Pitching In Southern Premier League Division South
Dorchester Town 1 v 2 Beaconsfield Town
Olly McCoy’s last gasp strike gave Beaconsfield Town a 2-1 win over Dorchester Town at The Avenue Stadium on Saturday, earning The Rams three opening day points for the first time since 2017.
On that day the newly rebranded Beaconsfield Town chalked up a 4-1 win over Aylesbury United in the club’s first competitive fixture. The world is a very different place now and I challenge anyone to have predicted half of the madness that has punctuated and changed our daily lives in between.
For many of us though football has proved something of a constant. A touchstone of the old reality to cling to amongst the chaos. Within the white lines, the challenges remain the same, individual battles must be won, idiosyncratic refereeing must be adapted to and overcome.
Off the field the club has moved on apace - no small achievement in these challenging times. Beaconsfield Town now boast a burgeoning elite development program. A success-ful, well- regarded academy, already guiding graduates to First Team level.
Now Rams teams new and old will have home facilities to match their ambitions. A stadium development which currently sees the former grass pitch being replaced with a state of the art 3G playing surface - due to come into use in September- and upgraded surroundings.
Saturday’s hosts Dorchester underwent a similar transformation in 2018 when the Chair-man Matt Lucas outlined a vision not dissimilar from Beaconsfield Town’s aim - “This new development allows Dorchester Town FC to play a much bigger part in our local community and we are delighted to be able to open up our state-of-the-art facility to everyone in the area.”
Despite the challenges of the times there is much to be excited about and the fortunes of the first team have no small part to play in that.
On Saturday a journey hampered by holiday traffic and the unwelcome intervention of tachograph regulations, as they relate to driver’s rest breaks, conspired to turn a three hour journey with a civilised and leisurely breakfast into a sweaty and stressful near five hour trek across country with an enforced stop at Solstice Park services.
Some of the journey seemed to overflow into the early exchanges on the pitch as The Rams took time to settle and adjust to breezy conditions which also saw them playing into a strong August sun for the opening period. Early exchanges were littered with nervy ex-changes under-hit and overhit passes and a general air of disjointed edginess on and off the pitch.
The home side settled better and enjoyed better possession with Tom Purrington and Char-lie Madden dominating the midfield exchanges as Scott Donnelly and Jordan AJ Ajanlekoko struggled to impose themselves on affairs.
Wing backs Harry Hodges and in particular Tiago Sa were also prominent in early
exchanges and it was apparent from early on that Callum Webb and Marcus Johnson-Schuster on the Beaconsfield right flank could be in for a long afternoon attempting to coral the effervescent Sa.
For all their possession though the home side created little and on the occasions when The Rams relaxed in possession, they moved the ball well and showed flashes of the controlled possession football which has been the abiding hallmark of pre-season.
The home sides industry and willingness to attack in numbers at every opportunity made it difficult for the visitors to dominate possession. It did though present opportunities to exploit the space created behind by the numbers flooding forward.
So it was when Aaron Minhas snapped into a tackle in the centre circle, emerged with ball and played in Jefferson Louis. With all the opposing midfield and wing backs on the front foot, the front pair found themselves in a two against two. Minhas bent his run and Louis played drew his defender away from the centre before rolling a well-timed return pass into Minhas’ path, who advanced his run on an angle to evade the covering defenders desper-ate attempt to make a tackle before firing in a rising drive which flew off Gerard Benfields finger- tip and into the top corner.
Minhas likes it here, that was his third goal in two visits.
Whilst the lead came arguably against the run of play it was in truth the first meaningful ef-fort on target from either side in the opening thirteen minutes. It was also, in many ways an accident waiting to happen for The Magpies as they launched themselves forward at every opportunity vacating acres of space for their centre-halfs to cover. Had The Rams been able to call on the sidelined Tyrone Lewthwaite with his blistering pace it may have been an interesting afternoon.
As it was the lead was disappointingly short lived, lasting just four minutes. In response to the goal it was apparent that Beaconsfield wanted to settle and control matters for a few minutes to consolidate their position. A perfect approach but as they did so they retreated five yards and actually allowed Dorchester more space in which to play.
The Magpies, prompted throughout by Purrington, probed and moved the ball from side to side before Oakley Hangers deep diagonal ball was met at the far post by Tiago Sa who had ghosted inside Callum Webb and the left back dragged his cross shot across Alex
Tokarcyzk and into the bottom corner.
Buoyed by the goal The Magpies then enjoyed their best spell of the game and The Rams were at full stretch to keep them out. Tokarcyzk made two smart saves to deny Purrington and Sam Bayston and The Rams defence came under pressure as they were forced to de-fend, not always convincingly, a succession of corners.
It was the visitors who were most happy to hear Mr Herrera’s whistle for the break
Half Time 1-1
Meakin sent on Khaliq Callender to replace Callum Webb at the break, hoping to repress some of the home sides attacking flair down the left by introducing the youngsters pace and dribbling ability to assist the counter and give Sa something new to think about.
Beaconsfield were steadier after the break, Donnelly and AJ Ajanlekoko came more into the game and Olly McCoy began to impose himself on proceedings.
The home side still shaded possession but whilst they threatened down the flanks The Rams defended the penalty area well, Tokarcyzk was assured behind them and the visitors were seldom as exposed as they had appeared at times in the first period.
It was the Rams who were increasing in threat and they almost took the lead after 64 minutes, Olly McCoy burst on to a Scott Donnelly through ball and bore down on goal. He was at full stretch when he took possession though and his touch took the ball towards the recovering defender and crucially stuck on the surface allowing the retreating Hodges to slide in enough of a challenge that the ball was easily claimed by Benfield.
Almost immediately at the other end the home side burst into life and Tokarcyzk had to be at his very best to claw away a fierce low cross shot from Oakley Hanger.
Jordan Ajanlekoko was replaced by Kensley Maloney after a trademark recovering challenge on the stretch saw him immediately clutch at his groin but not in a hip hop style.
Jefferson Louis was withdrawn after a tireless 70 odd minutes and replaced by Dylan Kearney who was immediately into the action occupying and upsetting the home defence with his combative and competitive style.
The Magpies continued to pour forward and as the Beaconsfield fans were increasingly happy to settle for a draw Dorchester almost nicked it as substitute George Calverly smug-gled his cross shot past Tokarcyzk, (who for the record believes he had it covered), and off the face of the post. And a combination of Babbs Jarra, Jordan Aghatise and Tokarcyzk crowded out Sam Bayston as the 90th minute ticked by.
The sucker punch when it came was a thing of simple beauty, in an almost carbon copy of the previous goal, save for the intervention of Kearney. The big striker received the ball on halfway and held it up long enough to feed Donnelly, who picked out Olly McCoy’s beauti-fully timed run. This time the ball did not hold on the turf, the first touch was towards goal and away from the defender struggling to get back and the finish was unerring.
Cue bench emptying celebrations and a nervy final 90 seconds before the win was secured.
In truth Beaconsfield would have taken a draw half-way down the M3 and the home side probably feel that one point was the least they deserved.
It’s a kick in the teeth to concede so late and lose when by and large you’ve played pretty well but this was a long way from a rearguard action smash and grab by The Rams. It was a very even encounter where a draw was probably the fair result but both sides had the chance to nick it. Beaconsfield took one of theirs.
Next up is a trip to Kings Langley on Tuesday evening.
1. Alex Tokarczyk
2. Marcus Johnson-Schuster
3. Alex Lafleur
4. Jordan Aghatise
5. Babs Jarra
6. Scott Donnelly
7. Callum Webb [Sub 46, 16 Khalique Callender]
8. Jordan Ajanlekoko [Sub 65, 15 Kensley Maloney]
9. Jefferson Louis [Sub 75, 17 Dylan Kearney]
10. Aaron Minhas
11. Oliver McCoy
Subs not used
12. Toby Little
14. Harrison Bayley
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Gerard Benfield
2. Harry Hodges
3. Tiago Sa
4. Charlie Madden
5. Sam Davidson
6. Ashley Wells
7. Oakley Hanger [Sub 86, 12 George Calverly]
8. Tom Purrington
9. Sam Bayston
10. Harry Burns
11. Billy Lowes
Subs Not Used
14. Benjanim Hughes
20. Alan Walker Harris
15. Ben Symes
Manager: Robbie Herrera
Ref: Niall Clinton
Assistants: Nigel Whitfield - Jade Wardle