Erith Town 0-4 Beckenham Town - If we can improve 20% we'll be back challenging next year, insists Beckenham Town assistant Billy Walton

Monday 30th April 2018
Erith Town 0 – 4 Beckenham Town
Location Oakwood, Old Road, Crayford, Kent DA1 4DN
Kickoff 30/04/2018 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Monday 30 April 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakwood

BECKENHAM TOWN assistant manager Billy Walton says it was a shame that his club failed to finish in the top two promotion slots this season.

Jason Huntley’s men had to settle for a top-four finish in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table after completing their 38 game campaign with 69 points on the board tonight, but it will be Sevenoaks Town (85 points with one game left) and Whitstable Town (79 with one game left) that will be playing Bostik League football in August.

Beckenham Town thrashed an Erith Town side that have finished in the bottom four for the second successive season, finishing on 39 points, eight points more than last season, finishing with one win in their last 13 games.

Beckenham Town went into the half-time interval a goal up through left-back Archie Johnson’s fourth goal for the club, before they rattled in three second half goals from Stefan Wright, Marvin Alebiosu and substitute Josh Owen.

There was even time for 43-year-old coach Jason Clews to make a three minute cameo appearance up front after coming off the bench at the end of Beckenham’s 21st league win of the season.

“I was really pleased with the way we played.  We didn’t take the game lightly, we took the game seriously, which is what we asked for.  Fair play to all those boys in there, they haven’t given up in any game so I was really pleased tonight and the last three weeks,” said Walton.

Erith Town boss Adam Woodward admitted: “I just think it was one of those games that I don’t think we really turned up if I’m honest.

“We were poor! We had a few chances, we huffed and puffed a little bit and I think we gave the ball away every time we gave it to them. We just wasn’t good enough!

“It was an end-of-season game, we really went out to have a little bit of fun and they beat us 4-0, so it was disappointing really.

“The game was played like a testimonial really. It wasn’t a good spectacle even though there were four goals.

“I think the first goal, we haven’t done well tracking the left-back. The second goal bounced around in our box. The third goal was a boot over the top so the fourth one, I can’t remember the fourth one.  It was a header with no one within five-yards of him so it basically sums up tonight really.”

Beckenham Town started the game on the front foot.

Alebiosu swung in their first of eight corners, which Erith Town had a couple of chances to clear their lines and the ball came out to Wright, who drove his deflected shot past the foot of the left-hand post from 25-yards.

Walton said: “I suppose every manager talks about getting off to a good start, it’s what you get into them, to start well.  The last few games we’ve started well but we didn’t start well on Saturday (2-1 home win over Hollands & Blair), we started on the back foot and we got cut open a bit, but we started well tonight.”

Erith Town weathered the early storm and went close through Harrison Hume’s right-footed free-kick, which only just cleared the crossbar from 25-yards out in the seventh minute.

Steadman Callender cut in from the right and his left-footed drive from similar distance bounced comfortably into the hands of Beckenham keeper Tyler McCarthy.

Erith Town lacked quality in the final third and some of their players were already thinking about their summer break.

McCarthy’s clearance was poorly headed back by Wright, who started on the right of a midfield diamond, before playing in a more wider position after the break.

Erith Town Striker Tamer Bilal, who endured a frustrating night, played the ball out to Steven Ita but the winger’s delivery was poor and sailed past the far post.

The Dockers created a much better opening that they had to take in the 17th minute.

Ollie Milton, Callender and Bilal all linked up on the edge of the penalty area but Callender’s finish was poor, lashing his left-footed driver past the left-hand post from 15-yards.

Beckenham central defender Ike-Robertson Feehi floated in a free-kick from the half-way line, which saw Erith Town keeper Adam Molloy run to the edge of his box to fist the ball away with his right hand. A couple of shots were blocked and Alebiosu drilled his right-footed shot over the crossbar from a central position just 22-yards away from goal.

Beckenham Town missed a glorious chance to smash the deadlock in the 22nd minute.

James Duckworth released Johnson charging down the left and he pulled the ball back for Jamie Humphris to sweep his first time left-footed shot high over the bar from just inside the penalty area on the left-hand side.

Walton said:  “There again, we’ve done that a lot!  I think we’re the second top scorers (84 after tonight) in the league. The amount of chances we create, if that game is tighter and it’s a start of the season game, you’ve got to score them.

“Jamie’s a good goalscorer, he’s getting his confidence back the last few weeks and I’m sure things like that will turn round and he’ll score a lot more goals.”

Beckenham switched off from Lewis Scotter’s throw-on and Hume was given space to hit a speculative half-volley whistling past the left-hand post from 35-yards.

Callender’s long looping throw was flicked on by Milton at the near post but the ball bounced off Dan Fleming and was caught comfortably by McCarthy.

Milton played in Ita but his left-footed angled drive brought a comfortable save from the Beckenham keeper, holding the ball low to his right, in the 32nd minute.

Beckenham’s 35-goal striker Richard Atkins was released down the right channel and he cut the ball back for Wright to whip in a cross for Duckworth to steer his near post header across the keeper and past the far post.

Erith Town missed a glorious chance to take the lead in the 34th minute.

Callender was released down the right channel and he played a low cross within the corridor of uncertainty but an unmarked Ita swept his first time shot over the crossbar with his left-foot just 10-yards from goal.

Woodward said: “Like I said, we had some chances. We huffed and puffed but maybe we lacked a bit of quality.  Our goals for column doesn’t lie really does it. I think we’ve scored the fourth lowest (47) amount in the league and up until about three weeks ago we had a really good defensive record.

“We’ve had a poor end to the season and I think it’s time to go back to the drawing board, maybe get a few in.  I’ve just said to the players to enjoy their summer and we’ll talk again pre-season.”

Walton added: “He’s got to do what we done for our goal, just keep it down and hit the net!  I don’t know how he side-footed it over but that’s what happens, I suppose.”

Beckenham Town opened the floodgates by taking the lead with 35 minutes and 51 seconds on the clock.

Right-back Jack Hope released Duckworth charging down the right channel and his low cross found Johnson at the far post and he ghosted in before drilling a low left-footed drive across the keeper, the ball nestling inside the bottom far corner from 10-yards.

“I know a few of their lads and Steven Ita doesn’t really like to track back so we exploited the space he left in behind to get at their left-back,” revealed Walton.

“We put in a good cross, Archie came through and that’s what he should do, get on top of it and side-foot it into the back of the net and not over the bar, so it was a good goal.”

Woodward said: “We gave the ball away to start off with in the centre, its gone down the line.  Archie Johnson’s run, no one has tracked him and it’s the story of tonight really, we was not good enough really!”

Erith Town winger Ita stung McCarthy’s fingers with a low drilled left-footed free-kick from 30-yards, which he tried to find the bottom near corner with but the Beckenham keeper spilt before gathering at the second attempt beside his near post.

Ita drove forward at the Beckenham defence before laying the ball inside to Milton, who swept his shot straight at McCarthy, who made a comfortable save.

Referee Aaron Conn blew the half-time whistle with 19 seconds of the half still left to play.

“We just felt if we could press them a bit more in their half, they’re a young side and we could get after them a bit more,” said Walton.  “I think we upped it a little bit more in the second half.”

Woodward spent most of the interval out on the pitch but he instructed his troops to, “Do what you’re told and listen and you might be alright!  Second half we’ve come out and we’ve huffed and puffed and we’ve had a few chances, but they deserved it in the end.”

Woodward brought on substitute keeper Lewis Mitchell for Molloy at the break and he was beaten after only 135 seconds by Wright’s near-post finish.

“Mitchell has been with us for the last 10-15 games so I thought it was good to give him a little run out tonight and have a little bit of a go for 45 minutes and I thought he done alright,” said Woodward.

“I think we had two or three chances to clear it and we didn’t and that summed our season up really.”

When asked what he was thinking with his side two goals down, Woodward replied: “Trying to find a way to get back into the game if we can but we huffed and puffed as much as we could but we didn’t really have any real quality in the final third and it’s been our problem this season.”

It came from Beckenham’s fifth-corner of the night, put in badly from the right by Alebiosu, but the Dockers failed to clear their lines at the near post and Wright dug the ball out from underneath his feet before steering his right-footed shot into the bottom right-hand corner from six-yards.

Walton said: “It was pleasing for us because I think against Whitstable we had 15-17 corners and never got on the end of one of them and against Hollands & Blair we did the same thing.  I think it’s the first time we’ve scored from a corner so what was pleasing tonight was we’ve scored from a corner, kept a clean sheet so it was good for both ends.”

Erith Town should have been level in the 51st minute but Ita and Callender failed to deliver the goods at a key moment.

Substitute right-winger Sidney Warden cut inside and played a crossfield pass to Ita, whose shot trickled along the goal-line and Callender drilled his shot back where it came from, from a tight angle from close range.

Woodward said:  “Listen, Steadman has done well. He’s come back from a broken leg and he’s done alright. He scored a couple the other day, he scored against Tunbridge Wells, so he was unlucky there. 

“I’ve missed a centre forward all season really.  We’ve been unlucky losing Danny Gannon, that was massive this year for us losing him with his broken leg.  That really affected us the whole season really.  I don’t think we really got back from that.  We never found anyone to replace him. He just hit a little bit of form, we’ve missed a centre forward all year. We’ve filled games, the youngsters that are dual-registered hasn’t helped either but it is what it is.”

Walton admitted: “There again, you’ve got to score them, haven’t you?  You’ve got to put them in to the back of the net. It’s a good chance for them, luckily enough for us they missed!”

That miss knocked the stuffing out of Erith Town as Beckenham Town went on to win the game comfortably.

A long ball over the top from Johnson sailed over Atkins head but Duckworth showed desire to latch onto the ball before dragging his right-footed shot past the post from 25-yards.

Duckworth then pinged a diagonal pass over to Wright, who cut into the box and his angled drive from the right was palmed away towards safety by Mitchell at his near post.

Beckenham Town scored their third goal of the night with 18 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock.

Humphries, from close to the centre circle, swept a long ball forward, which was chased by Duckworth and his shot was parried by Mitchell, diving to his right, but the follow-up was rifled into the roof of the net from Alebiosu, who burst a gut to get into the Dockers penalty box to finish with aplomb.

Walton said: “We was having a go at James because he’s been with us for about four or five months, he’s coming back from a long-term injury but he will be a good player for us next season.  We said to him to use these last four or five games as the start of your pre-season and he’s getting better and better every game. He can hurt people that lad, he’s a very, very talented player. I’ve known him from his VCD days and he’s got a lot of ability.”

Woodward added: “Again, a long ball over the top, we haven’t dealt with it.  It was a good save from Mitch and we haven’t dealt with that one either after that.”

Beckenham substitute Owen played the ball into Duckworth and his left-footed deflected drive from just inside the Erith penalty area forced keeper Mitchell to dive low to his left to parry the ball before it was cleared to safety.

Inside the final 10 minutes, Atkins’ drive deflected off a team-mate and Mitchell ensured Owen didn’t turn the ball in.

Mitchell flew high to his left and held the ball to prevent Atkins curling his right-footed shot into the top far corner of the net from 30-yards as the game went into the final 10 minutes.

Woodward said: “He’s a good shot stopper Mitch, he done really well. He done all right when he came on, full credit to the youngster.”

“Richie’s been great this season, 35 goals, most probably could’ve got 45 goals if we’re honest,” added Walton.

Owen scored his maiden goal for Beckenham Town, with 39 minutes and 45 seconds on the clock.

Hope found himself in the left-channel and he whipped in a great cross with his left boot and an unmarked Owen planted his header into the top left-hand corner from inside the penalty area.

“Out of all the goals we’ve scored this season that one, for me, is so pleasing because talk about two players,” said Walton.

“Jack Hope doesn’t get no praise, he plays left-back, right-back, he’s steady Eddie. He’s got down the line swung it over with his left-foot and that lad who scored Josh Owen for me typifies what you want from a player as a manager. He’s never, ever, ever complained or moaned once about being sub. He’s never given me any grief whatsoever.

“His grandad comes every week to watch him and he hardly gets on the kid and he’s got on tonight and I said to him go and play for your grandad and I was so pleased! What a great header from the young kid.  I was so pleased for him. It makes me want to do football when I see things like that.”

Woodward said: “No one was within five years that probably sums us up really, since the start of the season.  On Saturday against Sevenoaks we looked at it, tonight like a sort of a nothing game, we couldn’t move anywhere in the league and it was played like that, which was disappointing really.”

Erith Town’s miserable night was summed up when they struck the near post at the end.

Substitute Cameron Lovatt swept a crossfield pass from right-to-left over to Ita, who took a touch before whipping in a cross towards the near post and Callender took a touch to beat his man before steering his left-footed shot against the near post.

Woodward said: “Again, it’s another chance really. All you’re speaking about is how many chances we’ve had really. I thought we’ve had a few half-chances tonight, full credit to Beckenham, they deserved the win.”

Walton said:  “I’ve said to you about 400 times, I don’t care if people hit the post 10 or 20 times, you might as well hit the corner flag!”

Beckenham Town finished one point above the drop zone in the bottom three on 29 points last season so Walton is proud of the turnaround during this campaign.

“I personally feel it’s the most improved team in the league from last year,” hailed Walton.

“It’s down to a number of things that I could talk to you all night about.  Basically the lads on the pitch have gone on the pitch and done what we wanted them to do.

“We’ve gone out and given a good account of ourselves and we’ve played some good football along the way, some of it’s been boring, some of it’s really exciting.  We’ve changed our tactics a little bit, we’ve not played as much football as I’d have liked but it works so we stuck to it.

“If we can improve 20% on what we’ve done this season we’ll be back challenging for next year.  If we can get in the four, five or six players to come in, we’ll be in a good position next year.

“To be coming third or fourth you get nothing unfortunately so it was a shame that we didn’t finish in the top two, which we set out to do, but all in all the stats are great for everyone concerned.”

Reflecting on his club’s bottom four finish, Woodward is not happy.

“Me personally, it’s been disappointing.  I think this team has got a lot of potential but it’s very inconsistent and I think I know what we need to do to get better next season and we will address that in the summer and we will get better.

“I can’t be finishing seventeenth – that’s not what I’m about! It’s only my second season in management and the first year I won the First Division title with Glebe but seventeenth is not where I finish, no chance!”

Erith Town: Adam Molloy (Lewis Mitchell 46), Lewis Scotter, Jack Bray (Cameron Lovatt 79), James Day, Ben Fitchett, Jack Hooper, Ollie Milton (Sidney Warden 46), Harrison Hume, Tamer Bilal, Steadman Callender, Steven Ita.
Sub: Adam Woodward

Booked: Jack Bray 20

Beckenham Town: Tyler McCarthy, Jack Hope, Archie Johnson, Junior Kaffo, Dan Fleming, Ike-Robertson Feehi, James Duckworth, Marvin Alebiosu, Richard Atkins (Jason Clews 87), Jamie Humphris (Josh Owen 70), Stefan Wright (Frankie Warren 72).
Sub: Ricky Bennett

Goals: Archie Johnson 36, Stefan Wright 48, Marvin Alebiosu 64, Josh Owen 85

Booked: Jack Hope 44, Junior Kaffo 62, Stefan Wright 67

Attendance:  47
Referee: Mr Aaron Conn (Gillingham)
Assistants: Mr Toby Enstone (London) & Mr Ryan Andrew (Gillingham)

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