Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Tuesday 31st January 2023
Plymouth Parkway 1 Beaconsfield Town 1
Bolitho Park - Attendance 508
Ram of the Match – Kie Plumley
In a tale of two keepers at Bolitho Park on Tuesday night, The Rams on loan stopper Kie Plumley kept his team in the game with a series of good saves in the first half. He then capped his performance with an outstanding full length dive to keep out a goalbound volley that seemed sure to put the game away for Plymouth Parkway. At the other end Adam Parkes, a virtual spectator for most of the evening, failed to deal with a regulation claim and gifted Beaconsfield their point.
Forced into a number of changes through injury or unavailability through work commitments, Gary Meakin made three changes to the line up that started in the thumping of Chesham at the weekend. Charlie Smith came in at right back while Luke Neville moved to the left back birth. Max Bustamante was handed a league debut in the absence of Kyel Reid who tweaked a hamstring on Saturday and will miss at least two games.
Plymouth Parkway were fresh from their own thrashing of Poole Town and were clearly up for a repeat performance. They flew out of the traps and pinned The Rams back as the visitors struggled to come to terms with their opponents and looked somewhat tentative throughout on the tricky playing surface.
The game started fairly evenly with Nathan Minhas shooting narrowly over from the angle after good work from Aaron Minhas and Sam Granville. That was about it, in an attacking sense. As the early stages progressed Plymouth took control and it started to have the feeling of being a long night, we especially after Plymouth and the games outstanding individual Dan Rooney opened the scoring with a 20 yard strike. After a well worked patient build up the irrepressible midfielder took his chance early and shot through a crowd of players flashing past Plumley and into the bottom corner. The keeper barely had a chance to set his feet as the ball shot past him, giving the initial impression that the shot may have been deflected - in fact it was just the ferocity of Rooney’s early strike.
Two minutes later the home side should have doubled their advantage. Jack Crago rolled in Harrison King with a free run on Plumley and the goal at his mercy he chose a dinked finish successfully lifting the ball over the advancing keeper but screwing it wide of the target.
It was still early but you did wonder if they would come to regret such a miss.
They continued to press but Plumley stood firm, saving from Crago, Palfrey and others as pressure and chances mounted.
At the other end Nathan Minhas latched on to a long pass from Max Bustamante and seemed certain to do what he does best but Callum Rose had other ideas and recovered enough to challenge the striker at the crucial moment and Minhas, slightly off balance screwed his effort wide of the post.
Half Time 1-0
The second half continued in a similar fashion, The home side dominated the possession and territory as the Rams resolutely if not always convincingly repelled each attack. It wasn’t entirely a rearguard action with Beaconsfield mounting early attacks coming closest when a clearing header fell to Myles Anderson just outside the box and the centre half's cushioned volley flew narrowly over the bar but for the most part the play was at the other end with Beaconsfield reduced to sporadic corners.
Oscar Lucey, another graduate from the U18 set up, replaced Max Bustamante at half time and showed good energy to get forward as often as the game allowed but he too was on defensive duty more often than not. Clear cut chances were few though as set pieces raind down on the Beaconsfield defence Sam Togwell and Myles Anderson in particular stood firm under the bombardment and reduced chances to headers or shots from distance which by and large left Plumley untroubled.
The Homeside became increasingly desperate for a second goal to seal the win with mush histrionic falling in and around the box but Mr Hobbs was largely unflustered as Parkway’s frustration grew on the field roared on by their vociferous home support, fiercely partisan but remarkably good natured throughout. They were on their feet in the
78th minute as a clearing header from a right wing free kick fell invitingly for Rio Garside just outside the box in the inside left position his sweetly struck volley arrowed across goal headed for the bottom corner. Game over surely? Most people thought so but fortunately for Beaconsfield Plumley had other ideas, flying full length across his goal to turn away the effort with a strong hand.
That was as close as anyone came until the 87th minute when the Minhas brothers combined with Sam Granville to work the ball to Dan Bradshaw down the right he advanced to the anle of the area before sending in a driven cross come shot which Parkes seemed in position to take comfortably, before allowing the ball to squirt between his palms and into the back of his net.
Their was still time for the Homeside to mount a furious final offensive and furious was the optimum adjective when Rooney was lucky to only see yellow when he brought his descent of a fruitless late penalty appeal into Mr Kings face, causing to the ref to flinch away and step back.
Then it was over.
Far from a sparkling performance but in days gone by The Rams might have easily crumbled under the pressure of a confident opponent roared on by a big crowd This Beaconsfield squad is made of sterner stuff though. Adversity on and off the field has forged a spirit and togetherness that sees them close ranks and battle for each other. They play for each other and the staff, they win for each other and share responsibility for responding to defeat.
A team in the image of players like Sam Togwell. Never less than 100% even when its not going their way. Myles Anderson brutalised for most of the first first half but back into the fight every challenge. Sam Granville, not at his best in the first half here, vital in defence in the second, high energy and effort throughout and Dan Bradshaw who saw less attacking service than he usually enjoys but did not hesitate to deliver his usual lung busting shift in service of the cause and was still available and willing to produce the equaliser.
On the long journey home this was a point that felt like a win for The Rams.
It will certainly feel like two dropped by their hosts who eventually paid the price for their lack of a ruthless finish and met a young keeper on a very good day.
Next up The Rams head to Harrow Borough on Saturday afternoon for a 3pm kick off.
Beaconsfield Town :
Kie Plumley, Charlie Smith [SubBen De Lacy-Turner, Luke Neville [Sub Henry Hawkins 67], Sam Togwell, Myles Anderson, Aaron Minhas, Sam Granville, Dan Bradshaw, Nathan Minhas, Elliott Buchanan, Max Bustamante [Sub Oscar Lucey 46] .
Subs Not Used - Kai Allsop, Ben Peters
Adam Parkes. Harrison King, Ryan Lane, William Palfrey [Sub Callum Hall 58] , Callum Rose, Austin Booth, Michael Williams, Dan Rooney, Benjamin Seymour, Rio Garside, Jack Crago [Oscar Massey 66 Sub Toby Stephens 87]
Aaron Goulty, Toby Down,
Referee - Mark King
Assistants - Stephen McCulloch, Thomas Roper
All images ©Neale Blackburn 2023