Match Report by Philip Passey
DEAL TOWN 0-2 BECKENHAM TOWN
Sea Pioneer SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday 5th September
The Charles Ground: Attendance 200
The biggest SCEFL Premier Division crowd of the day saw Becks begin their 2020-21 title challenge by picking up a useful three points on the Kent Coast. Ike Robertson and Junior Kaffo netting the goals that ensured a 2-0 win in the sunshine.
Kickoff had been delayed by thirty minutes due to thousands protesting at Dover Harbour. That meant a late lineup change for manager Jason Huntley who, with centre-half Rob Carter stuck in traffic, drafted Robertson into the heart of the defence to partner offseason signing Callum Henry.
The only other change from the side that had progressed so impressively in the FA Cup during midweek saw ex-AFC Croydon Athletic striker Joe Nwoko get a first competitive start as the central forward in place of a tired Ryan Hall who instead took a spot on the bench.
Playing in their new look all-blue away strip Becks put in a solid collective performance without any individual standout showings. Winger Stefan Cox had a decent first-half and the defence in particular were assured in nullifying the attacking intent of a powerful ‘Hoops’ team that will trouble other visiting sides this season.
Fifteen minutes in and tall defender Robertson registered Becks opening goal. A Bertie Valler free-kick found Kaffo at the back post, his header crashed down off the crossbar and back up to Robertson who had the simple task of nodding home from barely a yard out.
On the stroke of half-time holding midfielder Kaffo doubled the lead when he scored for the second time in just four days. Picking up the ball inside his own half, he ventured out to the right evading one potential challenge by checking back inside. Striding ever forward and with the home defence parting in front of him, his scuffed shot from just outside the box wrong-footed the Deal keeper and beat him to his left on its way into the corner.
Becks weren’t necessarily playing particularly well, but they were by far the better side and looked in control for much of the second-half. Left-back Archie Johnson was booked for the second time in as many games in an incident that saw his Deal opponent fall awkwardly and dislocate a shoulder.
With legs tiring, summer acquisition Tyrone Pink replaced Cox on the right wing and Tunde Aderonmu again looked a handful after coming on for debutant Nwoko up front. Both the new central strikers showed flashes of potential but remain short of full fitness. Goalscorer Robertson also had to depart proceedings – replaced by Carter after he cut his head open following a clash inside the 18-yard box.
During the final ten minutes, the hosts came on strong in an attempt to claw something out of the game. Long balls, long throws and deep corners came in waves but Becks’ back line held firm. When Deal did finally look set to score with five minutes left, goalkeeper Michael McEntegart ensured the win with an impressive one-on-one save to snuff out their final hope.
Man of the Match – Junior Kaffo
McEntegart, Brown, Johnson, Henry, Robertson (Carter); Kaffo, Valler, Brand (c); Cox (Pink), Nwoko (Aderonmu), Townsend
Unused Subs: Hall, Humphris