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Beaconsfield Town 4 - 0 Tiverton Town
Rams Man of the Match - James Ewington.
Tiverton Town arrived at Holloways Park on Tuesday evening with the confident swagger of a side sitting fourth in the league, eyes firmly fixed on those above them and their promotion aspirations.
In the summer they consigned The Rams to their heaviest defeat of the season and relative league positions, play-off chasers versus one off the bottom gave no indication of the 90 minutes about to play out.
The late arrival of Jordan Bastin saw assistant manager Scott Rogers begin the game up front for the visitors who made a sluggish start and were punished immediately.
Reacting first to his own knockdown of a Myles Bowman clearance, Alex Cathline turned in field to head towards goal from a wide left position. Still fully 40 yards from goal the big target man sent in a deft driven lob [™Charlie Losasso] which handily beat Lewis Williams in the visitors goal only to fade on to the post. We’ve seen a few of these bounce to safety since August but here the rebound fell kindly for once. As the back four looked on from the edge of the box James Ewington reacted quickest and gleefully swept home the follow up unchallenged from six yards.
Tiverton were rocked by the early set back and struggled to shake off their lethargic start.
The home side meanwhile buoyed by the early lead poured forward to try and drive home the advantage.
There was no quick second though and with Rogers making way for the late arriving Bastin on 15 minutes Tiverton began to establish a foothold in the game and set about stamping their personality and tidy passing style on the match with slick clean football, moving the ball quickly through midfield and inviting Billy Craske, Kyle Egan and Alex Fletcher to try and get at the back four with pace and quick inter passing.
Apart from an early alarm when Mayo Balogun was surprised by the initial quickness of Fletcher, Myles Bowman enjoyed a largely stress free first period despite the visitors increased share of possession. His one early alarm saw him take the pace off a low cross shot from Fletcher which Mayo Balogun cleared to safety from the shadow of his own goal.
At the other end Beaconsfield continued to press and create openings but were thwarted as much by their own tendency to overplay as by great defending. Tiverton battled through it and save for a couple of alarms when Ewington and Minhas made life hard for themselves Williams was largely unperturbed.
As the game meandered towards the break the visitors enjoyed their best moments. Billy Craske was released by a clever through pass from Egan, the winger held off Balogun and fired in a cross shot which was deflected away to safety by Bowman who was quickly off his line to narrow the angle. Tiverton recycled possession and Fletcher played in Ryan Beckinsale 16 yards out and as he advanced on goal Mayo Balogun slid in to hook the ball to safety. Beckinsale went down in a heap and the visiting bench erupted. Mr Gilroy and his assistant took the view that it was a good tackle. You’ve seen them given both ways and the official was well placed.
For the benefit of those present in an official capacity, who should therefore know a lot better, it was a decision that went against you. It was not ‘cheating’ borderline or otherwise.
Though we did not know it at this point the game largely ended as a contest. The Rams continued to press and battle and upset opponents who, spurred on by their bench, spent the remainder of the half and the walk to the dressing rooms haranguing Mr Gilroy.
Half Time 0-0
Even after the break Tiverton spent the remainder of the night waging a seemingly constant protest at the many and continuing perceived injustices apparently being handed down by the officials.
Had they contested the game with the enthusiasm with which they contested every whistle they may have enjoyed a better evening.
The Rams added to their lead on 52 minutes when Cathline played a well timed pass into the path of Ewington who advanced into the area to strike a low shot past Williams.
Tiverton tried to rally used their remaining substitutes but the home defence kept them largely at arms length and Myles Bowman swept up calmly and completed the regulation duties without incident.
Alex Cathline made way for Charlie Losasso and immediately the Tiverton defence were asked new questions and stretched again. Aaron Minhas worked the space on the edge of the box for a shot which struck the base of the post and rolled clear. Ewington picked up the rebound and fed Nathan Webb at the angle of the six yard box. With the goal at his mercy the midfielder aimed a side foot at the ball and somehow delivered it to just beyond the far post where Minhas was on hand to power in a header to make it three. [It wasn’t a cross Nathan !) ]
With the game virtually won Wes Daly was introduced for Nathan Webb and the veteran was immediately into the action. Winning a header in midfield he fed Minhas who turned upfield committing the defence before sliding in Ewington who completed his hat-trick with an unerring first time finish taking his tally to 9 goals since arriving in December.
That was largely that. Tiverton grumbled on and continued to battle but it was simply not their night. George Nancekivell and Michael Landicrombe both failed to hit the target with headers when seemingly well placed whilst at the other end James Taylor very nearly capped another excellent shift when he stuck a leg out to get on the end of a driven low cross from Losasso but his instinctive effort fizzed narrowly wide.
In the final analysis Beaconsfield garnered three valuable points in the battle for survival and handed Tiverton their worst defeat of the season. The visitors will have better days than this, it was just one of those evenings you have some times when nothing goes your way. The Rams have experienced a few this season.
Whilst James Ewington will quite rightly receive the plaudits for his goals, this was all about the squad. Out of possession The Rams midfield were a force to reckon with. The combination of Aaron Minhas and Louis Stead’s energy, the simmering aggression of Nathan Webb, now solidified by the quietly efficient and disciplined presence of Stef Powell allowed them to hunt in a pack. With Wes Daly always on hand to add experience and calm and unrivalled game management when needed and Ade Shokunbi willing an able to fill and do a job wherever he is asked to.
Stand in skipper Jordan Ajanlekoko and James Taylor, who seems to get better every week, were exemplary under the high ball and effective in starting play with astute passing, directing the play and maintaining the pressure on the visitors. Out wide Mayo Balogun and Callum Webb quickly adjusted and then stood up well to Tiverton’s principle threats Billy Craske, Kyle Egan and Alex Fletcher who attacked with pace and flare and were involved in most if not all of the visitors best moments.
Behind them Myles Bowman continues to grow and improve and with Hafed Al-Droubi added to the ranks he knows he must maintain his current high level
Up front Alex Cathline created problems for an hour with his physicality ariel ability and sheer presence which drew defenders to him and allowed others to spring off his flick on’s. He also showed that his hold up play is greatly improved.
When he made way for Charlie Losasso the beleaguered Tiverton backline were given a whole new set of questions to answer as the energetic play maker replaced the battering ram quality of Cathline with trademark sharp incisive runs and clever link play
The front six were relentless throughout. Closing, harrying and snapping into the tackle they consistently induced a mistake from their opponents, recycled possession and sprang forward. Providing a platform for Ewington, who showed last night just why Gary Meakin was so keen to have him.
Swift, intelligent, constantly on the move, always available and alive to a goal scoring chance his tally last night was three goals from four attempts and a big part in the Fourth goal
In the end it was as comfortable an evening as it was unexpected. A huge morale boost for the battles that lie ahead. As we get down to the pointy end of things there are signs that The Rams might just pull this off.
Next up The Rams entertain Gosport Borough at Holloways Park on Saturday.
1. Myles Bowman
2. Callum Webb
3. Mayo Balogun
4. James Taylor
5. Jordan Ajanlekoko
6. Nathan Webb [Sub12 Wes Daly 75]
7. Aaron Minhas
8. Stef Powell
9. Alex Cathline [Sub16 Charlie Losasso 56]
10. James Ewington [Sub14 Ade Shokunbi 80]
11. Louis Stead
Subs Not Used:
13. Hafed Al-Droubi
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Lewis Williams
2. Kyle Egan
3. Pierce Mitchell [Sub14 Chris Shephard 51]
4. George Nancekivell
5. Michael Landicrombe
6. Jordan Dyer
7. Steven Colwell
8. Ryan Beckinsale
9. Alex Fletcher
10. Scott Rogers [Sub15 Jordan Bastin 15]
11. Billy Craske [Sub12 Levi Landicrombe 60]
Subs Not Used:
16. George Rogers
Manager: Martyn Rogers / Scott Rogers
Attendance : 65
Ref: Hugh Gilroy - Assistants - Conor Griffin - Bogdan Caraghin