Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Saturday 22nd April 2023
Gosport Borough 3 Beaconsfield Town 2
Privett Park - Attendance 730
Ram of the match - Sam Granville
Beaconsfield Town completed their season with a visit to Gosport Borough who gained revenge for the last-minute defeat at Holloways Park way back in October by notching their own 3-2 win to close out their season with a third successive home win.
It was the Eighth time this season The Rams have taken part in a 5 goal thriller and Saturday evened the slate with four wins, and four defeats. It was a fitting ending, emblematic of much of the campaign that went before it. Although any use of the word 'thriller' would be stretching it a bit here.
Beaconsfield started slowly, fell behind, battled back to take control, equalise, and then lead before conceding, on the stroke of halftime, a goal which, whilst well worked, owed as much to poor defending as good attacking play.
Then more naive defending created the opportunity for a soft penalty award to give the hosts the lead again. With a late rally to press for a point they probably deserved but couldn't quite get their hands on.
With Nathan Minhas at the head of affairs, The Rams are always likely to score goals. They only failed to score 5 times this season but they are equally likely to concede with just seven clean sheets to show.
Say what you like its seldom a dull 90 minutes watching Beaconsfield Town.
Even in the odd atmosphere of a meaningless fixture, played out in the complete absence of jeopardy, on a warm and sunny afternoon this was an entertaining encounter. Albeit with the feel of a testimonial or a charity match at times.
Gosport took the lead on the half-hour and were probably just about worth it, having looked increasingly the more likely as the half played out. Harvey Rew almost beat Henry Grad in the Rams' goal with a cross-shot but the young keeper was relieved to see the ball rebound off his far post and back into his hands. Before Abdulai Baggie made a little space for himself in the inside right area stepped to the edge of the box before shaping a curling left-footed effort out of Grad's reach and into the far corner.
Beaconsfield responded well and were level 10 minutes later. Sam Granville capped a strong first-half performance making space and firing home from 20 yards as the defence hesitated. His low drive flew past O'Flaherty and into the corner. Four minutes later The Rams were ahead. Luke Neville stepped in to dispossess the lively Billie Busari in the left-back area and set off upfield. Anyone familiar with Luke's play over the last 100 years would have expected a well-struck diagonal ball but on this occasion, the super consistent defender stepped into midfield drifted past two opponents, and into full-on nosebleed territory, before sliding in Nathan Minhas 25 yards out. The Rams' leading scorer still had a bit to do but calmly took the pass in stride dropped his left shoulder, glided between two defenders, struggling to cover, and advanced just into the box to caress the ball home from 16 yards.
Mr Bradley found two minutes to add on from a half with one substitution but no stoppages for treatment and Gosport took full advantage working the ball up the right flank and from there into and through the middle before Wooden was allowed to make room for a turn and shot from 7 yards that gave Henry Grad No chance. It was well worked and the passing was slick and precise but The Rams as a team defended it poorly and probably highlighted one of the main areas to be addressed going forward.
Currently they are a nice team to play against, They haven't quite reached the, "Lads it's Tottenham", stage but they're some way from striking fear into the hearts of opposing teams. Nathan Minhas will induce the odd nightmare for center-halves no doubt but as a unit sometimes they just lack a bit of bite and may be aren't nasty enough.
Half Time 2-2
Almost from the kick off for the second period The Rams created a shooting chance for Elliott Buchanan, who reacted quickest to Nathan Minhas's flick on to make a shooting chance from just outside the box his well struck low effort was clawed away by O'flaherty, plunging to his left to make a good save.
Within 10 minutes of the restart though the home side were ahead.
Billie Busari somehow found a way between Charlie Smith and Kyel Reid in the left before taking advantage of minimal contact from a half hearted attempt at a challenge.It looked soft but it also looked like a penalty Mr Bradley certainly thought so and Rory Williams placed his firm spot kick out of the reach of Grad who guessed right but couldnt keep the well placed effort out.
Gosport then sat in and did their best to break up play at every opportunity content to defend in numbers and rely on the speed of Busari and Baggie in particular to threaten on the break as Beaconsfield increasingly pressed for the equaliser.
Elliott Buchanan saw his acrobatic overhead effort fly ober the bar whilst Nathan Minhas and Sam Togwell went close with shots from the edge of the box. Sam Granville looked to have capped his excellent display with a repeat of his first half effort but his shot fizzed inches wide with O'flaherty rooted to the spot. Everything was at arms length though. Whenever Minhas or Buchanan or substitute Makoli founda moment of space in the box it was closed down as defenders hurled themselves into the path of goal bound efforts on three or four occasions.
It was by no means a rear guard action either Grad made several notable saves to prevent the hosts ectending their lead the best of which saw him flying full length across his goal turning away a wooden cross shot headed for the top corner.
Then at the other end as time dripped away O'Flaherty produced the reaction save of the afternoon sticking out a leg to deflect away Makoli's well-struck low volley at the far post after good work down the right from Charlie Smith.
Beaconsfield were probably worth a point on the day from a bright open encounter but it was the last day of term.
Next up, a Summer of change is afoot.
You suspect a very different Beaconsfield Town will take to the field next season but by and large ij its own way this one has been fun.
Beaconsfield Town :
Henry Grad, Charlie Smith, Olly Sprague [Sub Kai Allsop 33], Sam Togwell, Luke Neville, Lewis Pegg, Toby Little ©], Sam Granville, Nathan Minhas, Elliott Buchanan, Kyel Reid [Sub Antoine Makoli 80]
Subs Not Used - Callum Webb, Ben Peters, Oscar Lucey,
Patrick O’Flaherty, Kyal Williams, Rory Williams, Michel Parker, Harry Medway, Finley Walsh-Smith, Harvey Rew, Daniel Hollands, Abdulai Baggie, Daniel Wooden [Sub Fareed Saidu Salifu 81], Billie Busari [Sub Brett Williams 82]
Subs Not Used - Emmanuel Odubade
Referee - Alexander Bradley
Assistants - John Pike - Simon Faires.
All images ©Neale Blackburn 2023