Southern Premier League South Division
Beaconsfield Town 0 v 1 Gosport Borough
Rams Man of the Match - Louis Stead.
There weren’t many plus points from this grim encounter at Holloways Park on Saturday.
The principle plus for Rams fans after a frustrating afternoon is that they won’t have to watch Gosport Borough again for a while.
Usually accounts of games like this use adjectives like robust, utilitarian, full blooded, muscular encounter. I know! I’m a Bolton fan. I remember some very long afternoons during Sam Allerdyce’s tenure
This was plain ugly and most of Gosport’s defending owed more to the World Wrestling Federation than Association Football. They were well organised, snapped into the tackle, demanded every decision should go their way, winged and moaned from the first minute and bullied Beaconsfield all afternoon.
Somewhere on planet cliche someone is saying, “You earn the right to play at this level sonny.”
That’s fair but it is difficult to do so when the referee, in an attempt to keep the game moving, barely gave a free kick in the opening 20 minutes. Players aren’t daft and once initial shoves, tugs and blatant climbs had gone unpunished the level of foul play increased exponentially.
Once Mr Morrison had made it clear to all parties that he was unwilling to penalise anything short of a kidney transplant the level of fouling was almost laughable.
To be fair Mr Morrison was consistent throughout and gave almost nothing either way but in so doing he handed the advantage to the larger more physically gifted team and that was the visitors.
The visitors approach was epitomised by skipper Michael Carter who set out to nullify the threat posed by Nathan Webb virtually from the first whistle and managed to walk the tightrope between barely legal and downright dirty whilst marshalling and organising the team around him. To be honest though he was in a class of his own as most of his colleagues lacked his mastery of the dark arts of defending and just relied on manhandling their opponents.
The biggest irony of the lot is that in possession with their pace and athleticism Gosport were decent and threatening and gave the home defence all they could handle without carving out a particularly clear opportunity in the first half.
The Rams started brightly and forced a succession of early corners and Aaron Minhas tested Kingsley Latham in the visitors goal with a shot from 20 yards before Nathan Webb departed after 16 minutes with an ankle injury. Charlie Losasso slotted in and The Rams continued to press but it was immediately apparent that the loss of bite in midfield emboldened the visitors.
Having put his head above the parapet with his early shot Aaron Minhas came in for some of the more robust treatment of the first half as the visitors took it in turns to introduce themselves un-penalised as the midfielder was felled with successive elbows before Mr Morrison remembered where he had put his yellow card. Before sticking it back in his shorts and allowing Josh Huggins to escape with a talking too. He did eventually make it into the book but not before Minhas and Charlie Losasso had both felt the benefit of his personal attention.
Carter was first into the book cynically snuffing out a promising break, unceremoniously hacking down Louis Stead. He was followed shortly after by Callum Webb who mistimed a challenge and found himself cautioned for his first foul.
Half time 0-0
There was a second half. Gosport’s first attack after 51 minutes resulted in a corner when Mayo Balogun under pressure headed clear a ball which may in hindsight have fallen harmlessly to safety.
The ball was played to the far post where Ryan Woodford unsurprisingly levered himself above James Taylor and headed in.
One effort on target and one goal. Job done. For the remainder of the game, the visitors threatened sporadically on the break without extending Bowman. Mainly though they concerned themselves with continuing to shackle any attempts at creativity from Beaconsfield - by fair means or mostly foul - whilst employing next level ‘game management’. Orchestrating the wasting of time at throw ins. Staggering substitutions and raising milking every stoppage for all it was worth to the level of high art. At one point, even managing to clock up 75 seconds over a substitution and throw in combination. The bare faced cheek of it was as mesmerising to watch as any thing of beauty.
In the final analysis though, why wouldn’t they? Mr Morrison added on four minutes
Beaconsfield battled away as best they could and extended the visitors defence without ever really creating a guilt edged opportunity for in form James Ewington who suffered the player of the month curse and barely had a sniff of goal despite his usual tireless running and effort.
Louis Stead drove forward from midfield all afternoon and saw the best of his several second half efforts fizz narrowly wide with Latham motionless.
The visitors kept their shape and kept The Rams at arms-length fairly comfortably though. On the few occasions the home side managed to ride the challenges and break through the massed ranks the final touch and the bounce deserted them.
Aaron Minhas came closest as his angled shaped drive rolled narrowly wide with Latham at full stretch.
A day that will not live long in the memory, I hope.
So a set-back but the chances to get back on track come thick and fast as we get down to the business end of the season.
Next up The Rams will travel to Dorchester to take on their new lodgers Poole Town who are addressing their rain induced fixture pile up with the aid of their neighbours plastic pitch.
Anyone got a pair of size 10’s I can borrow?
1. Myles Bowman
2. Callum Webb
3. Mayo Balogun
4. James Taylor
5. Jordan Ajanlekoko ©
6. Nathan Webb [Sub 16 Charlie Losasson 16]
7. Aaron Minhas
8. Stefan Powell [Sub 15 Ade Shokunbi 75]
9. Kezie Ibe [Sub17 Alex Cathline 75]
11. Louis Stead
Subs Not Used:
12. Wes Daly
14. Luke Neville
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Kingsley Latham
3. Rory Williams
4. Michael Carter ©
5. Ryan Woodford
6. Sam Roberts
8. Theo Lewis (Sub 16 Charlie Davis, 80)
9. Matthew Paterson (Sub 20 Tyrell Skeen-Hamilton, 90)
14.Lerone Plummer (Sub 7 Liam Robinson 82)
16. Charlie Kennedy
17. Daniel Alessi
18. Joshua Huggins
Subs Not Used:
12. Michael Elechi
13. Alan Walker-Harris
Manager: Lee Molyneaux
Ref: Neil Morrison, Assistants - Jide Ogunba and Colman O Meara