Beckenham Town 0-1 Rusthall - It's been a great night, says Rusthall boss Jimmy Anderson

Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Beckenham Town 0 – 1 Rusthall
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 23/11/2021 19:45

Kent Senior Trophy Second Round
Tuesday 23 November 2021
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

RUSTHALL manager Jimmy Anderson says reaching the Kent Senior Trophy Quarter-Finals by causing an upset by beating Beckenham Town is up there as a really good performance from his young side.


The Rustics appear to have turned the corner during the past 10 days, keeping three clean sheets against Tunbridge Wells (1-0) and Tower Hamlets (0-0) to climb up into the bottom four in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 11 points from 16 games, three points clear of the relegation zone where Lordswood and Tower Hamlets currently are.

Beckenham Town manager Jason Huntley made five changes to the side that beat Milton United 3-2 in The FA Vase Second Round at the weekend and his side put in a lacklustre performance here at Eden Park Avenue against a resilient and determined Rusthall side that caused a cup upset, courtesy of Tommy Lawrence’s glancing header.

Beckenham Town were unbeaten at home in eight league games and are in third-place in the Combined Counties League Premier Division South table with 32 points from 13 games, fighting it out for promotion along with Walton & Hersham and Badshot Lea, who were both knocked out of The FA Vase at the weekend by Tunbridge Wells and Stansfeld respectively.

“Thoroughly deserved. I thought from start-to-finish, the organisation, the shape, I spoke to you two weeks ago when we played Tunbridge Wells and we’ve worked on shape. We changed personnel today and it still worked. We nullified their attack with hardly any shots so yes, it was a great performance,” said Anderson.

Huntley sent out coach Phil Wilson for post-match media duties, with Billy Walton currently suspended.

“Not good enough, not good enough all over the park,” admitted Wilson.

“The start was too slow, there was no quality throughout the game. Playing a home game against anybody, I don’t want to mean any disrespect to Rusthall, whoever we’re playing at home I expect us to have shots and chances. I don’t think their keeper has had one real save to make in the whole game.

“We made five changes but the five changes we are bringing people in like Mudiago Wanogho, who has played most games this season and wasn’t available on Saturday. We’ve got a lot of midfielders who you can still class as first-team players for this level and even the level above so we need to give everyone minutes but no one has come off the pitch and done themselves any justice today.”

Reflecting on making four changes to the side that were held by basement side Tower Hamlets, Anderson replied: “We’ve got a small squad at the minute. We’ve got two or three boys who are out long-term, so we’ve got a squad of about 16 players at the minute, so we freshened it up and gave some boys that haven’t had much game time recently, some game time and it worked perfectly. They all performed well and they ran themselves into the ground.”

Beckenham Town’s shooting tonight was woeful with most of their shots ending up in adjacent back gardens.

The home side’s first chance arrived inside the opening five minutes when ineffective targetman Alfie Bloomfield fed the ball to right-winger Shameek Farrell, who cut inside and lashed his left-footed drive high, high, high into the trees from 20-yards.

Both sides were cancelling each other out as their measured up playing a 4-2-3-1 formation, but Rusthall, a side that like to play out from the back, scored the only goal of the game in the 19th minute.

Six-goal striker Luke Adams cut the ball onto his left foot before putting it on a plate for Lawrence, who nipped in front of Beckenham’s right-back Bertie Valler to glance his header across goalkeeper Nick Blue into the bottom far corner from eight-yards out.

“A great goal, a great goal,” hailed Anderson.  “Tommy’s met it well, put it right into the bottom corner and it was lovely.

“It’s a cold night, you’re trying to find your feet. When we came here two or three seasons ago and we beat them 2-0, their game plan, you could hear it on the sideline, the first 15 minutes for them is massive.  They try to get a foothold into the game and build off of that so we knew that we had to, not kill the game but set our own tempo and I thought we kept the ball really well in the first 30 minutes.  I thought after that they grew into the game for the last 15.”

Wilson added: “I think Bertie Valler’s been caught flat-footed, the ball’s in the air a long time, so the fellas ended up with a run on him and I think it’s poor defending really.”

Beckenham Town’s holding midfielder Nick Curran played the ball inside to Farrell (a player who loves to cut in from the right wing and cross with his left-foot) but Rusthall’s central midfielder Jack Smith pressed him and ensured the ball deflected over the crossbar.

Valler delivered a deep corner from the right and Kaffo steered his header straight into the gloves of Wealands at his near post for a comfortable save at the halfway point of the first-half.

Beckenham’s 10-goal striker Tunde Aderonmu was playing wide on the left, with Bloomfield in the centre and Farrell on the right with the diminutive Freddie Nyhus playing in the number 10 role.

Nyhus played the ball out to Aderonmu and his cross sailed over Rory Salter’s head and Farrell cut inside the left-back and flashed a cross across the penalty area and Aderonmu lashed his first-time shot looping over the crossbar from 16-yards out.

“I mean Tunde is a big goal threat most of the time but he’s not been threatening enough in front of goal tonight. I don’t think he’s hit the target all night,” admitted Wilson.

“The kids in the gardens next door will be happy because of the footballs going over there.

“It’s just a lack of quality and I think that comes with the tempo. I think when you start games slow and you do things in second gear then you’re not going to have quality. The passing wasn’t crisp enough during that first-half and the shots replicate the quality of the build-up play really.”

Anderson added: “I thought they were quite wasteful in the first half. They had a couple of half-chances but didn’t really test our goal at all, didn’t really hit the target.  I think they lost more balls in the back field.”

Kaffo was allowed to drive straight through the heart of the pitch before unleashing a 25-yard drive which flashed just past the foot of the left-hand post, with goalkeeper Wealands diving to his right.

“I think it was right to shoot there. It was probably the closest we got to goal with that shot. I know Junior can hit the target from there. He didn’t and we haven’t taken a chance to work the keeper,” added Wilson.

The ever-so hardworking Adams supported his back-four by getting back to slide in to foul Bloomfield inside the D, the tall striker failing to dig the ball from under his feet.

Aderonmu teed up Farrell, who lashed his left-footed drive sailing over the top of the left-hand post from 22-yards, which was the story of Beckenham’s poor finishing.

Both Wilson and Anderson were asked their thoughts at the break.

Wilson said: “I mean the tempo was commented on mostly. It’s not often you play against a team that want to play football and credit to Jim, he’s getting Rusthall playing. It’s not the first time. We knew how they were going to come down and play today and we knew they were going to keep the ball but I think where that’s almost like a breather for us in terms of not having the constantly defend long balls thrown in.

“We weren’t quick enough when we had the ball because they sat back in. We weren’t dynamic enough in our movement to try to get the ball from the defenders.”

Anderson added: “It’s a cup game on a Tuesday night away to Beckenham, you’ve got to turn up and put on a show and I felt that we did and I just said ‘look, they’re going to come out and throw everything at it,“ to try to get themselves back into the game.

“The first 10-15 minutes is crucial that we do the right things, we didn’t make mistakes. The players are enjoying their football at the minute and that’s the main thing. We’ve got a young team and that’s what I’m all about, you’ve got to tell these players to enjoy it otherwise they think too much and they over complicate it.”

Beckenham Town went close to equalising after only 191 seconds into the second half when Aderonmu floated in a cross from the left, which was retrieved by Farrell on the by-line and he cut the ball back for Curran to hit a first-time shot which screamed across the keeper and past the far post from 16-yards.

Rusthall should have doubled their lead on the counter-attack in the 51st minute.

Lawrence was inside his own half and split open left-back Dami Bada to put winger Armando Luismyro Pires Costa through on goal.  He whipped a shot across Blue, who dived low to his right and got a strong right hand to the shot to push the ball away.

“It’s a great save, it’s a great save,” said Anderson.

“He could’ve squared it to either Franck Ndouga or Luke Adams in the box but he's taken on the shot and it’s a great save.

“I think it was probably against-the-run-of-play at that time. It was one of those long balls you hit them on the counter and if it goes in the game’s over probably. It's just unfortunate and the keeper’s made a great save.”

Wilson, a goalkeeper himself, added: “Bluey’s been fantastic for us all season. It was a good save but I expect him to make saves like that.  I think it’s a great save. It doesn’t shock me because Bluey’s probably been our most consistent player all season.”

Huntley brought on Rob Carter and switched to three at the back and the home side enjoyed plenty of possession, playing at a much better tempo, but they couldn’t break down a well-organised Rusthall defence, which was well marshalled by Ryan Styles and James White.

“They can have plenty of the ball, it needs to go in the back of the net and defensively our work-rate and energy, our boys got amongst them and closed them down, we were in their face and just made it hard to play. It’s up there as a really good performance,” added Anderson.

Carter floated a free-kick into the Rusthall penalty area and Carter flicked his header wide in the 65th minute, before Louis Anderson came off the Rusthall bench to take up his usual right-back position, which pushed left-winger Taylor Robinson in to a lone striker role and Adams playing behind him.

Huntley brought on Danny Waldren in an attempt to salvage something from the gamer and he was involved with a decent opening.

Waldren was just inside the Beckenham half and he played the ball towards the edge of the box which Aderonmu knocked the ball down for Nyhus to smash his first time left-footed shot sailing over the crossbar from 25-yards.

“I expect us to (have plenty of the ball) because they’ve got something to hold onto, so there’s no reason for them to come at us as much,” explained Wilson.

“I thought they countered quite well at times and it’s just in the final third, we got the ball into areas but just decisions in and around the final third. We just didn’t do enough to create that chance.”

Bloomfield had his moment to shine in the 76th minute but he failed to take it from 12-yards as Beckenham Town’s pressure should have resulted in a goal.

Curran delivered a deep cross from the left which found Bloomfield unmarked at the far post and he took a touch before sweeping his left-footed shot straight at Wealands, who made a comfortable save at his near post.

“He probably had a bit more time than he thought. I thought he could’ve brought himself more inside a little bit more to get the shot off or even from that angle if you flash it across goal possibly but if you go near post it’s an easier one for the keeper to save. If he goes across the keeper, he’s got to make a save but perhaps not holding it and you might get a follow up there.”

Bloomfield was one of five changes tonight and Wilson revealed he wasn’t pleased with the former Bromley Academy and AFC Croydon Athletic targetman.

“Poor tonight for what we know what he can do.  He came in earlier on (in the season) when Tunde was suspended and he’s a big boy and he can be a big threat but his hold up play today wasn’t good enough. The ball didn’t stick enough to him. I think he’ll be disappointed with how he’s played.”

Rusthall created their third chance of the game inside the final four minutes when Wealands launched a big kick upfield and Adams played the ball into substitute Charlie Clover, who charged towards goal and after ignoring fellow substitute Dan Haastrup, who was in space on the left-hand side, he flashed his left-footed shot across Blue and flashing past the far post from 25-yards out.

Wealands actually made a comfortable near-post save inside stoppage time after Waldren drove a cross towards the far post towards Farrell and Curran but Curran could only steer his header straight at the keeper.

Wilson admitted a slow start proved to be their downfall as Beckenham Town suffered only their fourth defeat in 23 games in all competitions this season.

“I think it’s all down to the start. I think our tempo in the second half was much better and that was the biggest improvement,” said Wilson.

“The quality didn’t come with that tempo in the second half but I think if we start the first-half with that tempo, it puts them under a bit more pressure.

“It’s a cold Tuesday night in November, it’s very hard to get warmed up and as the tempo improved, the quality just wasn’t there tonight.

“It’s not a cup competition that we wanted to take lightly. We’ve moved over to a more Surrey based league. We’ve got a lot of ties within Kent football, we like playing against and it’s nice to come back and play against opposition we’re used to playing and people we know, so the motivation shouldn’t be lacking tonight regardless of what competition it is.  Momentum is really important at this time of the season.”

Anderson added: “In the last three games Charlie hasn’t really made a save but what he’s doing is absolutely superb.  My defence, it’s not just my defence what’s defending very well, it’s the whole team. 

“We’re working hard and three clean sheets for a team that’s in the bottom four of our league is probably unheard off, considering the amount of goals (43 in the league) that we’ve conceded before that.

Anderson added: “I thought they’re a great side, that’s the thing. They’re going to challenge for their league, 100%.  I’ve got a lot of respect for them. I know they made changes today and we made changes but I thought on the night we were the better team and we thoroughly deserved the win.”

With the remaining Kent Senior Trophy ties taking place on Saturday, Rusthall are without a game but travel to sixth-placed side Erith & Belvedere on Tuesday 30 November.

“It’s been a great night and it’s up there as a really good performance,” said Anderson.

“Rusthall don’t often say (we’re in the Quarter-Finals), it doesn’t happen too much.  It’s a great distraction away from the league and we’ve got to keep building and plugging away.

“It’s too early to say (this is a turning point), hopefully. The boys are buying into it. There’s confidence amongst the group.  We’ll probably add a couple more players to it. It’s a great time to have players.  Fingers crossed it’s a turning point.

“We’ve got a tricky run of fixtures coming up, we’ve got Erith & Belvedere, then we’ve got Deal at home (4 December), they’re both flying this season and then we’ve got Crowborough (away) in another cup (Challenge Cup, 7 December).

“Erith & Belvedere have managed to get my old striker Danny Lear on loan from Ramsgate, so it will be lovely to see him. He’s a great kid.  They’re going to be a good side, they’ve got fantastic players, the pitch is lovely as well. We’ve got to turn up and we’ve got to perform and have the right attitude, work-rate and desire and then who knows what can happen.”

Thirty points usually keeps club in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division for another season.

“It’s a long old season ahead, we’re finding our feet.  You’ve asked me whether this is the turning point? I’m saying we don’t know, maybe.  If 30 points is the target what I should aim for then we’ll aim for that. We just want to keep plugging, plugging away, take game-by-game and see what we get.”

Beckenham Town welcome Colliers Wood United to Eden Park Avenue on Saturday, before travelling to Banstead Athletic seven days later before their showdown in Chislehurst against Glebe in The FA Vase Third Round on 11 December.

“I think a reaction is a key word going into Saturday. We need to have a positive reaction from that performance tonight,” said Wilson.

“We’ve started a little bit slow in the last few games and Milton surprised us on Saturday with how well they started.  We started to control the game again after 20 minutes but we’ve got to set the tempo on Saturday and we’ve got to play at our tempo and not let teams come here and dictate, like Rusthall did tonight.

“Glebe’s my old club. We’re looking forward to it. We’ll go there and the pitch is always good at Glebe. More importantly, we’ve got two league games before that so it won’t be at the forefront of our minds at the minute.  The league is the most important thing and we need to make sure we get through Colliers Wood and Banstead before that Glebe game.  When it comes around, I’m sure it will be a great day. I’m sure it will get a good crowd, hopefully and I’m confident of a win.”

Beckenham Town: Nick Blue, Bertie Valler (Rob Carter 53), Dami Bada (Tyrone Pink 75), Nick Curran, Callum Henry, Mudiago Wanogho, Tunde Aderonmu, Junior Kaffo (Danny Waldren 71), Alfie Bloomfield, Freddie Nyhus, Shameek Farrell.

Booked: Junior Kaffo 45, Freddie Nyhys 70

Rusthall: Charlie Wealands, Jake Hampson, Rory Salter, Tommy Lawrence (Dan Haastrup 75), Ryan Styles, James White, Taylor Robinson, Jack Smith, Luke Adams, Franck Ndouga (Charlie Clover 71), Armando Luismyro Pires Costa (Louis Anderson 62).
Sub: Callum Adonis-Taylor

Goal: Tommy Lawrence 19

Booked: Franck Ndouga 34, Luke Adams 45, Ryan Styles 78

Attendance: 190
Referee: Mr Nicholas Monkman
Assistants: Mr Steven Goldup & Mr Hamish Louie