Saturday 30th September 2023
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes and Yeading United 1 Beaconsfield Town 3
The SkyEx Community Stadium - Att 225
Ram of The match - Asher Yearwood
Asher Yearwood climbed off the treatment table at the SkyEx Community Stadium to bag a brace and spearhead another highly encouraging Beaconsfield performance on the road, as The Rams came from behind to defeat Hayes and Yeading United.
It didn't look likely when Yearwood left the warm-up with a recurrence of a back spasm that he has been struggling with all week and Jon Underwood, who already had to change a winning team with Jefferson Louis recalled for Sloughs FA cup date with Salisbury, needed to quickly work up and communicate contingency plans to the rest of the squad.
Ultimately those plans weren't required as Yearwood recovered sufficiently to take his place.
Whether or not the pre-match uncertainty contributed to the slow start the Rams made is debatable but after Sam Granville's early effort dribbled wide Beaconsfield got a bit of an old-fashioned chasing as the home side dominated possession, moved the ball at pace with precision and mesmerising movement.
They were excellent and aided by the visitor's inability to keep possession. Jonathan Hippolyte is not Jefferson Louis, talented as he is, he is never going to engage and dominate central defenders with his physicality and hold-up play. In the early going these facts seemed lost on his teammates and as a result, The Rams cut a disjointed figure. Jacob Gardiner-Smith on the left in particular struggled to exert his usual energetic influence on the team, out of his more accustomed central position. Unfortunately for him and left back James Dobson. Hayes were strongest down their right and it was no surprise when their excellent right back Cole Brown capped a scintillating 13th-minute, passing movement, that covered the full length and breadth of the superb SkyEx Community Stadium pitch, with a low cross-shot into the corner which gave Matt Rowley no chance.
At this point with Beaconsfield somewhat in disarray, you would have been forgiven for thinking that the home side were in for an afternoon cakewalk to a comfortable three points in the autumn sunshine.
This Beaconsfield team are made of sterner stuff though. James Dobson, excellent here as he was on Tuesday in the win over Bracknell got his left-side partner Gardiner-Smith under control, Zidan Akers added his muscularity and pace to the point of attack and Yearwood and Dan Granville started to get more into the game with Hippolyte popping up in wider areas where his pace and close control were shown to better effect. Josh Payne if not exactly pulling the strings in midfield started to exert a stronger influence prompting and probing. Hayes continued to dominate possession but Beaconsfield settled into a shape and their own rhythm, stopped chasing shadows, and much of the passing that had been so incisive and on the front foot in the early going slowed and became increasingly sideways or backwards. The Rams' back four stood firm and gradually it was the Rams who started to threaten particularly from Dobson's set piece and long throw deliveries. For all their quality Hayes and Yeading aren't a big side and goalkeeper Jacob Adams was less than commanding of the six-yard box. The long throw route almost bore fruit when Yearwood climbed highest at the near post but his flick-on across goal evaded Akers with the home defence nowhere.
It was no surprise when Beaconsfield's equaliser came from a set play, Sam Granville's driving run into the box was thwarted by a well-timed blocking challenge from Jerry Wiltshire and ran behind. From the corner, Adams and defenders failed to deal with an inswinger at the near post, and in the schmozzle that followed Yearwood emerged with the ball 2 yards out and poked home the easiest goal he'll get this or most other seasons.
The remainder of the half followed a similar pattern. Hayes controlled possession for long periods without putting Matt Rowley under anything approaching pressure and only really had a wild shot over the bar, from the otherwise highly impressive Oluwasanmi Odelusi, to show whilst Beaconsfield were exploiting their physicality and size advantages at every opportunity and it was the visitors who went ahead in first-half stoppage time. Dobson's wickedly swerving angled effort was turned around the near post by Adams. Dobsons' corner delivery picked out Luke Neville rising above Wiltshire on the edge of the six-yard box to power home an unstoppable header.
Half Time 1-2
Much as Bracknell had done on Tuesday, Hayes and Yeading were quickly on to the front foot as the second half began. The Rams were pushed back but visitors defended resolutely and whilst their hosts created promising openings to threaten, the tendency to overplay and pass up reasonable shooting opportunities meant that Matt Rowley was largely untroubled.
The young keeper did the basics well with sure handling under the high ball and some prodigious kicking which constantly relieved pressure and offered Akers and Hippolyte something to fight for. Hayes offered a threat on the flanks but Jacques Kpohomouh who has settled brilliantly into his Rams career demonstrated why he has played at a higher level. Both he and Dobson worked hard to prevent crosses and turn the attacks infield where they lacked a consistent threat or focal point. At the heart of the defence Luke Neville and Joe Morrison were excellent, assisted by Josh Payne who patrolled the defensive midfield area and took every opportunity to break up atacks, recycle possession and feed the forward players on the counter.
Beaconsfield's best early chance saw Akers cut in from the left wriggle free of defenders and pull back a near post ball for Gardiner-Smith. His flicked finish was cleared off the line.
Both managers rang the changes as Hayes freshened the attack and threw more and more forward. Jon Underwood countered adding Sam Togwell's bite and resilience to midfield while on the wings Ben Van-Aurich and Ibby Sankoh were added to bolster the defensive capability and provide width on the counter.
As the clock ticked down Hayes did create one or two more clearcut opportunities but snatched at the finishes and failed to trouble Rowley. They were ultimately punished by Beaconsfield and again it was Yearwood, having seen an effort ruled out for a foul on Adams moments earlier Asher was on hand, after good work from Zidan Akers. The striker collected a lobbed cross into the penalty area from Ibby Sankoh. With his back to goal in the inside right space. Surrounded by defenders he rolled and played the ball into the path of Yearwood who advanced into the box to stroke the ball home.
Next up The Rams take a break from the pressures of league action to welcome Ashford United to Holloways Park for the Third qualifying round of This year's FA Trophy.
The visitors have already seen off Binfield [7-1] and The Met Police [On pens] to reach this stage and currently sit 12th in the Isthmian League Southeast division.
They should not be underestimated though, as a quick glance at recent form suggests they are a stout challenge on their travels. Saturday's somewhat shock defeat at East Grinstead was their first league loss on the road this term.
It promises to be another testing afternoon for Beaconsfield as they seek to continue their improved form. So get down to Holloways Park on Saturday and get behind the boys.
Teams and Match facts - [Southern League website]
Images © Neale Blackburn Photography 2023