Walton urges Beckenham Town FC to create more history in FA Cup

·3-min read
Beckenham Town needed to come through a tense replay after a 2-2 draw with East Grinstead Town FC / Credit: Stuart Gibson, East Grinstead Town FC (Stuart Gibson / East Grinstead Town FC)

Beckenham Town assistant manager Bill Walton is urging his players to create even more history when they look to upset Dartford in the FA Cup second round qualifying on Saturday writes Alec McQuarrie.

Newly-promoted Beckenham are flying high in the Pitching In Isthmian South East, sitting top of the league with four wins out of four.

It’s the Reds' first season at this level and they made their first appearance in the FA Trophy on Tuesday with an agonising defeat on penalties against Heybridge Swifts

And if they knock out Dartford FC, a team two tiers above the Becks in the National League South, they will be in the hat for the third qualifying round, also for the very first time.

“What I talk about to the players in the changing room is that they’re creating history all the time, week by week and that’s what they want to do,” said Walton.

“Games like Tuesday are a fantastic bonus for the club. We never thought we’d be playing in the FA Cup on Saturday against Dartford and in the FA Trophy against Heybridge. It’s a really exciting time at the moment.

“I’m looking forward to it immensely to go there and pit my wits against someone who’s been in the game a long time and a big club like Dartford.

“It’s our cup final. We might go there and get totally, totally destroyed, but I don’t think we will. If I was in their camp, I wouldn’t want to be playing Beckenham at the moment.”

Four league victories by a one-goal margin doesn’t tell the full story of Beckenham’s sparkling form, and Walton puts their success down to the mentality of the squad.

He said: “It’s probably the best changing room I’ve been involved in, in terms of character, ability and determination.

“They don’t know when they’re defeated and they work extremely hard every game which is so pleasing to see.”

The last few seasons have been a whirlwind for the club from south London, from narrowly avoiding relegation in 2017 to being denied deserved promotion in 2020 when the Southern Counties East was declared null-and-void.

But the Reds put the heartbreak behind them and won the Pitching In Isthmian South East at a canter last season.

And with their 100% record still intact this term, Walton is daring to dream of back-to-back promotions.

“I’m not a loser. I’m a winner. I hate losing at anything. My kids will tell you that I hate losing at tiddlywinks,” said Walton

“My old school teacher used to say to me, ‘Bill, if you come second, you’re the first loser.’ It isn’t an achievement to me coming second; you may as well come bottom.

“So that’s the way I look at it and I think this year, why not? With the start we’ve had and the way the boys are, if we get into the play-offs it’ll be fantastic.

“But why not say to yourself, why can’t we win it? Why can’t we?”

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/