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Beaconsfield Town's encouraging start to the season was derailed on their awayday to Tieerton, where a rash of injuries left Gary Meakin's men at the mercy of Tiverton Town and the elements.
Home striker Olaf Koszela will hog local headlines with his Man of the Match grabbing hat trick performance but only the most one eyed of Tivvy fans would suggest that the eventual 5-1 score line was a fair reflection of the game. In truth the lopsided nature of the final score owed as much to The Rams poor luck with injuries on the day as it did to Tiverton dominance.
When Jordan Aghatise left the field in the 83rd minute, the visitors were reduced to ten men having already used all three subs (though this went unnoticed by the home re- porter). The rain was hard but visibility wasn’t that poor.
At that point the score line was 2-1. Dylan Kearney’s volleyed finish after a delightful pick out from Toby Little having halved the home sides advantage on 78 minutes.
A photographer drowning thunderstorm of disaster movie proportions had arrived moments earlier and I’m pretty sure The Rock and an out of control helicopter couldn’t have been far behind!
With the goal the balance of a very even game appeared to be shifting as The Rams seemed to be gaining momentum and actually relishing the worsening conditions while their hosts didn’t seem to be as keen.
Not to say the home sides win was undeserved. In Chris Shepard, an energetic and eﬀective midfield threat all afternoon and Koszela they possessed the games two out- standing individual performers.
On this showing as this duo go so will go Tiverton. Shephard’s movement and incisive passing creating the ammunition for the big number 10 who, whilst giving the appearance of an old fashioned battering ram, oﬀers far more than physical presence as the opening goal after 10 minutes showed.
Shephard came in oﬀ the left wing, drawing the attention of Alex Lafleur. The midfielder then played in Koszela wide on the left with space vacated by the full back to run into.
A combination of skill from the striker and defensive hesitance saw him run almost to the bye line before cutting back and curling his left footed eﬀort beyond Alex Tokarczyk into the bottom corner. Credit to him for the finish but he should never have been allowed to run as far as he did unchallenged. It was probably a fair reflection of the opening stages.
Tiverton had already had the ball in the net in the second minute when a corner routine found Dan Hayfield on the edge of the box. Fortunately for The Rams his strike was adjacent enough to a colleague in an oﬀside position to see it chalked oﬀ instantly. Prob- ably the only moment of good fortune Beaconsfield enjoyed all afternoon.
Shepard was provider again on 26 minutes and Tivvy almost extended their lead. Alex Tokarczyk plunging full length to turn away a low Hayfield eﬀort from outside the box. A good save but with a good view of it, one he would expect to make.
Just before the break the misfiring Rams were further disrupted when they lost Josh Webb to what appeared at the time a serious injury. Chasing in to press Williams, the full back pulled up and went down in some pain having felt a pop in his ankle. As he was stretchered from the field to sporting applause from the home fans it was feared the injury may have been a dreaded Achilies tear. Subsequent examination suggests it may be in fact a lower calf injury. Fingers crossed for the lesser of evils in the eventual diagnosis and a speedier return to a back four for Josh.
Despite the mounting adversity and the stuttering nature of their first half showing The Rams did enjoy their moments. Toby Little saw a swerving drive acrobatically turned away by Lewis Wiliams who was again at his best to turn away an angled shot from Alex Lafleur at the near post from the resulting series of corners. Scott Donnelly, who also saw a shaped eﬀort blocked wide by Gary Warren, fashioned another chance for Lafleur whose sweetly struck shot fizzed inches over the bar.
Half time arrived with the game evenly poised and every indication that there was still plenty of reason for optimism.
Half Time 1-0
Beaconsfield’s busiest man, physio, Dom Burchett had two more customers before the game was an hour old.
The queue for the treatment room already featuring; Babbs Jarra, Ollie Sprague, Jordan Ajanlekoko, Tyrone Lewthwaite and the unfortunate Josh Webb was joined by Aaron Minhas and Olly McCoy, both withdrawn feeling hamstring tightness and as much precautionary with an eye to the season ahead.
Thus on the hour all of Gary Meakin’s personnel options were exhausted and beyond his usual tactical tweeks he was forced to suﬀer on the sideline with the rest of us as the heavens opened.
Despite all that when Aghatise traipsed oﬀ after being caught in the eye by a flailing hand leaving him with blurred vision The Rams were still in the game.
Seconds later the questionable corner and loss of another centre half was underlined by a scrambled third, forced in at the near-post by Gary Warren., Aghatise’s man. Scott Don- nelly did his best to deputise but that’s a catch weight contest he was never going to win.
Even then Beaconsfield still felt they were in it and as a result rather than settling for 3-1 they pressed on despite being reduced to ten men for the last 10 minutes. An approach which played into the hands of their hosts who were able to pad the score with some assistance from the conditions slippery ball.
Tivvy were worth their win but the final score line hardly a reflection of the afternoon or the likely prospects of the sides going forward.
At least we can look forward to the Emirates FA Cup draw on Monday and Gary Meakin and his squad have a week to rest and recuperate before next Saturday when The Rams ‘waiting for the carpet fitters’ UK tour continues at Merthyr Tydfill.