Hartley Wintney 1 Beaconsfield Town 1
Rams Man of the Match - Jefferson Louis
Louis leads the fight back as Rams grab well deserved point.
Both managers will feel, not unreasonably, that their respective charges created enough opportunities to claim all three points here in the best example of a game of two halves you could hope to see.
The home side dominated possession in the first period forcing a succession of corners and near things without ever really creating a gilt-edged opportunity - when it appeared they had taken an early lead the referee ruled out Shane Hollamby’s header for a foul.
It was the visitors who carved out possibly the best opportunity of the early going with a well worked free kick. The move culminated in Luke Neville having a free run on goal on an angle from 12 yards, the big defender seemed to have done everything right, placing his effort past the outstretched foot of home keeper Luke Williams but his effort shaved the near post and rippled the side netting.
Shortly afterwards, Aaron Minhas, having his best game for some time, combined with Jefferson Louis, found space on the edge of the box and saw his low drive deflected narrowly wide.
The visitors threatened sporadically with Webb and debutant Tom Scott giving a good account of themselves in the wing back spots and Louis giving the home defence eve-rything they could handle and a bit extra in the hold-up role.
The Rams though were too often careless of possession with mis directed passes put-ting team-mates under pressure and allowing their hosts to break with pace to good ef-fect. They defended resolutely though and despite the bombardment Forster was well protected.
Despite the pressure and the lions share of possession The Row did not muster a seri-ous effort on target until the 40th minute. It was worth the wait though as it produced the opening goal.
A miss placed cross field pass, behind Callum Webb, advancing up the wing was pounced upon by Tom Bird who sprang forward into attack as the visitors scrambled to cover. Slick interplay between Bird and Shane Hollamby created the opening for Sam Argent who steered his dipping effort across Forster and into the far corner.
Forster had to be alert again on the stroke of half-time tumbling to his right to turn away a goal-bound Dean Stow freekick
Half time 1-0
Beaconsfield fans have become accustomed to lacklustre starts to second halves of late, particularly at home but here the visitors flew into the second period and the hosts struggled to regain their first half grip.
Aaron Minhas, set up by Louis, saw a fierce shot brilliantly turned away by Williams. From the resulting corner Jordan Ajanlekoko’s header was saved and fell to Bayley Brown six yards out but the big midfielder was swarmed upon by defenders and his ef-fort was blocked.
Moments later, with the home support becoming restless, Louis released Ewington on the right edge of the box and his dinked cross was clawed away by Williams at full stretch as Minhas waited to pounce.
The equaliser that was on the cards arrived on 72 minutes. Jordan Ajanlekoko played a ball into Louis. With his back to goal the big target man rolled off his defender and played in Callum Webb on the wing, his low cross deftly flicked in by Ewington who made his run across the front of two defenders and guided the ball past the static Wil-liams who could only watch as it nestled in the back of his net.
There appeared to be only one winner now as the home side began to argue amongst themselves and in the 81st minute it appeared the chance for a much needed win had come.
Substitute Harry Scott powered past home skipper Nathan Smart and towards the cor-ner of the penalty area. In his effort to get back the defender lost his footing. He then set about one of those cartoon slow motion falls. Everyone knows you’re going down but it happens in installments as you frantically spin your wheels as you fight for bal-ance. As he fell Scott shifted the ball onto his right foot across the defenders trajectory to set himself up for an effort on goal. Smart went to ground and caught the young wide man with his arm as he went, sending him to ground. Inside the box.
Mr Blair, seemingly perfectly placed, waved away the appeals, subsequently suggest-ing that there had been no contact - he was the only one in the ground who thought so.
Those directly adjacent to the incident [me included] were in no doubt. Even two of Smarts team-mates warming up concurred, one ruefully observing “He definitely got away with one there”.
The home team created two chances to snatch it at the death but it would have been harsh in the extreme.
As Mr Blair blew the final whistle Gary Meakin was left to rue another decision against his team at a critical moment. If these things really do even themselves up over a sea-son The Rams are already well in credit.
Next up they entertain Hayes and Yeading on Saturday at Holloways Park.
1. Adam Forster
2. Callum Webb
3. Thomas Scott [Sub16 Harry Scott 54]
4. James Taylor
5. Luke Neville
6. Jerome Ecclestone
7. Jordan Ajanlekoko ©
8. Bayley Brown
9. Jefferson Louis [Sub17 Ademola Shokunbi 90]
10. James Ewington
11. Aaron Minhas
Subs Not used
12. Kane Guy-Seifert
14. Elijah Simpson
15. Alexander Cathline
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Luke Williams
2. Nathan Smart ©
3. Tom Bird
4. Matthew Drage
5.Shane Hollamby [Sub16.Toby Raggett 69]
6. Tyron Smith
7. Dean Stow
8. Dominic Grioffiths
19. Sam Argent
10. Lukas Burt
11. Joshua Webb [15.Anis Nuur 82]
Subs Not used
12. Joe Gatar
14. Joshua Eatwell
17. James Beauchamp
Manager: Anthony Millerick
Ref: Harrison Blair
Assistants: David Pilling - Jake Atkinson