Beaconsfield Town completed their pre-season with confidence building victories over two step Four opponents Bedfont Sports and Uxbridge.
Last Friday night at The Bedfont Sports and Rec ground The Rams took time to warm up. Despite enjoying long periods of sustained possession. The first period was evenly contested with the visitors edging ahead with a delightful Scott
Donnolly free kick. Manager Gary , returning from a much needed family holiday, was unimpressed with the first half effort and made his feelings known to his charges with his halftime team talk.
This seemed to have the desired affect. Donnolly doubled the lead with a chip from the edge of the D, which the home keeper will probably feel he should have donebetter with. Nathan Minhas made it three with a trade mark calm finish before
Donnolly completed his hat trick from the penalty spot.
Kyel Reid made it Five taking over free kick duty after replacing Donnelly from the bench curling in a beauty to provide the icing on The Ram’s Friday night cake.On Tuesday evening The Rams eased past a spirited Uxbridge with a first half
Minhas family hat trick. Aaron opened the scoring with an acrobatic toe ended finish, Nathan made it two with a calm side foot finish after being played through the statuesque home back four before Aaron grabbed his second with the goal of
the game wriggling into half a yard of space between two closing defenders to fire a low shot into the corner beyond the despairing dive of the home keeper who may have done better if he hadn’t gone down in instalments but the shot had pace
and was extremely well paced.
3-0 ahead at the break The Rams barely got out of second gear in a second half where the home side rallied a little and were better and managed to make it to make it more competitive in the middle of the park but seldom trouble returning
Ram Raven Constable in the visitors goal. Once the substitutions set in and the game fragmented further for The Rams the home side enjoyed their best spell and got the goal they will probably feel they deserved. The goal was hard on Constable, wrong footed by an initial shot blocked in front of him the big stopper
almost made the adjustment to keep out the rebound but it sneaked inside the post.
So an encouraging pre season draws to a close. Results can be taken with a pinch of salt at this time of year as teams are more concerned with fitness and formation than pure scores on the doors performances both individual taking precedence.
That said, for the record, with 2 wins 2 draws and one narrow defeat to step 2 opposition, conceding a last kick winner provides plenty of reason for quiet cautious confidence.
As ever Meakin’s approach to the building of his squad for the new season. revolves around new players being as good or better than the ones they replace.
The marked improvement this pre season is obvious with quality throughout the spine of the team. Ravan Constable returning to the Rams after a three year absence remains the effervescent slightly eccentric shot stopper he always was, as evidenced by his performances against The Rams last season for Hayes.
radiates confidence and on his best days is worth a goal head start. Amman Azaze is every bit as good technically, capable of pushing him all the way.
Meanwhile young Josh Roach will continue his development with the U23’s but has shown himself more than capable of holding his own at this level.
At the heart of the back four the highly experienced pairing of Liam McDevitt and Mark Nisbet have settled well and are forming the beginnings of an imperious partnership.
Nisbet calm and organised and McDevitt one of Meakin’s generals on the park, organising, chiding, imploring and bollocking! Demanding the best from those around him at the back and further ahead. A leader by example.
Luke Neville remains the whole hearted performer he has always been and his abilities and quiet experience will be needed as the season wears on. Even if his early chances are limited by the exceptional talent ahead of him, his experience
will certainly be required to keep the others on their toes. Offer tactical options for three at and provide a replacement when required without a significant drop in quality.
With former pro Sam Togwell sweeping up and managing transitions ahead of the back four their is a new solidity about the centre of the park.
Togwell’s experience at higher level is obvious from his calmness and economy in possession. Everything about his play begins with his reading of the game. He is one of those players who is just in the right place most of the time. While the
speed in his legs may be waning the brain is as football sharp as anyone we’ve seen in a Rams shirt of late. What he lacks in speed over the ground he makes up for with savant like positional sense and tenacious battling and closing down.
Unflashy and undemonstrative He is the steady, quietly beating heart of this new Rams engine room.
Directing traffic, moving the point of attack, passing and moving with a minimum of touches and fuss ably assisted by Callum Webb and Olly Sprague pressing forward at every opportunity.
Like Scott Donnolly ahead of him, his presence and ability make the players around him better.
The new improved Slim line Scott Donnolly is clearly enjoying Togwell’s presence as much as anyone.
Released from some of the defensive duty of sitting, free to enjoy the new freedom of a slightly more advanced position. Moving the point of attack conducting proceedings in the final third he is thriving in a position which brings him closer to
the opposing penalty area where the Minhas brothers remain the models of consistency and energy. They seem to be relishing the opportunity to play together. Aaron all enthusiasm, quality and effort. Nathan less frantic but angular,
agile and calmness personified relishing the physical challenge of giving defenders nightmares.
Both have shown in pre-season that they retain their eye for goal and carry a constant threat.
With Louis Walsh & Kyel Reid threatening and incisive on the flanks already producing the much needed end product to cap their crowd pleasing ability attacking options abound. Walsh in particular is young and desperate to learn. Just
21 he retains the belief that a good showing here can relaunch a playing career that saw him spend 5 seasons in the Nottingham Forrest youth set up before joining Barnet, from where he owes to the Rams on loan.
In Reid, who has played everywhere from Wembley stadium to Wolves making more than 100 appearances for Bradford City who he helped to a league Two play off final victory in 2013 he will have the perfect role model and mentor
Youngsters Eitel Goueth, Zadin Akers, offer pace and enthusiasm in the final third and while they may see more minutes in the U23 they have shown they are very able replacements in the final third if required but they will need to add end
product to their obvious talent and ability.
Dan Bradshaw, fit again after the ankle injury which ended his season early last term, adds boundless enthusiasm, quality and seemingly limitless energy neither his enjoyment or effort seem remotely diminished on the evidence of pre-season.
Skipper Toby Little continues to offer quiet composure and control. Another manager on the park who offers quality in possession make him a willing henchman for Donnolly or Togwell’s mastermind to control.
His style of play and personality offers a perfect foil contrasting in leadership style to the extrovert and noisy urgings of McDevitt and Donnolly. The latter who seems likely to again live in referees ears for the duration of the new season.
This being the Step 3 and non league football, there will be comings and goings a plenty before we reach Gosport Borough in April.
Meakin’s difficulty will be in marshalling his pieces to keep a well balanced team and at the same time managing the expectations of very good squad players. While the await their opportunity. The trick as always will be keeping them happy
and engaged while on they find themselves on the periphery.
Success will as always owe as much to the attrition rate of the squad as it does to the myriad other other variables.
It’s a tall order.
Those though are thoughts and problems for another day as a new season, beginning with a tricky trip to Salisbury lies stretched out before us.As we spy the far horizons of trip to Back to Hampshire on the final day. This is the time to reflect on the satisfying appetisers just cleared away and look forward to the mouthwatering main course that we’ve been looking forward to
The wait is almost over. We have reached the brief yet perfect period of anticipation, when everything remains possible and the hope, which always gets you in the end, is at its height.
for now, on paper this is probably Meakin’s best squad since he returned to Beaconsfield to oversee the Football side of the quiet revolution that Created Beaconsfield Town out of The previous incarnation Beaconsfield & Slough Youth Club old Boys [SYCOB for short].
Much has changed under the combined stewardship of Meakin together with the commercial guidance and investment of entrepreneur Chris Coyle and managing director Peter Bromage Smith.
Somethings never change though The game isn’t played on paper or a spreadsheet sheet.
The proof of the pudding will be the results.
As ever what they do on the plastic and the grass remains to be seen.
But for now with the cheers of the day that football finally came home still ringing in our ears we can dare to dream.
After this pre-season there is, whisper it quietly, a small measure of expectation to go along with the usual gallons of hope.
Come on You Rams!