Emirates FA Cup First Qualifying Round Replay
Tuesday 5th September 2023
Beaconsfield Town 2 Southall 3
Holloways Park Att - 161
Ram of The Match - Dan Bradshaw
Beaconsfield Town made an ignominious exit from this season's FA Cup in perhaps their most schizophrenic performance to date.
The Rams have now drawn or lost five games they were leading at halftime. Saturday was the first occasion they have managed a goal in response to going behind and these stats are even more stark when you dig a little deeper, After eight games The Rams lopsided performances are even clearer to see First half goals, for 7 against 6 conceded. Second-half goals, for 3 against 16!
The real surprise should be that anyone was surprised by last night's second-half capitulation to a Southall side who got up off the canvas at halftime to dominate the remainder of proceedings and win at the death despite being reduced to 10 men. Kevin Songolo second-half substitute, agent of chaos and one-man siege weapon received his 2nd yellow after 40 minutes in which he terrorised Beaconsfield's back Four as they progressed from Rabbits in the headlights and arrived at headless chickens in fairly short order as the game reached its climax.
In doing so the supposed inferior squad from the lower tier ably demonstrated the grit, application, togetherness, determination, and spirit so apparently lacking from the second half showing on the other side who simply were not good enough under the pressure. Despite having the game by the scruff of the neck at halftime.
In the first period, The Rams were irresistible, Southall attempting to hold a high line were undone repeatedly and as on Saturday apparently had no answer for the pace of Jonathan Hippolyte, promoted to the starting line-up at the expense of James Dobson. He and Dan Bradshaw, restored to his favoured wide right position and playing like a man with a point to prove buzzed around with Asher Yearwood between. All three working off the focal point provided by Elliott Buchanan in the target man role.
The Rams started on the front foot and after the opening skirmishes gradually impressed themselves on the visitors who became increasingly fractious and frustrated as the half wore on.
Yearwood and Hippolyte both produced good early saves from Edegbe and Hippolyte was unlucky to see a second effort bounce narrowly wide of the top corner after beating Edegbe to a through ball and lifting it over him, with the Southall defence waiting in vane for a flag from the linesman that was never going to come.
The Rams were ahead in the 21st minute, Hippolyte cut in past his defender and sent in a low drive curling in towards the far bottom corner Edegebe got down well to turn the effort away at full stretch but the parry ran to Elliott Buchanan on the corner of the six-yard box. He took his time and a touch before smashing the ball back past Edegbe and into the opposite top corner.
Ten minutes later it was two. Bradshaw was brought down in the left back area 12 yards from the byeline. Buchanan stepped up and sent a vicious inswinging effort across Edegbe, who may feel he could have done better, into the same far top corner for his second goal.
Southall were not without attacking efforts entirely with Ibby Sankoh and Sam Togwell producing last-ditch clearances as The Rams continued to look vulnerable at the set piece.
Half Time 2-0
It was quickly apparent that Southall had reorganized at half-time. They introduced Kevin Songolo as the point of their attacking arrow and bypassed the highly competitive midfield as often as possible seeking the head of the massive striker who made life a misery for the Beaconsfield back four. While his colleagues made hay with the bits and pieces and played more of their football in the final third. At the back, they reorganised the personnel putting their sharpest defender on Hippolyte. They also stopped trying to rely on an offside trap that was such an abject failure in the first half. Hippolyte still had his fair share of possession but the out ball in behind and the acres of space that came with it in the first half were denied him and Bradshaw on the other side. Bradshaw continued to link with Sam Granville and the midfield but Hippolyte struggled to impress himself on the second half and was increasingly called on in a more defensive role as Southall took control.
No surprise that Songolo was instrumental in the first Southall goal, hunting down a diagonal ball into the box the big man took advantage of momentary hesitation from Sam Beasant, who left his line half a beat late and arrived with a similar defecit, second, Songolo felt the contact and went down. Yet another penalty conceded By The Rams [Seven so far this season] After a difference of opinion over takers, Jaden Thompson-Brissett emerged with the ball and slotted home the spot kick. Game on.
A clever quick free kick from Josh Payne and a brilliantly timed run from Sam Granville saw him burst into the area and Southall were saved by Edegbe plunging low to his right to turn away the midfielders' low shot. Edegbe was a spectator for most of what followed as Beaconsfield were pushed back.
Enter referee Mr Colman O’Meara on 73 minutes, I have personally given up trying to interpret what constitutes a handball. Josh Payne was struck on the arm by a goalbound effort, it appeared that his arm was by his side, not moved towards the ball and not outside the normal position within the frame of his body. Mr O'Meara obviously felt otherwise. Either that or he is as confused by the law as the rest of us, whatever the reasoning he awarded the penalty. Thompson-Brissett won the mind games and stroked the penalty home in the opposite corner.
The final quarter was like the Alamo, even after 85 minutes when Songolo picked up his second Yellow and a Red when he was late on Beasant it made little difference. Beaconsfield created one golden chance to snatch it but Sam Togwell dragged his shot wide of the far post. As minds turned towards extra time a Beaconsfield attack broke down and Southall broke with pace as defenders stood off Ryan worked his way across the back four to the left centre on the edge of the box and fired a low cross-shot back the way he had come across Sam Beasant and into the corner.
Congratulations to Southall who over the course of the two ties probably deserved to shade it but more questions than answers for Jon Underwood and Beaconsfield Town who return to Southern League Premier South action on Saturday with the visit of Basingstoke Town to Holloway Park - Kick Off 3pm.
Images © Neale Blackburn Photography 2023
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