Salisbury 1 Beaconsfield Town 0
Rams Man of the Match - Adam Forster
Forster on form as Rams are edged out by Salisbury.
Beaconsfield Town and Salisbury played out a competitive, engaging and entertaining 90 minutes at The Raymond McEnhill Stadium on Saturday and Adam Forster was the major reason that the game retained the attention until the final moments of added time.
The young stopper produced two plunging full length saves, one in each half, to turn away shots that looked to be certain goals and weighed in with a sprawling smothering block and a number of smart, if more regulation stops in between.
He was beaten just the once on 26 minutes when Dan Fitchett forced in a low shot from 10 yards after a direct driving run from Antonio Diaz. His direct run seemed to have made space for an effort of his own before wrong footing everyone and playing in Fitchett who beat the despairing sliding lunge of Luke Neville to fire home.
It wasn’t exactly against the run of play but Beaconsfield had settled quickly and made a good start.
They were unfortunate to see penalty claims waved away after only eight minutes. A home defender slipped forward onto all fours in the act of moving to block an Aaron Minhas’ goal-bound effort. As he reached out in front to steady himself the shot struck him squarely on the arm. I’ll be honest, after recent weekends I have no idea what constitutes handball anymore.
That said, Ref Graham Pearce was happy to penalise Jerome Ecclestone later when a firmly hit shot struck him on top of the foot and deflected into his arm which was by his side. Perhaps the key difference was that Ecclestone was outside the box, which makes any decision easier.
Ten minutes later Minhas and James Ewington combined to free the striker who flashed a low shot just wide with Liam Armstrong skittering across his goal.With their next attack, a well worked free kick routine saw Oli Sprague released on the left. He picked out Ewington beyond the far post but he could not keep his effort on target from a narrow ankle.
At the other end Dominic Jefferies was first on to a second ball knock down on the edge of The Ram’s box but could not keep his effort on target.
With the home teams next attack Forster was tested by a miss hit cross which appeared to be floating in but the keeper made ground across his goal and clawed it out from under the bar.
From the subsequent corner the ball squirted to Fitchett beyond the far post. The big striker took a touch to get the ball out of his feet. This gave enough time for a combination of Forster and Luke Neville to close rapidly and block his shot behind for another corner.
As half time approached the home side seemed odds on to increase their lead.
Left back Jack Ball stepped in front of Jefferson Louis to cut out a through pass and advanced down the wing. He breezed past Callum Webb, on his heels as he was launching his overlap to support the front players. In the clear Ball advanced on goal with defenders in his wake. As Jerome Ecclestone moved across to cover, the full back sent a low cross shot arrowing towards the opposite bottom corner, before Forster at full length finger-tipped the effort inches wide.
On the stroke of half time Ball was perhaps fortunate to avoid a straight red card.
Mr Pearce. in consultation with his assistant, adjudged that his ugly two footed lunge at Bayley Brown lacked the necessary straight legged intent. The left back received a yellow card for a tackle that made Oli Sprague’s Tuesday night straight red effort look like a friendly handshake.
Half time 0-1
James Taylor was withdrawn at half time as Gary Meakin reverted to a back four having started with the wing back formation. The introduction of Charlie Losasso put The Rams on to the front foot where they stayed for a large part of the second period.
That said chances were few and far between at either end.
James Ewington sprang the offside trap but the necessary angle of his run forced him a little wide and by the time he had course corrected back towards goal Armstrong was quickly off his line to smother the effort.
With the Rams looking the more likely, home manager, Steve Claridge set about protecting what he had. Withdrawing Fitchett and sitting in to protect the lead and break as the game became more open.
Gary Meakin sent on Ade Shokunbi as the Rams pressed for an equaliser.
With all of their attacking options on show they became more stretched and both Bayley Brown and Luke Neville found themselves in the book as the hosts broke with menace.
In one such attack Lewis Benson was denied by Forster producing another full-length plunge to his left to turn away his effort.
Harry Scott was Meakin’s final throw but even with time running out he was able to make in-roads on the left combining well with Oli Sprague to force an injury time corner.With time expiring the kick was met by Callum Webb who climbed well but was unable to direct his effort on target.
Next up The Rams make the trip to face Hartley Wintney on Tuesday evening.
There is an old joke among bands which holds that the only reason anyone becomes a drummer is so that they can hang around with musicians. Goalkeepers perennially suffer from a similar kind of, ‘breed apart’, practiced stereotype. Some take the view that if your goalie has a great game in a close result, naming him man of the match implies that you should have been hammered and sends the wrong message about your overall performance?
As a former goalie, I beg to differ.