Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Tuesday 7th March 2023
Weston Super Mare 2 Beaconsfield Town 2
Optima Stadium - Attendance 674
Ram of the Match – Nathan Minhas
Nathan Minhas scored his Fiftieth and Fifty First goals in a Rams shirt to earn Beaconsfield their Fourth point of the season against league leaders and likely champions Weston Super Mare.
No mean feat but entirely deserved across both fixtures. Make no mistake Weston Super Mare are a very good team. They play a mesmerising brand of controlled possession, pass and move football. In possession, they seem to never have fewer than two options for a pass. Most of the time the receiver already knows where his pass is going before it has arrived. This allows them to play with speed and precision. The speed of thought and movement leads to a dominance of territory and tires opponents out. They'repretty tidy out of possession too, pressing effectively, hunting in groups and forcing mistakes to regain the ball.
That said though the success their style delivers also creates a problem. If it isn't working can you change it. Plan A is great but how's your plan B? In the first meeting at Holloways Park Plan A didn't work and there didn't seem to be a plan B. They became increasingly frustrated and although the margin of defeat was only One goal Beaconsfield were much more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.
Comfort was in short supply in the first half at the Optima stadium on Tuesday night but The Rams dug in, stuck to their tasks, and maintained good shape and discipline. It wasn't always comfortable, or pretty but they stood up to the onslaught.
Debutant Lewis Pegg and Luke Neville were outstanding at the heart of the defence with Sam Togwell, released back into midfield in the absence of Aaron Minhas, prowling the midfield in destroyer mode. Shielding the back Four, stepping in to break up attacks and prompting the ever energetic efforts of Dan Bradshaw and San Granville in the midfield. Kyel Reid provided the outlet of width and also put in a strong shift in support of Toby Little on the left.
The home side dominated possession and camped in The Rams defensive third but chances were at a premium. They had most joy down the left flank where remarkably Scott Laird delivered a succession of brilliant driven low crosses. For some reason none of his colleagues took the hint and all four flashed across the goal and away to safety. You could forgive the first one taking the front players by surprise but by the time you get to the fourth similar chance the lack of a finish is frankly perplexing. Beaconsfield were far from trying to sit in and wait to be passed to death and did their best to press and harry the Weston defence. they had some joy but the scarcity of possession and the pressure of The Seagulls out of possession made it hard for the visitors to establish any rhythm and too many passes went astray.
For all their dominance though Weston hardly extended Kie Plumley in The Beaconsfield goal.laird flashed a well-struck effort just over Plumley's crossbar and then banged a promising freekick into the bottom of the wall. The end result offered some justice after what appeared a somewhat harsh award which Mr Wilson compounded by showing Sam Togwell a yellow card.
Both sides created just one shot on target in the first period a regulation stop for Plumley.
Half Time 0-0
A half-time tweak, moving Kyel Reid slightly narrower, stemmed some of the Weston flow but the second period began much as the first had. The Rams though were showing more cohesion in their own attacks. Nathan Minhas and Elliott Buchanan started to get some joy and The home side were again starting to become increasingly frustrated.
Just as Rams fans allowed themselves a little increased confidence Weston broke away on a counter after a Kyel Reid free kick was cleared. They enjoyed an element of good fortune as the ball ricocheted around several times but always fell to a home boot before Jordan Bastin forced the ball home to give Weston the lead.
Time was, that would probably have been enough but this Rams team are made of sterner stuff as they have repeatedly shown this season. They keep hanging around and have players capable of turning the tide in their favour. Not least Nathan Minhas who brought The Rams level, applying a delicious headed finish to a sublime Toby Little cross after Kyel Reid wriggled free of three defenders and slid the skipper into space.
His delivery was begging for a finish and Minhas was happy to oblige stealing a yard on his marker and rising to direct the header across the statuesque Luke Purnell rooted to his line.
11 minutes later Minhas silenced the vociferous home crowd and stunned Weston with his second. Fair to say it wasn't the sweetest strike of his 51 tally so far but the shape and direction on the shot were enough to confound Parnell as it rolled into the corner.
The lead lasted just Four minutes after more good work from Substitute Ellis Watts the ball bagatelled around the Beaconsfield bocx before Marlon Jackson drove the ball home.
Buoyed by the equaliser Weston roared into a final frenzied attacking phase culminating in Jackson throwing himself to the ground in pursuit of a penalty, the whistle brought memories of Poole Town's last-gasp gift last month but Mr. WIlson penalised Jackson for simulation and as it was the strikers second yellow, followed up with the red.
Even down to 10 men the home side still pressed but The Rams stood firm to secure their deserved point.
Next up The Rams head to Hampshire for another tricky away assignment against a Hartley Wintney side fighting for their survival at this level.
Beaconsfield Town :
Kie Plumley, Charlie Smith, Toby Little ©, Sam Togwell, Luke Neville, Lewis Pegg, Sam Granville, Dan Bradshaw, Nathan Minhas, Elliott Buchanan, Kyel Reid
Subs Not Used - Ben Taylor, Cairo Richards, Kai Allsop, Oscar Lucey, Lucas Sinclair
Weston Super Mare
Luke Purnell, Keiran Thomas, Scott Laird, Jacob Jagger Cane, Jason Pope, Sam Avery, James Dodd, Marlon Jackson, Dayle Grubb ©, Jordan Bastin [Sub Ellis Watts 82], Reuben Reid [Sub Olly Mehew 69]
Subs Not Used; Noah Coppin, Jay Murray, , Nathaniel Williams
Referee - Adam Wilson
Assistants - Fraser Lewis, William Payne
All images ©Neale Blackburn 2023
Full game images - Here