Isthmian League

Preview | Beckenham Town (A)

Beckenham: is it Kent? Is it London? Do we care? Probably not? Fine. But what might float ‘ya’ boat is that this is probably a team you have never before seen play, and a ground you have yet to visit. Fresh onto the scene of the Isthmian League, some thought they would walk it after a few weeks, others perhaps not. Up and down they go, with Whitehawk next in their way.

For Shaun Saunders’ band of merry soldiers they have performed to a supremely high level. Remember that time we lost to K Sports? Feels like a different season. Who’d have thought 100 days later that that (almost) identical Hawks squad would still yet to lose a game in the league? It’s all been excellent, all been crucial. But here, in sixth-place Beckenham Town, another stern test awaits.

Last time out

‘Joel Dalyyyy, Joel Dalyyy’ – sung the slightly inebriated, unquestionably exultant Hawks to the tune of Oasis in a peppery Din End that swayed and shook as the Daly weaved his way through a sea of fatigued Hythe Town players before finishing spectacularly over Steve Phillips, and into the bottom corner.

Whitehawk would go on to win 2-0, claim the three points, move up to 3rd, and extend their unbeaten streak in the league to twelve matches. Oh, and Joe Shelley scored his 10th goal of the campaign (and it wasn’t from the penalty spot!).

But it was an uphill battle (literally) as the visitors from Kent gave Luke Glover in the host’s net a few scares here and there yet, through it all, the Hawks’ persistence and patience paid off as Daly — doing what he does best — took it upon himself to finish the game off. Job done. Onto the next.

The hosts

When you think of rapid rise, do you think of Beckenham Town? Unlikely, but perhaps you should. Promoted after their first season in the Combined Counties League, they swiftly (and briefly) moved top of our very own division, journeying all the way to the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup before being knocked out by Dagenham & Redbridge 0-7.

It might not look like it when said like that, but that is laudable stuff. They’d likely still be flying high in the division, too, had it not been for an absolute plethora of cup games plaguing and interrupting their league flow. Now they sit in sixth position, six points adrift of yours truly with a game in hand. This is a certified big game. And one that might just bring a hatful goals.

With ‘The Becks’ succumbing to a last gasp equaliser in Ashford on Tuesday night to head home with a point, the Hawks are better rested as they prepare for the force of Louie Theophanous – scorer of many goals, and many good ones at that. Eleven goals in all competitions this campaign, he’s one ahead of our own Biff as he looks to singlehandedly take his side to new, unimagined heights.

Previous encounters

Those of you lucky enough in 1988 to have witnessed a 0-1 home defeat in the FA Vase to Saturday’s opponents will be laughing at the second line of this preview. Not sure who scored, or what minute it was in…but we’re sure it was a typical thriller at The Enclosed Ground.

Pre-match quotes

We have an exclusive pre-match piece with Joel Daly to further whet that appetite of yours. And you can read it, if you wish, by clicking this link:

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