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McElroy’s perfect hat-trick not enough for fragile Rams

Saturday 6th January 2024

Pitching in Southern League
Premier Division South
Beaconsfield Town 3 Swindon Supermarine 4
Holloways Park Attendance - 120
Ram of the Match - Tom McElroy

It's lucky Jon Underwood is already bald, otherwise he might have spent Saturday night tearing his hair out with the Beaconsfield fan base. After The Ram's latest and probably worst second-half collapse in a season littered with them.

Having surrendered a 3-0 lead at Swindon Supermarine in September, escaping with a point Beaconsfield fell over their own feet to such an extent that they allowed Supermarine to not only snatch a point, they handed the visitors all three.

If games finished at Half-time The Rams would currently have 46 points. Sadly, this isn’t bad luck it's more ylike a bad habit. They have now allowed 15 points to slip from their grasp in the final 10 minutes

We all know, it's the hope that kills you but Ram’s fans are trapped in an abusive relationship this season.

After the disappointing showing on Monday in the defeat at Hanwell the locals were looking for a reaction and weren’t too comforted by the team news at Holloways Park. With the absence from the heart of the midfield of Jacob Gardiner-Smith now with Hungerford Town and Sam Granville who has returned to Barnet at the end of his loan spell the squad looked down to the bare bones.

Dan Bradshaw started in midfield with Josh Payne and Asher Yearwood while McElroy fitted in at the point of attack, flanked by Zidan Akers who moved to the left side and recent signing Jake Gosling down the right The Rams were terrific in the first half.

They pressed and closed down as a team, out of possession and played with a sharpness and pace that have been absent lately.

They were as good as they have been since their six-game unbeaten run, which started by coincidence with the draw at Swindon, in an open and entertaining game.

It was an excellent game with both teams committed to getting the ball down and trying to play. Swindon looked lively with David Simms Burgess prominent but The Rams’ defence protected Matt Rowley and Josh Payne was prominent stepping in to break up play and prompting the runners in front of him with his usual range of passing.

The Homeside almost took the lead after 20 minutes. Sam Togwell beat the offside trap but hit his shot on the stretch straight at Conor Brann, in the Supermarine goal, who didn't know a great deal about it but was fortunate to see it rebound off him close enough for him to collect it before anyone could pounce.

They went ahead on 25 minutes, McElroy, picked up the ball in the inside left position advanced towards the corner of the area before firing home from just outside the box.

Supermarine levelled within four minutes, a quick free kick was worked to Simms-Burgess in space beyond the far post and he drilled his shot low across Rowley and into the corner.

McElroy restored the lead with a deft nearpost header Four minutes later.



Half Time 2-1

Supermarine began the second period well but when Tom McElroy completed his perfect Hattrick after 64 minutes, it seemed the poor run, just One win in Eleven, was finally coming to an end and Beaconsfield fans could enjoy their Saturday evening in the warm glow of three points.

It was his best goal too and it was all about desire. Ryan Campbell in the left back channel seemed favourite to win the challenge under pressure from McElroy who out muscled him with upper body strength leaving him on his backside before driving into the box and whipping his shot into the top corner.

Then the wheels fell off.

Zackariah Kotwica fired in from close range after 70 minutes and the wobble set in. From there it was one-way traffic.

At points it looked like Swindon had sneaked an extra player, possibly 2 on to the field. They had so much room and time it was difficult to fathom. Beaconsfield dropped deeper and deeper and a team that had passed and moved crisply for 70 minutes started to give up possession cheaply and invite pressure.

On 80 minutes, Simms-Burgess levelled with a brilliant individual effort. As Beaconsfield again surrendered possession with an aimless pass to no one on the right flank.

Swindon worked the ball infield to Simms-Burgess He turned and twisted his way to a crossfield mazy dribble which took him into the area where he finished with another low cross-shot into the bottom corner.

Setting the stage for James to grab the glory and the points with 6 minutes left.

Skipper Jake Andrews banging in a stunner from outside the box after Matt Rowley, surrendered possession cheaply playing out from the back.

His attempted dink to James Dobson fell short and straight to Joe Tumulty,

One pass later the ball was at Andrews feet in centre field. He made no mistake, having earlier been denied by two outstanding saves from Rowley who had a brilliant afternoon before he was abandoned by his teammates.

Underwood must now draw on the many positives of the first 70 minutes and find some way to address the mental frailty of his squad who seem unable to manage a game or a lead.

The Rams now head to Ascot for the next round of The Berks and Bucks senior cup before heading to Merthyr Town next Saturday.

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