Beaconsfield Town 3 - 1 Dorchester Town
Rams Man of the Match - James Ewington
Though no one was actually saying it pre match at Holloways Park on Saturday, with Beaconsfield bottom and the visitors Dorchester Town one place and one point above them, Saturday’s battle of the basement was a must win for both.
The home side were confident based on recent improved form and performances, if not always results, though wary that the appointment of former Taunton and Truro manger Leigh Robinson could produce a reaction from The Magpies keen to impress the new boss.
Gary Meakin gave a full debut to James Ewington who impressed off the bench in the narrow defeat to Hayes and Yeading before Christmas and the former Walton Casuals striker was the difference between the sides in the first half.
Before he made his mark it was the visitors who created the best early chance of the game, after the scrappy exchanges of a nervous opening by both sides, Kyle Egan driving in a fierce cross shot from a narrow angle which Myles Bowman in the home goal blocked away for a corner.
At the other end Luke Neville’s looping header was pushed acrobatically away by Shane Murphy.
After 15 minutes the visitors again went close to opening the scoring as Oli Lowes flick found Tom Bath whose snap-shot fizzed narrowly over the angle of post and bar.
A minute later the home side were ahead. A trade mark Jerome Eccleston long throw was partially cleared back to the thrower. His cross was met by Jason Brookes but seemingly under little pressure the defender took a wild hack at the cross and his effort spun off his boot towards his own goal forcing Murphy into a sprawling block. The keeper could not hold the miscue and the rebound fell invitingly for James Ewington who gleefully poked the ball home under Walshe’s body.
The visitors rallied immediately and enjoyed a good spell of pressure and possession without every really looking terribly threatening. For their part The Rams defence, well marshalled by skipper Luke Neville, won their battles and Myles Bowman showed his continued progress and confidence dominating his area and dealing confidently under the high ball when required.
As the game meandered towards half time the hosts began to show signs that they had weathered the visitors response and began to take control. On 38 minutes an errant Frank Clarke pass out of defence was cut out by Jordan Ajanlekoko in midfield and he found Charlie Losasso. With the Dorchester defence on its heals, the mercurial number 10 laid in a beautifully weighted cross which Ewington met at the near post and steered past Murphy with a low first time effort.
Again Dorchester responded and could have halved the deficit on the stroke of half time as Bath burst on to a through ball but, under pressure from Ecclestone and the advancing Bowman, the big striker steered his shot into the side netting.
Half time 2-0
Beaconsfield began the second half slowly.
This will not come as any great surprise to regular watchers of Beaconsfield at home this year. Someone needs to check the half time refreshments for Mogadon !
Within a minute of the restart Ben Morris found himself with the freedom of the left wing, his measured cross found the head of Bath whose downward effort bounced up and onto a combination of Bowman and post before being unconvincingly hacked to safety. The visitors continued to press and Beaconsfield couldn’t get out of their own way as they were pressed back.
It was fully four minutes before Beaconsfield got out of their own half but when they did, it was to deliver a classic sucker punch and put the game beyond the visitors reach.
As an attack broke down Mayo Balogun fed Louis Stead who advanced down the left wing before fizzing in a curling, inviting low cross which can best be described as delicious. Bisecting defenders and keeper, simply begging for someone to apply a finishing touch and guide it home.
Under pressure from Charlie Losasso the unfortunate Luke Winsper was forced to stretch to try and clear but the big centre half could only send the ball flashing past Murphy to nestle in the bottom corner.
For all the comfort of the score-line Beaconsfield do somehow conspire to look uncomfortable with a lead. Even one this big. Sometimes the choice to shun the simple pass and protect possession in favour of the low percentage ‘worldy’ option is difficult to fathom from the sidelines. It also invites unnecessary pressure and provides hope to opponents in circumstances where killing the game is a perfectly reasonable approach to take.
May be its just youthful exuberance? But as the season winds down and points become even more crucial, not conceding a soft one is probably better than taking risks over committing and trying to score another if you’re ahead with 15 minutes left.
Then there are goal-keepers ! A breed apart.
I’m fairly sure Myles Bowman left his line towards the advancing Tom Bath with the belief that he would make the save. I’m equally sure that from 70 yards away, as a former goalkeeper, I was fairly sure that what did happen would transpire. With the lanky striker carried away from goal by the angle of the pass the keepers despairing lunge collected more man than ball and resulted in possibly the most obvious penalty you’ll see all season.
To his credit Bowman, who has improved in leaps and bounds as the season has progressed, very nearly saved Bath’s well struck spot kick but could only deflect it off the post and into the corner.
Predictably the goal provided some hope for the visitors and with 12 minutes left ensured an uncomfortable final act for home supporters, who’ve seen the odd lead evaporate here of late.
In the end though Bowman was largely untroubled and the home team came closest to adding to the scoring as Jordan Ajanlekoko’s firm header from eight yards smashed off the face of the bar.
All in all a moral boosting win which lifted Beaconsfield off the foot of the table for the first time this season. Going forward, the emergence of James Ewington as a credible match winning threat continues to give cause for cautious optimism as the fixtures come thick and fast.
Next up The Rams head for Hayes and Yeading on Tuesday night.
1. Myles Bowman
2. Callum Webb
3. Mayo Balogun
4. Jerome Ecclestone
5. Luke Neville ©
6. Nathan Webb
8. Ade Shokunbi (14.Wes Daly 80)
9. James Ewington (17. Makai Murray 87)
10. Charlie Losasso
11. Louis Stead (15.Jon-Jo Bates 65 )
Subs Not Used:
12. James Taylor
16. Anthony Mendy
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Shane Murphy
2. Jason Brookes (16.Alfie Toland 64)
3. Tiago Sa
4. Franklyn Clarke
5. Luke Winsper
6. Ben Rowthorn ©
7. Kyle Egan
8. Billy Lowes
9. Tom Bath
10. Oli Lowes
11. Ben Morris (15.Eder Batista 56 )
Subs Not Used:
12. Sean Wright
14. Jack Torniainen
18. Ben Symes
Manager: Leigh Robinson