Monday 26th September 2022
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Beaconsfield Town 1 Harrow Borough 3
At Holloways Park - Crowd 131
Ram of the Match - Nathan Minhas
Saturday’s confidence from an excellent point at Swindon lasted just over half an hour on Monday evening at Holloways Park. As Nathan Minhas, injured in putting the Rams ahead with a fine individual effort, limped off with what appeared to be a lower back strain, to be replaced by Elliot Buchanan. The home side's confidence, poise, and performance went with him melting like Autumn mist on the breeze.
It began well enough. Beaconsfield should have been ahead after five minutes when Aaron Minhas challenged Harrow keeper Jacob Knightbridge for a high ball, secured his own knockdown and squared the ball for skipper Toby Little who steadied himself to fire home only to see his effort cleared off the line by the outstretched leg of the sole defender between him and the goal. It was a terrific effort on the line but Little will feel he should have converted the chance.
With the blustery wind largely at their backs, Beaconsfield enjoyed a measure of control but struggled to fully tame the elements and the frenetic effort of a visiting midfield lead by the effervescent Billy Leonard. The pace of returning Rams James Ewington and Jo Lawal also provided a constant outlet and threat but The Rams kept them at arms length uncomfortably at times with neither side creating much by way of a clear-cut chance until the hosts opened the scoring after half an hour.
Having won a corner by pressuring Shaun Preddle under a high ball and shepherding the deflection behind, Nathan Minhas made a goal from almost nothing. Toby Littles near post chipped corner was met by the striker head high on his right toe. As the ball popped straight up off his boot he used all his strength to screen it as it fell under strong pressure from Olatunbosun Adenola. With his back to goal at the corner of the six-yard box, he allowed the ball to bounce before twisting and steering a right-foot volley over his shoulder sending it arcing over everyone and into the net inside the far post.
You’d have been forgiven for thinking that the goal would settle The Rams and provide the platform to go on and win the game.
The Football Gods and Harrow Borough though had other ideas.
On scoring the goal Minhas immediately sank to the turf. After protracted treatment for what appeared to be a lower back injury he was lead off. He returned briefly but any thoughts of seeing it through to halftime in hope that some intensive physio could put him right evaporated, as he pulled up from his first sprint.
With Harrow Borough flying into their fight back The Rams could not risk trying to survive to the break a man short. He left the field immediately and unbeknownst to those present Beaconsfield went with him.
His replacement Elliott Buchanan could not replicate Minhas’s approach He doesn’t appear to be as physical and is better served by the ball to his feet but his colleagues made little or no adjustment for him and he struggled to get anywhere on the service he received.
Harrow Borough dominated the rest of the half and were rewarded in the first minute of injury time when Billy Leonard’s low shot from the left edge of the penalty area was watched into the corner by Ravan Constable, whose apparent lack of concern suggested either that he was unsighted or misjudged the effort and thought it was going wide.
Half Time 1-1
Leonard added his second five minutes after the break, collecting a throw-in on the right before being allowed to advance largely unchallenged into the area before firing a low shot across Constable and into the corner.
That was largely that as a contest. Leonard, comfortably the games outstanding player, tortured The Rams midfield and the visitors played with a style and commitment that belied their lowly league position. They fully deserved their win and the only question of note in a dismal second half for The Rams was how many Harrow would win by.
When Joe Lawal won a clever penalty in the final minute Leonard sent Constable the wrong way to complete his hat trick, Beaconsfield were thoroughly beaten.
Perhaps the close proximity of Saturdays Herculian effort took their toll on The Rams? It’s the only logical explanation because make no mistake this performance was woeful. The midfield that played with such energy and cohesion at Swindon was nowhere to be seen. The visitors were first to everything and the home side barely won a second ball for an hour.
They improved slightly when Meakin introduced Eitel Goueth and James Dobson to offer support for the increasingly forlorn Buchanan but despite injecting some pace and some sustained pressure The Rams remained unconvincing. They did though fashion a chance to snatch an undeserved point before the penalty but Luke Neville headed Dobson’s cross narrowly over the bar. Toby Litttle had a chance to reduce the arrears in the final moments but screwed his cross-shot wide.
The Rams now have a chance to rest and recover before the visit of Poole Town on Saturday afternoon. Let's hope they can recover to more resemble the Saturday Rams and leave the Monday night version behind.
Ravan Constable, Sean Fraser[Sub Eitel Goueth 57], Oliver Sprague, Liam McDevitt, Luke Neville, Sam Togwell [Sub James Dobson 63], Toby little©, Sam Granville, Nathan Minhas[Sub Elliott Buchanan 32], Aaron Minhas, Kyel Reid.
Subs not used: Mark Nisbet, Jacob Munting.
Harrow Borough :
Jacob Knightbridge, Olatunbosun Adenola, Ahmet Biler, Imran Uche, Shaun Preddle©,Isiah Noel-Williams, Kai Omoko Bronan, Billy Leonard, James Ewington [Sub Montel Brown 80], Joe Lawal, Michael Bryan [Sub Lanre Lapido 90]
Subs not used: Kamon-Sherell Assidjo, Taishan Griffith.