Beckenham Town 3-0 Tunbridge Wells - This league is hard when you’re top and everyone is chasing you as we found out last year. We were 14 points clear and it’s very, very difficult as Tunbridge Wells found out tonight, says Beckenham Town's Billy Walton

Tuesday 20th October 2020
Beckenham Town 3 – 0 Tunbridge Wells
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 20/10/2020 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Tuesday 20 October 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

BECKENHAM TOWN assistant manager Billy Walton hailed the first-class performance from his side after comfortably beating leaders Tunbridge Wells at Eden Park Avenue.

Beckenhan Town were the best side on the night with striker Tunde Aderonmu taking his goalscoring tally up to 10 goals for the season with a first-half brace before substitute striker Steven Townsend notched his fourth of the season to put the icing on the cake inside the final couple of minutes.

Beckenham Town were back to their best and have re-emerged back in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division title race after inflicting the first league defeat on a Tunbridge Wells side, who simply failed to turn up tonight and suffered their first league defeat in 10 games.

“Really pleased, really pleased. We’ve come here today, we know how difficult it is when you’re league leaders. We were in the same position last year and when you’re undefeated and you’re league leaders you’ve got a target on your back and to a man we were the best side to a man all over the pitch,” said Walton, whose side have won their last three outings after losing 5-1 to Chatham Town.

“We have been playing, even against Chatham who beat us fair and square. I learned a lot that day me personally as a coach and someone who loves football. I watched and I learned and I took a few things out of what they do and tried to implement it with us and our performances since then we have got better, and better and better and I think tonight was the icing on the cake.”

Tunbridge Wells were without eight-goal left-winger Euan Sahadow, who is their main threat. Right-winger Regan Corke was left in Archie Johnson’s pocket so the away side offered very little attacking threats, which left Miles Cornwell and Josh Froggatt often isolated up top.

“Everyone knows everyone’s strengths and weaknesses in this league if you’ve been around it enough. I like the lad, their winger (Corke), he’s a good player. Obviously we’ve done our homework. You’re going to get away from you once or twice but I think we snubbed him out really well,” said Walton.

Beckenham Town set the tone right from the off and started the game on the front foot and created their first opening inside the opening six minutes.

Ryan Hall drilled a left-footed drive deflecting just past the foot of the far post from 18-yards after the ball came out to him after the visiting keeper punched Johnson’s cross from the right.

A mistake from Tunbridge Wells’ right-back Jack Hope opened the door for Aderonmu, whose pacey 30-yard run ended in his left-footed drive from just inside the box being beaten away by goalkeeper Aaron Lee-Wharton.

“I expected him to score because he’s in great form and I expected him to score there. I think Jack might’ve been playing for us,” added Walton.

Lee-Wharton then made a comfortable save from striker Tyrone Pink’s right-footed angled drive from the corner of the box as Beckenham’s front three made their attacking intent shown during the opening 10 minutes.

Tunbridge Wells’ first attempt on goal arrived in the 17
th minute but centre-half Robbie Bissett sent his left-footed free-kick sailing harmlessly over the top of the far post from 35-yards as Australian goalkeeper Michael McEntergart enjoyed an untroubled night’s work.

Hall’s sublime first time through ball sent Pink on his way and his right-footed angled drive was expertly tipped around the post by Lee-Wharton, when the Beckenham attacker tried to find the bottom right-hand corner.

Walton has high hopes for Pink, who has taken his chance with Stefan Cox ruled out through suspension.

“He’s a talented lad Tyrone, he’s a threat out wide or through the middle. He’s two-footed, which is a nightmare to defenders because people shut him down on his left but he’s a little like Stefan Cox. People say ‘get him on his left’ but he can strike the ball with his right-foot as well, so you don’t know whether he’ll go left or right and he’s capable either way with either foot. He’s going to get better and better the lad.”

Beckenham smashed the corner count by 9-3 and Johnson’s deep corner towards the far post was headed clear by James Huggins and fell at Hall who drove a left-footed drive flashing past the right-hand post from 35-yards.

Beckenham kept banging on the door and they created a good chance in the 26
th minute.

Hall fed Johnson down the left-channel and he put in a great low cross towards Joe Nwoko, who spun Bissett and placed his shot just past the foot of the left-hand post from 12-yards.

Midfielder Bertie Valler - a late replacement for Danny Phillips who suffered a knee injury during the warm-up - played a give-and-go with Aderonmu but dragged his shot past the near post from outside the Tunbridge Wells box.

Obviously, dominant Beckenham Town deserved their goal when it came with 34 minutes and 37 seconds on the clock, following their sixth corner of the game.

Johnson swung the ball in from the right with his left-wand and Aderonmu easily jumped up and buried his downward header through a crowd of players just a couple of yards out at the back post.

Walton said: “It’s a corner that we all say to them, if you put it in the right area you’ve got a great chance and the delivery was spot on. You’ve got a great chance of scoring from two-yards out, if it’s delivered into the right areas. It puts a lot of pressure on you.”

Tunbridge Wells’ best chance of the night, however, followed in the 41
st minute when Bissett played the ball into Froggatt, who rode Hall’s challenge, before Huggins played in striker  Cornwell (in behind Beckenham centre-half Rob Carter) but drove his shot into the side netting.

“Sums up our performance,” said Walton.

“To keep the league leaders and undefeated team and you have to think when they’ve had a shot at your goal. I don’t think they’ve had a shot all night. I can’t remember a shot all night. Just think that’s how good we’ve played and to actually score three goals against a team that have conceded six, so we’ve scored three past them - an absolutely first-class performance!”

Beckenham Town had the security of a second goal when it arrived three minutes and 37 seconds into stoppage time and goalkeeper Lee-Wharton was at fault.

A poor clearance from the keeper was gobbled up and the impressive Pink released Aderonmu down the left-channel. Hope failed to press on the corner of the box and Aderonmu drilled his left-footed shot which should have been caught at the near post by Lee-Wharton, who allowed the powerful shot go through him to find the near corner.

“The build-up was a nice bit of football. We played some good football tonight, back to gradually getting to the Beckenham Town way of passing and playing and entertaining people and that was a very good goal,” said Walton.

“It was a great shot, there again, he’s two-footed. He can strike the ball on his left and he can strike the ball on his right.

“I think the goalkeeper, it went straight through him head high. If that would’ve been our goalkeeper I would’ve been disappointed but it was a great strike, he hit it so hard.”

When asked about Aderonmu’s 10-goal haul this season, Walton joked: “I think it must be all of the burgers he’s eating! He owns a burger bar in Peckham, I think he eats most of them.”

Tunbridge Wells’ manager Richard Styles declined a post-match interview at the stadium so only Walton was in a position to reveal his half-time thoughts.

He said: “Just keep on doing what you’ve done in the first half because we dominated the first half. Don’t drop into that you’re 2-0 up and invite them on.”

For Tunbridge Wells, this was such a poor performance, this is when you want to get an apology out of the manager during a post-match interview.

Tunbridge Wells did create an opening inside the opening nine minutes of the second-half but they certainly missed Sahadow tonight.

Nurden (who usually links up well with Sahadow and suffered from frustration tonight) threw the ball in from the left towards the near post for centre-half Ryan Cheek to poke his weak shot towards the bottom near corner, which McEntetagett easily gathered low to his right.

George Blake fed the ball into Froggatt, who wanted to aim for the top right-hand corner from the edge of the Beckenham box but he lashed his shot on the turn over the bar on the hour-mark.

The second-half was mainly a stalemate but the game did liven up during the final 15 minutes.

“I was a bit disappointed for long spells of the second half,” admitted Walton.

“I think we panicked a little bit in possession instead of playing it out and passing it out, which we did in the first half. We started giving it back to them and luckily for us really in certain aspects really they gave it straight back to us.”

A slip from Bissett some 40-yards from goal let in Nwoko, whose pace took him into the box and he was denied by a flying save at his near post by Lee-Wharton as the Beckenham attacker tried to drill his shot into the top near corner from the right-hand side.

“I was willing Joe to score. He’s a threat. He got a good goal on Saturday (during our 7-0 win at Punjab United) and he’s very confident and I was expecting him to score,” added Walton.

Hall flashed a left-footed angled drive across the keeper and past the far post from 25-yards, when he was given space on the left-hand side.

Beckenham Town sealed an easy three points by scoring their third goal of the night with 42 minutes and 47 seconds on the clock, following a well-worked three-man move.

Substitute midfielder Charlie Busby fed the ball into Pink, whose dinked pass played in Townsend in oceans of space through the middle and he took a touch before placing his right-footed shot past Lee-Wharton to score with a clinical finish from 12-yards.

“That’s what Townsend is all about,” said Walton.

“Steve came on, you know what Steve’s about if he does get a chance, he’s another one, he normally puts it away, especially from there. My nan could’ve taken it around the keeper and scored from there.”

Tunbridge Wells’ holding midfielder James Huggins delivered a free-kick from the halfway line at the death but Bissett’s far-post header was going wide by the time that McEntegart gathered the ball as Tunbridge Wells’ six-match unbeaten run (in all competitions) came to a sorry end.

“It was an all-round, very, very good performance against a team that was top of the league undefeated,” said Walton.

“What more can we ask for? A 3-0 win against the league leaders, man-for-man, all round the pitch. No Tunbridge Wells person, supporter, manager, whoever they’ve got down here tonight can’t say Beckenham weren’t the better team. We were by far the better team!”

Tunbridge Wells surrendered lost top spot to Corinthian, who came away from Erith & Belvedere with a 5-1 win tonight, while Sheppey United beat Lordswood 1-0 at Holm Park.

Corinthian lead the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 24 points from nine games and Tunbridge Wells are second with 23 points from 10 games.

Sheppey United are third with 23 points from eight games, Chatham Town are fourth with 21 points from eight games, Beckenham Town are fifth with 21 points from 11 games while Hollands & Blair are sixth with 18 points from nine games.

Beckenham Town travel to Sheppey United in a mouth-watering clash between two good sides on Saturday.

Walton added: “It’s not good enough! We want to be top. I don’t care being fifth and anyway like we knew last year you don’t get anything being top in October - November, December, January, February or March - you’ve got to be top on the 30 April.

“This league is hard when you’re top and everyone is chasing you as we found out last year. We were 14 points clear and it’s very, very difficult as Tunbridge Wells found out tonight. You’ve come here, you’re undefeated and you’re playing a Beckenham side with their tails up and it’s difficult and that’s what we’ve got to do on Saturday and go there and try to make it as difficult for Sheppey.

“But I don’t want to be top five, I want to be first. It doesn’t matter to me coming second.”

Beckenham Town: Michael McEntegart, Harvey Brand, Archie Johnson, Junior Kaffo, Callum Henry, Rob Carter, Ryan Hall (Ike Robertson 87), Bertie Valler (Charlie Busby 75), Tyrone Pink, Tunde Aderonmu (Steven Townsend 60), Joe Nwoko.
Subs: Danny Phillips, Phil Wilson

Goals: Tunde Aderonmu 35, 45, Steven Townsend 88

Booked: Callum Henry 53

Tunbridge Wells: Aaron Lee-Wharton, Jack Hope, James Nurden, James Huggins, Ryan Cheek, Robbie Bissett, Harry Hudson (Lucas Murrain 84), George Blake (Richard Atkins 74), Miles Cornwell, Josh Froggatt (Tom Menditta 63), Regan Corke.

Booked: Jack Hope 63, George Blake 71

Attendance: 285
Referee: Mr Dan Blades
Assistants: Mr Tom Nicholls & Mr Mark Jenkins