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Beaconsfield Town 3 Harrow Borough 2
Rams Man of the Match - Jordan Ajanlekoko
Despite living on scraps, particularly in the second half. Beaconsfield edged Harrow Borough 3-2 in a cup classic at Holloways Park on Tuesday night.
Gary Meakin took the opportunity of the League Challenge Cup to rest eight of Friday night’s victorious FA Cup team, giving chances to a couple of new faces and allowing the supporting squad players a chance to stake their claims for more regular inclusion on Saturdays.
Borough may feel hard done by but in truth, despite dominating the second period, with half time substitute Michael Bryan at the heart of everything, most of there possession was in front of a resolute Rams back four well marshalled by Reece Yorke and screened by Jordan Ajanlekoko and James McCluskey.
There were certainly some alarms for the home team but Myles Bowman in the home goal was seldom under pressure, dealing with routine shots from distance and set pieces.
At the other end Beaconsfield’s pressure was more sporadic but the finishing was more clinical and Hafed Al-Doubi produced several smart saves to prevent the score-line becoming even more lopsided.
The pattern of the game was established early. Beaconsfield managed a couple of efforts without much menace before the visitors took control. Borough were on the front foot throughout with Joseph Cludeko, withdrawn at half time for some reason, prominent from as early as the tenth minute, when he made a chance for himself before screwing his shot wide from 18 yards. He was at the heart of everything good the visitors did, linking well with front men Ryan Moss and Excellence Muhemba. It was Cludeko’s run on 15 minutes that lead to the opening goal.
Picking up the ball in midfield he immediately drew defenders toward him, dropping a shoulder and flowing through before playing in Muhemba in the right channel. The rangy striker made room and worked his way across the front of box before picking out Lewis Cole on the left who drove into the box and shaped for the bye line before spinning and firing a shot across Bowman and into the corner.
Beaconsfield were struggling to get into the game and in the opening quarter were limited to two dangerous crosses from Luke Heneghan which asked questions of the visitors defence but alluded the finishing touch required. Debutant Tyrell Mitford and Dean Morgan showed signs of a developing understanding as the half progressed.
It was the visitors who looked more likely to extend their lead with Bowman finger- tipping away a Ryan Moss effort and Ryan Parsons, excellent throughout, stretched to deflect a George Moore effort wide.
It was 28 minutes before The Rams mustered a shot to trouble Al-Droubi, Louis Fazakerley played an extended one two with Dean Morgan before advancing into the box and firing home off the cross bar
Borough continued to press for the remainder of the half but for the most part the home side defended well and in numbers with few alarms.
Half time 1-1
The half time introduction of Michael Bryan skewed the possession statistics even further. For fifteen minutes he was at the centre of everything. Every move went through him and he dominated the midfield. It was surely only a matter of time before this dominance lead to a second goal.
However, it was Beaconsfield who took the lead. Substitute Mihal-Andrei Chiriac, who looks a lively prospect to advance from the under 18’s, cushioned a lay off into the path of Jordan Ajanlekoko who shrugged off George Fenton to shoot home from 18 yards.
Moments later Excellence Muhemba squandered Boroughs best opportunity of the half. Finding himself behind the back four in front of goal he seemed certain to restore parity but skewed his effort horribly wide from 12 yards.
Borough continued to dominate but it was Beaconsfield who could have extended the lead Morgan turning and out muscling a defender before firing in a low drive which was well saved by Al- Doubi..
The Beaconsfield damn finally broke in the 74th minute with a touch of good fortune for the visitors – Bryan’s cross fell behind Moss whose instinctive back heel flick might have gone anywhere but found Lewis Cole beyond the far post. Still with work to do the winger steadied himself and fired a low shot beating a scrambling Bowman at the near post.
It seemed likely that having taken the top off Borough would now press on for the win but again whilst they dominated possession and territory there were few alarms whilst at the other end The Rams went ahead, Mitford latching on to Samir Bajja’s delicious
dink over top to beat the advancing keeper and lob his effort over him and in-to the vacant net.
Borough threw everything at another equalizer. Bowman saved well from George, stretching low to turn away a shot and the young keeper showed poise under pressure as crosses rained in.
Again despite the pressure it was The Rams who could have extended their lead, Mihal-Andrei Chiriac showed his eye for goal with a run and cross shot that had Al-Doubi at full stretch pushing away the youngsters low shot moments later.
Borough continued to pour forward but with few alarms for the home side save for the final action of the game when a shot swerving off target appeared to strike Luke Neville’s hand. The fact that the shot was not threatening the goal and the big defenders arms were by his side probably saved him but you’ve seen them given.
Borough will feel hard done by to lose a game they dominated but for all their territory and possession they created few clear-cut chances and The Rams prospered through remaining organised and taking their chances when they appeared - Proving that possession stats may look lovely in a spreadsheet but mean nothing if you fail to capitalise on the park.
1. Myles Bowman
2. Louis Fazakerley
3. Ryan Parsons
4. Reece Yorke
5. James Taylor
6. James McCluskey [Sub 12. Luke Neville 81]
7. Kane Guy-Seifert [Sub 15. Mihal-Andrei Chiriac 64]
8. Jordan Ajanlekoko
9. Dean Morgan
11. Luke Heneghan [Sub 14. Samir Bajja 73]
Subs Not Used:
16. Bajram Pashaj
17. Shawnikki Clement-Peter
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Hafed Al-Droubi
2. George Moore
3. Luke Waner-Bey
4. George Fenton
5. Shaun Preddle
6. Jordan Ireland
7. Frank Keita
8. Joseph Cludeko [Sub 14. Michael Bryan 45]
9. Ryan Moss
10. Excellence Muhemba [Sub 12. Anthony O’Connor 73]
11. Lewis Cole [Sub 15. Kensley Maloney 73]
Subs Not Used:
15. Kensley Maloney
16. Joshua Andrew
17. Adam Pepera
Manager: Steve Baker
Ref: Thomas Haddrell