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Rams battle back to claim three points in Boxing Day thriller

Beaconsfield Town 3 - 2 Staines Town

Rams Man of the Match - Brendan Matthew

Bottom of the table Staines Town were gifted a two goal lead at Holloways Park as a pair of uncharacteristic mistakes from Ravan Constable saw The Rams up against it after only four minutes.

In the second minute, as Beaconsfield’s rejigged back four were still introducing themselves to each other, the usually reliable stopper allowed a routine low strike from left back Mack Miskin to go straight through him. Moments later the visitors' second attack finished with the other full back, Finn Tapp, wrong-footing Constable, who could not get down quickly enough to prevent the ball beating him inside his near post.

The home side were understandably shell-shocked but with prompting from skipper Wes Daly they began to settle to the task and get a foothold in the game which had shown signs of getting away from them almost before it had started.

That said, it was the visitors who had the next serious effort on goal, comfortably saved by Constable. Almost immediately at the other end, an exchange of passes between Marvin Morgan and Brendan Matthew released Matthew on the right of the area. His low shot was saved at the second attempt by Louis Dixon in the Swan’s goal. Two minutes later the strike partnership combined again on the edge of the box and Matthew’s slipped pass released Morgan who was thwarted by a brave plunging save from Dixon.

Beaconsfield were warming to their task going forward but some lackadaisical marking out of possession saw them remain vulnerable to the counter. Bill Montague and Andre Odetola were allowed too much time and space in the centre of the field to advance and drive the visitors forward but these breaks carried less threat as the half progressed and the home side settled down and began to dominate.

Matthew saw a header well saved and Bajram Pashaj and Joe Adoo-Peters were combining well on the left flank with Louis Stead and Sean Fraser on the right also prominent. The visitors were increasingly pinned back. The pressure finally told in the 26th minute. Luke Neville was given time to carry the ball forward to half way and played a diagonal ball which Morgan headed into the path of Bajram Pashaj, his low shot was saved by Dixon, the rebound fell to Matthew who tried to force the ball home but was closed down by a defender. He turned and laid the ball back to Morgan who stroked a right footed shot home from 10 yards. Game On!

Beaconsfield continued to press with the aerial presence of Jordan ‘AJ’ Ajanlekoko and Louis Stead causing problems for Dixon and his defenders but their good work was almost undone on a rare Staines break when Odetola found space on the right and delivered a teasing cross which evaded everyone and flashed past the far post. With their next possession, Montague and Luke Wright combined to release Thomas Gogo who left Adoo-Peters in his wake and Luke Neville on the seat of his shorts before sending in a low drive which fizzed inches wide of the post and into the side netting.

At the other end chances continued to come, Luke Neville met a Wes Daly free kick at the far post but could not steer his header on target. Bajram Pashaj, put through on the left, cut in from the corner of the box and fired in a low shot which Dixon did well to turn around the post at full stretch. From the resulting corner, Matthew headed just wide.

In the 36th minute, the home side were level, Adoo-Peters received the ball from Matthew and fed Wes Daly in midfield, 30 yards from goal. The skipper was adjudged to have been fouled by Thomas Gogo who grabbed an arm as Daly went past. On reflection a soft one but enough for the award in the view of Mr Sunny Gill.

Bajram Pashaj stepped up and bent the free kick over the wall and into the corner with Dixon grasping at thin air.

As half-time approached Staines showed they were not about to lie down and Finn Tapp was again on target but this time his stinging rising drive was tipped over by Constable.

Honours even at the break, 2-2.

The second half began as the first half had ended - the home side enjoyed the greater share of possession and pressed the visitors back but still looked vulnerable to the counter.

On 47 minutes The Rams should really have taken the lead, Brendan Matthew made space at the left corner of the box and curled in a looping shot which was well saved by Dixon onto the foot of his post. The keeper was helpless as the rebound fell to Louis Stead who could not get any purchase on his shot and scuffed it wide.

Two minutes later Matthew was pulled down 35 yards from goal. Wes Daly curled in a teasing free kick which was met by Morgan towering above the defence, his glancing header seemed destined for the bottom corner but was brilliantly saved by Dixon who plunged to his left to turn the ball around the post.

Chances were coming thick and fast Morgan was again unlucky when he beat his marker on the edge of the box and as a covering defender and Dixon converged the rangy striker fired in a shot which cannoned off the angle of post and bar.

You suspected that The Rams may pay the price for squandering these chances.

Staines rallied forcing a corner which caused panic in the home defence and some desperate defending with Stead and Daly making last-ditch blocks of goal-bound efforts. Steads block appeared to strike his arm but Mr Sunny Gil judged that the arm was in a natural position and there was no intent, turning away Staines protests for a spot kick.

Brendan Matthew could and should have added to the visitors broiling sense of injustice when he burst on to a Wes Daly through ball, drew Dixon and went round him before stroking his finish from the angle of the six-yard box onto the outside of the post and away to safety.

He made amends for his glaring miss in the 74th minute. Picked out on the edge of the box by Ajanlekoko, Matthew turned and made room to curl in a right foot shot, which glanced off the back of Gradi Milenge and gave Dixon no chance. They say when you are at the bottom you get no luck and whilst the goal was no more than The Rams deserved on the balance of the second half the manner of it was a tad harsh.

To their credit, urged on by Wright and Montague the visitors' heads did not drop and they dominated the final 10 minutes. On another day they would have equalised but for the heroics of Constable who made amends for his earlier mistakes with a triple save clawing out a close-range header from Milenge, turning away the rebound, a cross-shot from Charles-Valentine, before diverting Tapp’s resulting effort over the bar off his outstretched right foot and ankle. When it’s not your day!

Barring some handbags and silliness as Beaconsfield ran out the clock there was no further incident. Luke Wright can consider himself fortunate to escape punishment for a petulant kick out at Brendan Matthew. Mr Sunny Gil felt it harsh to yellow card Wright because Matthews reaction in the ref's view also would have warranted a yellow. This would have been fair enough but the midfielders frustrated kick was more like violent conduct, punishable by a straight red!

So The Rams get back to winning ways, in not exactly convincing fashion. They will need to improve against a strong Basingstoke side in their next outing.

Beaconsfield Town

1. Ravan Constable
2. Sean Fraser
3. Jo Adoo-Peters
4. Reece Yorke
5. Luke Neville
6. Wes Daly © (Sub 16 Charlie Losasso 69)
7. Louis Stead (Sub 14 Omar Vassell 62)
8. Jordan Ajanlekoko
9. Marvin Morgan (Sub 12 Mayowa Balogun 82)
10. Brendan Matthew
11. Bajram Pashaj  

Subs Not Used:
15. Daniel Brown
17. Andre Costa

Manager: Gary Meakin


Staines Town

1. Louis Dixon
2. Finn Tapp
3. Mack Miskin
4. Andre Odetola
5. Gradi Milenge ©
6. Veron Kokurinkov  
7. Bill Montague (Sub 15 Ruudi Clarke 87)
8. Luke Wright
9. Massil Chabane
10. Luca Charles-Valentine
11. Thomas GoGo

Subs Not Used:
14. Gabriel Piorkowski
16. Milos Vukosinovic
17. Matthew Campbell-Mhlope
18. Elliot Baptiste

Manager: Barry Silkman

Ref: Mr Sunny Gil
Assistants: Mr Mudiwa Gifford Manyange - Mr Nick Garside

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