Saturday 28TH October 2023
Isuzu FA Trophy First Round
Harrow Borough 1 Beaconsfield Town 2
Earlsmead Stadium Att - 133
Ram of the Match - Sam Granville
Beaconsfield Town emerged from their FA Trophy visit to The Earlsmead Stadium with a 2-1 win over Harrow Borough and a place in the second round draw on Monday lunchtime.
Despite putting in something of an unconvincing performance The Rams did enough to account for their hosts who looked lively in flashes but did little to really trouble Matt Rowley until a brief flurry in the closing moments when they threw everything up front, including keeper Tyler Tobin, in search of a largely undeserved equaliser.
There was an oddly subdued atmosphere at an eerily quiet Earlsmead during the preliminaries which barely lifted as the first half progressed.
If you were expecting a full-blooded cup tie, you were out of luck. This was a lackluster, error-strewn encounter with the air and intensity of a training match or a pre-season friendly.
The Rams mostly had the better of it but their football was too often ponderous and predictable and their hosts looked lively on the break with former Ram Victor Osubu and Excellence Muhemba, who bagged the winner on The Rams' last visit, linking well but despite some promising openings they failed to deliver the final pass or any chance to concern the Beaconsfield defence.
The best opportunity of the half fell to Sam Granville whose cross-shot from beyond the far post beat Tobin but was defeated by the narrow angle and his effort flew narrowly wide of the opposite post after good work down the right from Dan Bradshaw. Too often though the final pass was off target or over hit and the game meandered to the break with little in the way of action to excite supporters of either side.
Half time 0-0
Harrow Borough began the second half with a flurry of pressure but just as in the first period The Rams stood firm and survived with few alarms. Jon Underwood introduced Iker Noguera at the brake, replacing Bradshaw who didn’t see enough of the ball in the first period to exert very much influence and will probably feel, not for the first time this season, a little hard done by to get the hook at half time.
Noguera though grabbed his opportunity with both hands and his linking with Jaques Kpohomouh and Sam Granville down the right flank was instrumental in The Ram’s second half improvement and ultimate success in the Tie.
The Rams were ahead on 56 minutes Noguera released Granville who drove to the byeline and sent in an inviting cross to the far post where Jefferson Louis rose above his marker to power home a firm header from 8 yards.
Noguera turned provider in the 78th minute capping The Rams’ best passing move of the afternoon. Played in by Granville the youngsters right footed drive was pushed out by Tobin, who will probably feel he should have done better. His palm away almost eluded Jefferson Louis, who had to adjust his body and feet as the rebound was upon him quickly. he got just enough on the ball to steer the rebound at no more than a gentle agonising trundle inside the post.The Rams had further chances to extend their lead but a combination of desperate defending and poor finishing kept their lead to two. Until the closing moments. Granville's burst into the box was denied by Tobin’s well-timed extended lunge.From the resulting counter, Kpohomouh initially did well to cover the run of Osobu but left his feet and mistimed his challenge to concede a late penalty for the second time in a week.
Osubu despatched the spot kick and set up a frantic 5 minutes as the Homeside threw everything at trying to take the tie to a shoot-out. The Rams stood firm and held on.
Not an outing that will live long in the memory. The right result on the balance and quality on show, such as it was. Probably The Rams' poorest performance of this week but this was the game they prevailed in. "No pictures in the score book", as they say and the objective of cup games is to to progress. So mission accomplished.
The Rams can now look forward to Monday's 2nd Round draw and then set about preparations for a visit to Poole Town next Saturday, where you would suspect that they will need to be much better than they were here.
Matt Rowley, Jacques Kpohomouh, James Dobson, Luke Neville, Joe Morrison, Josh Payne, Dan Bradshaw [ Sub 46 - Iker Noguera] Asher Yearwood [Sub 72 Jacob Gardiner-Smith] Sam Granville, Jefferson Louis, Jonathan Hippolyte [Sub 84 Ben Van Aurich]
Subs Not used - Ibby Sankoh, Sam Togwell,
Images © Neale Blackburn Photography 2023