A couple of good results in a league where it seems, for now anyway, that anyone can beat anyone else on any given day, will cause future opponents to make a plan to try to stop you doing what you do best. Presumably having heard how Nathan Minhas tormented the Plymouth back four last weekend when the pair met in midweek, Dorchester came with a plan.
With even their supporters imploring them to push up, they set up resolutely deep and stayed there all day. Seldom more than 30 yards from their own goal denying Beaconsfield any opportunity to play the ball over the top for Minhas or any of the attack minded players around him. The visitors showed admirable commitment and discipline throughout to the point that even when they were reduced to 9 men for the final 5 minutes Beaconsfield could still not break them down or create a clear goal scoring opportunity. By then the visitors had a somewhat improbable albeit always likely to happen, lead to hold on to.
The first half here was amongst the least engaging halves of football of this or any season. Beaconsfield toiled to try and break down the visitors without much success and efforts on goal were reduced to shots from distance. The best a Scott Donnolly free kick midway through the half which had Harrison Lee at full stretch to turn it around the post. Other than this effort, he was barely extended. The Rams most cohesive move of the day resulted in a Dan Bradshaw header but the midfielders effort skimmed over the bar.
At the other end Ravan Constable was arguably less busy and despite the willing running of Jordon Ngalo, Oliver Griggs, Alfie Stanley and Olaf Koszela the principle threats to the big keeper came in complacent defending and misplaced passes which presented opportunities that by and large were then well defended by others or wasted by the visitors.
Half time 0-0
The second half had more to recommend it in terms of spectator interest but without much of a difference in quality from the first. Beaconsfield again dominated possession and Dorchester defended resolutely. Nathan Minhas drew a blocking save from Lee, while Bradshaw and substitute Eitel Goueth dragged efforts just wide when well placed.
When Oliver Griggs was shown a straight red for a very late challenge on Olly Sprague in the 66th minute it seemed the relentless Beaconsfield pressure would surely bring the breakthrough.
Dorchester could barely get out of their own half as they sat deeper and cortented themselves with game management and sitting deep to frustrate the Rams. To their credit they were extremely disciplined and displayed an excellent spirit and resilience under wave after wave of home pressure.
To be honest though The Rams just didn’t ask enough questions and their attacking effort had a frantic rushed feel about it. They dominated possession and territory but for some reason were unconvincing and lacked the guile or craft to create clear cut openings.
That the game should be settled in favour of Dorchester was certainly against the run of play but it wasn’t exactly surprising. On 84 minutes as Beaconsfield pressed The Magpies outstanding midfielder Jordan Ngalo stepped in to rob Scott Donnolly on the edge of his own box before advancing through the heart of The Rams to the other penalty area before steering a low effort across Constable and into the corner.
There was still time for the visitors to be reduced to nine men. Kieran Douglas picking up a second yellow for dissent after remonstrating with referee Mr Adam Merchant after a poor challenge on substitute Alex Moyse from Eitel Goueth who was probably fortunate to stay on the field as he came over the ball as Moyse dived in.
There was still time for Goueth to almost add insult to injury as he wriggled free in the box and fired in a fierce angled goal bound effort which Lee flew to his left to turn away.
Credit to Dorchester who had a plan and stuck to it. Whilst Beaconsfield will with some justification feel they were worth at least a point its hard to argue that the visitors weren’t worthy of taking something for their efforts. A draw would have been a fair result but when has football ever been fair.
If this Rams squad are to fulfill the potential we have glimpsed at this early stage of the season they will need to find answers to a deep lying resolute defence and play with more patience, intelligence and quality. Because in a league this competitive you can bet your life Dorchester won’t be the last visitors to come to Holloways Park with the principal objective of stopping The Rams playing.
Next up The Rams travel to Ted Lasso land to take on last seasons beaten Play Off finalists Hayes and Yeading United on Saturday at 3pm
Ravan Constable, Callum Webb, Olly Sprague (Sub: Jo Lawal, 85), Liam McDevitt, Mark Nisbet [Sub Luke Neville 74)], Sam Togwell© [Sub Eitel Goueth, 65] , Dan Bradshaw, Scott Donnolly, Nathan Minhas, Aaron Minhas, Kyel Reid
Subs not used - Josh Roach, Mike Neish.
Harrison Lee, Harvey Joe Bertrand, Tiago Sa, Jordan Foot, Callum Buckley©, Kieran Douglass, Oliver Griggs, Jordan Ngalo, Shaquille Gwengwe (Sub Matthew Neale, 64), Alfie Stanley [Sub Alex Moyse 73] , Olaf [Sub Oliver Balmer 77].
Subs Not Used - Louie Slough, , Charlie Gunson