Beckenham Town 6-3 AFC Croydon Athletic - I think it would've been an even better game 11-a-side, says Beckenham Town coach Jason Clews

Wednesday 04th November 2015
Beckenham Town 6 – 3 AFC Croydon Athletic
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 04/11/2015 19:45

(after extra time)
The FA Vase First Round Replay
Wednesday 4th November 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

BECKENHAM TOWN coach Jason Clews admits his side put in a disappointing performance despite winning a nine-goal epic in The FA Vase.

These two local rivals have now produced 27 goals between them in four high scoring games already this season and this First Round Replay did not disappoint the crowd of 145 fans at Eden Park Avenue.

Saturday’s third encounter between the two attack minded sides finished all-square at 2-2 after extra time and 120 minutes was needed tonight as both sides realised the importance of having a goalkeeper on the bench.

AFC Croydon Athletic were reduced to ten-men after four minutes and 50 seconds when goalkeeper Dan Burnett was sent off for a professional foul on Jamie Humphries.

Striker Louis Blake bravely came off the bench to take the gloves but he was beaten by Jamie Turner’s resulting free-kick to give Beckenham the early advantage.

But AFC Croydon Athletic equalised through pacy left-sided striker Raheem Sterling-Parker, who produced a sublime dinked finish to score his seventh goal of the season.

Beckenham Town regained the lead early in the second half through Adam Allen’s near-post flick.

Beckenham Town lost their goalkeeper Lewis Moore at the break due to suffering from chest pains so right-back Turner took the gloves for the rest of the game and he was beaten by Craig Nelson’s speculative 45-yarder.

Blake gifted another Beckenham Town goal when Humphries was given a helping hand to score from 30-yards, but AFC Croydon Athletic showed great character to force extra-time through substitute Jovaun Henry’s fine finish.

Ten-man AFC Croydon Athletic were dead on their feet during extra-time and Humphries went on to score two further goals, taking his goalscoring tally for the season to 17 goals, before Richmond Kissi walked in a sixth goal just before the interval after a defensive mix-up.

“First thoughts was disappointed with the performance but happy to be in the next round. That’s really all you can say about it,” said Clews, whose side went into the game in seventh-place in the Southern Counties East Football League table with 20 points from 12 games.

“I was very disappointed with the performance tonight from the time they had the keeper sent-off.  We didn’t do the right things with our play, slowing it down. We dropped levels of play and allowed them to get back in.

“If you drop your performance and your levels, it’s hard to get back up, so very disappointed with the performance.

“We know we are a lot better than that, even though we’re still creating chances at the end and obviously in extra time.

“To be honest with you, the last 10-15 minute of normal time I didn’t even watch it! I was that really p***ed off with the performance, I didn’t really watch it!”

AFC Croydon Athletic manager Antony Williams, meanwhile, said that his side gave their all.

“I can’t ask much more from the lads to be fair,” said Williams, whose side are in thirteenth-place in the table with 15 points from 12 league outings.

“After five minutes going down and losing our goalkeeper and not having a sub keeper on the bench, the lads were magnificent tonight.

“They ran out of steam in the end. To take them to 3-3 was a great effort from the lads against a very good Beckenham side.  I think they will be top six this year. I think they’re one of the better sides we’ve played this year.

“I think we were the better side. I think we had some chances and I think we were the ones trying to play the more football. They looked a bit disjointed. We had some good threats, got in some good areas tonight. I think for the 90 minutes the boys were magnificent.”

Both sides set the tone straight from kick-off as Beckenham Town created the first chance after only 42 seconds when Jalloh played the ball up to Harry Draper, who laid the ball inside for Kissi to stroke his right-footed drive into Burnett’s hands from 18-yards.

Kissi went close when he cracked a powerful drive from 30-yards, which only just cleared the crossbar, before AFC Croydon Athletic’s first chance arrived soon after.

Starting the game with three men up top, central striker Lee Johnson played a fine diagonal pass to unmarked Nelson, whose right-footed angled drive from 20-yards was comfortably saved by Moore at his near post.

Jalloh played a fine through ball along the deck to put Humphries through on goal but Burnett suffered from a rush of blood to charge out of his penalty area to bring down the Beckenham striker.

Williams said: “I was a bit disappointed that we lost the ball. The forward went through. I think Dan had a rush of blood coming out.

“I did think there was a covering defender to be honest with you. Everyone has got different opinions but the referee made his decision. I did think it’s a big call early on. I think he spoilt the game really a little bit.”

Clews said: “Definite red! Once he’s past the keeper, it’s a goalscoring opportunity. He’s got no-one else there. Obviously their bench is going to say they had a covering defender to try to get the man not sent-off but it was definitely a goalscoring opportunity to stop.”

Referee Gerry Heron had no option but to send the goalkeeper off and Williams sacrificed central midfielder Jack Guildford and Blake came off the bench to bravely take the gloves.

Williams added: “Unfortunately somebody has to come off and we had three playing in there and he was the man to go tonight.

“We took a risk by not having a goalkeeper on the bench tonight and unfortunately it’s paid a cropper tonight. We normally have Mr (Danny) Rose on the bench but he can’t do Wednesday’s.”

But Blake was a rabbit in headlights as he gifted Beckenham Town the opening goal following the resulting free-kick.

Turner powered his right-footed free-kick straight at the stand-in keeper, who got a hand to the shot but helped the ball on its way into the back of the net – with 7 minutes and 28 seconds on the clock.

Clews said: “Obviously the goalkeeper’s not a goalkeeper. We said to them just have a go, try him out, he’s not a goalkeeper, so you’ve got to make him work.

“You could tell he ain’t a keeper but the soft hand came out and he didn’t stop it.  That’s the thing that we didn’t do enough for me as well. We didn’t really test him.”

Williams said: “He was only on for 30 seconds. It went straight through the goalkeeper’s hands. He’s a centre forward Louis Blake so he’s not a goalkeeper.”

AFC Croydon Athletic were a threat down both wings as Sterling-Parker and Nelson swapped regularly and Nelson cut in from the left and his shot deflected off Adam Wadmore and Moore made the save at the near post.

The Rams went close to equalising when Liam Harwood swung in a left-footed free-kick from the right, which was flicked on at the near post and Jack Higgins’ shot rolled across the keeper and flashed just past the foot of the far post.

But AFC Croydon Athletic equalised through a quality strike after 22 minutes.

Skipper Tony Martin played a sublime 50-yard searching pass to release Sterling-Parker down the left and he cut inside Turner and produced a sublime right-footed dinked finish, which dropped in underneath the crossbar.

“The whole of the lads were good tonight,” said Williams.

“Raheem was a very good threat for us tonight. You could see he was causing both of their full-backs problems.  We kept changing them round all the time. I was pleased with Raheem’s performance as well.”

Clews added: “Very good finish. When they went down to ten-men that was their dangerman for us. We said to Anthony Whorms, our left-back, just literally follow him all the way because he’s got pace to match him because he was causing problems up there and we had to nullify that.”

AFC Croydon Athletic may have had 10 men but they were the better side and enjoyed a period of dominance following the goal.

Clews held his hand up and admitted: “To be honest with you, over the 90 minutes I think they deserved to take it to extra time. I don’t think they deserved to win it but yes, definitely they played their part in the game and definitely should’ve taken it to extra time.  Good luck to them. They done well.”

Johnson raced down the left and played the ball into Sterling-Parker, who flashed his centre across the face of goal.  The ball found Nelson, who cut the ball back for Martin to hit a right-footed drive just over the bar from 20-yards.

Another chance arrived for the Rams as Sterling-Parker cast his magic down the left flank again and whipped in a cross and Danny Cumber made space at the near post to flick his shot across the keeper and only just past the foot of the far post.

Williams was left cursing his bad luck, by saying:  “We had a couple of chances but tonight for whatever reason some of the knock down weren’t going for us but for them everything it seemed to be going their way a little bit.”

Beckenham Town rode the storm, however, and went close to doubling their lead after 34 minutes.

Wadmore clipped a ball out of their defence which split open AFC Croydon Athletic’s defence to put Kissi through on goal but Blake kept his eyes on the ball and used his legs to make a fine block, before gathering the loose ball at the second attempt.

Turner tried to replicate his goal by drilling his right-footed free-kick just past the foot of the near post, before Moore made a smart save to keep Beckenham level.

Nelson’s progress through the middle was ended and the ball came out to Cumber, the central midfielder hitting a right-footed drive from 25-yards, which forced Moore to move to his left to fist the ball away towards safety.

Moore pulled off a great save in the 42nd minute, diving high to his left to fully-stretch to ensure Johnson’s right-footed free-kick from 25-yards, which was destined for the roof of the net, was tipped over the bar.

Nelson swung in the resulting corner from the right and Fred Fleming went up to glance his header just past the far post.

Jalloh went on a solo run down the middle but his shot lacked power and conviction and Blake picked up the ball comfortably as it rolled towards him.

Jalloh then turned provider and played the ball inside to Kissi, who stroked a low right-footed shot which Blake saved comfortably.

Moore’s last action of the game was to smother the ball at Sterling-Parker’s feet on the stroke of half-time.

When asked what Jason Huntley barked at his troops during the half-time interval, Clews said: “Really it was a bit of a scream in there from Jason giving the players what for! He sort of had a go at them to see if they’d react in the second half. They did a little bit but not the levels we expect from them.

“Again, my way of looking at it, it’s a disappointing performance for me.”

Williams added: “I said we were still in the game, to keep ourselves in the game as long as we possibly could to not go and chase silly things, especially with the man down and the chances will come for us and I think they did.

“Second half, they (my players) were just as good as they were in the first half.”

Beckenham Town drew first blood by taking the lead for a second time inside the opening four minutes of the second half.

Jalloh cut into the penalty area on the right hand side and flicked a centre towards the near post where Allen flicked his shot on the turn into the bottom right-hand corner from six-yards.

Clews said: “Again for me Hass has had a quiet game today. He does a couple of little things towards the end.  The front three should’ve created chances and stuck them away to make it more of a high scoring game.

“I think Hass will be disappointed with his performance but it was a good goal. We said to them once we get the goal, keep playing quick, one-touch football and keep passing it around them, keep a high tempo – and we didn’t!”

Williams added: “Again, it’s a little bit of a rebound and he’s put his head there.  Again things were just dropping down for them tonight whereas they weren’t dropping for us in their box.  I wasn’t best pleased with the defending with that goal.”

Jalloh’s pacey runs were a threat for AFC Croydon Athletic and once he was stopped in his tracks the ball ran loose to Kissi, who smacked his right-footed volley just over the bar from 30-yards.

Beckenham Town’s full-back Anthony Whorms, now switched from left-back to wide right, cracked a first time rasping drive straight down Blake’s throat from 25-yards.

AFC Croydon Athletic were to be denied by the crossbar after 53 minutes.

Martin pumped a long free-kick into the Beckenham Town penalty area towards the far post and Jack Higgins rose to loop his header against the crossbar.

But their despair was short-lived – 39 seconds in fact – as AFC Croydon Athletic made the score 2-2.

With Turner off his line, Nelson looked up and swept his right-footed shot from 45-yards out on the right towards goal, the ball sailing over Turner’s head and going in via the top of the far post.

Williams admitted: “I think that might’ve been a cross to be fair - I think we’ll take that!

“They put their right-back in goal so we said to them as soon as we realised what change had happened to put balls in the box and I think we could’ve done that more in the second half.  It was pleasing to get that one!

“I think it was pretty much a ping-pong match. It was end-to-end really. The game was very open. I think both sides could’ve won it, both sides had chances. I think they scored the third and we showed great character to come back at 3-3.”

Clews revealed why Turner was in goal in replace of Moore.

He said: “He had chest pains! The physio looked at him at half-time. He was complaining of a tight chest, chest pains and the physio took the decision to just to say he’s not being responsible for him to go back out there.

“You could see in his face he was a bit pale so we had to take that choice.  We didn’t have a sub goalkeeper on the bench so we had to play Jamie Turner and he’s done that before for us. He could do a job for us.”

Reflecting on the goal, Clews added: “Jamie’s played a silly ball out from there when he could’ve played an easier one to Frankie (Warren), so he’s gifted them opportunities.

“When you’re playing against ten men it’s about keeping the ball and making them work hard and we just gifted them the ball back easily and that’s where they got their goal from to make it 2-2.”

Cumber’s right-footed drive from 30-yards was then caught by Turner before this high-quality end-to-end derby settled down.

Beckenham defender Aziz Kanu pumped a deep free-kick into the penalty area but Wadmore and Kissi both rose but neither could steer their attempted header on target.

Beckenham Town felt they had won it after being given another helping hand from Blake after 73 minutes.

Allen played the ball inside to Humphries, who cut inside and stroked his right-footed drive towards goal from 30-yards.

Blake allowed the ball to go through his fingers and the ball dropped behind him and rolled into the back of the net despite Blake attempting to recover from his blunder.

“Unfortunately again, unlucky for the keeper, he’s not a keeper. He’s made a bit of a rick. It’s what we told them to do, test the keeper and we didn’t do it enough,” said Clews.

Williams added: “We’ve probably given them three or four goals tonight. It’s gone through the goalkeeper’s hands, that’s two through his hands. Three goals could’ve been avoided if we had a goalkeeper in goal, we would’ve avoided them to be honest with you.

“But considering how well they played him on Saturday to come here and do that again tonight, against ten-men, you can’t ask for much more really.”

Beckenham Town squandered a great chance to kill the game off when Kanu’s diagonal pass out of defence found Jalloh, who cut the ball back to Draper, who sliced his shot from the outside of his right-boot wide of the near post from 25-yards.

Humphries run and shot was parried away by Blake, before AFC Croydon Athletic deservedly forced extra time with their third equaliser of the night – timed at 40 minutes and 29 seconds on the clock.

Cumber’s through ball put Henry through on goal, who burst his way through the Beckenham defence and lashed his left-footed shot over Turner’s right shoulder to add more drama to this great game.

Williams said: “Jovaun’s come off the bench. He was unlucky not to start tonight after Saturday. He showed great character coming on, worked his socks off up there and a great finish from Jovaun, so strong, he played well.”

Clews added: “Again, sloppy play, not closing down enough, not using your brains with five minutes to go and keeping the ball.

“We probably made a mistake on the bench by not closing it out. We could’ve maybe stuck on another central midfielder just to shut up shop a little bit.  We just thought we might nick another goal and then that will bury the game but we’ve got to learn from that. With 5-10 minutes to go you have to shut up shop – and we didn’t!”

Beckenham Town almost snatched victory when Draper ran towards the by-line down the left and cut the ball back to Kissi, who flicked his shot against the inside of the near post.

Harwood swung in a free-kick from the right but Henry steered his towering header over the bar from a tight angle at the other end.

Nelson then put in a cross into the Beckenham area but neither Danny Penfold or Henry’s headers could trouble Turner, who grabbed hold of the bouncing ball.

Beckenham created the final chance of normal time but Jalloh dragged his angled drive across the face of goal and past the far post which proved to be the last kick of an exciting 90 minutes of football.

Williams said: “The boys were dead on their feet to be honest with you. We said to them we need to make our set-plays count if we can, try to make the box as much as we can and try not to play too pretty unfortunately. You could see some tired legs out there and they’ve got good pace going forward.”

Clews said: “We knew we made them work for a good 90 minutes. They worked hard with ten men for 85 minutes. We knew we was going to get chances and create openings so we did tell them before extra time to up the pace. We’ve got an extra level. We knew they was going to be tiring – they did on Saturday.”

Beckenham Town stamped their authority on the game during extra-time and scored three and could have scored a lot more against tired opposition.

A poor clearance from Blake went straight to Humphries, who took a touch and sent his left-footed chip over the hapless stand-in and into the empty net from 30-yards as Beckenham Town scored their fourth after 94 minutes.

Clews said: “Again, just quick reaction from the striker who’s in a bit of form and I think we shouted from the side of the pitch to chip the keeper.

“It’s instinctive from him, as a striker and he’s done his job and he’s put it over the keeper. Great goal, great finish.”

Williams admitted: “Three goalkeeping mistakes – from an outfield player!

“I said to him in there he’s put his hands up and he’s gone in goal so you can’t ask for much more than that really.”

Beckenham Town killed the game off by scoring a fifth goal only 127 seconds later.

Allen charged towards the edge of the penalty area before laying the ball inside to Humphries who drove his first time left-footed shot into the right-hand corner.

Clews said: “Adam’s had a great run. I think he’s beaten two or three players, drawn another defender out which let Humphries unmarked and Jamie’s put it into the side of the net, a great finish and a great time to score after virtually taking the lead again and getting another two minutes later. It was a great time to finish it. You know you’re in the next round.”

Williams said: “Jamie is a good finisher of the ball. He’s scored a few goals against us now. I think he’s a tidy player and if you give him opportunities in those areas he’s going to finish.

“We’re looking to press and we’re chasing the game at that point. You could see the players were exhausted.”

AFC Croydon ventured forward and Sterling-Parker’s cut back went to Cumber and his right-footed shot took a deflection and was saved by Turner.

Poor goalkeeping once again from Blake gifted Beckenham Town their final goal of the night after 105 minutes.

Blake raced out of his penalty area and a communication miss-hap involving him and his right-back Penson allowed Kissi to nip in and walk the ball into the net.

Clews said: “Kissi’s walked it in! He’s chased a ball, the defenders are tiring. He’s chased the ball down and he’s made the keeper make a mistake so he’s done alright tonight. He’s worked hard, probably should’ve had a few more goals but he’s taken his chance and got what he deserved.”

Williams said: “Tom probably should’ve headed it back for that one really. Louis hasn’t called him really so he was a bit unsure what to do. He’s took a risk by trying to bring it down and he’s paid the price as he did on Saturday.”

AFC Croydon Athletic kept going and Henry had bundles of pace to race down the left hand side before blasting his shot over the bar from a tight angle after only 71 seconds into the second period.

The Rams defence left Blake to his own devices as they were regularly split open by Beckenham’s pacey attack.

Kissi’s right-footed shot on the turn was hit straight at Blake, who made the save at the second attempt.

Beckenham Town won their first of two corners with 109 minutes on the clock when Blake used his legs to deny Kissi after he was played in behind the wilting defence by Jalloh.

Williams added: “He made a couple of good saves. I had to put a centre midfielder up top.  Some of the boys were cramping up at half-time but you can’t ask for much more and that’s what I said to them in there really tonight.”

Humphries took the resulting corner from the left and cut the ball back for Wadmore to send his drive over the bar from 25-yards.

A big kick from Turner went straight down the middle of the pitch and Kissi’s flicked pass was latched on by Humphries, who screwed his shot wide with only Blake to beat.

Blake used his legs to thwart Humphries on a one-against-one situation  before Draper was given time and space to unleash a right-footed angled drive dipping just over the bar.

Humphries then turned provider for Kissi, whose shot was saved by the feet of the diving keeper as the game reached its climax.

Williams says he wants his side to show the same desire when they welcome Deal Town to Mayfield Stadium on Saturday.

“If they show as much character as they did tonight, we’ll be ok in this league,” said the AFC Croydon Athletic  manager.

“I think we would’ve taken it very close tonight (with 11 men).

“Considering we’re up against sides with money and we are a side with no money, not a penny, the boys play for nothing. I think they acquitted ourselves really well.”

When asked whether his side would’ve gone through against 11 men, Clews admitted: “Personally I think we would’ve gone through. I think it would’ve been a better game with 11 men, for us because I think some of the players probably got it in their heads that they’ve got 10 men.

“I think it would’ve been an even better game with 11-a-side so I still think we wouldn’t have dropped our levels.”

Beckenham Town travel to Gander Green Lane, the home of Vanarama National League South to play Sutton Common Rovers in The FA Vase Second Round.

“Didn’t know that, thanks for telling us,” Clews replied when told the game will be played on a 3G pitch.

“Looking forward to that, obviously playing at Sutton’s ground.

“I don’t know much about them. All I’ve read is what league they’re in, what their position is, their previous results and that so we’re not going to think about that yet.

“We’ve got Holmesdale on Saturday. We’ve got to get the next game out of the way. We’ve got a few injuries as well so we may need to change it around now for Saturday.”

Beckenham Town: Lewis Moore (Frankie Warren 46), Jamie Turner, Andrew Whorms, Adam Wadmore, Jonathon Louis (James Marshall 46), Aziz Kanu, Harry Draper, Adam Allen (Sam O’Keefe 106), Richmond Kissi, Jamie Humphries, Hassan Jalloh.
Subs: Tamar Bilal, Justin Hemmings

Goals: Jamie Turner 8, Adam Allen 49, Jamie Humphries 73, 94, 96, Richmond Kissi 105

Booked: Adam Wadmore 20, Richmond Kissi 74, Frankie Warren 98

AFC Croydon Athletic: Dan Burnett, Tom Penson, Liam Harwood, Fred Fleming (Danny Penfold 81), Jack Higgins, Tony Martin, Craig Nelson, Danny Cumber, Lee Johnson (Jovaun Henry 64), Jack Guildford (Louis Blake 7), Raheem Sterling-Parker.
Subs: Josh Smith, Bradley Wilson

Goals: Raheem Sterling-Parker 22, Craig Nelson 54, Jovaun Henry 86

Booked: Liam Harwood 37, Raheem Sterling-Parker 66, Fred Fleming 74, Tom Penson 84, Tony Martin 90, Danny Cumber 101

Sent Off: Dan Burnett 5

Attendance: 145
Referee: Mr Gerry Heron (West Wickham)
Assistants: Mr Oliver Simnock (North Finchley, London N12) & Mr James Goodman (Ilford, Essex)