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Rams Easter Haul Eases Pressure

Tuesday 2nd April 2024
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Beaconsfield Town 1 Hanwell Town 0 The Snow Stadium Att - 162
Ram of the match - Sean Fraser

Six points from their two Easter fixtures have taken the Rams to 47 points, within Three of their 50-point pre-season target.
Easing the pressure that three consecutive league defeats and a cup exit had started to crank up again.

First, on Saturday they took part in an old-fashioned shoot-out at the Silver Jubilee Stadium with Hendon.

Ahead early and throughout after Josh Payne’s third minute 25-yard strike set the Rams on their way the teams traded blows Hendon equalising with a banger of their own Billy Leonard despatching his own 25-yarder before the Rams reclaimed and stretched the lead. The Rams maintained a Two goal cushion with the aid of Two Payne penalties, another long-range beauty from Kam English and a closer-range poachers finish from Tom McElroy.
Hendon refused to lie down though, firing back through a Shaun Lucien free kick and Niko Muirs close range effort. When Kurtis Cumberbatch finished off a fine passing move to make it 5-4 with six minutes to go, The Rams were indebted to debutant keeper Tom Norcott whose late saves preserved the now fragile lead and secured the points.

Back at Holloways Park and Tuesday evening and bouyed by the weekend win The Rams began on the front foot against close rivals Hanwell Town.

It was a test for the enigmatic Rams who have been a little disappointing against the teams around them in the bottom half this term. Then raising their performance to pick up valuable points against the upper echelon of the division.

It was also fair to say that The reverse fixture at Hanwell on New Year’s Day represented a low point in the season.
As a truly woeful Rams capitulation on a rainswept day left Rams fans drenched and despondent with little to look forward to as their then-seven-match winless run showed little sign of ending.

The weather was very similar on Tuesday night but The Ram’s performance certainly wasn’t. This is a different Rams due in no small part to the addition of Sean Fraser whose utility makes him Jon Underwoods ‘Swiss Army knife player, Full back, centre back, holding midfielder.

Fraser can do it all for his team. He excels in the deep-lying midfield role though, Where his developing relationship with the younger heads around him has been pivotal in their development and Beaconsfield’s improvement.

It isn’t a flashy role by any means not much by way of mazey dribbles or worldies banged in. It is about nuts and bolts. Turning over possession, breaking up attacks, starting the counter, setting the point of attack and organising those around him. Outstanding while seldom standing out. Such was the case on Tuesday as he went about his business driving the team forward in the first half before organising and battling in the trenches as the game developed into a muscular tussle for the points.

The Rams made the perfect start, Zidan Akers and Asher Yearwood leading the press made a crossing opportunity down the left flank, for The Rams assister in chief James Dobson.

His outswinging effort cleared everyone and fell kindly for left back Isaac Olorunfemi who unaccountably seemed caught in two minds, between clearing and a cushioned return to former Ram Sam Beasant in the Hanwell goal. In the end, he did neither as the ball bounced off him and rolled back across the box and into the path of Tom McElroy, Seven yards out who rammed the ball home giving Beasant no chance.

Beaconsfield dominated the remainder of the half. Blunting Hanwell who were as bad as The Rams were good but The Geordies were grateful to Beasant on his return to Holloways park who produced key saves to keep the rampant rams at bay and on the occasions he was beaten, notably when Dan Roth skipped around him in the inside right channel, the post came to his aid then as a Tom McElroy snap shot reared off the keeper and looped towards goal right back Ryan Palomeque Bernal was on hand to clear off the line.
Beasant also spent much of the half as sweeper keeper, making a number of forays outside the box to snuff out promising positions for the home side.

Half Time 1-0

Sean Kelleher was sufficiently displeased with his charges first half efforts that he brought them out early to form them up in the pouring rain before delivering a Phil Brown style team talk.

Hard to say how effective it was. No doubt Hanwell improved after the break but equally hard to imagine they could have got worse.

Beaconsfield weathered the early storm meteorological and Hanwell and Tom Norcott in The Rams goal was still largely untroubled. That said he was very tidy and assured in possession and his handling was secure in horrible conditions for goalkeeping.

Hanwell showed flashes of coherent football and put together good passing phases, without ever really extending Beaconsfield who sat in and protected the final third. As time ticked by the visitors approach became more direct and physical. The introduction of Olayami Oyinsan up front created a two pronged attack with Sam Evans whose hold-up play was effective all evening without really generating much by way of end product.

Beaconsfield were less in evidence in the attacking third but thought they had extended their lead when Zidan Akers, released by James Dobsons through pass shaped a Thierry Henri style finis across Beasant and inside the far post

The assistant had other ideas though and the effort was chalked off.

As the clock watching began in earnest for the home fans the visitor’s approach became largely route one as they searched for their equaliser.

Chances were few but they came closest when sub Matt Makenzie unleashed a dipping effort from 20 yards which was brilliantly saved by Tomm Norcott flying away to his right at full stretch to divert the ball over his cross bar.

From the resulting corner a 10 man melee ensued on the edge of the six yard box but Northcott emerged from the pile with the ball.

The Rams stood firm and skipper Luke Neville and Jacques Kpohomouh restored to the central defence after missing Saturday headed everything that came near them until the final whistle.

Hanwell may feel hard done by and that their second half recovery, such as it was, was deserving of a point. Its arguable but Beaconsfield could reasonably feel that but for Beasant and the woodwork the game could and really should have been over at the break. They were clinging on a bit at the finish but probably just about deserved the three points.

The Rams now head to strugglers Harrow Borough in search of a third win on the spin which can see them achieve their 50 point target and almost certainly secure another season at this level.

All images ©Neale Blackburn Photography 2024
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