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Sutton Common Rovers 1 - Beaconsfield Town 3
Rams Man of the Match - Reece Yorke
Beaconsfield Town booked their place in the next round of the Emirates FA Cup after coming from behind against a spirited Sutton Common Rovers.
An away draw for a struggling team against supposedly inferior opposition has often been the perfect recipe for a cup shock.
After 36 minutes on Friday night at Gander Green Lane you could have been forgiven for assuming it was on the cards here.
Phil Page capped a strong first half performance with a quality strike. After a spot of pin ball in the area Kyle Henry controlled the ball and played it back into the path of the muscular striker who drove in a fierce shot from 15 yards.
The lead was no more than the home side deserved.
Whilst neither side dominated and Beaconsfield enjoyed good spells of controlled possession the visitors lacked the cutting edge of the home side in the early going and Myles Bowman in The Rams goal had to be at his very best to keep Rovers at bay.
As early as the 10th minute he pulled off an astonishing double save turning away a low drive from Athan Smith-Joseph before recovering to acrobatically turn away a fierce follow up from Phil Page.
The home side were enjoying success in wide areas, Kyle Henry and Smith-Joseph linking well, with Page and strike partner Nathan Ayling giving Reece Yorke and Luke Neville plenty to contend with.
Page was literally head and shoulders the best player on the pitch, seeming to win almost everything in the air. He was no slouch with his feet either, proving a real handful and keeping the excellent Bowman on his toes. First with a low shot pouched at the near post and then firing in a fierce cross shot the big keeper did well to turn away to safety.
The visitors were not without their own chances, showing pace on the break. Jon-Jo Bates, Brendan Matthew and Shawnikki Clement-Peter linked well to create promising openings but the final ball or finish lacked the composure or quality to threaten Craig Bradshaw in the Rovers goal.
Shawnikki Clement Peter exchanged passes with Brendan Matthew and set off on a mesmerising mazy dribble past a succession of challenges before eventually tackling himself in the box, as the ball stuck on the turf under his feet.
Jon-Jo Bates sent an angled volley narrowly wide and then a drive into the side netting when forced wide by Matt Tanton.
The visitor’s best chance fell to Bajram Pashaj after 23 minutes. He seemed odds on to open the scoring. Picked out in front of goal,12 yards out, by an excellent Mayo Balogun cross, he could not get the ball out of his feet and the chance went begging.
Jon-Jo Bates was then played in by Alex Nolan struck a low cross shot which ran agonisingly across goal and away to safety.
With the home sides tails up you sensed the evening could turn sour quite quickly for Beaconsfield as they trooped to half way to restart after Page’s opener. To their credit though they were galvanised by conceding the goal and largely controlled proceedings from that point.
With Wes Daly at the controls in midfield they began to look like the team from the higher division, controlling possession, moving the ball with pace, accuracy and intent, pressing and forcing errors to win the ball back out of possession.
They didn’t have to wait long to be back on terms. Bajram Pashaj drove in a low corner that Shawnikki Clement-Peter challenged home skipper Matt Farrell at the near post for. The ball squeezed between the pair and fell to Reece Yorke six yards out and the big centre half positively rammed the ball home.
His roar of celebration seemed to release all the frustration of his own and The Rams difficult start to the season. Part relief part battle cry!
Half time 1-1
It would be harsh to describe the second half as one way traffic but Rovers were obviously deflated to concede just before half time and although they continued to play with enthusiasm and pace on the flanks they never really hit the heights of the first half hour. The ball seemed to stick in their midfield and some of the pace went out of their passing game.
This was due in no small measure to Beaconsfield’s improvement - Reece Yorke and Luke Neville were solid as a rock at the heart of the defence.
Mayo Balogun largely snuffed out the threat from Kyle Henry and subsequently his replacement Aaron McCallum. Alex Nolan who endured a tough first half got to grips with the surface and linked well with Luke Heneghan who replaced Jon-Jo Bates shortly after half time.
Jordan Ajanlekoko maintained high energy throughout, particularly out of possession, and Wes Daly sat in midfield conducting the orchestra and feeding the ever willing runs of Brendan Matthew who offered all night and never stopped making the run even if the ball was not always forthcoming.
Chances were at a premium at either end but the visitors were stamping their quality on proceedings and with the introduction of Dean Morgan and James McCluskey they took the game by the throat and Rovers were reduced to a more front to back approach which the visitors defence dealt with in a largely routine fashion. Barring the occasional regulation cross Myles Bowman was largely a spectator in the second period.
There was an air of inevitability about it when The Rams took the lead in the 83rd minute. Luke Heneghan’s in-swinging cross picked out Dean Morgan at the far post. His header back was controlled by Brendan Matthew who shielded the ball brilliantly before feeding the perfect lay off back to Morgan who took a perfect first touch before caressing a sweet strike into the corner from 10 yards.
This being a cup tie you expected a spirited response from Rovers but the expected rally from the did not materialise. Instead it was Beaconsfield who upped their effort, retained possession brilliantly to manage the tie to a conclusion, pausing briefly for James McCluskey to add a slightly flattering 92nd minute gloss to the result, applying the finish from 7 yards after a brilliant run and pull back cross from Brendan Matthew.
So Beaconsfield march on to the next round having done the job expected.
Gary Meakin will hope that this can be a springboard to kickstart their season.
Rovers will give anyone a good game at Gander Green Lane and can justifiably feel a little hard done by with the score-line, if not the actual result.
Sutton Common Rovers
1. Craig Bradshaw
2. Nehemiah Adams [Sub 14. Liam Holden 83]
3. Matt Tanton
4. Craig Nelson [Sub 18. Michael Campbell]
5. Aaron Bogle
6. Craig Hastings
7. Kyle Henry [Sub 15. Aaron McCallum 62]
8. Matt Farrell
9. Phil Page
10. Nathan Ayling
11. Athan Smith-Joseph
Subs Not Used:
12. Louis Farquharson
16. Adam Allen
17. Danny Fernandez
18. Michael Campbell
21. Ryan Coltress
Manager: Darren Salmon
1. Myles Bowman
2. Alex Nolan
3. Mayo Balogun
4. Reece Yorke
5. Luke Neville
6. Wes Daly ©
7. Jon-Jo Bates [Sub16 Luke Heneghan 53]
8. Jordan Ajanlekoko
9. Brendan Matthew
10. Shawnikki Clement-Peter [Sub13.Dean Morgan 70]
11. Bajram Pashaj [Sub 17. James McCluskey 67]
Subs Not Used:
12. James Taylor
15. William Fazakerley
Manager: Gary Meakin
Ref: Mr Thomas Holden