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For the second league game in a row The Rams were reduced to ten men and the game, which up to that point had been a competitive watchable encounter, turned on the deci-sion.
Left back Oli Sprague can reasonably feel a little hard done by to have received a straight red card for his challenge on, or rather in the direction of, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain.
A heavy touch by the wide man seemed to present an opportunity for the left back who went to ground and slid in. He missed the ball by a fraction as Oxlade-Chamberlain recov-ered and toe ended it between him and the converging Bayley Brown. From his angle Mr Morrison felt that the challenge was reckless and endangered an opponent despite the fact that the young winger skipped on past it without any apparent contact and it was Brown who came off worst from the coming together with his team mate.
Whether or not the reaction of the visiting bench had any influence only the ref will know.
However, their orchestrated foul-mouthed baying for retribution and haranguing of the offi-cials at every tackle or physical challenge throughout proceedings certainly took its toll on the rest of us.
Up to this point the game had been an evenly contested, competitive, if physical encoun-ter. In form Gosport, fresh from a resounding victory over Farnborough, arrived, as many before them have, with the view that Beaconsfield would offer little resistance and were there simply to be bullied into submission.
The visitors enjoyed good early possession and the pattern of the first half was quickly es-tablished. Gosport play a simple brand of football, eschewing the modern love affair with playing from the back. Based on an effective muscular back four expertly marshalled by Jordan Rose, they clear their lines without fuss. Get the ball forward quickly and endeav-our to play all their football in the final third. Working the ball wide at every opportunity and utilising the pace and trickery of their wide men Oxlade Chamberlain and Gerard Storey to either attack the byline or link with overlapping colleagues to deliver the crosses to chal-lenge the home defence.
The Rams defence stood up well under the initial onslaught and the back three of Jerome Ecclestone, Luke Neville and James Taylor were equal to the bombardment and when they were stretched Adam Forster in the home goal was on hand to earn his money with regulation saves from Storey and Aaron McCreadie.
As the first half progressed the visitors, on and off the park, became increasingly frustrat-ed and shrill as The Rams expected capitulation under pressure did not materialise.
Jefferson Louis and James Ewington pressed hard on the visiting defence and both wing backs, Callum Webb and the unlucky Sprague began to find space wide with Charlie Losasso pulling the strings just behind the front two. In the trenches Jordan Ajanlekoko and Bayley Brown were immense throughout, screening the back four and resolute in the tackle in the congested midfield.
Home chances were few but Patrick O’Flaherty was the first of the two keepers to be ex-tended, diving full length to punch clear a Losasso free kick arcing in towards the near post. Shortly after the best move of the evening saw Losasso slide the ball into the path of Ewington. The striker advanced into the box, as the visitors berated the assistant for an imagined off-side, before flashing a low drive across O’Flaherty. Sadly the effort which beat the keeper also narrowly beat the far post.
Half time 0-0
The second half started in a similar style to the first with The Rams displaying their in-creasingly prevalent slow start to second periods.
Gosport enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but created little as the home side kept their shape and discipline and kept the visitors comfortably at arms-length.
Then Sprague was given his marching orders and the contest was turned on its head.
Gosport managed their man advantage very well, retaining possession, spreading the ball back and forward across the width of the park playing with control and patience, probing for opportunities and working the home side hard.
It seemed only a matter of time before they made their advantage tell but The Rams de-fended resolutley and ran tirelessly reducing the visitors to shots from distance and set pieces which came to nothing alarms were few and when the defence was pierced first Forster produced a sprawling save to beat away a fierce Brad Tarbuck shot and then James Taylor launched himself in the path of a goal bound effort from McCreadie.
The breakthrough when it came summed up The Rams luck at present.
In the 72nd minute, seconds after being introduced from the subs bench, Patrick Suraci sent in a goal-bound effort straight at Forster but the desperate stretching intervention of Bayley Brown deflected the ball past the keeper and into the net.
There was only going to be one winner after that. Gary Meakin sent on Harry Scott and Aaron Minhas and re-organised to try and strike back but Gosport maintained their disci-pline and patiently managed possession. Chances were few at either end. The Rams mus-tered a shot from the tireless Ajanlekoko which was deflected wide and a Jerome Ec-cleston’s header wide from the resulting corner.
The visitors second goal owed as much to fatigue as good play. A long ball forward was headed down by Ecclestone, Suraci reacted quickest and got the ball out of his feet and struck a sweet 25-yard drive past Forster’s despairing dive and into the back of the net.
2-0 was a little hard on The Rams but as soon as Sprague was dismissed there was only likely to be one winner here.
Next up for the Rams, Saturday’s trip to Salisbury
1. Patrick O’Flaherty
3. Rory Williams
5. Ryan Woodford
7.Brad Tarbuck [Sub 20.Jordan Ragguette 90]
14. Grant Charles [Sub 9.Matthew Paterson 80]
16. Joshua Huggins
17.Gerard Storey [Sub10. Patrick Suraci 71]
18. Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain
19. Aaron McCreadie
Subs Not Used
2. Harry Kavanagh
Manager: Shaun Gale
Ref: Neil Morrison
Assistants: Thomas Ratheram - Dean Carney