Match Report by Scott Bulmer

BECKENHAM TOWN 2-1 PUNJAB UNITED

Saturday 3rd August

For the opening game of the 2019/20 SCEFL Premier Division season, Punjab United arrived at Eden Park Avenue on a warm summer’s day. 

The visitors came having finished last year 12 places lower and with 31 points fewer, but this still promised to be a stern opening test for Jason Huntley’s new look side.

Punjab’s chairman ‘Chipie’ Sian had stated before the game that his side’s aim this year was “to consolidate in this league… and perform better than last season,” adding, “Beckenham have recruited well, but I’m confident that our players will perform and I am hopeful we can come away with something.”

His hopes were dashed early on when Becks – resplendent in their new playing strip – scored after just 9 minutes. 

A cross from the right was too high for the Punjab defence, the ball instead dropping to Andrew Mott who fired home. 

Becks looked comfortable after that but as the half progressed the game became increasingly scrappy.

Two minutes before half time a momentary lapse in concentration at the heart of the Becks defence allowed Punjab’s big summer signing Tunde Aderonmu to get in behind chasing a deep ball. 

Initially, it appeared well covered by Mott, but he mistimed his tackle and from there it was simply a question of free kick and a potential red card or a penalty and at worst a yellow. The referee duly awarded the penalty and issued a yellow card despite Mott having been the last man. Aderonmu stepped up and gave McEntegart no chance, tucking the ball well out of reach into the corner of the net. As he celebrated he then gestured to the fans with a finger to his lips.

Either side could have scored in what was a finely balanced second half with chances coming and going for both teams. 

The hosts had the better of them whilst Punjab, with speed to burn in attack always threatened on the counter. 

Eventually Becks’ prayers were answered by super sub Steve Townsend in the 76th minute. Good work down the right involving rampaging right-back Harvey Brand led to another substitute, Archie Johnson, popping up on the left flank and smashing in a powerful first time shot from the angle. The keeper did well to parry it into the air, but as the ball popped up towards the penalty spot, it was Townsend who reacted first, rising high and straining every neck muscle, he produced a header that looped over the outstretched hands of recovering Punjab goalkeeper Joe Hagan before dropping under the crossbar to restore the home side’s advantage.

From then on Punjab looked a beaten team and it was Becks who spurned a couple of chances to wrap it up towards the end. 

A small pocket of home supporters jokingly returned the ‘shushing’ gesture to Tunde as he left the pitch which received a smile in return. 

What matters most though was the result and that was taking all three points from a tricky opening encounter.

MOTM: Paul Lorraine (Punjab Utd)

Current League Standings

#TeamMWDLGFGAGDPts
1Lordswood11003123
2Corinthian11003213
3Beckenham Town11002113
4Chatham Town11002113
5Tunbridge Wells11002113

Line-ups

Beckenham TownLine-upsPunjab United
Michael McEntegart (C)1Joe Hagen
Harvey Brand2Simon Cuthbert
Jamie Brown3Luqman Adesina
Rob Carter4Giannoulis Fakinos
Mudiagha Wanogho5Paul Lorraine
Ike Robertson6Adam Cuthbert (C)
Junior Kaffo7Chandler Kasai
Andrew Mott8Nick Donaldson
Ryan Hall9Laurent Hamici
Damien Ramsamy10Tunde Aderonmu
Stefan Cox11Stephen Ratcliffe
Subs
Steve Townsend12Ayomide Majekdunmi
Nathan Paul14Janiah Boyd
Shameek Farrell15Talden Gosal
Kiki Oshilaja16Prem Jayabrarathi
Archie Johnson17Lee Kidman