Beckenham Town 0-4 Millwall - We've been looked after and it's being spent wisely, says Beckenham Town assistant Billy Walton

Thursday 26th July 2018
Beckenham Town 0 – 4 Millwall
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 26/07/2018 19:00

Pre-Season Friendly
Thursday 26 July 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

BECKENHAM TOWN assistant manager Billy Walton says an increased playing budget will be spent wisely as they aim to make a serious challenge for the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division title.


With their opening day trip to Bearsted only nine days away, Beckenham Town lost their first game of pre-season with a 4-0 defeat to Millwall’s under 23 side.

Goalkeeper Michael McEntegart, who has previously played Conference football for Welling United, gifted Millwall an early lead, which was despatched by striker Issac Olaofe.

His strike partner, JP Silva, slotted in a second goal before Olaofe drilled a crisp low drive into the bottom corner to give the Lions a commanding 3-0 lead at the interval.

The Lions wrapped the game up with a late fourth goal, courtesy of substitute striker Justin Amaluzon.

Millwall held the pre-match dominance by winning their request for an earlier seven o’clock kick-off, using the home dressing room and warming up on the immaculate Eden Park Avenue playing surface and not the bobbly training pitch next door.

“I was pretty pleased, not with the result, but I was pleased with the certain ways we played in the game,” said Walton.

“We changed at half-time, we adjusted well to that and I was really pleased all round.

“I was pleased with watching them (Millwall) and their passing and movement and just learning from them really.  From our point of view when we get in the right areas and got the ball we hurt them as well so I just didn’t think we were clinical up front and we made some basic errors.”

Beckenham Town keeper McEntegart gifted Millwall the lead with only three minutes and 19 seconds on the clock.

The home side lined up with three centre halves and one of them, Jack Hope, rolled a back-pass to his goalkeeper, whose clearance was hit straight at a pressing Silva, who controlled the ball before setting up Olaofe, who had the simple task of walking the ball over the line.

“Just a gift, one of those comical errors,” admitted Walton.

“You don’t really expect it, it happens. I’m sure we’ll see that a lot more throughout the season so someone’s going to make a mistake, unfortunately it was us doing that.

“I said to him, what can you say, it’s one of those things. It happens, you don’t expect it and I’m sure he won’t do it again.  I just said to him in there, I’m not bothered about it. I’d rather you do it now than in a proper game, get it out of the way!”

Beckenham Town maintained Walton’s brand of carpet football and Richard Atkins, who scored 35 goals in all competitions last season, pressed Millwall centre half Sid Nelson, stole the ball off him and slipped in Jamie Humphris, who curled his right-footed shot just past the left-hand post from 25-yards.

Walton said: “I thought we played some nice little football in phases. I was pleased with some of our passing and movement against a professional side.  I was really pleased with the way we shifted the ball and got at them so it’s such a shame he didn’t bend it into the net, rather than just wide.”

Walton is delighted that League Golden Boot Winner Atkins has stayed at Eden Park Avenue.

“It’s great to have Richie on board, a proven goalscorer and I’m sue he’ll do the same again this year,” added Walton.

“He had quite a few offers, he chose to stay here, why wouldn’t you want to stay here? Look at that pitch! That’s a Championship pitch that people are playing on and they’re a good bunch of lads. He likes the club. I like him, we like him. Hopefully he’ll have a successful season again.

“Jamie Humphris’ is on fire. I haven’t seen him as fit and as sharp as that for a few years and he’ll be a threat this year.”

Halfway through the half, Millwall linked up well down the right with Jethro Hanson and right-back James Brown and the ball was played in low for central midfielder Hanson to sweep his first time shot just over the crossbar from 12-yards.

Joe Wicks’ low free-kick was held up by Silva with his back to goal and he played the ball back to Wicks, who spread the play out to left-back Danny McNamara, who drove forward, cut inside and his right-footed drive from 25-yards bounced into McEntegart’s hands for a comfortable save.

Beckenham’s players were putting in tackles as they sharpen their focus ahead of the new season and Hope’s desire prevented Millwall doubling their lead.

A ball out of defence by Brown released Silva down the right, the striker cut inside and skipped past the goalkeeper before Rob Harvey played the ball into Hanson and Harvey’s low left-footed drive was hooked off the line by Hope.

“He sort of made up for a little mistake when he played his part in the goal but yes, he’s a steady old player Jack and I was pleased for him doing that,” said Walton.

Millwall deservedly doubled their lead with 37 minutes and 37 seconds on the clock.

McNamara’s deep cross sailed over the Beckenham back three and picked out Silva unmarked at the far post and his towering header was brilliantly clawed out by McEntegart, to his right.

The ball came back out to McNamara on the left and his cross was hooked home by Silva, who was once again left unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.

“That was poor from our point of view,” complained Walton.

“That was one of the poorest things that we did all night!  Two experienced centre halves just let the nine pull of the back of them.  There again, I’m sure it’s something we won’t do again. It was something I’d rather it be out there tonight than against Bearsted.”

Millwall sealed the victory by scoring their third goal with 43 minutes and 21 seconds on the clock.

Brown shrugged off the attentions of Atkins to release Harvey down the right touchline, the winger cut inside and crossed low for Olaofe, who took one touch before drilling a low left-footed drive across the keeper to find the bottom right-hand corner with his second clinical touch.

Walton added: “There again, disappointing from our point of view. We had the ball and we gave it away to them cheaply. That’s the annoying thing for me. When we gave the ball away and there’s no real pressure on the passer of the ball and we just pas it into them and they nicked it off us, attacked and scored.  It’s just poor from us really.”

Reflecting on his thoughts at the break, Walton said: “I thought we competed really well. I thought some of our phases of play were good, our shape was good and we just made three basic, terrible errors and when you’re playing against players’ like that, you make an error and they’ll score.

“None of the Millwall players have been on building sites today or in an office sweating and our players have got to get on trains from the city of London to come here to play, so I’m not disappointed with that (scoreline) at all.”

The Lions created their first attempt of the second half when Mason Saunders-Henry played the ball up to Olaofe, who flicked the ball into Silva, who played the ball back inside to Olaofe, whose right-footed daisy-cutter from 25-yards forced McEntegart to take a couple of steps to his right before going down to hold comfortably.

A big kick from Millwall keeper Ryan Sandford saw Silva nudge Hope off the ball and referee Paul Agboola didn’t deem this a foul and played on.  The ball was played out to winger Harvey, who cut inside and forced McEntegart to make a save to his right.

McEntegart then palmed over Olaofe’s powerful drive as he cut into the penalty area just 25 seconds later.

Brown fed Harvey, who cut inside Danny Fitzsimons and his low angled drive from a tight angle was gobbled up by the busy Beckenham keeper at his near post.

Beckenham Town went close to scoring in the 58th minute, following their second corner of the game.

Eku Deen, who started the game as a left-wing-back, before being pushed forward in the second half as his place was taken by substitute James Mensah, whipped in a deep corner from the right and Fitzsimons was left unmarked at the far post to plant his header agonisingly past the base of the far post.

Walton said: “I’m not going to say those clichés but it is something that we’ve worked on.  It’s that movement and it worked tonight. He’s got on the end of it and just a shame it didn’t creep in at the far post.”

When asked what former Greenwich Borough pair, Fitzsimons and McEntegart bring to the party, Walton replied: “Last year our Achilles heel was conceding 61 goals so hopefully this year we won’t concede nowhere near that mark so hopefully they’ll tighten us up at the back and give us a lot more experience at our level of football.”

One impressive performance from Beckenham was that of Stefan Cox but Walton didn’t want to highlight how good the pacey winger was tonight by adding, “I’m not going to speak too much about Stefan Cox!”

Brown’s long ball out of defence fell at Silva’s feet but a kind ricochet fell in Fitzsimons favour and trickled past the post for a Beckenham goal-kick.

Millwall left-winger Saunders-Henry chipped a free-kick over the crossbar from inside the D with 20 minutes left.

Saunders-Henry left Dean Carpenter on his backside before flashing a shot past the near post from 25-yards, before Amaluzon cut the ball onto his left-footand his drive was parried by McEntegart at his near post, before the keeper gathered at the second attempt.

Beckenham Town kept plugging away and they came close to grabbing a consolation when Deen’s corner from the right sailed over Adam Wadmore’s head but with his back to goal Carpenter’s overhead kick from 12-yards was comfortably caught by Sandford in the Millwall goal.

“What a great effort! I’d have loved to have that nestle in for everyone here tonight,” said Walton.

“Bits of magic like that are fantastic to me, I love watching things like that. A bit of class, it’s just a shame it didn’t nestle in the net.”

Millwall wrapped up their comfortable night’s work by scoring their fourth goal, timed at 43 minutes and 41 seconds.

Amaluzon skipped past three Beckenham defenders outside the box and as Nathan Paul pressed, the striker placed his left-footed shot across McEntegart to find the bottom far corner from 15-yards.

“The fella scored a great goal for their fourth goal,” hailed Walton. “I actually stood there and clapped. I’d actually pay the money to come in and watch that. What a lovely goal, the instinct he scored there, the lad.

“We lost the first half 3-0 and we changed it. It would’ve been nice to hold out for the second half and kept it at 0-0 for the second half.

“The lads are disappointed. I can see why they are because they’re footballers and you don’t want to lose any game but overall, I was really pleased. You’re not going to come up against teams like that in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division, no one is that good in our league so I’m pretty sure we’ll be in fine fettle when we start our campaign.”

Walton revealed there will be changes made to the squad for Saturday’s trip to play Phoenix Sports Reserves, while a “stronger side,” will be in action next Tuesday here against Gary Alexander’s Ashford United.

Beckenham Town finished in fourth-place last season and are expected to be one of the title challengers this time out, especially as manager Jason Huntley has been given the tools to bring success.

“We’ve been looked after and it’s being spent wisely,” revealed Walton.

“We’re not going to give people silly money. If they’re not good enough when they come here, then they’ll be asked to leave.

“There’s some good managers and good teams in this league and it’s very difficult to win it, very, very difficult.  I’ve been trying seven years and I haven’t got near it!”

Beckenham Town:  Michael McEntegart, Nathan Paul, Eku Deen, Danny Fitzsimons (Adam Wadmore 80), Jack Hope (Jason Mensah 59), Ike Robertson, Stefan Cox, Stefan Wright (Josh Owen 71), Richard Atkins (Marvin Alebiosu 68), Jamie Humphris (James Duckworth 68), Dean Carpenter.

Booked:  Ike Robertson 45, Stefan Cox 74

Millwall: Ryan Sandford, James Brown, Danny McNamara, Jethro Hanson, Sid Nelson (Michael Parker 46), Lazar Stojsavljevic (Jesse Debrah 41), Rob Harvey, Joe Wicks, JP Silva (Justin Amaluzon 67), Issac Olaofe (George Alexander 59), Mason Saunders-Henry.
Sub: Joe Wright

Goals: Issac Olaofe 4, 44, JP Silva 38, Justin Amaluzon 89

Attendance: 180
Referee: Mr Paul Agboola (Walworth, London SE17)
Assistants: Mr Ron Albert (Catford, London SE6) & Mr Ashley Barnes (Bromley)