Beaconsfield Town 3 - 2 Basingstoke Town
Rams Man of the Match - Louis Stead
Bates comes off the bench to secure the win for Rams in thriller
For the second time in a week fans at Holloways Park saw an early lead evaporate but this time it was the home team who let their two goal advantage slip away. On this occasion though the full comeback was snuffed out by a late winner from debutante Jon-Jo Bates, beginning his second spell with the Rams in fine style.
Mindful of the slow start that so nearly cost them on Boxing Day Beaconsfield started brightly probing on the flanks with Bajram Pashaj enjoying some early success on the left wing but the visitors carved out the first clear opportunity after five minutes.Sam Smart, lively all afternoon, worked an opening on the right and his fine cross was met by Sam Argent but the strikers header fell harmlessly wide of the target with the goal seemingly at his mercy.
Beaconsfield’s first chance came on 10 minutes and was provided by Pashaj who drew fullback Dean Stow into a foul near the byline. His free kick was met by a combination of Jerome Ecclestone and Marvin Morgan at the far post but the effort fell harmlessly wide.
Two minutes later The Rams were ahead. Pashaj picked up the ball in the centre circle and played a ball over left back Robert Gerard into space. Most on the ground thought the ball was overhit and destined for a goal kick but Louis Stead chased the seemingly lost cause and managed to keep the ball in play. He took a touch looked up and played a low cross to the near post where Brendan Matthew managed to beat Charlie Kennedy and the advancing Colm McAdden to the ball, deftly flicking it up and over centre half and keeper sending it looping into the far corner of the net.
Basingstoke responded but despite enjoying a period of good pressure and the lions share of possession for 15 minutes they could not make their superiority tell and produced only a couple of corners without troubling Ravan Constable in the home goal. During this period the home side were their own worst enemies as they consistently failed to maintain possession and invited pressure with some careless passing and poor control.
The Rams went further ahead on 26 minutes with a well worked second goal. Jerome Ecclestone’s clearance was met by Marvin Morgan. He cushioned a header down into the path of his strike partner Brendan Matthew who swept a first time pass ahead of Stead on the right. He drove in another gem of a low cross which missed out two covering defenders and found Morgan who steered the ball home with a controlled left foot finish from six yards.
Basingstoke again responded with increased pressure with Smart and fellow winger Zidane Akers probing on both flanks, asking questions of the Rams defence but Beaconsfield came closer to increasing their lead before the visitors threatened. With Brendan Matthew still down, after a challenge from Kennedy, Bajram Pashaj cut in from his wing and worked the space for a low 20 yard shot which was well saved by McAdden. Mathew remained on the turf and was replaced by Charlie Losasso on 34 minutes.
On 41 minutes Basingstoke finally got some reward for their pressure. Akers drew Omar Vassell into a clumsy foul near the right corner of the penalty area 25 yards from goal.Right back Dean Stow stepped up and curled the kick over the wall and into the top corner, Constable got fingertips to the shot but was unable to claw it away.
From then until half time the visitors enjoyed their most threatening spell. They pressed The Rams back as they searched for the equaliser and forced two corners in quick succession. From the second an attempted overhead kick presented Argent with a dropping ball 15 yards from goal his volley, more looped than sweetly struck, forced Constable into an acrobatic tip over the bar. Moments later with a misplaced clearance Constable seemed to have presented Harry Pearse the opportunity to chip Basingstoke level but his goal bound effort was headed away from danger by Jerome Ecclestone, with his keeper stranded in no mans land.
Half time probably came at the right time for the home team who were able to regroup and catch their breath.
Half Time 2-1
The second half started evenly but Morgan and Losasso were struggling to link up front and some poor passing and poor decision making presented easy possession to the visitors.
A moment of individual brilliance almost restored the two goal advantage as Bajram Pashaj linked with Losasso. Receiving a cushioned return pass 25 yards from goal he appeared to have picked his spot as he fired in a dipping curling right foot effort which flashed narrowly wide of McAdden’s left hand post with the keeper beaten.
Three minutes later, on 62 minutes, the scores were level. Zidan Akers cut in from the right and set off on a mazy cross-field run before playing in Dan Collier who smashed his shot beyond Constable into the bottom corner.
At this point, with the home side struggling to create any clear cut chances, there seemed to be only one winner. Basingstoke monopolised possession and poured forward in search of the win.
In an effort to stem the flow Gary Meakin introduced Jo Adoo-Peters for skipper Wes Daly and new signing Jon-Jo Bates for Marvin Morgan. Bates was immediately into the action and his pace asked new questions of the Basingstoke back line.
His colleagues responded and without necessarily dominating The Rams gained in confidence and carried more threat. Moments after his introduction a long ball dropped invitingly on the edge of the box for the onrushing Bates who almost beat McAdden to the ball as the keeper just managed to toe end the ball away.
Adoo-Peters caused problems down the left and on 80 minutes his low cross was flicked on by Bates at the nearest and fell to Charlie Losasso eight yards out but he was unable to control his first time effort and sent it over the bar.
Four minutes later the Rams were ahead for good as a Basingstoke attack was broken up by Jordan Ajanlekoko and Jerome Ecclestone and the ball fell to Louis Stead who advanced and curled a delicious right foot through ball around Dan Bayliss and into the path of Bates who side stepped the on rushing McAdden steadied himself and fired the ball home with his right foot.
To their credit Basingstoke kept fighting and it still required a fine last minute save by Constable from an Argent snapshot to ensure that Beaconsfield a second successive 3-2 home victory that keeps them in touch with the Play Off chasers.
Subs Not Used:
Manager: Gary Meakin
Subs Not Used:
Manager: Martin Kuhl
Ref: Mr Stu Kyle
Assistants: Mr Andrew Batten - Mr Fernando Costache