Beaconsfield Town 4 Gosport Borough 3
Rams Man Of The Match: Charlie Losasso
Two goals in each half secure a much needed first win in eight games as The Rams edge out fellow strugglers Gosport Borough.
A simple reading of the score, seven goals, red and yellow cards aplenty, would suggest a classic encounter, a thriller at Holloways Park on Saturday afternoon…..
In truth though, despite the incident packed nature of the game, Beaconsfield were always in control of proceedings. Twice they stretched their advantage to two goals, only for individual errors and mistakes to allow the visitors to make things more competitive than should probably have been the case.
That said Gosport started brightly. Ryan Pennery, whose pace and close control made him a handful all afternoon, had the first clear sight of goal, breaking clear of the defence to latch on to Sam Lanahan’s pass and draw a fine smothering save from Ravan Constable who was quickly off his line to block the young strikers effort.This proved to be an early highpoint on what was to become an afternoon of ups and downs for the returning Beaconsfield stopper.
The Rams first serious chance came on eight minutes when a downward header from Brendan Matthew seemed destined for the bottom corner before Tony Lee, under pressure from Aaron Minhas , managed to hack the ball to safety from beneath his own bar.
The initial burst of energy was not sustained and the game settled into a phase where the home team enjoined possession and some pressure without creating any genuine threat whilst Gosport attempted to exploit the pace of Pennery and Sam Lanahan but without sufficient quality in the final ball to create anything of note either.
It took until the 22nd minute for the game to spark into life again. Jordan Ajanlekoko won the ball in midfield and spread a crossfield ball to Jerome Ecclestone who fed Louis Stead. The busy wide man dropped his shoulder, cut in off his wing and headed towards goal, drawing and beating two defenders before his goal bound effort was blocked by a combination of Charlie Davis and Ben Harding.
Two minutes later Charlie Losasso played in Brendan Matthew who advanced on goal but saw his effort dribble narrowly wide under pressure from keeper Patrick O’Flaherty and Joe Byrne. A minute later Matthew saw another goal bound effort turned away by O’Flaherty plunging low to his left, the rebound was hacked to safety. From the resulting corner O’Flaherty’s weak punch presented an opportunity to Jordan Ajanlekoko who saw his effort blocked on the line the rebound fell to Minhas but he was quickly surrounded and the ball was smuggled behind. Gosport were rocking and from the corner Ajanlekoko rose highest at the far post. His effort was again blocked but fell to Minhas. Six yards out, with the goal at his mercy he somehow contrived to mix up his own feet and completely missed his kick. Fortunately for him and the Rams, Jerome Ecclestone was on hand to latch on to the loose ball and thrash it into the roof of the net.
Five minutes later it was two as Luke Neville nodded Wes Daly’s angled freekick back across goal and over O’Flaherty and into the far corner.
Credit to Gosport Borough though, they did not buckle and pressed forward as half time approached. A coming together between Davis and Reece Yorke was adjudged enough for a free kick by Referee Mr Johnson. There was certainly some contact, Yorke was clearly the one of the two actually looking at the ball and felt the contact was as a consequence of his attempts to play the ball against an opponent who was simply looking to obstruct him. Mr Johnson disagreed and took exception to Yorkes protests and issued the centre half a costly yellow card. The resulting free kick was curled goal wards by Davis, turned onto the post by Constable at full stretch, but the rebound fell to Tony Lee who fired home.
Half Time 2-1
Beaconsfield started the second half brightly and Aaron Minhas did well to wriggle free on the left before pulling back a delightful cross. Unfortunately Brendan Matthew had gambled and made his run early and the ball passed behind him and harmlessly away.
Gosport broke and were immediately presented with the opportunity to level. A through pass seeking out Pennery seemed to have been overhit but as Constable advanced to collect it became apparent that the ball was slowing up short of the penalty area. The keeper caught in two minds attempted to shield the ball into the box rather than making a clearance, Pennery nipped in, dispossessed him and calmly passed the ball into the back of the net.
The home side looked to have restored the lead from their next attack Jerome Ecclestones cross was met by Jordan Ajanlekoko who rose to power in a header from 12 yards
but with O’Flaherty rooted to the spot the ball flashed inches the wrong side of the far post.
Despite the set back of conceding the equaliser it was Beaconsfield who were in the ascendancy. The partnership of Minhas and Charlie Losasso was starting to show signs of the understanding of previous seasons and Brendan Matthews consistent hold up play was allowing the midfielders to get forward and support. Gosport had little counter for Steed and Ajanlekoko snapping into tackles in the middle of the park and Wes Daly pulled the strings with the recycled possession. The pressure and chances increased until
an exquisite passage of play saw Minhas and Matthew combine to release Losasso. He drove towards goal drawing O’Flaherty before unselfishly dinking his cross over the stranded keeper to the far post where Brendan Matthew slid in to restore the Rams lead,
Four minutes later Losasso seemed to have sealed the points for the home team.
Chasing a lost cause Brendan Matthew put pressure on O’Flaherty whose clearance was intercepted by Jerome Ecclestone. His intervention fell invitingly to Losasso 30 yards from goal and he struck a vicious dipping drive that flew into the top corner with O’Flaherty grabbing at thin air as the ball flashed past him.
So, comfortably on top with 20 minutes left you could be forgiven for thinking that the job was done. Gosport continued to huff and puff but it was the home team who continued to press with quality and pace. Surely if there were to be more goals they would add to the lead?
As the game seemed to be meandering to its conclusion with substitutions aplenty Beaconsfield were awarded a free kick. There was the usual jostling and jockeying on the edge of the box. As the ball was swung over the referee adjudged that Reece Yorke, probably on the same spot as the foul in the first half, had fouled his marker Sam Roberts. There was no appeal or even a raised hand from the Gosport back line. However not only was it a foul but it was also an offence worthy of a second yellow in Mr Johnsons view and Yorke was shown the red card. Ajanlekoko dropped to centre half as The Rams sought to re-organise but as they were sorting themselves out a swift counter by Gosport resulted in Lee slotting home his second of the afternoon with two minutes plus stoppage time to play.
Gary Meakin introduced Alex Cathline for the remaining minute and the big forward ably assisted by the willing Brendan Matthew and Louis Stead were able to account for the majority of the remaining eight minutes retaining possession and frustrating the visitors who were reduced to hurling in deep crosses which Ravan Constable was able to collect in his usual confident style.
Gosport will probably feel they deserved a point having come so close but to be honest the better team on the day prevailed and should really have done so more comfortably.
That said at this time of year a win is a win however you achieve it. The Rams must use this result and the largely encouraging performance to build on and secure the points needed to continue their stay at the highest level in their history.
1. Ravan Constable
2. Jerome Ecclestone
3. Mayowa Balogun
4. Reece Yorke - Yellow 44-83 Red
5. Luke Neville
6. Wes Daly [Sub 17. Alex Cathline 85]
7. Louis Stead
8. Jordan Ajanlekoko
9. Brendan Matthew [Sub14. Daniel Brown 95]
10. Aaron Minhas
11. Charlie Losasso [Sub12. Omar Vassell 83]
Subs Not Used:
15. Billy Montague
16. Thomas Gogo
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Pat O‘Flaherty
2. Harry Medway
3. Joe Lea
4. Joe Byrne
5. Sam Roberts
6. Ben Harding
7. Sam Lanahan [Sub 12 Matt Tubbs 78]
8. Charlie Davis
9. Craig McAllister [Sub15George Barker 74]
10. Ryan Pennery
11. Tony Lee
Subs Not Used:
14. Matthew Casey
16. Connor Hoare
17. Matthew Hartmann
Manager: Craig McAllister
Ref: Paul Johnson
Assistants: Mr David Nicholson - Mr Damian Pelka