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Beckenham Town 3-0 Raynes Park Vale
Beckenham Town 3-0 Raynes Park Vale

Two of the Combined Counties Premier Division South’s four remaining unbeaten sides went head-to-head in this August Bank Holiday Monday affair that had it all.

A goalless first forty-five minutes set-up Beckenham to take the all-important three points after an impressive second-half display at Eden Park Avenue. 

It was the visitors who got the ball rolling as former Horsham man, Louie Downey saw his shot drag well wide. Three minutes later there was an early penalty scare for Beckenham after Vale’s Left Winger went down in the penalty area following a challenge by Becks’ Right-Back Bertie Valler. Despite calls from the opposition, referee Tolga Inanc deemed nothing doing.

The Vale continued their early onslaught as a lovely passing move down their right that involved Right-Back Archie Goddard, Josh Ano, Louie Downey, and Toby Munday looked threatening, but Goddard’s final delivery was well collected by Nick Blue in the Beckenham goal.

Downey continued to cause problems for the home side as the central midfielder turned on a sixpence in the middle of the park to put Vale in ascendancy and when the ball came to Right-Winger, Ano he was allowed to cut in on his left foot, though he could only shoot wide of the post.

After a strong first quarter of an hour from the away side, Becks finally had their first attempt on goal. Shameek Farrell was fouled right centre, but the resulting free kick was a dismal attempt as Tom O’Connor’s effort missed the target. Raynes Park Vale had Beckenham camped in their own half as the home side struggled against their opposition’s high-pressing game.

Deep in his own half, Steve Townsend’s pass after some excellent skill left Waldren short as Vale’s Left Winger swooped in and got a shot away, which was deflected for a corner. The resulting corner was headed away but only to the feet of Downey outside the box, who steadied himself before firing a left-footed driven shot on target, only to be denied by a fine save from Nick Blue. 

The visitors were in the centre of it again and it was Downey once more causing the problems. After an excellent individual run by the Vale midfielder, he was brought down by Tom O’Connor. The challenge resulted in a brawl and both players received a yellow card for being the catalysts of the chaos.

On the 35-minute mark, Raynes Park Vale should’ve opened the scoring having two fantastic opportunities to take the lead. Josh Ano picked out a totally unmarked Downey in the penalty area who could only blast his effort straight at Nick Blue before Goddard drove a low cross across the box which evaded everyone including teammate Toby Munday.

Similar took place down the other end as O’Connor found Townsend on the left, who laid an inch perfect pass to the over-lapping Left-Back Archie Johnson whose low cross was cleared away by The Vale defence. Beckenham’s wingers Farrell and Townsend continued their efforts to try and make things happen for the hosts with no help from the referee as half-time drew nearer.

There was still time for Downey to burst forward once more as it seemed he’d left the Becks’ defence for dead only to be stopped in his tracks by a Virgil Van Dijk esque interception from Centre-Back Mudiagha Wanogho, who had an outstanding afternoon in Eden Park. On the stroke of half-time, Tunde Aderonmu took matters into his own hands having a pop from distance but Billy Bishop in the opposition goal dealt with it well.

Goalless at the interval and Beckenham had their resolute defence to thank for that but Raynes Park Vale would’ve been disappointed they failed to find the back of the net, after a forty-five that perhaps warranted a goal. 

Beckenham Town started the better of the two teams in the second half but still couldn’t trouble former AFC Wimbledon & Carshalton Athletic stopper Billy Bishop in the Raynes Park Vale goal. A fast break from the away side followed as Jordan Gallagher took the ball forward, but his cross was blocked by Beckenham’s Nick Curran for a corner ball.

The resulting set-piece fell to man mountain Danny Alderton whose initial attempt was closed down and his follow-up shot was blasted over the bar. Down the other end, Shameek Farrell was giving the opposition Left-Back a torrid time as he was allowed to cut inside onto his preferred left foot, finding Steve Townsend with a teasing cross, whose flicked header fizzled wide of the post.

As the hour mark was closing in, a long ball forward from Beckenham wasn’t dealt with by The Vale defence, with the second ball falling kindly to Nick Curran whose well struck attempt went narrowly wide. Minutes later the deadlock had finally been broken, Tunde Aderonmu heading home.

The opener came after fine play down the left from Tom O’Connor who won a corner. O’Connor took the set-piece and found the unmarked Aderonmu to open the scoring. Just after the hour, Raynes Park Vale skipper Alderton, fouled Nick Curran and was booked for his exploits.

Vale could’ve equalised three minutes after Aderonmu’s opener. A delightful counter from the away side led to Toby Munday getting a clear shot at goal but he could only fire his effort straight into Nick Blue’s hands, yet another chance the visitors should’ve done better with. 

On 64 minutes, Tom O’Connor who’d delivered Aderonmu’s assist was replaced by Dennis Doci, a fair call with O’Connor carrying a yellow card but could be pleased with his afternoon’s work. Nick Curran shortly after joined O’Connor on the other side of the side-lines, as he was replaced by defender, Harvey Hanifan, with the away side beginning to pump long balls forward and just under twenty minutes to play.

With a quarter of an hour to go, Beckenham accumulated more corners. The first one was well cleared by Raynes Park Vale following Danny Waldren’s blocked shot. However, the second brought Becks’ far more success, as substitute Doci swung the ball in and this time it was Mudiagha Wanogho who headed it past Billy Bishop at the back post.

With just over 10 minutes to go, scorer of the opening goal Aderonmu was replaced by former Redhill forward, Tyrone Pink. Beckenham continued their impressive second-half display as brilliant play down the right made for a well driven cross which fell to the feet of Steve Townsend, who could only direct his shot straight at Billy Bishop, but Tyrone Pink was on hand to fire the rebound towards goal, only for it to be blocked by the hand of Vale’s Josh Gallagher.

Referee, Inanc awarded a penalty kick and Steve Townsend stepped up, but he once again met his match in Billy Bishop, who got down well to his right to deny Townsend of a goal. Beckenham kept the ball well to see out the remainder of the game, but they hadn’t finished with the goals yet.

After letting the ball bounce, Danny Alderton was given his marching orders after fouling Townsend in the penalty area. It was Tyrone Pink who stepped up this time after Townsend’s miss ten minutes earlier. Pink rifled it into the roof of the net as the referee called the end on a good contest between two of the leagues early front runners. 

Full-Time: Beckenham Town 3-0 Raynes Park Vale

Star Man: Mudiagha Wanogho 

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

Goals; T. Aderonmu 59’, M. Wanogho 76’, T. Pink (pen) 90+4’

PHOTOS – @Sniper Pose