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Farnborough 2 Beaconsfield Town 0
Rams Man of the Match - Ade Shokunbi
To the casual observer glancing at the results this may look like a routine, comfortable home win for Farnborough against struggling opposition. In truth it was anything but routine and Beaconsfield will be wondering how they came away with nothing after creating enough chances to win two games never mind this one.
First and foremost a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping by Liam Beach kept the Rams at bay but the award of a comedy penalty on 50 minutes after the visitors had made their most encouraging start to a second period for quite some time was the kind of kick in the teeth that certainly did little to help their cause.
The home side started well and pressed back the visitors who looked a little ring rusty after their two week Christmas break and the two fixture cancellations last week. With Connor Cullen, Louis Dunne, Reggie Young and Andrew Sealey-Harris looking a lively combination up front it appeared that Beaconsfield may have their hands full for the afternoon.
In truth though, for all their early possession and flashy approach play the home side were quite lightweight in attack and failed to make the most of their pressure.
When they did work openings for shots, Myles Bowman was only seriously troubled once, after 10 minutes, making a blocking save from Cullen, played in by Young after a long clearance somehow evaded everyone to find the flashy winger free on the right.
Cullen will feel he should have done better but the Beaconsfield keeper stood up well, made himself big and saved well - the rebound bounced about and fell to Dunne whose effort was blocked by Callum Webb, making a welcome quick return after limping off at Hayes and Yeading.
As the half developed Beaconsfield got to grips with the stodgy surface and their hosts pressing style and began to take control of the midfield with Louis Stead, Ade Shokunbi and Jordan Ajanlekoko starting to win their battles and link with Charlie Losasso, Jon-Jo Bates and James Ewington ahead.
It was Losasso who created the best chance of the first half hour curling in an inviting cross for the onrushing Ewington but the striker was thwarted by the intervention of Beach at full stretch turning the cross to safety. Moments later the big keeper plunged low to keep out a Losasso effort and then Shokunbi got in on the act - driving into the box, seeing his first shot blocked, he collected his own rebound before dragging his second effort wide.
In between another goal bound Dunne effort at the other end was blocked away to safety by Webb.
As the game opened up Louis Stead and Jon-Jo Bates combined to feed Losasso whose effort was blocked by a smothering challenge from CJ Fearn.
It seemed only a matter of time before the visitors would be rewarded and when Louis Steads effort was blocked straight to Bates sixteen yards out it seemed the moment had arrived but the irrepressible striker snatched at the chance and dragged it tamely wide.
Undaunted The Rams continued to press. Shokunbi again forced his way into the box, again his effort was blocked but he managed to play in Losasso who toe poked an effort narrowly wide with Beach beaten.
Still The Rams pressed, Bates wriggled down the by-line and saw his cross blocked,
Fearn was withdrawn and The Rams ended the half with Losasso cannoning a 20 yard effort off the post with Beach tumbling after it.
Half Time 0-0
The Rams were straight back on the front foot after the break, a pleasing change from their form of late.
Enter Mr James Robinson of Southampton. Up to this point he had been admirably anonymous. On 50 minutes he made one of those game changing decisions that you imagine they do the job for. Fair enough. Just don’t get conned.
Running away from goal Reggie Young poked the ball ahead of him past Mayo Balogun and then dragging his toes like an NFL receiver he dived over the left backs thigh.
It happened in front of the linesman who remained motionless but Mr Robinson somewhat further away and behind the incident gave it immediately.
To be fair he had already shown himself happy to give free kicks for minimal contact and players throwing themselves to the ground theatrically. He may argue that there was contact. I’d happily argue that most of it came as a result of Young looking for and initiating it. He played for the penalty and Mr Robinson obliged.
No matter, Andrew Sealey-Harris converted the penalty and against the run of play Farnborough were ahead.
Beaconsfield continued on the front foot as they pressed for the equalizer and when a Jerome Ecclestone long throw was nodded on by Jordan Ajanlekoko to James Ewington at the far post it seemed to have arrived. The striker could not keep his header down allowing Liam Beach to scramble the ball on to the inside of the post with The Rams appealing that it had crossed the line [It didn’t] the rebound fell to Shokunbi three yards out. It did rear up on him a bit but it was still a surprise that he somehow managed to spoon his effort over the bar.
At that point you begin to wonder if it just wasn’t The Rams day.
To their credit Beaconsfield continued to press and search for the goal their play deserved but were never closer. Their hosts managed the game well, ran down the clock at every opportunity and when a block or a saving tackle was required Tom Leggett and Seth Owens were on hand to put their bodies on the line in support of the cause.
As an attacking force the home side continued to press but their shooting was terrible. Dunne and Young particularly were guilty of not troubling Bowman when well placed.
It was always likely that they would need another gift to add to their lead and in the 85th minute Myles Bowman and Mr Robinson obliged. The keeper making a missed timed lunging challenge a long way from his goal by the by-line, taking more man than ball, it was an easy decision for the ref who pointed to the spot. I’m sure Myles knows how he ended up out there. I was a long way away and I’ve got no clue.
Sealey-Harris again converted the kick to end the contest.
2-0 more than a little harsh on The Rams but if you don’t take your chances when they present themselves you don’t win football matches.
The Rams will need to pick themselves up for their visit to Newport Pagnall in the League cup on Tuesday night.
1. Liam Beach
2. John Oyenuga
3. Bernie Tanner
4. CJ Fearn [Sub 15 Youel Emmanuel 41]
5. Seth Owens
6. Bryan Akongo
7. Andrew Sealey-Harris [Sub 14. Damiel FOSU 93]
8. Tom Leggett ©
9. Connor Cullen
10. Louis Dunne
11. Reggie Young [Sub12 Malakai Hinkson-Mars 92]
Manager: Spencer Day
1. Myles Bowman
2. Callum Webb
3. Mayo Balogun
4. Jerome Ecclestone [Sub16 Makai Murray85]
5. Luke Neville
6. Jordan Ajanlekoko
7. Louis Stead
8. Ade Shokunbi
9. James Ewington
10. Jon-Jo Bates [Sub 17.Mihai-Andrei Chiriac 92]
11. Charlie Losasso
Subs Not Used:
12. James Taylor
14. Dan Brown
15. Kane Guy-Seifert
Manager: Gary Meakin
Attendance : 275
Ref: James Robinson - Assistants Patrick O’Reilly - Adam Parry