Match Report by Scott Bulmer

BECKENHAM TOWN 4-3 RAYNES PARK VALE

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Saturday 10th August

Eden Park Avenue was basking in sunshine and embracing the magic of the FA Cup last Saturday as Becks welcomed Raynes Park Vale of the Combined Counties League for an Extra Preliminary Round tie. The visitors had begun their season with a 2-0 league defeat against Spelthorne Sports before drawing 1-1 with Sutton Common Rovers in midweek.

The first half was dominated by the hosts with much of the game being played in Vale’s half. After a couple of earlier penalty shouts were waved away, the building pressure finally told when Becks were awarded a spot-kick after Stefan Cox’s cross from the right caught a defender’s arm. After some lengthy protestations, Becks skipper Ashley Carew stepped up to take the 37th minute penalty. The keeper dived the right way but had no chance as the ball zinged into the right hand corner of the net. One-nil.

With the visitors still clearly rattled by the seeming injustice of the penalty decision, Beckenham forced them back almost immediately from the re-start, ultimately winning a corner. Young right-back Kiki Oshilaja rising highest to head home a second on 39 minutes. The teams headed off for half-time. With Becks comfortably 2-0 ahead and having enjoyed the greater possession, the second half would surely be little more than a formality, wouldn’t it?

However, right from the restart Vale pushed Becks back into their own half. On 48 minutes, a low cross from the left was tapped in at the back post by central defender Marcus Dowdeswell to give the visitors renewed belief. Things then got worse for the home side when captain Carew was sent off for an off the ball incident. Down to ten men and with their two goal lead already having been halved it looked like an uphill struggle for Beckenham from here.

But to their credit, despite having a man less the Reds were able to wrestle back control of the game. Shameek Farrell was perhaps unfortunate to receive a yellow card for simulation, the home support voicing their displeasure having felt his standing leg had been taken away. On 75 mins some nice build up play allowed Archie Johnson to guide a clever shot into the bottom left corner giving the RPV goalkeeper no chance to make it 3-1. Becks quickly extended the lead to 4-1 when Stefan Cox raced clear before keeping his composure and clipping the ball inside the near post with just ten minutes to play. The same player had found the side netting from a similar position just a couple of minutes earlier.

But Raynes Park would not lie-down and with five minutes remaining, Jack Williamson scored the goal of the game with a looping, dipping strike from distance that flew into the top corner.  Before Becks had time to recover a rare error by Oshilaja gifted an opportunity to Nathan Chambers who reacted quickly, swivelled and tucked a first time shot into the corner. In the space of 30 seconds… 4-1 had transformed somewhat incredibly into 4-3!

All of a sudden Becks were under immense pressure as the visitors pressed hard for the draw and a replay that only moments earlier had seemed highly unlikely. Nerves were jangling around EPA as home fans feared the worst.

Digging deep Becks held on, surviving two clear chances as the game drew to a close. Firstly, there was a free kick that seemed destined to be the equalising goal before McEntegart intervened to claw it away and then when an better chance following a low cross was spurned. Blazed over as the pressure of the moment told.

When the referee finally blew up there was visible relief. The right result perhaps, but once again Becks had certainly done things the hard way. For the fans, 7 goals, a red card and a thoroughly entertaining game was great value for the £8 ticket price. For the club, a handy cup windfall and progression to the Preliminary Round where they will host Ashford United of the Isthmian League South East Division. That game will take place on Saturday 24th August. Kickoff 3pm.

In the meantime, Becks fans can continue dreaming…

5 wins till the First Round Proper!

7 wins till the Third Round!!

11 wins till Wembley!!!

Line-ups

Beckenham Town  Raynes Park Vale
Michael McEntegart113Dan McKerracher
Kiki Oshilaja211Romaine Reynolds
Jamie Brown32Archie Goddard
Nathan Paul417Jack Williamson
Mudiagha Wanogho54James Curran
Andrew Mott65Marcus Dowdeswell
Stefan Cox76Pat Gibson
Ashley Carew (C)87Conor Turner
Ryan Hall98Tom Harland-Goddard
Damien Ramsamy109Joshua Ano
Archie Johnson1110Seanan McKillop
Subs
Shameek Farrell1215Johann Kirsten
Malik Nosike1423Louie Stanton-Cockle
Rob Carter1512Darren Nolan
Ike Robertson1614Nathan Chambers
Bertie Valler1718Adam Humphries
Steve Townsend1916Eion Fraser
Junior Kaffo2019Ato Okai