Dominant City Defeat Beckenham Town
By Kevin Olver
An excellent performance from City sees them score three without reply to long time title contenders Beckenham Town
Canterbury City 3 Beckenham Town 0
A much needed and very welcome victory and three points in the Salters Lane sunshine as City overcame long time title chasers Beckenham Town with, it has to be said - some ease.
City kept up the momentum throughout the game and towards the end were almost in cruise control as they piled on the pressure and continually picked their way through the visitor's ranks as they chased after more goals.
City were in attack mode from the off and a shaky looking Beckenham defence did little to deter them. Bola Dawodu showed some good hold-up play before sending Dean Grant away on the right but his low ball in was hurriedly cleared by a combination of keeper and defender getting in each other's way but ultimately getting the job done. City then went close to taking the lead when, on eight minutes, Ryan Cooper's huge cross from the right found Renford Tenyue at the far post and as the ball hung in the air, he steadied himself before planting a firm header just a foot the wrong side of the post.
A lovely flowing move from City in which Grant showed a nice piece of control to lay the ball off to the over-lapping Cooper, then saw the full back's ball in spin wickedly off a defender, but luckily for Beckenham not towards the goal and then shortly after, Danny Lawrence found the lively Cooper again with a great pass and from a little wide out right he lashed a shot goalbound that needed visiting keeper Michael McEntegart to dive full stretch across to turn the ball over the bar, a cracking effort which needed a cracking save.
On fourteen minutes, City converted the one way traffic into a lead when a cross from the right from Kyron Lightfoot soared over McEntegart's head as the keeper found himself hopelessly and helplessly out of position underneath the ball and Tenyue ran through at the back post and planted a firm header off the underside of the bar and into the net for 1-0.
Beckenham had shown little going forward thus far but they did win a corner on twenty minutes on the left that was played infield to Stefan Wright and his twenty-five yard low effort came through a crowd of players before ending up safely in City keeper Jack Delo's grasp. City were controlling the game and getting forward at every opportunity. A Cooper long throw into the middle of the box bounced through to McEntegart without getting a City touch while moments later the keeper was flying to his left once more to push out Lightfoot's thirty-yard goalbound free-kick with another excellent save.
McEntegart then had a much more straightforward save as he dealt with Will Hadler's backward flick from another Cooper cross before Grant then saw his tame effort trundle safely into the keeper's hands. A rare foray forward for the visitors brought them another corner which saw Jez Hammond's header at the far post go wide before at the other end, Lightfoot intercepted the ball in midfield and sent Grant through, but once again, he couldn't get any power in his effort making McEntegart's task far too easy.
Grant then had a decent shout for a penalty ignored when Ike Robinson got a strong arm around him from behind and appeared to drag him to the floor as he looked to get in a strike on goal before, following a good move down the left from City, the defender more conventionally cleared a dangerous Tenyue ball in that was aimed at Grant.
City were constantly looking a threat and another close call came when Lightfoot's corner was played in low and dummied by Grant at the near post before whizzing across just in front of the Beckenham goal but neglecting any sort of touch that would surely have diverted it home.
On forty minutes, City then got the second goal that their positive attacking play had deserved when Cooper's long throw was hurled into the box and may just have taken a little flick on the way through to where Tenyue charged in and headed it back past the keeper moving in the opposite direction to bag his second and make the score 2-0.
City were peppering the Beckenham box with the ball and Lawrence switched the play to Cooper who saw his cross headed down by Phil Starkey and fall nicely to Grant who swung a boot but didn't connect fully and McEntegart was able to make another stop. In the run up to the break, a cross from Lawrence and a late City corner were both cleared by the visitors, but they were looking far from happy as they trudged off at the whistle two goals behind and peering over a gaping chasm between the two sides in attacking play so far.
The second-half started much the same as the first had ended with City on the attack. Dawodu saw his shot deflected out for a corner which Lightfoot swung in and McEntegart punched clear under pressure but Beckenham broke from the clearance though and City were indebted to Michael Turner for a stout and timely piece of defending to halt the breakaway well into his own half.
On fifty minutes another City corner from Lightfoot caused chaos in the visitor's defence as firstly Robinson and then Adesina Luqman both tried to clear it but could only slice the ball the wrong way before City retained possession and Starkey fired it back in with Hadler scooping it over the bar as he attempted to divert the ball towards goal.
The next chance of the game fell to Beckenham when a twisting and turning run down the right from Stefan Cox saw his cross headed over the bar by Wright, but it was City that should have scored next a minute later when a huge clearance from the back saw Dawodu flick the ball on for Grant who ran through, held off his marker and did all the hard work by battling his way into the box but with just McEntegart to beat, he couldn't keep the strike down and it flew over the bar.
Corners were exchanged at both ends without troubling the keepers before another City attack, this time down the left, saw Tenyue's ball in fall for Lightfoot whose volley was well blocked before City regained the ball and picked their way back through with Grant and Lightfoot playing keep ball before the latter shot over the bar from inside the box.
The pressure was all coming from City and following a fruitless corner and Grant shooting wide on the run, the hosts finally went three up. Dawodu played the ball forward for Grant but he was in an offside position and didn't take up the play so Dawodu ran through himself, collected his own pass and having drawn a defender and the keeper towards him he coolly played it across for Lightfoot to slide home from close range for 3-0.
Jimmy Rogers took a pot shot from forty yards that Delo saw all the way for a safe take at head height before at the other end Grant had yet another shot saved by McEntegart, while Cox then fired well over Delo's goal.
With just ten minutes left, City repeatedly opened Beckenham up. Substitute Rob Lawrence and Tenyue combined well to make room for a far post cross which fellow replacement James Nurden should have turned home but he took a moment too long and the ball was bundled away. Then Nurden turned provider as his cross saw Tenyue try for a header but not make it but Cooper did as he came flying in behind only to see his effort acrobatically blocked by a defender.
In a hectic last few minutes, the only surprise was that City couldn't add to their tally as firstly Rob Lawrence poked the ball inches wide with McEntegart beaten and then Tenyue, through on goal, had his shot blocked with the rebound finding Lightfoot who desperately tried to work an opening but could only eventually feed Rob Lawrence who shot over. In the last minute of normal time, Cooper sent Tenyue flying down the right but with a hat-trick hopefully beckoning, he was hurried into a shot that flashed wide.
An injury time corner from Beckenham couldn't paper over their deficiences on the day, but take nothing away from City, they controlled and dominated the game and deserve all the plaudits for an excellent performance and a much needed boost in a busy and difficult end to the season.
Final score: Canterbury City 3 Beckenham Town 0
City: Jack Delo, Michael Turner, Ryan Cooper, Phil Starkey, Gary Sayer (Ollie Lee), Will Hadler, Kyron Lightfoot, Danny Lawrence, Dean Grant (James Nurden), Bola Dawodu (Rob Lawrence), Renford Tenyue.
Unused Subs: Adam Woollcott, Chris Saunders