’ve got to do the same but we just lacked a little bit of energy, a little bit of sharpness. Mentally we weren’t right either.”

Muggeridge said: “The lights are quite bad here and I think Harvey lost the flight of it a little bit and he’s sort of flicked it on and the player has cut inside and he’s put it across and Billy’s got a hand to it.

“When you’re at the top, they go wide or hit the post. It just went in the bottom corner. Could Billy have done better? I don’t know. Maybe. If he pushed it out they might’ve tapped it in anyway.”

Beckenham Town almost grabbed the lead in the final five minutes of the first half when Stefan Cox sprinted past Barton down the right touchline and whipped in a great cross towards the near post but quiet striker Mathieu Ramsamy planted his free header past the right-hand post from inside the six-yard box.

Walton said: “I thought it was in because I didn’t have my glasses on. I was jumping out the dug-out and all off a sudden when someone said it went wide, I thought it went in. I had him down as scoring. What do I know? I can’t see!”

Muggeridge added:  “If you’ve got a good side like that and they’ve got quite a big budget and if you’re telling me they’ve scored a goal and they’ve had a free header in the whole 45 minutes, I’m ecstatic with that because they didn’t do anything else in the first half.

“We’re working with the side shape wise and I think the players’ did it to perfection in the first half. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t go two or three nil up.”

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the break.

Walton said: “Get our attitude right, get our intensity right, sharpen up, move the ball quicker like we know we can and get the ball into our front men a lot quicker and let them do the business!”

Muggeridge added: “Encouragement really. We didn’t want to think one-all was good enough! We were all positive in there. We were all thinking let’s go and win it and anyone who watched that first half think you were going to win it because I thought we had chance-after-chance.

“I will say Beckenham did something good at half-time. They put someone at the back (Nathan Paul) who was a bit more pacey than what was there (Robertson) but we got deeper and deeper.”

Beckenham Town put in a vastly improved performance during a dominant second half.

Leppard had a menacing face on him as he attempted to close down Cox in midfield but Cox played the ball along the deck in behind Crowborough centre-half James White to put Carew through and he drilled a shot into the keepers midriff from close to the by-line.

“A good effort from Ash and a good save from the keeper. We started to work their keeper more in the second half,” added Walton.

Carew’s third corner of the night came back out to him before the former Dulwich Hamlet midfielder unleashed a right-footed angled drive which was saved by Johnson on his knees at his near post.

Muggeridge felt Beckenham’s second goal should have been ruled out for offside, the goal being timed at 14 minutes and 44 seconds on the clock.

Oshilaja was close to the halfway line when he swept a first time ball which sailed over the head of Crowborough centre-half Max Carbune and this put Townsend through on goal and he clinically slotted a right-footed shot across the keeper to find the bottom far corner.

Muggeridge said: “It was miles offside! The problem with it, if the linesman can’t identify the player who was playing him on.  First he said the two, I heard him say that, then that’s Harvey. Then he said no, it’s the left-centre-half so that’s Jim and then he said ok, no I meant the five.

“So which one was it? I just think alright they make mistakes. We all understand it but it’s a costly one when you’re one-all and we’re not under the cosh and they score that.

“The way that we’re playing and leaking goals, it just deflates you when they don’t actually open you up.”

Walton replied: “I don’t know about the offside.  I’m going to do an Arsene Wenger there because I literally couldn’t see so I don’t know where the offside came from.

“He didn’t look offside from where we were so Sean’s obviously defending his corner, which he’s going to do.  I couldn’t see it was offside.”

Beckenham Town scored a flattering (at the time) third goal with 18 minutes and 55 seconds on the clock.

Another mistake from Killick gave Townsend the opportunity and he produced an excellent finish, drilling a 30-yard angled drive across the keeper into the bottom far corner.

Townsend’s clinical finishing will have scouts from higher-level club’s descending on Eden Park Avenue in their droves as his clinical finishing is very Jon Main-esque.

“That was the best finish of the night that one,” said Walton.

“It was a good move from us.  He got into that position and it’s a good finish, three good finishes.”

Walton felt the 3-1 lead was not a flattering scoreline.

“No, I don’t think so.  From when they had the shot to go 2-0 up, did they really threaten our goal after that? So no, I don’t think that.”

Muggeridge said: “Flattering? Are you going to put that in your report?

“Unfortunately, I don’t want to keep going on about luck but I think what happened was Harvey tackled him and it just ricochet to him and scored.

“I’m not saying when you’re at the top they go for you, it’s gone across the keeper, good strike.  I can’t say whether Billy should’ve got it or not, I don’t know.”

Crowborough Athletic took until the halfway point of the half to get people to support the isolated Scantlebury.

White played a ball out of defence straight down the heart of the pitch to Crowborough’s only threat and he ran into a brick wall but the ball came out to substitute right-sided midfielder Richard Wetton, whose right-footed drive from 30-yards flashed across the keeper and past the far post.

Beckenham Town claimed their fourth goal of the night with 24 minutes and a second on the clock.

Right-back Harvey Brand, who has scored six goals this season, was in aces of space within the final third by the touchline and he floated in a great cross into the middle where Farrell buried his downward header, which squirmed underneath the diving keeper and watched it roll into the back of the net.

Walton said: “I think he maybe slipped and it hit him on the head. I’ve never seen Shameek score with his head in his life so I think he might’ve slipped over. I’m going to put it down to that.  He’s slipped and it’s hit him on the head and gone in.”

Muggeridge said: “It sounds like I’m talking about officials, they probably see it a different way but it looked like a foul.

“I think he puts his two hands on Harvey’s back. I think Harvey’s gone up for the ball and he’s definitely said he’s fouled. The problem is we’re too honest at the moment. If he had gone down faking it on the ground we might’ve got it but we’re too honest.  We need to be a little bit more streetwise and cleaver in a situation like that.

“Anyone who watched the game, it was never a 4-1 defeat!”

A long throw into the Beckenham box by Killick found its way to Scantlebury at the near post and he poked his shot towards the bottom right-hand corner, which was smothered by McEntegart, low to his left.

Inside the final 15 minutes and an unmarked Martins cracked a right-footed drive towards the bottom far corner from 35-yards.  The ball skipped off the lush turf and forced Johnson to dive to his left to ensure the ball trickled past the foot of the far post.

“He can have decent shots on him Bill from 25-30 yards. Eventually I can see one of them screaming into the top corner,” added Walton.

Barton switched off and allowed a crossfield cross find Carew on the right-hand side of the box and he teed up Ramsamy, who cut the ball onto his left-boot before drilling a shot towards goal, which was superbly pushed away by Johnson, flying to his right.

“The thing is we changed the system. We wanted to get at them a little bit more and they will get a few shots from midfield because I only had two in there at the end,” explained Muggeridge.

“It was a good save. If we limited them to shots outside the box, like we did in the first half, then we’re quite happy. It’s got to be a worldy to beat anyone.”

Crowborough Athletic were to be denied a second goal inside the final four minutes of the game.

Elliott Wood, who slotted in to Leppard’s position, hooked the ball forward to Scantlebury, who played the ball inside to Leppard (now playing as a second striker) but McEnteagert was alive to the situation and rushed off his line towards the edge of the box to make the save with his legs.

“We looked a little bit of a threat up front with two up there.  We had to go for it and put two up front. We were a little bit more exposed, which is understandable when we did put two up front but we were a bit more effective,” said Muggeridge.

Walton added: “He’s good at that Macca when he comes off his line he does spread himself. He does a Peter Schmeichel and spreads himself really big and I’ve seen him do that quite often so he’s good at that.” 

A mazy run from Martins saw him seemingly walk through the Crowborough defence but he lacked the finish from 30-yards, drilling his right-footed shot just over the crossbar.

Beckenham Town travel to fifth-placed side Tunbridge Wells on Saturday, while Crowborough Athletic welcome thirteenth-placed Erith & Belvedere to Fermor Road.

“We’re in a really good position.  We’ll see if we can go and get a win on Saturday and just carry on winning the games that are coming thick and fast,” said Walton.

“We’ve got ourselves in a good position but it’s the first week in October, so we just do what we can.”

Muggeridge knows his side must start picking up points or suffer relegation at the end of the season.

“The thing is we have to get something now, there’s no doubt about that,” said Muggeridge.

“We’re at home, we know where we are. We’ve got to go and win that game because we need to get points on the board really quick because teams around us are starting to pick up points so we need to make sure we pick up points against Erith & Belvedere.

“We know they’re a good side and are going to be a difficult side to beat. We just have to keep plugging together and keep going and see if we can get three points.

“How do we stay in the league? We all have to stick together, that’s one thing. We do have to strengthen the squad and I think we will stay up.

“I think we need a couple of players in and we’ve got the backroom staff to do it.  The club’s backing us so we need to make sure that we all stick together and grind out the results like we did last year.  We was not quite as bad but we kept together and hopefully that will be enough but we’ve got to stop making silly makes and I think we’ll be fine.”

Beckenham Town: Michael McEntegart, Harvey Brand, Archie Johnson, Junior Kaffo, Ike Robertson (Nathan Paul 46), Kiki Oshilaja, Stefan Cox (Shameek Farrell 64), Billy Martins, Mathieu Ramsamy, Ashley Carew, Steven Townsend (Jamie Brown 72).
Subs: Ryan Hall, Malik Nosike

Goals: Steven Townsend 33, 60, 64, Shameek Farrell 70

Crowborough Athletic: Billy Johnson, Harvey Killick (Jack Funnell 82), Jason Barton, Sam Saunders, Max Carbune, James White, Luke Leppard, Jason Stripp, Keiron Scantlebury, Sam Carrington (Elliott Wood 77), Trey Masikini (Richard Wetton 19).
Subs: Tom Boddy, Rory Salter

Goals Keiron Scantlebury 3

Booked: Sam Carrington 74

Attendance: 101
Referee: Mr Wally James (Sidcup)
Assistants:  Mr Paul Greenfield (Eltham, London SE9) & Mr Çagri Ustaoglu (Maidstone)