Beckenham Town 1-0 Sheerwater

Cherry Red Records Combined Counties Football League Premier Division South

Saturday 4th September 2021

Match Report by Barnaby Rostant

It was the road to redemption for Steve Townsend after his penalty miss on Bank Holiday Monday, as he starred and scored the only goal of the game in a tightly contested battle against Sheerwater at Eden Park Avenue.

Beckenham Town had the better of the opening exchanges. Harvey Hanifan, in for Bertie Valler at right-back, drove forward before releasing a tame effort with his left foot. Then, Mudiagha Wanogho who was terrific in Monday’s win against Raynes Park Vale, came close with an acrobatic effort after Sheerwater failed to deal with a Beckenham corner. 10 minutes in, Archie Johnson realised he had his afternoon’s work cut out against Selim Saied who’s on-loan to Sheerwater from National League side, Woking. Saied got past left-back, Johnson but couldn’t get any power behind a shot that was comfortable for Richard Mann in the Becks goal. After some neat and tidy passing from Sheerwater, Robbie Mundow was fouled on the edge of the box. But former Skelmersdale United midfielder, Jamil Saleh could only blast the resulting free-kick into the wall. Down the other end, Tom O’Connor found himself twisting and turning before unleashing a shot that was duly blocked, with calls of it coming off a Sheerwater hand from O’Connor and his teammates. As the referee waved any handball calls away, the ball fell to the path of Townsend who forced the Sheerwater keeper into a fine save. Johnson’s in-swinging corner was then headed wide at the back post. Selim Saied continued to be Sheerwater’s biggest threat as he continued to cause Archie Johnson problems, but nothing would come of the loanee’s positive forward play. With half-time closing in, Nick Curran and Shameek Farrell let fly from distance. Curran was found in plenty of space by Tom O’Connor, but his deflected effort went just over the bar. Farrell then cut in onto his strong left-foot, but his shot flew over. With five minutes to go until the half-time break the deadlock was finally broken. Tom O’Connor played an inch-perfect ball over the top of the Sheerwater defence, which Townsend latched onto before burying his left-footed effort past Callum Backhurst, in the Sheerwater goal. A deserved goal from Beckenham’s young striker. Before referee Ross Murphy called an end to the first-half, Nathan Pooley was booked for chopping down Shameek Farrell after some quick feet, and Archie Johnson was also yellow carded for tripping up Saied down the right wing.

The second-half began in similar fashion to the first. Townsend once again causing chaos down the left, as he cut-in onto his right prior to his shot deflecting behind for a corner ball. O’Connor took it, but had Wanogho stretching at the back post and couldn’t direct his effort goalward. Farrell continued his efforts to try and get on the scoresheet but saw his shot fly over once more, after receiving the ball from Aderonmu. Sheerwater nearly equalised when Jamil Saleh’s effort bounced off the post, it fell to Anthony Ogbanufe but by taking a touch he allowed the Becks’ defence to get in the way of any attempt at goal. Jamie Pearce got his feet in a muddle at the back, allowing Aderonmu to get in behind the Sheerwater defence but Backhurst in goal confidently came and collected the ball, allowing Pearce to come away with minimal blushes. Just before the hour, Aderonmu was replaced by Tyrone Pink, an unusually quiet afternoon for the Beckenham striker. Wanogho continued to get involved, channelling his inner Andrei Kanchelskis as he had two bursting runs forward down the right flank, with the Becks attack being of no aid on both occasions. However, Wanogho’s centre-back partner Callum Henry looked as if he couldn’t shake of a knock he picked up minutes earlier as Francis Sey eased past, but Richard Mann got down brilliantly to keep Beckenham in front. Henry’s afternoon came to an end soon after, being replaced at the back by Danny Fitzsimmons who was straight into action swiftly stopping a Sheerwater attack before switching it to Tyrone Pink who was awaiting on the right with a pass Pirlo would’ve been proud of, but Pink was soon closed down. Beckenham’s back line on the day was superior to Sheerwater’s, and it was a mishap at the back from the away side that allowed a long ball forward to fall into the path of Townsend and Farrell but both players got in each other’s way, as the chance got away from Beckenham’s wingers.

Leon Dadey came on for the visitors with 12 minutes to go, becoming an instant threat. Junior Kaffo also returned to action, coming on for Nick Curran as Becks closed in on victory. With five minutes to go, Tyrone Pink thought he’d doubled Becks’s lead only to be denied by the linesman’s offside flag, it was Johnson’s cross-shot that fell to Pink’s feet around the penalty spot but the forward had been adjudged offside. Substitute, Dadey had a great chance to level things up, only to be denied by Harvey Hanifan who stopped the former Leatherhead man in his tracks. Ashley Hitchinson headed over from a corner before Selim Saied who had a quiet second-half, turned away from the Becks defence giving him more space to get a shot away but perhaps the angle wasn’t great as his shot travelled wide. Townsend couldn’t believe his luck when Sheerwater skipper, Billy Nutbeam cleared the ball straight to his feet. Townsend who was brilliant all afternoon, got away from the opposition defence, his attempt on goal past Backhurst only for Pearce to backheel the ball clear, before Townsend’s shot could land over the line. Perhaps solely out of frustration Callum Backhurst with the ball in his hands could count himself a lucky man to have remained on the field after having a swipe at Pink, before making an excellent stop from Townsend who tried to knock it past him after being played through by Pink. That sealed the end of the ninety minutes as Beckenham Town made it three home wins without conceding in this seasons’ Combined Counties Football League Premier Division South. Due respect to Richard Mann who will be pleased with his clean sheet, Harvey Hanifan was impressive throughout, Mudiagha Wanogho was once again excellent at the back, but Steve Townsend will take the plaudits for scoring the winning goal, the cherry on top of a solid team performance as Beckenham came away with all three points.

Star Man: Steve Townsend

Beckenham Town Xl; Mann, Hanifan, Johnson, Curran, Wanogho, Henry, Farrell, Waldren ©, Aderonmu, O’Connor, Townsend

Goals; Townsend 40’