Rams Man of the Match - Ravan Constable
Despite taking an early lead injury ravaged Beaconsfield Town never really looked like taking anything from this fixture against a young, energetic and well drilled Met Police FC.
The Rams started brightly enough and in the opening exchanges Jon-Jo Bates turned Oliver Robinson, advanced on goal and fired a firm shot narrowly wide of Tom Williams’ near post.
Six minutes later the home side should have been ahead. In what was to become the pattern of the evening, the hosts recycled possession as a Beaconsfield attack broke down and sprang forward on the right flank. Alex Fisher’s cross found Oliver Knight apparently with the goal at his mercy. He probably had time to take a touch but chose a first time strike on the stretch. The resulting volley was woefully high and wide.
Beaconsfield responded with a spell of pressure but did not create a significant threat to Williams’ goal. Bates appeared to have worked an opening but was flagged offside. The resulting free kick was quickly taken and The Met broke down the left with Josh Webb and Knight combining to play in Luke Robertson who took a touch before sending a low shot towards the bottom corner which Ravan Constable did well to deflect onto the post.The rebound rolled invitingly in front of goal but was scrambled clear.
Moments later a John Gilbert cross to the far post was spilled by Constable under strong pressure from Jack Mazzone, the ball fell to Max Blackmore who blasted over the bar from eight yards out.
With pressure mounting it seemed inevitable that the deadlock would be broken but few in attendance would have credited that it would be the visitors who went in front.
Luke Neville brilliantly snuffed out another potential Met threat following a long throw routine and the ball found Bajram Pashaj on the left wing he advanced and played in the overlapping Mayowa Balogun who got to the byline and pulled back a low cross.Tom Wiliams at full stretch at his near post seemed to have intercepted the cross but on this occasion the long arm of the law was not quite long enough and the ball slipped from his grasp. Alex Fisher attempted to stab the loose ball to safety but his clearance was straight at Jon-Jo Bates who smuggled the rebound home. His second goal in as many appearances.
The first half then settled into the pattern of the previous 18 minutes. Beaconsfield struggling to retain possession, the home side pouring forward on either flank creating chances at will and wasting all of them.
Constable made saves from Blackmore and Mazzone whilst John Gilbert and Knight had equally promising chances but failed to hit the target.
Against Staines on Boxing Day, even at two nil down you always felt The Rams would get something. There was a confidence about them from but here, despite the scoreline at the break, there was little confidence. The players looked tired and it was hard to imagine that they would get anything without a significant improvement.
Gary Meakin rang the changes at half-time, withdrawing Louis Stead and Charlie Losasso and introducing Marvin Morgan, to partner Bates up front, and Callum Webb on the right.
The home team began the second half exactly as they had finished the first John Gilbert shot over when well placed, Blackmore headed over from a corner. Beaconsfield couldn’t get out of their own half and even when they did they couldn’t retain possession or carry any threat. It seemed only a matter of time before the Met would equalise but when it came there was an element of fortune about it. John Gilbert sent in an angled cross shot from distance which took a wicked tennis ball bounce and flew past Ravan Constable.
Two minutes later and the Met were in front. Jordan Ajanlekoko seemed to be fouled in a challenge on the right, Mr Warren saw nothing wrong and a cross field ball from Knight played in Gilbert on the left he advance into the area and skinned Callum Webb who brought him down for a stonewall penalty. Jack Mazzone tucked away the spot kick sending Constable the wrong way.
Moments later Mazzone missed the chance to kill the game firing wide of an open net and Beaconsfield almost made them pay when interplay between Pashaj, Morgan and Bates presented Jon-Jo with his first sight of goal in the second half but he shot just over the bar.
At the other end Constable again saved the Rams diving full length to his left to turn away a fierce goal bound effort from Mazzone.
Unaccountably The Rams were still in the game despite the dominance of their hosts but they were unable to take advantage of the Mets generosity.
Marvin Morgan went close from a narrow angle and a Callum Webb cut back caused some panic in the home defence resulting in a shot from Bajram Pashaj that was charged down by Oliver Robinson. Try as they did there was just not the energy in their play and they could not carve out a really clear opportunity.
In the 88th minute the homeside confirmed the win. A right wing corner was headed clear across goal and out to the other wing. As the Rams pushed up Wright’s return cross found Max Blackmore unmarked in the centre of the goal and he forced the ball home from six yards.
The Rams will hope that Phil Gray will get busy and work some magic on the walking wounded in the treatment room before the weekends trip to Chesham and next Wednesdays excursion to league leaders Taunton.
1. Ravan Constable
2. Jerome Ecclestone
3. Mayowa Balogun (Sub 16 Nathan Webb 88)
4. Reece Yorke
5. Luke Neville
6. Wes Daly ©
7. Louis Stead (Sub 14 Callum Webb 45 Sub 16 Andre Costa 73)
8. Jordan Ajanlekoko
9. Jon-Jo Bates
10. Bajram Pashaj
11. Charlie Losasso (Sub17 Marvin Morgan 45)
Subs Not Used:
12: Joe Adoo-Peters
15: Daniel Brown
Manager: Gary Meakin
Met Police Fc
1. Thomas Williams ©
2. Josh Webb
3. Alex Fisher
4. Oliver Robinson
5. Jeremy Arthur
6. Louis Birch
7. Oliver Knight
8. Luke Robertson
9. Jack Mazzone (Sub 15 Michael Atkinson 85)
10. Max Blackmore (Sub 16 Ross Murdoch 90)
11. John Gilbert
Subs Not Used:
12. Nesta Guinness-Walker
14. Jonathan Hippolyte
17. Mekhail Maclaughlin
Manager: Gavin McPherson
Ref: Mr G Warren
Assistants: Mr M Edwards - Mr L. Torz-Brown