Beaconsfield town came from behind to open their account on Saturday at Holloways Park with a hard fought win over newly promoted Plymouth Parkway.
The Devonshire side who fought back from 2-0 down to claim a home point from Chesham United in their premier south debut last weekend weathered the early Beaconsfield storm here.
Riding their luck when Nathan Minhas crashed a thunderous effort off the bar and last ditch blocks prevented Aaron Minhas and Nathan again from giving The Rams the early lead.
The visitors played in snatches but when they did threaten it was mostly on the flanks where the pace of Jack Crago on the left and recent signing Rio Garside on the right offered pace and direct running.
It was Crago who gave notice of the attacking threat, working an opening in the left corner of the box before dragging a low shot wide of the post.
Garside’s first effort was on target and unexpected as he stepped in off the wing and launched his effort from the right edge, seemingly catching Ravan Constable off guard, flying into the corner.
Moments later it was almost two as Garside slid in at the far post to apply the finish to Ben Seymours low cross but his effort slid narrowly wide of the gaping net.
Beaconsfield continued to press to the break but beyond a pair of speculative penalty appeals had nothing to show for their pressure and remained vulnerable to the visitors’ pace on the counter.
Half time 0-1
Presumably with a few Gary Meakin flavoured home truths ringing in their ears?
Beaconsfield flew into the visitors with renewed purpose after the break.
Nathan Minhas almost latched on to a Sam Togwell pass which skipped on to be collected by Moore. Then he broke to the corner of the area where he was picked out by Scott Donnolly, the striker advanced on the angle and hit a fierce drive which was beaten away by Moore who stood up well at his near post.
Louis Walsh was next to trouble Moore, working an opening for himself before drawing an acrobatic tip over the bar with a curling effort from 15 yards.
Plymouth couldn’t get any sustained possession and could barely get out of their own end. The excellent Sam Togwell ably assisted by Scott Donnolly controlled the shape of the game. Stepping in to snuff out threat and managing attacking transitions on the counter, providing an effective screen and outlet for the back four.
Togwell in particular displaying a range of pass and vision that those around him did not always make the most of.
Hopefully as the season progresses the younger players around him will learn how best to benefit from his obvious ability to unlock a back four with a perfectly executed pass.
It was no surprise when the Beaconsfield pressure finally told.
Again, it was a through pass which Nathan Minhas burst on to, past the despairing lunge of Michael Landricombe, advancing to the edge of the box before sweeping the ball past Moore.
The Beaconsfield onslaught continued. Sean Frazer fired over from the edge of the box.
Before Nathan Minhas latched on to a Mark Nisbet header and slammed in a rising shot from eight yards which was brilliantly saved by the advancing Moore.
From the resulting corner the keeper was in action again. The Rams recycled possession and worked an opening for Aaron Minhas just beyond the far post. Eight yards from goal. His shot was beaten away.
Minhas’ next action was as provider his cross from the left pinballed across the area and was ‘headed’ home by skipper Toby Little, It’s anyones guess how much the midfielder actually knew about it as it appeared to be cleared into him by a Plymouth defender. The resulting powerful header wrong footed Moore, who remained rooted to his line.
With The Rams continuing to press Plymouth fashioned the opportunity to equalise and had Ravan Constable to thank for retaining the lead. The big stopper stood up well to narrow the angle and block substitute Theo Simpson’s effort.
From the resulting corner Liam McDevitt and Ben Seymour got into a shirt pulling tussle as the strikers frustration at the increasingly effective shackling got the better of him.
His petulance wasn’t really worthy of anything more than a free kick but referee Steven Scott, who had frustrated both sides all afternoon with his inconsistent approach decided it was worthy of a yellow.
As the striker had already been booked for simulation earlier in the half this was a second yellow and he was ordered off. It was harsh but indicative of Mr Scott’s approach as he showed himself largely unable to tell the difference between a well timed physical challenge and a foul but happy to dish out yellow cards for shirt pulling and simulation.
Despite the numerical disadvantage Plymouth continued to try and press with spirit.
Assisted by Beaconsfield who took time to adjust to the man advantage. For 10 minutes it looked like it was The Rams who were down to 10 as Plymouth enjoyed their first sustained possession of the half.
To be fair to The Rams kept their shape and most of the possession was harmless and in front of the home side, who reduced the visitors to efforts from distance without giving up any clear cut chances.
At the other end Beaconsfield continued to carve out chances. Moore saved from Nathan Minhas and was fortunate that his exaggerated fall earned a free kick when substitute Eitel Goueth beat him to the ball on the edge of the area as he was poised to clear.
As the game entered injury time Kyel Reid finally put the game beyond Plymouth. Picking up the ball 40 yards out he advanced on goal bending his run to make space and create an angle for a shot before beating Moore at his near post.
Mr Scott wasn’t finished though. There was still time to apply a pedantic Full stop to a generally mediocre afternoon.
Louis Walsh already booked for a pull back on Austin Booth, went down in the box after being straight armed by Booth. No doubt it was an exaggerated fall but there was clear contact. Probably not enough for a foul but not by. Any means a dive either.
Rather than giving the goal kick and bringing the game to a conclusion Mr Scott brandished the second yellow and red card to the unfortunate Walsh.
This was a decent game of football played in a generally good spirit in very testing hot conditions Eight* yellow cards and Two reds is no reflection on the game. There were two poor tackles in the game, neither apparently worthy of a caution according to Mr Scott. Fair to say most watching would take the view that they were the only offences potentially worthy of caution.
So The Rams are off the mark and now head to Imber Court to take on Met Police
* I think it was Eight? I lost count.
Ravan Constable, Sean Frazer, Callum Webb, Liam , Mark Nisbet, Sam Togwell, Toby Little © [Sub Dan Bradshaw], Scott Donnolly [Sub Kyel Reid], Nathan Minhas, Aaron Minhas [Sub EItel Goueth], Louis Walsh
Subs not used - Josh Roach, Shaun McAuley
Kyle Moore, Austin Booth, Ryan Lane, William Palfrey, Brandon Pursall, Michael Landricombe©, Rio Garside, Callum Hall, Benjamin Seymour, Dan Rooney, Jack Crago
Subs not used - Theo Simpson, Carlo Garside, Aaron Goulty, Jake Mead-Crebbin, Tyler Ashmead