Poole Town 2 - 1 Beaconsfield Town
Rams Man of the Match - Daniel Brown
Beaconsfield Town endured another blank away day - despite fighting back from a goal down and looking the better team in the second half - when yet another key decision went against them handing the points to the home side.
The opening exchanges had a dispiritingly familiar look as the rejigged Rams line up, missing Reece Yorke, injured last week at Kings Langley, and Wes Daly and Marvin Morgan both serving bans, were slow to settle as the home side set about them with the benefit of the blustery conditions.
It was not really a surprise when new signing from Hayes and Yeading, debutant keeper Charlie Burns’ first duty as a Ram was picking a sixth minute Will Spetch header out of his net. It was Poole’s first real attack of note despite early pressure but arrived via a moment of real quality as Luke Roberts delivered a pinpoint cross to the far post where Spetch climbed above Brendan Matthew and powered his header home.
You feared for The Rams at this point as the home team warmed to their task and piled forward with James Constable and Marvin Brooks combining at the point of attack ably assisted by Roberts on the left and Sam Griffin on the opposite wing. However, despite dominating possession the home side where careless in possession and repeatedly fell foul of the offside trap that Luke Neville marshalled well throughout.
It was skipper Neville who had Beaconsfield’s first clear chance of the afternoon when he rose to meet a Charlie Losasso flighted free kick beyond the far post but saw his goal bound effort strike the back of Brendan Matthew’s head and ricochet to safety.
Louis Stead came closest to levelling the scores on the quarter hour when home keeper Luke Cairney scuffed a clearance from outside his box. The ball fell to Stead 40 yards out, with the keeper sprinting to regain his ground, he struck a low goal bound effort into the wind which seemed to be all over the equaliser but a combination of wind drawing the ball into the centre of goal and Cairney’s hustle saw him hook the ball away with a desperate goal line lunge.
The remainder of the first half followed a pattern of thrust and counter and off-sides aplenty. Whilst the home side probably shaded it in terms of possession and territorial
advantage the Beaconsfield rearguard stood firm and on the two occasions they were undone debutant Burns was on hand to make smart regulation saves from Constable and Brooks, both of whom will consider they should have done better.
Despite the disjointed start Beaconsfield found more rhythm as the game progressed and ended the half with more coherence and cohesion in their passing but without any further alarms for Cairney.
Half Time 1-0
Beaconsfield started on the front foot after the break and with the blustery conditions now in their favour they managed to pin the home side back.
The pressure bore fruit in the 51st minute. Dan Brown, increasingly influential in midfield, fed Charlie Losasso on the left. He drove in towards goal and saw a dipping cross shot cannon off Jack Dickson’s back and away for the Rams first corner. Losasso delivered the corner to the centre of the goal eight yards out where Jordan AJ Ajanlekoko applied the merest flick and Brendan Matthew with his back to goal steered a right foot overhead kick into the net. Game on!
Now firmly in the ascendancy Beaconsfield began to press for more goals but the home side remained dangerous on the break through Constable and Scrimshaw who was linking with the attack and making darting runs as a willing chaser of flicks and lay-offs.
One such lead to the afternoons ultimately decisive and most controversial moment. A quick ball out of defence was nudged on by Constable bypassing a lunging Luke Neville and Scrimshaw was away on goal, pursued by covering Jerome Ecclestone who managed to catch the onrushing attacker and position himself to slide in and turn the ball away for a corner. Scrimshaw went down in a heap but the linesman made no indication. Referee Mr Underhay was conservatively 40 yards behind play at this point but adjudged that the centre half had played the ball only after playing the man. He was clearly too far away and on the wrong side because it was all too apparent that Ecclestone took the ball cleanly then his momentum carried him into Scrimshaw.
To add insult to injury after much deliberation he showed Ecclestone the yellow card. As there was never any doubt that the challenge was a genuine, arguably successful attempt to play the ball quite what the deliberation was about is anyone’s guess.
Though the Weymouth officials demeanour and interaction with players and staff of both sides throughout suggests that he believes it is important that his authority be respected and he is happy to be noticed explaining this fact, repeatedly. It’s apparent that he believes he is managing the players but this afternoon that management style resulted in semi continuous unpunished descent and cheating across the board. Oh for an afternoon where we don’t notice the officials
In this instance poor position and the frenzied appealing of the 300 or so Poole fans and players clearly lead him to the belief that a penalty was appropriate, without consultation with the well positioned linesman who had not seen fit to make any affirmative signal.
Constable stepped up and stroked home the penalty though Burns will feel unlucky as he guessed correctly and got a hand to the spot kick but was unable to keep it out.
Beaconsfield dominated the remainder of proceedings and created good chances but could not convert. Charlie Losasso saw a 25 yard free kick crash down off the bar straight to the feet of Brendan Matthew who could not react quickly enough to steer the rebound home from point blank range. Then Matthew beat the offside trap and saw his shot saved by Cairney. (A touch also missed by Mr Underhay who unaccountably missed the sound of the save which he admitted not to have seen, and awarded a goal kick).
The introduction of Gogo and Minhas from the subs bench introduced late spark and the pair combined well with Charlie Losasso whose quick feet released Gogo to cross for Brendan Matthew to slot home from 10 yards in the 91st minute but Thomas was adjudged to have been narrowly off side when he was played in.
The remaining five or so minutes petered out as Poole ran down the clock and despite creating almost nothing in a second half entirely dominated by the visitors the home team emerged with all three points.
Beaconsfield will feel hard done by, again! But they will need to start turning domination into goals if they are to climb away from trouble as the season reaches the business end.
1. Charlie Burns
2. Omar Vassell
3. Mayowa Balogun
4. Jerome Ecclestone
5. Luke Neville ©
6. Dan Brown
7. Louis Stead
8. Jordan Ajanlekoko (Sub 15 Thomas Gogo 68)
9. Brendan Matthew
10. Jon-Jo Bates (Sub 14 Aaron Minhas 65)
11. Charlie Losasso
Subs Not Used:
12: Callum Webb
16: Ethan Holland
17 Reece Yorke
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Luke Cairney
2. Jack Dickson
3. John Leslie-Smith
4. Will Spetch
5. Jamie Whisken
6. Jake Scrimshaw (Sub 16 Sam House 69)
7. Sam Griffin
8. Corby Moore
9. James Constable (Sub 14 James Boote 81)
10. Marvin Brooks
11. Luke Roberts (Sub 15 Jez Bedford 65)
Subs Not Used:
12. Adam Grange
17. Micky Hubbard
Manager: Tom Killick
Ref: Mr Martin Underhay
Assistants: Mr Kevin Rodd - Mr Ian Hawkins