Beckenham Town 2-3 Sevenoaks Town - Every team has a bit of a blip but we’ve had too many little blips and we’ve suffered from it, admits Beckenham Town coach Jason Clews

Tuesday 27th March 2018
Beckenham Town 2 – 3 Sevenoaks Town
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 27/03/2018 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Tuesday 27 March 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

SEVENOAKS TOWN manager Micky Collins says his players were asked big questions by Beckenham Town during this entertaining game at Eden Park Avenue.


The Oaks moved 10 points clear at the top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table on 66 points and have nine games left to play to claim the league title.

Sevenoaks Town raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 23 minutes courtesy of midfielder Brett Ince’s strike and a headed own goal from Beckenham midfielder Stefan Wright.

But third-placed Beckenham Town were given a lifeline when Billy Bennett headed in to his own goal and Wright scored at the right end in the second half to give his side a deserved equaliser.

Champions-elect Sevenoaks Town won it with 12 minutes remaining through Kenny Pogue’s header.

Beckenham manager Jason Huntley, who watched the second half in the mouth of the players tunnel, swore towards the referee and was sent off towards the end of this entertaining game as his club’s title hopes vanished with this defeat.

Sevenoaks Town went down to a 2-1 defeat at fourth-placed Whitstable Town at the weekend, while Beckenham Town lost 3-1 at home to Lordswood.

“A tough night, a really tough night,” said Collins after his side claimed their 20th league win of the season.

“They’re a really good side and at two-all I felt it could have gone either way.  I thought they were on top at that stage and we clung on and clung on and manged to get ourselves a third and see the game out.  It was a tough night’s work there.

“We slipped up on Saturday and didn’t play well enough and we were taken to the wire tonight.  It was a real tough game, a good three points tonight against a very good side.”

Beckenham Town’s long-serving stalwart Jason Clews said: “Disappointing because I thought we played really well and deserved more out of the game but disappointing result to take losing 3-2 at home against them.

“We asked the starting 11 for a reaction from Saturday, a 3-1 loss against Lordswood, which was an appalling performance from us. 

“That reaction was brilliant.  The result was hard to take for me because I know and Micky knows it was a hard game for them and we was unlucky not to win it or even get a draw from it but we have to take it on the chin.”

Sevenoaks Town took the lead with only four minutes and 11 seconds on the clock with the opening shot of the game.

Beckenham cleared their lines and Ince drilled a right-footed shot from 30-yards, which took a deflection of pressing left-back Jack Hope and the ball nestled into the bottom right-hand corner with goalkeeper Tyler McCarthy too slow reacting.

Collins said: “It takes the pressure off, especially after Saturday when we were a bit hit and miss and we weren’t good enough.  I actually thought we started the game well and once we got the first goal could we go on?

“The second one was fortuitous. It was a cross in the box and they’ve both mixed up, the midfielder and the defender and it’s an own goal but at 2-0 you think can we go on? Fair play to Beckenham, they didn’t allow us to!

Clews added: “I heard a deflection, disappointed that he’s been beaten from that distance, disappointing one to take. It was not a great start from us, 1-0 down against a top side. We knew it was going to be hard and the own-goal going in as well to make it 2-0 after 23 minutes, I thought it was going to be another tough night for us especially after the result on Saturday.”

Sevenoaks’ right-back Chris Edwards whipped in a cross which was met by Bennett’s free header, which sailed across the goal and past the far post.

Edwards stroked his right-footed free-kick from 26-yards around the wall and McCarthy got down on to his knees to make a save to his right.

Clews said: “Tyler’s come in. He’s a young, big lad and he commands his area really well and talks a lot to his back four, which has improved us for the last few games as well.”

Sevenoaks Town doubled their lead with 22 minutes and a second on the clock.

Edwards released winger Harrison Carnegie down the right and he whipped in a cross into the Beckenham box.  Wright jumped up with Adam Wadmore inside the box and looped his header into the right-hand corner of his own goal, 12-yards out.

“It’s a fluky goal, but you’d take it when you’ve just lost on Saturday to one of your title rivals,” admitted Collins.

“It’s a fluky goal, on another day they could’ve headed each other and it goes wide, it’s just one of those things.”

Clews added: “I think Wadmore has called for it and Stef’s said he’s called for it and Stef’s thought he’d take control of it and head it over the bar but obviously he’s miss-headed it and it’s gone in.

“At 2-0 it’s going to be bard to come back. I told the lads to dig in.  I thought it was against the run of play for us as well because our work-rate from us was good.

“Going 2-0 down after 23 minutes is going to be a hard night but we worked hard and battled back.”

Beckenham Town played with a diamond formation in midfield and Marvin Alebiousu (at the top of the diamond) set up Wright who shot through a crowd of players and past the far post from the edge of the Sevenoaks box.

Clews said: “We had a diamond with Junior Kaffo holding and I thought he was brilliant tonight in the role for us and Marvin Alebiosu at the top of the diamond with Stefan Wright and Adam Allen.

“We kept it quite narrow for them. We changed it from Saturday.  One Saturday we played with a bit of width and we changed it tonight to try to tighten up in midfield so we played with a narrow three and Marvin just behind the front two and it worked.  We pressed really well with quite high intensity and tempo.  When we had the ball we were moving it quite quickly, which we didn’t do on Saturday.”

Beckenham Town were gifted a lifeline through Bennett’s own goal, timed at 28 minutes and 18 seconds on the clock.

Alebiosu cut a corner back to Wadmore, who floated in a corner towards the near post and Bennett planted his header into the bottom near corner of his own goal from eight-yards.

Clews said: “We put the pressure on, I thought we deserved it.  The way we were playing, we knew we were going to come back and it was a very good response from the boys.”

Collins said: “If it lands at Corey Holder or Jack Miles or one of the natural defenders they’d probably head it away but it lands at Bill. It’s not his greatest forte, heading the ball, so there you go.

“There’s mistakes before that. We’ve given away a silly free-kick and then we’ve given it away for a corner and then we haven’t picked up a short corner so there’s three little incidents there that we haven’t dealt with and that’s annoying.

“When the ball’s come in, the ball shouldn’t come in, it should have been dealt with at source and it wasn’t.  You’re annoyed by that but fair play to them, they’ve worked a great little move and opened us up.”

Beckenham Town enjoyed a good spell of possession and good football. 

Wadmore hit a long ball out of defence which was knocked down by holding midfielder Junior Kaffo and 30-goal striker Richard Atkins cracked his right-footed half-volley screaming over the crossbar from 20-yards.

McCarthy launched a big kick straight down the middle of the pitch, Harry Ottaway knocked the ball down and Atkins stroked a low right-footed drive from 25-yards, which was held by Jack Bradshaw, low to his left in the 40th minute.

Clews said: “I thought the two up front (Atkins and Ottaway) worked really well for us. Harry is a good player, he holds the ball up well, good strong player, good in the air and good on the ball as well.   They worked well tonight, both of them.  I thought it’s hard to take that we’ve lost.”

Both Collins and Clews were asked their thoughts at the halfway point of the game.

“We needed to get the third,” said Collins. 

“We needed to go on and start the second half livelier because I thought they were on top at times and we needed to get a grip of it and we didn’t.  For another 10, 15, maybe 20 minute spell after half-time we never.  We got the ball up there and done bits and not enough. We didn’t dictate the game and I thought they did and I thought they dominated the game against us.”

Clews added: “Two-one down, we’re still in the game! We were getting on top of them and it showed in the second half when they came out, the reaction from them was brilliant.”

Sevenoaks keeper Bradshaw pulled off a great finger-tip save inside the opening 97 seconds of the second half.

Adam Allen made space for himself before driving a left-footed shot across the keeper towards the bottom far corner from 25-yards, only for Bradshaw to dive to his left to see the ball trickle around the upright.

Clews said: “We had a few chances.  I don’t know if he connected with it properly but the keeper’s made a good save, he’s a good goalkeeper Jack.”

Collins said: “That changes the game! I saw that one! That’s what Jack does. When called upon and he’s needed like that, he’s made a great save. That’s in, that’s in the corner and he’s got the feintest of touches to it, his fingers on it and put it wide.  That would have been a different result tonight had they equalised.”

Sevenoaks Town were to be denied in the 55th minute when Ince’s right-footed free-kick dipped just in front of McCarthy, who got down on his knees to push the ball around the post for a corner.

“It’s a great shot, a good save, good football all round,” added Collins.

Clews said: “I thought we gave a few too many free-kicks around the box.  We know the quality they’ve got around the box with Jason Thompson and Chris Edwards so we said not to give too many free-kicks around the edge of the box – so we did!”

Ike Feehi hit a long ball out of defence and Ottaway turned his man to drill his right-footed angled drive past the foot of the post from 25-yards.

Sevenoaks weathered the storm and missed a glorious chance to win the game in the 63rd minute.

Jason Thompson rolled the ball out to dangerous winger Carnegie, who burst down the line and whipped in a quality cross which Bennett somehow headed over from close range and Collins couldn’t believe he missed!

“That’s an easier chance, that’s easier than the header he scores an own goal for me. It’s hit him on the goal-line. It’s not his forte Bill. On the floor, he’s great but in the air it’s not his strongest point.”

Beckenham’s equaliser was fully deserved when it came in the 65th minute.

Wright cut in from the right wing at pace and cut through the heart of the Sevenoaks defence before stroking his deflected left-footed drive in to the top left-hand corner from 16-yards.

Clews said: “It’s on target from him, he said the first shot was initially on target so I think it did get a deflection. You can’t take that goal away from him because I thought the lad done well tonight on the right side of the three.  I thought he was causing them problems running it down there into the final third, so he’s done well.

“I thought that was our game for the taking but the quality of our finishing is not great at the moment. The lads are on a bit of a downer but that performance should set them up for Monday against Erith Town (away).”

Collins said: “Do you know what, I think we can stop it earlier, but I think you have to say credit to the lad because he’s run and run and run all night and he’s been a shining example for them. He’s kept going and kept going and run past four of us and he’s got his shot off and that was slightly deflected but at that moment they deserved to be back in the game because they had the ascendancy. 

“Sometimes as a team or a manager you have to take it on the chin and if we can ride this storm out and see what we can do.

“You’re not worried because what’s the worst case scenario? You’re going to lose, that’s football.  There’s only ever three results.  The worrying thing is how we react?  As a manager you look at players and think we’re top of the league for reason, it’s not a fluke.

“At 2-2, they’ve got the ascendancy, they’re the better side. Are we going to dig in and get a reaction from our players?  They’ve had a go and we’ve explained how we wanted to get in and the third goal proved it.”

Wadmore, who put in a good performance in defence, put in a free-kick into the Sevenoaks box but Atkins glanced his rising header across goal and sailing past the far post from eight-yards.

Atkins then whipped in a shot from the right-hand side of the penalty area which deflected past the far post as Beckenham Town went for the win that their attacking play deserved.

But Sevenoaks Town grabbed the winner, against the run of play, with 12 minutes remaining.

Thomson played the ball out to Carnegie on the right, who sped down the right wing before whipping in a great cross towards the near post and otherwise quiet Pogue rose to loop his free header into the far corner from 12-yards.

“It’s a good cross but Ken’s still got a lot of work to do,” said Collins.

“I’ve been critical of the forwards not getting across the near post and we’ve had three or four crosses tonight drop near post and no ones got anything on it so at half-time I’ve moaned and earlier in the second half we had another cross that went near post and we had no one there!

“I got irate at Ken and had a moan at him and thankfully he’s listened and being an ex-striker that’s what I did. I made near post and a lot of the time it goes over your had but there’s other moments you get something on it and he’s managed to get his head on it and it’s looped in.”

Clews said: “Harrison didn’t create too much but you can see his danger on the right hand side. Unfortunately, we probably should have doubled up on him in the second half because he’s a threat down that side. It was his cross for their third goal.

“I thought Pogue was a quiet forward tonight. I think Ike Feehi and Adam Wamore have done really well in that partnership today.

“I thought Jack Hope should’ve got there a little bit quicker, maybe hit him with a tackle to know he was there but he’s turned him and got a cross in and it’s one of those looping headers.

Bennett went close with a right-footed free-kick which only just cleared the Beckenham crossbar in the final seven minutes and Huntley was heard swearing at the referee whilst standing to the side of the goal and was sent down the tunnel by Wally James in the 88th minute.

Sevenoaks remain top of the pile going into Easter with 66 points from 29 games, followed by Crowborough Athletic (56 points from 27 games).

Beckenham Town follow in third-place with 56 points from 31 games, Whitstable Town are in fourth with 53 points from 26 games, so the promotion race is between Crowborough and Whitstable Town to see who will join Sevenoaks Town in the Bostik League next season.

Sevenoaks Town host AFC Croydon Athletic on Saturday, before making the trip to Crowborough Athletic on Easter Monday (both kicking-off at 3pm).

Collins said: “They’re all big ones.  I don’t look at Crowborough as a big one, they’re all big ones.  If we don’t get anything on Saturday, then it becomes a massive game on Monday but we’ve just got nine to go. We know the points total we need to secure it.

“It was a big question asked of our players tonight but a very good side and by my opinion for big parts of that game they dominated the game and credit to them.

“I thought they were really good and they gave it their all tonight to stay in the title race and they pushed us all the way.  I thought we reacted well and that’s why we came out with a narrow win.

“We need probably another seven wins out of nine to guarantee it.  We have to make sure we knuckle down and do our job. We haven’t even looked at the buffer. We haven’t looked to second place because we haven’t discussed it as a group.  We’ve looked to winning the title. I want to win it again and we want to get promoted as a club.”

Beckenham gave Jake Britnell a 10-minute cameo role after recovering from a knee injury as Clews hopes to snatch a promotion place as runners-up.

“Good to have Britnell back after his knee problem. We were a bit wary of putting him on but he said he was fine. He knows his body so we had to throw him on and it’s good to give him some minute and hopefully he should be alright for the next few games and build up his knee from there.

“Promotion race is still there.  I think we need to go on a run of seven games and win all seven games.  We’ve got to play Sevenoaks again and Whitstable. We need to take three points from both of these games if we want to have any chance of getting second or first.  It’s not mathematically over for us.

“Every team has a bit of a blip but we’ve had too many little blips and we’ve suffered from it,” admitted Clews after his side’s 11th league defeat.

“We play the top teams, we play really well.  No disrespect to the lower teams we’ve dropped our standards and dropped our levels and that’s where we’ve lost our points. It’s something that we’ve got to cut out!

“If we miss out this season no doubt we’ll be back stronger next season and we’ll make a right big go of it.

“We’re concentrating on finishing second this season or if there’s a mathematically chanced of finishing first, I think that’s a long way off but we’ll keep battling right until the end.”

Beckenham Town: Tyler McCarthy, Hassan Oshilaja (Frankie Warren 85), Jack Hope, Junior Kaffo (Jake Britnell 80), Adam Wadmore, Ike Feehi, Stefan Wright, Marvin Alebiosu (Jamie Humphris 85), Richard Atkins, Harry Ottaway, Adam Allen.
Subs: Freddie Parker, Josh Owen

Goals: Billy Bennett 29 (own goal), Stefan Wright 66

Booked: Tyler McCarthy 17, Adam Allen 20

Sent Off:  Jason Huntley 88 (manager)

Sevenoaks Town: Jack Bradshaw, Chris Edwards, Greg Benbow, Brett Ince (Osman Proni 62), Jack Miles, Corey Holder, Harrison Carnegie, Jason Thompson, Kenny Pogue, Byron Walker (Josh Froggatt 64), Billy Bennett.
Subs: Tom Ripley, Orlando Smith, Ben Wilson

Goals: Brett Ince 5, Stefan Wright 23 (own goal), Kenny Pogue 78

Booked: Harrison Carnegie 51, Greg Benbow 73

Attendance: 145
Referee: Mr Wally James (Sidcup)
Assistants: Mr Ross Mortimer (Sidcup) & Mr Valentine Anekwe (Bromley)

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