TUESDAY 24TH October 2023
Pitching in the Southern League
Premier Division South
Beaconsfield Town 1 Gosport Borough 2
At Holloways Park Att - 209
Ram of the match - As chosen by Our Match sponsors Hearthstone mortgages - Jacques Kpohomouh
Jon Underwood cut a frustrated figure post-match after watching his Beaconsfield Town side concede late for the second time in four days. His Rams emerged from two games against top-five teams, where they could justifiably feel they more than held their own but still came up empty-handed.
On Saturday an individual error and failure to convert any of their few chances cost them a point in a very tight game at Walton & Hersham. There are things a manager can do about that. Here though they bested league leaders Gosport Borough for more than an hour and ultimately the officialting turned the contest and there's simply nothing any manager can do about that.
All that is asked, of referees in particular is, keep out the way, let the fans watch the players they've paid to come and see and get the big decisions right. Last night at Holloways Park Mr Fletcher largely did that in the first half. Stamped his authority early with the booking of Charlie Wassmer, who tried the official's patience enough with back chat to earn himself a yellow card for dissent.
By then his team were already one down to the latest in a succession of stunning goals that home fans have been treated to in the last few weeks. Asher Yearwood who was outstanding throughout here again, picked up the ball on the left. Iker Noguera made an intelligent run to occupy the left back and Yearwood stepped infield into the space created,without challenge.
With the defence standing off him, the midfielder added to his leading scorer tally with a stunning strike right into the top corner giving Toby Steward in the Gosport goal no chance at all. Giving The Rams a dream start, ahead after 8 minutes.Gosport are not top of the league by accident though and set about their hosts with high tempo, passing and movement but The Rams stood up to the physical challenges and both sides were reduced to half-chances for the remainder of the first half.
The visitors probably edged the first period in possession and territory terms but Matt Rowley in The Ram's goal went largely untested. All too often promising looking situations ended with an overhit pass or were well defended by Beaconsfield who stuck to their task particularly at set pieces.
The home side too created a handful of half-chances, most notably from James Dobson deliveries but aside from a Yearwood header which was deflected off a defender and over the cross bar they too never really looked like capitalising, until the closing moments of the half. When Hippolyte burst down the left and cut into the box. perhaps indicative of his apparent confidence, or lack of it at present, he elected to send in a low cross, rather than force Steward into action with a shot. The ball eluded a team mate and was easily tidied up by the Gosport defence, who, aside from the goal. Were well drilled, well organised, disciplined and strong throughout the first period.
Half Time 1-0
The second half continued in much the same way but the evening erupted on 66 minutes when Mr Fletcher decided to take centre stage and went full Mike Dean.
Jefferson Louis latched on to Hippolyte's back header and advanced into the box. Wassmer, initially caught ball watching the flick on tried to recover and lunged in taking player and a bit of ball in that order.
Fair to say the majority opinion in the ground was that it was a penalty.
Look at the pictures, make up your own mind.Wassmer, already on a yellow was surely on his way and Beaconsfield would have the opportunity to double their lead.
Not in the view of Mr Fletcher who saw nothing wrong with the 'tackle'. Then booked Joe Morrison for complaining and sent Goal keeper coach Trent Phillips out of the dug out for continuing the protests.
The closing 20 minutes had a grim familiarity about them for Beaconsfield fans. The ball not sticking up front and the opposition being invited onto the defense. In the recent good run against teams they would reasonably consider their piers, The Rams have coped and prevailed. Against the very good sides like Gossport and Walton though it is always likely to be a different story. Playing without the ball against good sides is hard work. To try and do it twice in four days is quite an ask.
It wasn't entirely one-way traffic, Asher Yearwood drew the save of the night from STEWARD flying away to his left to tip a curling effort around the post and Hippolyte, played in by Yearwood after he intercepted an errant Wassmer pass, shot tamely straight at Steward when well placed.
Gosport didn't register a shot on target until the 70th minute, although their best opportunity came just before the penalty incident, when sub De Costa Ramos latched onto Wassmer's defence-splitting pass only to drag his effort wide of the advancing Rowley and the post.
Increasingly as the evening ticked away Gosport threw players forward in search of the equaliser and in the 84th minute they were rewarded after a coming together between Kpohomouh and Jonathan Efedje which saw the Gosport sub sprawl to the turf as the ball ran harmelessly through to Rowley. Mr Fletcher pointed to the spot. Of course, he did.
Skipper Rory Williams stroked home the penalty just out of reach of Rowley who guessed right and Gosport went in search of a winner. Which arrived in the 88th Minute.
A corner was cleared by Luke Neville and the Beaconsfield defence pushed up as it was headed back into the box the defenders arms went up claiming offside against Scrimshaw, in splendid isolation on the edge of the six-yard box.
The assistant's flag stayed down and Scrimshaw calmly finished into the corner. Fair play to the assistant, Video evidence would suggest the decision was more marginal than it may have initially appeared. Harsh on The Rams though That was pretty much that.
The final word should perhaps go to a neutral, Tom Hammond, a groundhopper who took to twitter to give his view on the penalty that wasn't.
"Was right in front of the incident and I have to say that this was one of the worst refereeing decisions I've ever seen in my 30 years watching football. I'm a Hadley fan groundhopping BTFC for the first time so no bias towards either team in my observation."
The Rams now head to Harrow Borough on Saturday for their First round Fa trophy Tie - Kick off 3pm
Teams and Match facts - [Southern League web site]
Images © Neale Blackburn Photography 2023