The beginning of a 9 month adventure, and where better to start than Beckenham Town?
Beckenham Town are one of my local non-league sides, with one of the best youth setups in the region. Alongside Dulwich Hamlet, Beckenham Town were the kings of the Bexley and District league back when I still harboured foolish ambitions of being a footballer, and was unsuccessfully chasing shadows in the rain on a Sunday morning.
Now I’m slightly older and not much wiser the senior team are of more interest.
Beckenham Town play in the Southern Counties East league (formerly the Kent League, and still generally referred to as such), at the very tidy Eden Park Avenue. The club have been a mainstay in the division, coming close to winning the Kent Premier in 2006, before ultimately losing out to the reformed Maidstone United. They finished in a solid 8th place last season.
This season Beckenham Town have had a mixed start, with a good a 2-1 away victory at Rochester United being followed by a 2-0 home defeat against Sevenoaks Town
The club have had some FA Cup success, reaching the 2nd Qualifying round as recently as 2011/12, before succumbing to Worthing in a replay.
Eastbourne Town play their football in the Sussex County league this season, having finished bottom of the Ryman League South last year, where they had played for the previous 6 seasons. They’re one of the oldest clubs in the country, having history dating back to 1881, and hold claim to being the oldest club in Sussex.
The club have made it to the 2nd Qualifying round in both of the last 2 seasons, and will be looking to make it 3 years in a row this season, despite starting a round earlier following relegation.
Relegation has seen a raft of changes in a playing squad hosting only 6 players that were with the squad last season. Despite this, the club had an excellent preseason, winning 5 of 6 matches, including a 5-1 victory over local rivals Hastings United. Their league season has started with a 3-0 defeat away at Dorking, before beating Halisham Town at home by the same scoreline.
I’d be delighted if the FA Cup season was started with a home win from the local side, however the experience Eastbourne Town have kept following relegation, and their excellent preseason form will see a tough match for both sides.