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Salisbury 2 - Beaconsfield Town 1
Rams Man of the match - Luke Neville
Rams slip to second away defeat
Beaconsfield slipped to their second league defeat in a week at Salisbury but whereas The Rams could feel hard done by at Harrow Borough they could have no complaint here.
The first quarter of an hour was even, both sides probing without creating too much by way of clear chances.
The first opening of note came on 17 minutes when a corner from the right was headed back across goal to be met at the far post by Luke Hopper. His powerful header produced a brilliant point blank save from Ravan Constable. This brought Salisbury and the crowd to life and the home side began to take control, with the impressive Thomas Whelan at the heart of everything in the centre of midfield.
The opening goal, when it came, had more than a hint of good fortune about it. Dawson appeared to foul Wes Daly in midfield, pulling him back on the blind side of ref Mr Ellsmore. Dawson emerged with the ball. He then did his best to lose it on at least three occasions as he drew increasingly desperate challenges from The Rams defence. Each attempted tackle and ricochet bounced his way until he found himself, finally in control, 20 yards from goal. The melee had sucked players towards the ball allowing Whelan space on the left of the area Dawson slid him in and he advanced on goal before calmly finishing into the corner.
Beaconsfield rallied but without really laying a glove on the home side who always looked the more menacing in attack, urged forward by Whelan. Marvin Morgan made a nuisance of himself and won more than his fair share as The Rams approach became increasing back to front but the ball wasn’t running for the visitors, Bajram Pashaj enjoyed some moments of individual flair but was well marshalled by Wheeler and O’Keefe.
The Rams created two openings in response to going behind. On the half hour a corner from the right found AJ Ajanlekoko in space 16 yards from goal though his stooping header lacked the power and direction to trouble Jake Hallett, when he may have been better taking a touch. Shortly after Charlie Losasso drove a free kick into the wall.
Salisbury always looked the more likely to add to their lead and did so on 41 minutes. Reece Yorke seemed to get the ball stuck under his feet and was challenged by Luke Hopper who dispossessed the centre half 25 yards from goal before advancing unchallenged to fire home.
Something needed to change and Gary Meakin freshened things up at half time, Brendan Matthew replaced Jerome Ecclestone with debutant Sean Fraser reverting to right back. Matthew’s pace and understanding with Morgan immediately gave the home defence more to contend with and Beaconsfield carried more threat but still struggled to carve out good opportunities.
On 53 minutes Charlie Losasso, released by Wes Daly, curled a cross into the near post where a stretching Morgan made good contact but couldn’t quite guide his shot on target.
Interplay through the centre between Matthew and Morgan allowed the rangy striker his first clear sight on goal on 65 minutes and his fierce angled drive was well saved by Hallett. It was a long way from dominance but The Rams were carrying much more threat, enough for fans to recall their fight back from a similar position on the opening Saturday of the season.
The task became a lot more difficult in 77th minute when Reece Yorke concluded a difficult afternoon with a straight red. He was somewhat harshly adjudged to have denied a clear goal scoring opportunity. In fairness, he was already on a yellow and there was no doubt he had to go as he deliberately pulled back substitute Daniel Fitchett as the pair chased a through ball which seemed destined to run through to Constable. However, the straight red perhaps owed as much to the presence of a referee’s assessor in the crowd as it did to the offence itself.
Lewis Benson almost added the coupe de gras from the resulting free-kick which he curled up and over the wall and narrowly wide of the post.
To be fair the contest was all but over at this point. Salisbury controlled possession and made the most of their man advantage. Matthew, Losasso and Morgan never gave up and continued to carry a threat but it was impossible to maintain enough possession to mount any sustained pressure.
The introduction of Louis Stead and Nathan Webb added fresh legs to the fray for the final 10 minutes and held the home side at bay, with Stead prominent on the right flank linking with Brendan Matthew and Marvin Morgan who worked tirelessly all afternoon for scant reward.
Matthew finally got Beaconsfield on the board in the 92nd minute turning on the edge of the box and wriggling free from the close attention of O’Keefe before sending an angled cross shot in off the post far post.
On this day it was too little too late and to be honest on the balance of play the result was the right one, Salisbury ran out deserving winners. The Rams will now hope that the restorative powers of turkey and the trimmings and the prospect of two home fixtures will help them get back to winning ways.
1. Ravan Constable
2. Jerome Ecclestone (Sub 17 Brendan Matthew 45)
3. Mayowa Balogun
4. Reece Yorke
5. Luke Neville
6. Wes Daly ©
7. Sean Fraser
8. Jordan Ajanlekoko
9. Marvin Morgan
10. Bajram Pashaj (Sub 16 Louis Stead 81)
11. Charlie Losasso (Sub 15 Nathan Webb 81)
Subs Not Used:
12: Joe Adoo-Peters
14: Omar Vassell
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Jake Hallett
2. Elliot Wheeler
3. Joshua Sommerton
4. Thomas Whelan
5. Kane O’Keefe ©
6. Matthew Partridge
7. Lewis Benson
8. Aaron Dawson
9. Luke Hopper (Sub 15 Daniel Fitchett 53)
10. Darren Mullings (Sub16 Jacob Wannll 81)
11. Pablo Haysham (Sub 14 Jack Sparkes 63)
Subs Not Used:
12. Zackariah Kotwica
17. Daniel Young
Manager: Steve Claridge
Ref: Mr Tom Ellsmore
Assistants: Mr Charlie Bullock - Mr Ross Murphy