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Neville Double sinks Swans

Saturday 24th February 2024

Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South

 Beaconsfield Town 2 Walton and Hersham 1

 Holloways Park Att - 284

Ram of the match - Luke Neville


Goals at the end of each half from skipper Luke Neville secured the three points for Beaconsfield Town against a Walton and Hersham side who will wonder how they came away with nothing from a game they largely dominated.

Truth be told though, they only had themselves to blame.

For all their possession and attractive passing and movement, most of it was unopposed. In the final third, The Swans were unable to prise open the home defence, who stood firm and slammed the door as an initially shot-shy Walton seemed intent on trying to score the perfect goal.

Then in two crucial moments, their defence succumbed to two well-executed set pieces.

In the continued absence of Josh Payne, who failed a pre-match fitness test with an ankle sprain he picked up at Didcot last week, Sam Togwell joined Sean Frazer in the deep-lying midfield role.

Jake Gosling’s absence, on RAF duties, meant another opportunity for Joel Rollinson, deputising on the right flank with Kamaron English making his home debut on the left after an encouraging full debut in the win at Didcot.

Dan Bradshaw, now fully recovered from his illness of last week, was restored at right-back. While the ever-present James Dobson continued on the left of the back four.

Up front, the formation had a more familiar look with Tom McElroy at the point of the attack and Asher Yearwood operating as a 10 in possession and slightly deeper out of it.

Adanioritsewo Okorogheye dropped to the bench.

The Rams barely saw the ball for the first half an hour. Walton though, despite promising positions couldn’t match their silky approach play with any cutting edge.

Their end product lacked quality in the final ball, and they seemed strangely unwilling to shoot from outside the box.

That said the cars in the car park were under more threat than Matt Rowley from the few efforts from distance they did muster.

Beaconsfield playing to Jon Underwoods’ plan were content to surrender possession. Set up narrow, retain their compact shape, invite the cross and defend it in the person of Neville and Kpohomouuh who were at their imperious best again.

The Rams maintained their shape and discipline and sprang into the counter when opportunities arose,

Rams’ fans had little to get excited about for half an hour at the other end but started to get to grips with timing their press without over-committing as halftime approached.

Rollinson had the first chance, but it was a difficult one as he met an English cross on the stretch 12 yards out but could not keep his effort down.

Jacques Kpohomouh offered a taste of things to come, climbing above the Walton defence just inside the area to send a header goalwards from a James Dobson delivery.

after Asher Yearwood was brought down in the inside right channel. His effort lacked power though and Tyla Dickinson saved easily.

The next dead ball came on the stroke of halftime, Dobson changed the angle of attack. As Walton’s high line stood flat-footed on the edge of the box as the inswinging delivery was met by Neville easily found space before punching a downward diving header past Dickinson from Six Yards out.

Half Time 0-0

After the break, the pattern continued.

The often-seen slow Beaconsfield start to second halves was absent though. The Rams stuck to their task and carried more of a threat in the early going.

The visitors remained tidy and well-drilled, and their passing quality suggested that they would surely make a breakthrough at some point.   

Caelan Avenell had a close-range effort ruled out for off-side after Ed Simon wriggled free of Dobson and whipped in a low cross, that aside The Swans continued to flatter to deceive in the face of the resolute Rams defence.

Even as the visitors began to try their luck with shots from distance Matt Rowley in the Beaconsfield goal was never really extended beyond routine saves.

At the other end, The Rams looked increasingly dangerous on the counter.

Kamaron English steered a shot wide of the post cutting in from the left and then saw a well-struck goal bound effort deflected narrowly wide of Dickinson’s post with the keeper rooted to the spot.

Asher Yearwood extricated himself from a knot of players on the edge of the box and fizzed an effort narrowly over the bar.

The Ram’s second when it came was from the same combination as the opener. Another forward burst from English was stopped unfairly by the outstretched leg of Joe Pratley-Jones

This time Dobson delivered an outswinger that was met at the far post by Neville who spun easily off the back of his marker before rising to nod a perfect return header back across Dickinson into the corner.

As the game ticked into added time and with The Rams’ Sixth clean sheet in Seven outings in touching distance. The Rams were disrupted as Sean Walton continued to press and were finally rewarded when Johl Powell pulled one back for the Swans forcing his way into the box and finishing with a cross-shot curled beyond Matt Rowley’s dive with virtually the last kick of the game.

There remained just enough time for Beaconsfield to complete the restart before Mr Morrison called a halt to proceedings.

An excellent win for The Rams who put in a professional, disciplined and controlled display.

The only real negative for Jon Underwood and The Rams came as Sean Frazer pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury with less than 10 minutes to go.

He was replaced by Dan Roth. He gave a good account of himself as always but with a visit to Gosport in the near distance, the manager will hope that either Frazer or Payne will be available to provide the experienced head in the heart of the Beaconsfield midfield.


All images © Neale Blackburn Photography 2024

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