Saturday 19th August 2023
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Hungerford Town 3 Beaconsfield Town 1
Bulpit Lane - Att 318
Ram of The Match - Jacob Gardiner-Smith
Beaconsfield Town surrendered the lead for the third time in only Four outings in this young season. As a result, they are still waiting for their first win under Jon Underwood.
With the game seemingly under control at the break, naive defending saw The Rams concede, effectively the same goal, twice in the opening moments of the second half and the home side then did just about enough to hold the visitors at bay before adding a somewhat flattering gloss to the result with a third in added time.
The Crusaders converted three of their four second-half attempts on goal. In strict contrast to Beaconsfield who were again guilty of creating good opportunities and failing to take them.
The afternoon started positively enough for The Rams. Playing up the slope but with the breeze at the back they established control of the midfield with Jacob Gardiner-Smith and Sam Granville closing hunting as a pair breaking up play and recycling possession the hosts were reduced to trying to capitalise on set-piece opportunities without really troubling Sam Beasant in The Rams goal.
The host's best early chance came when Fabio Lopes created a shooting chance out of nothing before firing over under pressure from Sam Granville.
The Rams were enjoying good possession in the final third with James Dobson prominent combining well with Elijah Anthony but Elliott Buchanan and Asher Yearwood struggled to escape the shackles of the home defence.
Until the 25th minute, Buchanan made a good run to the left side of the box made space for a cross-shot which was pushed out by Ryan Clarke but fell to Sam Granville on the edge of the box and the irrepressible midfielder drove the rebound home.
With better composure, the pair should have combined moments later to double the advantage. Buchanan declined the shooting opportunity with Granville in acres of space in front of goal but his attempted pullback was woeful. Even then the chance was not gone as Nathan Davis’ panicked clearance was played straight back to Buchanan but he could not accept the gift and skewed a low shot wide of the near post.
Half time 0-1
The afternoon fell apart for the Rams in Six second-half minutes as the visitors failed to defend two straightforward attacks. Long diagonal passes to the wings found wide players with time and space one knocked back along the deck for substitute Dave Tarpey to fire home the other nodded back from beyond the far post by Conor McDonagh for Rhys Tyler to poke home from clse range at the far post.
The Rams continued to enjoy good possession Elliott Buchanan had a low shot well saved by Clarke and Joe Morrison at full stretch somehow contrived to miss the target with the goal at his mercy after Yearwoods pull back.
The home side created little but sat in and stayed organised and bolstered the midfield and The Rams struggled to create clear opportunities.
When in the fifth minute of added time Elis Watts span away from challenges in the midfield before cutting in from the right to fire low across Beasant into the far corner it was harsh on Beaconsfield but served to emphasise the difference between the teams, Hungerford converted their opportunities, Beaconsfield didn’t.
As we have seen before with slow starts to a season tough decisions need to be made and made soon lest the season becomes a perpetual struggle to catch up.
There’s not a lot in it, Merthyr aside, the team have been competitive in every game so far and have enjoyed long periods of control and possession in dangerous areas. The Rams need to start making the most of these periods of dominance, eliminate the mental errors and poor decision making and add the more clinical edge needed to create and raise the conversion rate of chances.
It’s a long time until April and there’s certainly enough good things about The Rams to suggest they can turn things around. They need to start soon though because even at this early stage of the season things can quickly get away from you. Jon Underwood has some hard thinking to do about the makeup of his squad and the contribution he is getting from some of them.
At least he has a week to lift his squad.
The Rams now return to Holloways Park for the visit of Tiverton Town next Saturday before the visit to local rivals Chesham United for the South Bucks Derby on Bank Holiday Monday.
Images © Neale Blackburn Photography 2023
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