Successful giant killings require a number of things to fall in the underdogs favour. Run of the ball, a slightly below par opposition etc. Equally high on the list is decisions going your way. When the moment came yesterday, referee Michael Ryan did not live up to his side of the bargain.
In the 12th minute the oﬃcial was given his first big decision of the afternoon. The sort of game changing choices good referees get right more often than not.As Havant dawdled playing out from the back, Rams man of the match, the ever tena- cious Aaron Minhas snapped into a challenge on Oscar Gobern. The ball fell to Tyrone Lewthwaite who bore down on the area before being scythed down 20 yards from goal by Joe Oastler. It was the classic defenders, “If I’m not getting the ball, I’m definitely getting you hack down.
Oastler was the last man and clearly denied a goal scoring opportunity. Apparently Mr Ryan believes he saw something the still images, match video and even Paul Doswell, the Havant manager, didn’t see?
Seemingly in Mr Ryan’s alternative universe Lewthwaite had lost control of the ball which had run through to the keeper?
A sceptic may say this is less witness testimony and more an explanation to justify what
followed. Namely a yellow card.
Now when both teams and both benches and most of the crowd were in broad agreement
that it should have been a straight Red. It’s not unreasonable to feel hard done by.
Especially when not even the assistant nearest to the incident is prepared to offer the
same opinion as the ref or corroborate his assertion re ball tracking.
The lower league side is always left asking the question, “Would the outcome have been the same at the other end?”
On the basis of yesterdays performance you’d strongly suspect not.
That is not to say that the result would have been different?
On yesterdays evidence Havant and Waterlooville are a very good team.
Their performance here was that of a well drilled, strong athletic and energetic team and
simply looking at the playing staff told you all you need to know about the benefit of full
They probably possess the ability to have prevailed with 10 as with 11 but we’ll never
know because Mr Ryan had one big decision to make and appeares to have bottled it to
the benefit of the side from the higher level.
You understand this leaning with clever free kicks and ring craft. Decisions favour the better
player. That is true at all levels and more so in cups where the gap in class is often
pronounced. With obvious crucial decisions it’s reasonable to expect better.
The aftermath is almost worse though?
You could accept the humility for an official to admit a mistake. To err is human etc.
The idea that of the 400 people present he’s somehow seen something that the other 399
present including his assistants haven’t is at best questionable?
Only he will know the answer but if experience is anything to go by I imagine he thinks he
had a blinder. They usually do.
This was Beaconsfield’s first foray into their opponents final third after an opening dominated
by The Hawks who had the Rams at full stretch to cope with their pace and movement.
Spearheaded by the muscular presence of Alex Wall leading the line with strength
and no little ring craft. Together with Jake McCarthy pulling the strings in midfield and
joining the attack at every opportunity. With the pace of Josh Passley down the right
combining with the trickery of Abdulai Baggie it was always going to be a difficult afternoon
for The Rams defence but they rode their luck and frustrated their latest temporary
landlords for a day.
Just as Rams fans were allowing themselves to think that the storm was weathered Havant
took the lead Baggie Fed Passley who burst beyond the defence to the byeline before
picking out a pull back to McCarthy who side footed home from 8 yards.
The Rams rallied and from the kick off launched an attack which culminated in a Freekick
on the left after a foul on Callum Webb. Scott Donelly’s delivery Fell to Toby Little on the
edge of the box. The midfielders effort fizzed just over the bar.
Honours were largely even , Havant the more threatening but Tokarcyzk not seriously extended
until the 40th minute a high aimless ball done the right was collected by Olly
Sprague facing his own goal. The left back dwelt in possession and felt he was fouled by
McCarthy who dispossessed, clearly Mr Ryan disagreed and allowed McCarthy to advance
into the box to drive in his and Havant’s second.
The Rams responded with enthusiasm and three minutes later they were back in it.
Lewthwaoite broke through iun the left channel and advanced on goal Ross Worner made
a brave block at his feet but as the keeper recovered his feet a second effort was blocked
to the edge of the area where it fell to Aaron Minhas who fired home. Game on!
Two minutes later on the stroke of half time The Rams again shot themselves in the foot
McCarty picked up possession on the left wing with a group of Four Rams for company.
Somehow afetr a spot of after you Jake defending he emerged with the ball and fed Wall
on the edge of the box. The battering ram striker produced a deft shaped finsin curling his
shot beyond Tokarcyzk into the top corner. A little harsh on The Rams but a reminder that
if you let good players play they will eventually hurt you for it.
Half Time 3-1
The Rams started the Second period brightly Tyrone Lewthwaite burst between two defenders
one of whom clearly had hold of a handful of the big strikers shorts.
Fair to say at the other end such contact would have seen either striker hit the turf appealing
as they fell. Wall in particular had absolutely no compunction about belly flopping
on the carpet in a flurry of arms and legs. Particularly when one pantomime effort was allowed
to go unpunished or even mentioned by MR Ryan. Here Lewthwaite as he is prone
to do, stayed on his feet and was dispossessed.
Mr Ryan having not been asked a question had no need of supply an answer. I mean lets
be honest, he’d probably have got it wrong. That said while I’m no fan of falling under the
slightest contact, it is a sad fact of life at this level that weak officiating thrives on player
honesty and too often rewards the fall and the shout. In those circumstances If the only
way to receive the correct treatment from officials is to go down under contact? We won’t
get anything from Refs until we start doing it too.
Havant continued to press and eventually the pressure paid off albeit in a surprising fashion.
Despite the pressure they were under The Rams chose to play it out from the back,
were immediately set upon by McCarthy who nicked possession and played in Wall who
drove home a low shot past the stranded Tokarcyzk.
4-1 Game over? Well you’d think so but the Rams responded with character and spirit.
Gary Meakin introduced all his available subs for fresh legs and minds and The Rams carried
the game to the Hawks. Marcus Stewart shot wide through a crowd of players after a
Callum Webb corner fell to him on the edge of the box. Beaconsfield were rewarded for
their renewed vigour when Lewthwaite and Alex Lafleur combined down the left.
The young full backs driven cross was turned into his own net by Joe Newton.
With 10 minutes or so left The Rams poured forward and The Havant defence suddenly
looked much less secure than it had done all afternoon. They began niggling and kicking
the ball away, again, unpunished all afternoon so why wouldn’t they? As the Rams
pressed Kensley Maloney providing much of the forward impetus. They almost made it
very interesting Lafleur, fed by Baz Pashaj, making a pleasing cameo appearance that
showed signs the elusive dribble and pace merchant is close to being fully fit after two
years away, broke in off the left wing exchanged passes with Lewthwaite before advancing
to the edge of the box. Faced by two defenders his low shot was deflected, wrong
footing Worner and falling nicely if a little slowly for the advancing Lewthwaite. The lack of
pace allowed the keeper to recover and though Lewthwaites low effort beat the lunging
challenge of Maddy Adebowale the keeper was able to recover enough to make a very
good blocking save, deflecting the ball behind for a corner.
You felt that might be The moment. So it was from the resulting corner missed tackles
and over committing presented Havant with a Three against One attack. Good teams
don’t let you get away with that kind of largesse. James Roberts converted his chance in
Beaconsfield were still not for lying down though even in the face of defeat they pressed.
Baz Pashaj unleashed an elusive mazey dribble reminiscent of his frequent bursts in the
championship season. On this occasion though he could not apply the sort of crisp finish
we remember but that will come as he gets more game time and builds back the confdence
that made him virtually unplayable on his day,
Lewthwaite was rewarded for his afternoon of often thankless effort when he got on the
end of a delightful Kensley Maloney Freekick to head past Worner in the final minute.
On reflection The game never really felt as close as the final score. Havant are a very
good professional outfit with very good players and the third gopal on half time was probably
the killer blow here. The Rams though can take heart from a second half they drew
2-2 and a spirited performance against quality opposition from a higher grade.
It was a free hit for the Rams who can now, in time honoured tradition ‘concentrate on
the league’ but they should concentrate on the positives here,
If they can eradicate the individual errors and get a bit nastier they have the makings of a
really good team and a supporting cast with depth.
Especially when you consider that Four potential starters were ruled out with COVID since
the win in the challenge cup at North Leigh.
Heres wishing Babbs Jarra, Jefferson Louis, Dylan Kearney and AJ a speedy and full recovery.
Next up The Rams make the trip to face Yate Town next Saturday
Subs not used
13. Mike Neish
16. Paris Jackson
17. Andrei Chiriac
Manager: Gary Meakin
Havant and Waterlooville
Subs Not Used
Manager: Paul Wotton
Ref: Michael Ryan
Assistants: Martin Bloor & Bruce Waymark