Beaconsfield Town began their crucial game with Hanwell Town in the bottom 4. On the same points as their hosts but separated by goal difference. They remain in the relegation zone after a disappointing and disjointed performance as two poor teams played out a dour muscular mistake ridden encounter in horrible conditions. Hanwell wont care but Jon Underwood has a task on his hands.
Billed as a must-win 6 pointer for two teams at the wrong end of the table, one of them showed the spirit and cohesion to battle for everything theother was Beaconsfield Town. The Rams began poorly deteriorated, flattered to deceive briefly either side of the break and then dissolved in the January downpour. A sweet beginning to the New Year for Hanwell keeper Sam Beasant, discarded by Beaconsfield after their slow start to the season culminating with the FA cup exit at the hands of Southall.
His replacement Matt Rowley has no doubt been an upgrade in terms of his command of his area and his decisiveness but here he wasn’t at his best and his team was punished.
Hanwell almost took the lead after 5 minutes as the ball pinballed around the box after a good initial save from Rowley at his near post before eventually being cleared to safety.
The keeper was on his toes to tip away a whipped cross and then sprang acrobatically to his left to tip over Fabio Sole’s audacious overhead kick attempt
Hanwell thought they’d gone ahead 10 minutes later when Jason Wright swept home Jacob Bancrofts low cross after probably the only authentic passing move of the first half but his effort was ruled out for off side.
Beaconsfield who had been in the opposing penatly area once at this point, Asher Yearwood exchanging passes with Tom McElroy before rolling a cross-come shot past Beasant out of reach of any team mate and wide of the far post.
Predictably Hanwell took the lead from a set piece. As a corner was swung into the centre of the area, Dwayne Duncan out muscled Ben Van Aurich and Jacques Kpohomouh the pair bundled into Rowley as the big centre half made enough actual contact with the ball to head home. Past the stranded keeper.
On many occasions this season the challenge would have drawn a foul but Mr Hall showed no inclination to penalise anything short of an appendectomy or blatant shirt pulling and cheating.
Hanwell reacted better to this style, the physical approach suited them down to the ground.
The Rams were much less comfortable and didn't really stand up to it allowing themselves to be bullied and out battled across the park.
They responded to going behind, Sam Beasant turned a James Dobson effort onto the face of the bar ansd McElroy’s goal bound follow up was headed away, from the resulting corner Luke Neville forced his way through a crowd to put in a stooping close-range header which was cleared off the line at the base of the post. Despite enjoying good pressure Beaconsfield remained unconvincing and Hanwell in defence and Beasant never looked as stretched as the visitors.
Half Time 1-0
The Rams began the second half on the front foot and had their best chance of the half early. Tom McElroy turning and sending in a snapshot from just inside the box which was well saved by Beasant diving away to his right. From the subsequent corner, Beasant muffed an attempted puch and the ball squirted across the six-yard box but no one was on hand to apply the crucial finish.
Later sub Sam Granville tested Beasant with a low drive which the keeper dealt with well, despite the deteriorating conditions. By then The home side had doubled their advantage.
A left-wing freekick was launched in on an angle and tempted Matt Rowley off his line.
He was challenged by Sam Evans who did enough to put him off his punch the ball deflected away to Dwayne Duncan who got enough of a toe end on it to steer it home from six yards.
As a member of the goalkeepers union, I have to say there was more than a hint of a shove on Rowley but equally once he had made up his mind to come, mindful of a referee who gave almost nothing all afternoon, he needed to be strong and claim or clear the ball.
As time dripped away so did Beaconsfield's challenge too many passes missed their target, individuals held the ball too long and surrendered possession, they were largely ineffective as an attacking presence and looked like a collection of individuals.
Hanwell were no great shakes but they had a game plan that they were all invested in they were disciplined and aggressive, and they worked for each other and as a team.
They deserved their win based on industry alone.
On this evidence, both these teams have got problems going forward but Beaconsfield’s are currently the more acute because this was as bad as they've been in any 90 minutes this season.
Earlier in the season The Rams began a good run of form with a 3-3 draw at Saturday's opponents Swindon Supermarine. They’ll be hoping to get back on the front foot and end the current run which sees them now with only one win in their last 11 outings.
It is to be hoped manager Jon Underwood is rested and refreshed after his Christmas trip to Australia because there is a battle for Premier division survival ahead.
Come on you Rams