Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Beaconsfield Town 1 Harrow Borough 4
Rams Man of the Match - Dylan Kearney
Luckless Rams fall to second heavy defeat of the week
Despite dominating proceedings for long periods at Holloways Park on Monday night, cre-ating enough chances to win two games, an inspired goalkeeper and some deeply unin-spired refereeing consigned Beaconsfield Town to their second heavy defeat in three days.
As on Saturday The Rams started well. Oli Sprague, returning after his three match sus-pension, which the calendar turned into a 5 week break, pinged an early 30 yarder just over, before, in a hint of what was too come, the visitors broke quickly from a restart and with the minimum of fuss played in Dean Ferdinand on the edge of the 18 yard box. Adam Forster, quickly off his line to narrow the angle did enough to put him off and his effort trickled harmlessly wide.
Then Sprague rippled the side netting with a free kick after debutant Dylan Kearney drew a cheap foul from Ben Tricker who struggled to get to grips with him, sometimes literally, in the early going.
In the next attack, Sprague returned the favour picking out Kearney beyond the far-post but the striker didn’t make the best of contact on his shot and scuffed it just wide.
On 18 minutes The Rams were rewarded with the lead. Where the pressure on Harrow had been all about good team play, the opener was all about individual skill. Aaron Minhas picked up possession in space in front of the home dug out. He turned infield and set off straight at the heart of the defence holding off Michael Bryan’s attempts to challenge as he went. No one engaged him. So he let fly with a fizzing low drive that zipped inside the post from 25 yards.
No more than the home side deserved and hinting that this could be a good night.
Such happy thoughts lasted barely a minute.
Ferdinand tempted another debutant, centre half Mark Nisbit, into a challenge on half way turning him in the process. He advanced into the Rams half and fed Anthony O’Connor who slotted home a cross shot as Jerome Ecclestone and Minhas scrambled to close him down.
The visitors then enjoyed a spell of pressure. Sprague was harshly adjudged to have brought down Dernell Wynter, sliding in to take the ball from the side as the pacey winger headed for goal. Mr Todd, of whom more later, deemed it not only a foul but one worthy of the first caution of the evening.
Bryan’s freekick failed to beat the head of Jefferson Louis in the wal.The resulting corner was punched clear. Two further corners followed in quick succession without too much alarm for Forster or his defence.
After weathering the mini storm The Rams pressed again. Kearney saw a rasping low drive deflected narrowly wide with Dan Purdue scrambling to cover. From the break-down of the subsequent set piece Jefferson Louis shot wide from the edge of the box.
The Rams continued to press but were undone in the 36th minute.
A misunderstanding between Louis and Khaliq Callender presented possession to Bryan,
His first-time slide rule pass allowed Wynter to step inside and drive into the Beaconsfield half. He fed Ferdinand, suspiciously close to offside. His goal-bound effort was brilliantly blocked by Forster, making himself, big but rebounded across goal falling very kindly for O’Connor who poked it in from 12 yards with Forster scrambling to cover.
Half Time 1-2
The second half was all Beaconsfield as the visitors struggled to get any purchase on pos-session or the game. The Rams poured forward and only Purdue and the woodwork stood between them and the equaliser.
Kearney rattled the angle of post and bar with a dipping twenty yarder before Louis drew the first of several fine saves from the big keeper from an almost identical spot. Jordan Ajanlekoko headed an Oli Sprague free kick narrowly over from 12 yards.
On 65 minutes a moment of indecision allowed O’Connor to nip in as Sprague and Luke Neville left the ball for each other. Ferdinand was then challenged by Neville and the rico-chet fell to O’Connor who headed toward goal. His run was covered by Ajanlekoko who got himself goal side and diverted the run away from goal. As the two players came into contact, under no challenge, O’Connor knocked the ball ahead, seemingly trying to get to the bye line. Instead he threw himself in the air flung back his arms and performed a writh-ing swallow dive and flopped shrieking to the turf.
It looked bad in real time from 70 yards away but if you watch the video it’s embarassing.
Especially considering O’Connor was shown a yellow card for a desperate hack on Spargue. Mr Todd, though, saw something no one else in the ground did, indicating a two handed push gesture suggesting he believed O’Connor, rather than cheating had been pushed to the floor. As usual the linesman better placed 15 yards away was neither use nor garden ornament, motionless. Clown school stuff.
Forster got a hand to Ferdinand’s penalty but could not keep it out.
Shell shocked Beaconsfield almost conceded again a moment later but Forster made a fine block sticking out a leg to turn away Ferdinand’s effort.
Mr Todd sent Gary Meakin to the stands after a blatant time-wasting ball throwing incident went unpunished because the official wasn’t paying attention, wallking away with his back turned. What Meakin said may well be true but it was definitely dissent!
Stung into action Beaconsfield regained their composure and resumed the onslaught.
With a two-goal cushion you could be tempted to put some of this home dominance down to game management. The exaltations of the visitor’s bench to, “do better”, in possession clearly indicated that the coaching staff didn’t think their charges were ‘seeing the game out’.
Purdue made smart saves to deny Kearney and Louis before a stunning reaction save to deny Kearney from eight yards. As The Rams struggled for the rebound it was hacked clear for a corner.
Kearney then played in Callender whose run was halted at the expense of a corner.
From the dead ball My Todd awarded the home-side a penalty. Presumably for a push.
Hard not to wonder if he was evening things up, as no one appealed particularly strongly.
In keeping with the rest of the evening for The Rams, Purdue guessed right, leapt from his line sprang to his left and turned Louis’s effort away for a corner. The kick was firmly struck and it was a fine save all be it at the classic, “nice height for the keeper”. [I can say that, I was a keeper once a long time ago]
In the 87th minute O’Connor, who should have been showered and dressed by then, completed his hat trick with a smart cross shot finishing off a break away, to add gloss to the result.
There was still time for Purdue to produce a splendid double save to deny The Rams a late consolation.
Harsh on a team who dominated for long periods but individual errors and more clinical finishing handed the points to the visitors.
Moving forward though there are reasons for optimism
Perverse as it may be it was difficult to criticise the overall performance. This performance was light years ahead of the Saturday’s lacklustre display.There was a drive and intensity about it which has been only fleetingly apparent up to now.
New additions Dylan Kearney and Mark Nisbet, at either end of the formation, added much needed grit and ring craft to a line up which has at times been a little too easy to play against of late.Both men appear on first look to be the type that will make those around them better.
Kearney was outstanding on his debut replacing James Ewington, sidelined with a ham-string pull. He led the line superbly, providing a focal point for the attack and giving the vis-iting back three nightmares all evening. Everything played in his direction stuck. He was able to find space with intelligent running and seldom surrendered possession without a fight. What he lacks for pace he more than makes up for in guile and just enough nasti-ness to keep opponents honest. As the evening progressed there were signs that his rela-tionship with Jefferson Louis could develop into a credible potent attacking threat as he settles in.
At the back Mark Nisbet brought the confidence and experience of four hundred odd games at this and higher levels. He showed enough here to suggest that, once fully match fit and settled, his will be a calmly positive and assured influence at the heart of the de-fence.
Like the great me said, reasons to be cheerful
Next up The Rams face a tricky trip to take on Aveley in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
I hope its drier than their last visit.
Subs Not used
Manager: Steve Baker
Ref: Daniel Todd
Assistants: Christopher Ferenandes - Gifford Manyange