Beckenham Town 2-1 Tunbridge Wells - The league position is not what we wanted by any stretch of the imagination, says Beckenham Town assistant Billy Walton

Wednesday 20th March 2019
Beckenham Town 2 – 1 Tunbridge Wells
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 20/03/2019 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Wednesday 20 March 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

BECKENHAM TOWN assistant manager Billy Walton says a poor mentality has ensured the club have slipped out of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division title race into fifth-place.


Beckenham have collected 57 points from their 31 league games, 15 points adrift of leaders Corinthian, while Tunbridge Wells remain in the bottom five with 31 points from 30 games, 13 points clear of the relegation zone.

Tunbridge Wells took the lead through winger and long-throw specialist Tom Pearson, who notched his eighth goal of the season, before Beckenham Town grabbed an equaliser through Billy Bennett’s 40-yard curling free-kick.

The second half was much of a stalemate but Beckenham Town grabbed the winning goal with 11 minutes remaining through striker Luis Medina’s 12th goal of the season.

“Not particularly a good game. I don’t think performances at this stage of the season doesn’t really matter to be honest with you. It’s just about getting the points on the board, trying to get us a little bit higher in the table,” said Walton.

“We’re at home, we’re the home team. We don’t want to get beat at home. We want to take the game to them. That’s what we just tried to do.  I said to the players don’t draw. A draw is no good to us, get beat or win so we went for the win and changed the shape and got the win.”

Tunbridge Wells manager Jason Bourne said: “I think it’s the way it’s going at the moment actually.  I think we were well worthy of a point. I think it’s a fair assessment of the game.

“It was probably a little bit of a basketball game, it was going from one end to the other, either team could’ve nicked it.

“We were 1-0 up and we had momentum and a very suspect decision from the referee probably got them back into the game a little bit but no complaints, Beckenham are a good team.

“I’m always concerned about performances as well as the result. We played well and we’ll be absolutely fine.”

Beckenham Town created their first opening after only 74 seconds when Bennett swung in a free-kick and centre-half Jez Hammond rose to steer his header harmlessly wide.

Tunbridge Wells faired better though shortly afterwards when target man Michael Power released Pearson down the left. He was let in thanks to Beckenham right-back Nathan Paul slipping over inside his penalty area but Pearson lacked composure and lashed his shot high and wide of the far post from a tight angle six yards out.

Jamie Humphris – playing against his old club – released Ola Williams and the pair linked up down the right and Williams found space and took a touch before whipping in a cross into the box.  The ball was cleared out by Hammond and Jason Thompson chested the ball down before drilling a left-footed volley high over the crossbar from 20-yards.

Paul clipped a long ball over the top of combative Tunbridge Wells left-back Greg Skinner to put Medina through on goal.  Tunbridge Wells keeper Callum Hampson was brave when he came out and got clattered by Medina, who swept his shot across the face of goal from the right-hand side of the penalty area.  The keeper required treatment and referee Paul Agboola re-started play by dropping the ball back to the keeper.

Bourne said: “Callum got a knock, his arm is massive.  You’re talking about a suspected fracture. It happened really early so he done well to get through the game without too much fuss but now it’s stopped it’s blown up a little bit so it’s a little bit of a concern but these things happen in football.”

Walton said: “It’s not a collision, the balls on the floor.  The goalkeeper is a player like everyone else so it’s a 50-50 tackle. It’s never a foul in any shape or form. You’ll go mad if your centre-forward doesn’t go for that ball and he didn’t come out with his hands, he came out with his feet. The pair of them went for it with their feet. It was never a foul, never ever!”

Tunbridge Wells were a threat from Pearson’s long throws and that method brought their goalscoring chances.

Pearson launched the ball in from the left and the ball came out to Humphris out on the far post but his shot on the turn lacked power and bounced past the near post.

Beckenham Town keeper Michael McEntegart was called into action in the 21st minute.

Pearson played the ball out on the outside to Williams, who charged down the wing and from 20-yards forced McEntegart to get down low to his right to parry the ball.

Bourne said: “I think we set up a throw-on. We worked it well. It came back exactly how we set it up. Ola’s got a nice strike of the ball and it’s a good save. It’s nice when you see little bits of a training ground move when you set it up and it’s come off.  On another day, it’s a goal.”

Walton added: “As I say to you all the time, that’s what he’s there for! He’s a goalkeeper and he’s paid to keep the ball out of the net and that’s what he does really well.”

Tunbridge Wells smashed the stalemate by taking the lead with 26 minutes and 38 seconds on the clock.

Humphris found space down the left and whipped in a great ball into the Beckenham penalty area.  Power’s cushioned header bounced down across the face of goal and Pearson swept his right-footed shot nicely into the bottom left-hand corner from 12-yards.

Bourne said: “Tom’s on a rich vein of form at the minute, he seems to be scoring every week. We’re not complementing that with clean sheets and other people chipping in. At one point everyone was scoring with any sort of shot.

“Ton’s on great form, he’s working hard. He’s played at a higher level so he’ll be the first to say he’s adapted his game to this level.

“He’s a local lad and we want as many of them as possible with the right quality. It’s a lovey goal. Humphris, good link up play, Shaggy’s clever and Tom applied the finish. At that point, I thought it was well deserved.”

Walton said: “It’s so frustrating for me. It’s the only way that they’re going to score a goal against you.  A ball’s played up to Shaggy (Power), worked off of him. Runners off him and we had to go with the runners or get in front of Shaggy and stop him setting it.  We never done either and they scored.

“They scored a well-worked goal from their point of view but a terrible one from our point of view.”

Tunbridge Wells were denied a second goal with 34 minutes, courtesy of a vital save from McEntegart.

Pearson launched his fifth long throw into the penalty area, which was flicked on at the near post by Thompson and Humphris was lurking at the back post and his hooked volley towards the bottom near corner forced the keeper to make the save with his legs.

Bourne said: “Again, it was set-up really well. We got the timings of our runs right. It was a good save from the keeper again and at that point we were well on top to be fair.”

Walton added: “In all of my years I’ve known Tunbridge Wells, they’ve always got a long throw and nothings different from tonight! A long throw, just deal with the long throw and they don’t get that opportunity. They got the flick on and Humphris does what Humphris does best, misses!”

Beckenham Town equalised with a lucky goal, timed at 40 minutes and 24 seconds.

Bourne was not pleased when referee Paul Agboola awarded a free-kick against his side, despite claims that Williams’ blocked tackle won the ball cleanly.

Bennett swung in the resulting free-kick with his right-boot down the left touchline some 40-yards from goal.  The Tunbridge Wells defence failed to deal with the ball and no one got a touch to it and the ball bounced into the far corner.

“It’s one of them you see time and time again,” said Walton.

“It’s been whipped in, if everyone misses it, the goalkeeper gets bamboozled by people running across him and he just lets it go as well.  I’ve seen it many times in professional football. It’s a goal you see on Match of the Day. Everyone misses it and it goes straight in. I wouldn’t say it was something that we’ve worked on. It’s just very, very lucky.”

Bourne added: “It was really frustrating because we were right in front. The officials’ do a great job at this level so I’m definitely not one to moan about officials.

“It’s a lovely tackle by Ola, it’s a great tackle. He’s won the ball. It’s not a foul at all and when you’re luck is out, you don’t get all of the decisions. The ref’s seen it as a foul, that’s fine. I haven’t got a problem with that.

“It’s the way it goes at the minute. We get a bad decision against us, it’s gone past everyone.  I mean any touch by anyone it’s probably not a goal.

“Although Jake Hampson had a fantastic game, you sort of wonder if Perry Spackman is in the side  - he’s got stuck in traffic coming back from Devon today – if Perry is in the side he probably heads it away and the danger is gone.

“Jake had a fantastic game, so certainly no qualms about it at all but it’s certainly how it’s going.  A bad refereeing decision, a free-kick that eludes everyone and it trickles into the back of the net.”

Tunbridge Wells’ holding midfielder Jake Beecroft played the ball inside to Pearson but he dragged his shot past the left-hand post from 25-yards, which proved to be the last touch of the first half.

“I was disappointed at half-time,” said Walton, “because I didn’t think we played patricianly well.  We didn’t move the ball quickly enough and we didn’t get it to the dangerman.

“Stefan Cox absolutely mullered the left-back (Skinner) and how the lad hasn’t been booked all night for bringing him down, god only knows.

“I was disappointed that we didn’t get the ball out to him enough and we didn’t move the ball quickly enough to hurt them.”

Bourne added: “Just keep trying to play. We had a game plan, we executed it well. I thought we looked very stable and very solid. We looked a threat going forward so very much continue much of the same.”

Beckenham Town created an opening after 77 seconds into the second half when the ball was played to Carlos Branco Urquiza in the centre of the pitch.  Space opened up and his left-footed dipping drive from 35-yards was comfortably gathered by Callum Hampson on his knees.

“The second half was a little bit better than the first half.  We felt that they were dealing with our formation in the first half so we changed it. We went back to the three at the back and I thought we caused them a lot more problems, certainly they didn’t cause us any problems in the second half,” said Walton.

Bourne added: “I really didn’t think in the second half there was any clear cut chances for either team really.

“It was a boring game. None of it was played in front of goal, no one had a chance, no one did anything and that summed it up a little bit. A half chance and the keeper’s made a nice comfortable save.”

Chances were at a premium during a disappointing second half, with little excitement to entertain the 98 fans inside Eden Park Avenue.

There was a sign of promise in the 69th minute when Stefan Cox’s diagonal pass found substitute Jack Hope out on the right wing and he released Stefan Wright through on goal but his woeful shot flashed across the face of the penalty area and went out for a throw-in.

Pearson cut in from the right wing and played the ball inside to Beecroft, who made space on the edge of the Beckenham penalty area before drilling his shot into the trees.

Bourne admitted: “He nearly had someone’s windows out with that one!

“If there was a chance to have a shot, get it off and don’t be worried about missing, same with crosses into the box. If you get a chance, put it into the box, play percentages a little bit.  We didn’t need to keep playing. If we’ve got that policy people are going to miss shots.

“Beaks has got so much quality, when he gets those chances you imagine the net bulging but it weren’t there tonight.”

With the game destined to play out into a draw, Beckenham Town snatched the win with 33 minutes and 13 seconds on the clock.

Left-wing-back Greg Benbow released Urquiza down the left and he put it on a plate with a low cross towards the near post, which was tapped into the bottom left-hand corner by Medina from just two yards out.

“Best bit of football of the night, maybe two or three passes on the floor. We cut them open, a great near post cross and slotted it home. Simple, simple, simple, simple,” said Walton.

Bourne added: “Like I said, a game of not many chances. I thought a draw was about right. I thought we edged the first half. I think they probably edged the second half being fair.

“It was always going to be something like that. We had a couple of half chances even after the goal but I wouldn’t say we did enough to go and win but I don’t think we deserved to lose it either but that’s the difference between being at the top and the bottom.  It was a lovely ball in and a lovely finish.”

Tunbridge Wells almost grabbed an equaliser when substitute winger Chad Bryce-Borthwick floated in a cross from the left and Power steered his header off his marker and watched the ball go agonisingly past the near post.

“Shaggy is a good lad, we’re lucky to have him. Tony Russell (the Cray Wanderers manager) wanted him to go out and get some minutes. By his own admission he wasn’t as fit as he wanted to be. He’s a clever footballer. He’s a good lad, he’s good around everyone else and everyone feeds of that and the younger lads playing around him will lean so that’s the idea of having him here,” said Bourne.

“I think from where I was the header was probably going in. It’s just nipped off the defender. When things aren’t quite getting there, those little things, maybe it takes a deflection off someone and it goes in. It was a half-chance.”

Walton added: “There again, nothing! They didn’t cause us one problem in the second half, not one and I think we struggled a bit to cause them problems. I think we caused them a few more problems with our movement up front than what they did.”

Punjab United have slipped into relegation trouble with one win in their last 10 games and they arrive at Eden Park Avenue on Saturday sitting in the bottom three with 21 points with nine games left.  They are three points clear of Rusthall, who are in the drop zone with soon to be relegated Croydon (seven points).

“We played Punjab and it was one of the worst games that I’ve ever witnessed in this league from both teams so hopefully we can get them here on our pitch and play a lot better and get a result,” said Walton.

“The league position is not what we wanted by any stretch of the imagination. We’ve underachieved from where we was from the start we had. 

“I think it’s down to mentality, mentality from everyone.  When we played the lesser sides, if I can call them the lesser sides, we sort of came up short.  I personally can’t put my finger on it. We (the management team) have enthusiasm coming out of our earholes and I turn up every week and people come here and they see the pitch, they take photos of it and they come here and raise their game.

“If we match them with their work-rate and effort, we end up winning the game.”

Tunbridge Wells welcome Fisher to Culverden Stadium on Saturday, having come away from Rotherhithe with a 1-0 defeat on 9 March.

Corinthian lead the table with 72 points, while Fisher are in second-place with 68 points, having played a game more.

“Looking forward to it.  We played Fisher recently so it’s nice to have teams consecutively because you can have a little look at each other and find out about yourself really. When you’re playing each other close together can you expose their weaknesses?

“They’re flying at the top of the table so it will be a good test for us.  On the Pools coupon everyone’s got Fisher to win. Based on what we did against them, I fancy us, I really do.  I think you look at the league table, it’s not ideal but we’re well equipped. We’ve got some good players, we’ve got a lot of local players, which I love. We can’t be too disappointed with defeats, especially when you’re playing top teams like Beckenham.”

Beckenham Town: Michael McEntegart, Nathan Paul, Greg Benow, Stefan Wright, Jez Hammond, Luqman Adensini, Billy Bennett, Carlos Branco Urquiza (Jimmy Rogers 80), Ross Wornham (Jack Hope 46), Luis Medina, Stefan Cox.
Subs: Josh Owen, Francesco Spinelli, Shameek Farrell

Goals: Billy Bennett 41, Luis Medina 79

Booked: Luis Medina 82

Tunbridge Wells: Callum Hampson, Ola Williams, Greg Skinner, Jake Beecroft, Jake Hampson, Lewis Mingle, Tom Pearson (Chad Bryce-Borthwick 83), Ben Davisson, Michael Power, Jason Thompson (Dane Moore 83), Jamie Humphris (Alexx Kensall 57).
Subs: Josh Biddlecombe, Perry Spackman

Goal: Tom Pearson 27

Booked: Greg Skinner 55, Ben Davisson 60

Attendance: 98
Referee: Mr Paul Agboola (Walworth, London SE17)
Assitants: Mr Kuba Bogucki (Balham, London SW17) & Mr Ronald Albert (Catford, London SE6)