Saturday 9th September 2023
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Swindon Supermarine 3 Beaconsfield Town 3
Webbswood Stadium - Att 156
Ram of the match - Asher Yearwood
Beaconsfield Town’s perplexing inability to hold onto a lead hit a new low last night as they allowed a three-goal advantage to slip through their fingers at winless, pointless, bottom of the table, Swindon Supermarine. Like Longfellow's little girl, When they were good they were very very good when they were bad they were horrid.
For 40 minutes the Rams were irresistible. Jefferson Louis restored to the forward line provided the focal point of the attack, engaging defenders holding the ball up allowing Elliott Buchanan, Asher Yearwood, having his most effective start as a Ram, and debutant Leon Chambers-Parillon, on loan from Slough Town, to probe and press and expose the Marine defence.
Marine were at full stretch for most of the opening exchanges and it was no surprise when Beaconsfield took the lead. Asher Yearwood's goal-bound header from James Dobsons' 21st minute corner was parried into the air by Louis Evans, who will probably feel he should have done much better, in the marine goal and steered in by Elliott Buchanan following up.
The home side almost struck back immediately but Zak Kotwica's well-struck effort was beaten away by Matt Rowley who stood up well and made himself big at his near post.
The Marine revival was short-lived. As at the other end, Chambers-Parillon marked a promising debut in the Jude Bellingham role in midfield, with a low shot from the edge of the box that nestled in the corner of Evan's net.
When Yearwood capped his impressive first-half display by weighing in with his second goal in as many games. The goal of the night, a fiercely struck angled drive that flew past Evans from 20 yards and into the corner. Surely the monkey was off their backs and the elusive first win was in sight?
The Rams were cruising, oozing confidence, dominating possession, moving the ball well, winning their individual battles, and seemingly in complete control. The home side were battling and clearly carried some threat, especially on the flanks but Lewis Pegg on the left and Ibby Sankoh on the right worked hard to contain that threat and Rowley's first-half work was largely routine. Screened by skipper Luke Neville and Joe Morrison who were dominant in the air.
Briefly Beaconsfield supporters allowed themselves to hope, the fools! If they could finish off the half, go in 3-0 at the break, settle, and manage the game in the second period surely tonight would finally be the night. They couldn't give up a three goal lead playing this well, could they?
This season though the Beaconsfield Beretta is pointed directly at their foot. Poised to deliver the bullet at any moment. On this occasion the 43rd.
After a largely untroubled evening, the first shot rang out. Seemingly under no pressure as Beaconsfield built another attack, Josh Payne dwelt on the ball in midfield. While he considered his options, he dithered and then dithered some more before he was predictably dispossessed. With the Beaconsfield defence wrong footed Marine worked the ball quickly to the exposed left flank where Campbell Ryan took full advantage, cutting into the box before firing a low shot across Rowley and into the corner.
The Ryan goal was not in itself enough for anyone to suggest that the wheels had fallen off the Beaconsfield wagon at that point but the timing of it, coming on the stroke of half time let the air out of Te Rams' first-half balloon. Viewed alongside Their miserable record in second halves this season. It was enough to introduce the nagging doubts that have destroyed confidence on frankly too many occasions already this season.
As with Southall last week you felt, well knew really, that the next goal would be pivotal. So it was.
Half time 1-3
Beaconsfield started the second half well enough. Sam Granville replaced Payne at the break and set about the Marine midfield with his usual no-nonsense industry, endeavour and bite. He very nearly increased the lead shaping a dipping lob from 20 yards that fizzed narrowly wide with Evans struggling.
At the other end Marine threw more an more At The Rams in pursuit of a break to get them back in the contest. Matt Rowley acquitted himself well under pressure commanding his six yard box and producing good saves to preserve the lead. The best of which was an acrobatic stretch to tip over a George Dowling shot from 20 yards.
The home side threw more and more forward and dominated pressure and territory as the half wore on. Jon Underwood threw on Jonathan Hippolyte to try and capitalise on the spaces created by the home team's increasing gung-ho approach. He didn't really get much opportunity though as Beaconsfield's counter was poor, too often rushed and lacked the composure and precision that would have seen Rams teams of the recent past stretch their lead and kill the game off. They had their moments Jefferson Joseph took up a good position 10 yards out and was picked out by Yearwoods pull back but the striker was denied by a brilliantly blocking challenge from Ibrahim Liban, the Marine left back who had a rocky first half but was among the best the hosts had on the park after the break. The Rams also had penalty shouts turned away as Yearwood chased a through ball, centre back Matt Liddiard cut across his path and leaned in with a combination of arm and chest. Fortunately for the defender the officials took the view it was his chest.
in their last effort of note, from a corner won through a rare moment of persistence from Hippolyte, Yearwood's deft downward header flashed narrowly wide of the far post.
The home side were increasing enjoying success down their left as Liban and Ryan doubled up on Sankoh who had to rely on help from midfield to track the runners. Eventually the pressure told, having created an overload Ryans ball infield was worked through the inside left channel to free Ed Williams who drove home across the advancing Rowley.
John Underwood withdrew Jefferson Louis and sent on Elijah Anthony who doubled up with Sankoh to try and curtail the home dominance down their left. The visitors sat deeper and deeper and to be brutally honest Marine wanted it more and fought for everything while Beaconsfield shrank. For Rams fans the remaining quarter of an hour was like standing under a falling piano. You know it's going to hit you on the head it's just a matter of time.
So it was with Marines inevitable equaliser that arrived on 87 minutes. Ryan evaded Anthony and Sankoh made it to the bye line and his cross was glanced home off the inside of the far post by substitute Levi Irving.
The worrying question then for the visitors was, that with 3 minutes of the 90 and then 7 minutes added to go would they even manage to hang on to a point? Luckily for them, Marine's exertions and the mental relief of the fightback hit them in the legs and they seemed happy to hold on to their point. If anything Beaconsfield finished the better but neither side created anything approaching a chance. Evans had a moment, contesting a cross that he misjudged horribly under pressure but there were no Red shirts in the vicinity to capitalise.
On the night the Home side deserved their point for the spirit they showed in adversity but this is a new low from The Rams. It's early to say it but something needs to be done and quick because this habit of disappearing in the second half has to be addressed. The players brought in to fill the hole in the goals for tally created by the absence of Nathan Minhas have started to score goals but defending, not just the back four but as a team as a whole is at times shambolic. How else can you describe meekly surrendering a Three goal lead at a club with 0 points who had previously scored only Seven goals all season?
For the statos amongst you thats 10 games in all competitions 6 halftime leads, 3 points goal difference -14
Images © Neale Blackburn Photography 2023
Image Gallery to follow