Match Report by Philip Passey

SEA PIONEER SCEFL PREMIER DIVISION

BECKENHAM TOWN 3
Nwoko 45, Pink 89, 90

BEARSTED 4
Irvine 20, 47, Rogers 38, Baranowski 88

Eden Park Avenue

Attendance: 119

Photo Credit: SNIPERPOSE

Saturday 26th September

Two late goals from substitute Tyrone Pink weren’t enough to mask a sub-par performance as Becks’ indifferent start to the season continued and the visitors deservedly left Eden Park Avenue with all three points.

With forwards Steve Townsend and Tunde Aderonmu both injured, Stefan Cox starting a five-game suspension after getting sent off in pre-season and winger Tomiwa Bolarinwa having left to join Lewes, it was a different lookng Becks that lined up for kickoff.

Ex-Glebe atacking midfielder Danny Phillips made his debut behind Ryan Hall and Joe Nwoke in a 3-5-2 that saw skipper Harvey Brand shift over to RWB with the versatile Jamie Brown on the left. In defence Rob Carter returned at the centre flanked by Harvey Hanifan and Archie Johnson. Big Junior Kaffo and youngster Bertie Valler provided the two-man defensive shield in the heart of midfield.

The home side started brightly enough and Nwoko was perhaps unlucky to have a fifth minute close-range strike ruled out for a marginal offside. That move had seen Valler feed a surging Brand on the right, his measured low cross having invited the simplest of finishes.

The officials again took centre-stage for the game’s next big talking point. Played in cleverly, Bearsted’s Jon Rogers looked to have won a penalty after being sent sprawling by Becks keeper Michael McEntegart’s outstretched hand just inside the area. However the referee booked The Bears skipper for diving and match action pictures later seemed to suggest it was the correct decision – the keeper getting a hand to the ball and it changing direction before the ensuing tumble.

At the other end, Hall whipped in a snapshot following Nwoke’s run but it was Bearsted who were starting to look increasingly comfortable. Twenty minutes in they took the lead. Impressive RB Harrison Hatfull made great progress down the flank and his cross was volleyed in emphatically by striker Andy Irvine from around the penalty spot.

David Baranowski then twice came close to adding a second after sloppy play from Valler and Hanifan. At the other end all Becks could muster was a a corner from a Jamie Brown cross and Danny Phillips in-swinging delivery from a long-range free-kick that sailed just beyond everyone and harmlessly out.

Seven minutes before half-time Bearsted doubled their advantage. Hatfull was again involved in the build-up, but it was Rogers whose deft shot from the edge of the area curled beyond the outstretched fingers of McEntegart and in off the post. 90 seconds later it was almost 3-0 when Joel Wakefield was given too much time – but Irvine’s shot went over.

Just before half-time, Becks captain Brand won a corner on the right. Bears keeper Daniel Smith initially flapped at the delivery and the danger appeared over as the ball broke out to the right of the area but the clearance was picked off and with Rob Carter still high up the pitch and involved, the ball suddenly broke to Nwoko in the area and his first-time finish rippled the back of the net. It offered a barely deserved lifeline for the hosts at the break.

The sigh of relief around Eden Park Avenue was palpable at half-time, but the mood darkened within 120 seconds of the restart. A throw-in on the left saw Wakefield get the better of Hanifan and his cross eluded everyone except Irvine who barely left the ground before noddng in from little more than a yard out at the back post. The goal restored The Bears two goal cushion and it was almost 4-1 shortly after when Irvine glanced another header wide.

Becks forced a couple of corners as they looked to get back into the game and promising moves ended when both Phillips and Nwoko were ruled offside. After 56 minutes the ineffectual Valler was replaced by defender Ike Robertson as Becks reverted to a 4-4-2 that saw Brand move back into central midfield.

Shortly afterwards Johnson now playing in his usual left-back spot won a free-kick. Hall’s delivery was knocked down and Carter bundled the ball in from close range to make it 3-2 – only for the referee to rule it out, presumably for another hairline offside decision.

The decision seemed to rob the hosts of belief. Tyrone Pink came on for Hall and then after Brand had fired over Phillips made way for Jamie Humphris but it was Bearsted who looked more likely. Substitutes Constantin and Lucian Scarlet both going close before McEntegart did well to save down low from close range after a poor pass out of defence from Carter had gifted Bearsted possession.

With two minutes to go, the visitors scored again. Hanifan lost possession and Baranowski evaded the desperate lunge of Junior Kaffo before finding the top corner with a sublime effort from outside the area.

Within sixty seconds however, Becks made it 4-2 when Kaffo played in Pink on the right and he finished coolly from 8 yards. A minute later it was 4-3 when Pink’s free kick from the left evaded everyone in a crowded box and curled just inside the far post.

Three minutes of added time were indicated but Bearsted were not averse to slowing the game and whilst the referee booked Constantin Scarlett for time-wasting, the final whistle blew without any further chances. The three points were no less than the visitors deserved.

BECKS LINEUP: McEntegart; Brand, Brown, Hanifan, Carter, Johnson; Kaffo, Valler (Robertson) Phillips (Humphris); Hall (Pink), Nwoko
Unused Subs: Menditta, Martins