Saturday 9th September 2023
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Beaconsfield Town 2 Basigstoke 3
Holloways Park - Att 377
Ram of the match - Elliott Buchanan
There was a lot to like about Beaconsfield Town's performance against Basingstoke Town at Holloways Park on Saturday. Unfortunately for Jon Underwood and his team performance didn't translate into the result as The Rams went down 3-2 for the third home game in a row.
The excellent crowd boosted by The young Rams and their families attending the annual 'club day' were treated to some of the best football the senior team has produced this season so far.
Approach play was sharp and slick, Sam Granville, Dan Bradshaw, and Elliott Buchanan combined well, assisted by the pace of Jonathan Hippolyte and the delivery of James Dobson. Lack of end product and defensive frailty proved their undoing though as they failed to capitalise on good possession and territorial advantage in the opening half-hour
Basingstoke defended well but it seemed only a matter of time before the Rams pressure would tell. Dan Bradshaw had penalty appeals turned away when he was crowded out at the near post challenging to get out on the end of a good low cross from Dobson. Mr Haddrell was unmoved but with some of the decisions The Rams have been on the other end of this season you can hardly blame Bradshaw for asking the question. Buchanan, who was at the heart of everything good Beaconsfield did here, saw a clever flicked-back header cannon to safety off the far post with Paul Strudley in the visitors goal rooted to the spot. Strudley then saved well from Hippolyte. As the striker burst through the line Strudley was quickly out to meet him and plunged at his feet to block the ball away to safety.
The opening goal was coming, unfortunately for Beaconsfield, it arrived at the other end.
Josh Payne stepped in well to snuff out a promising opportunity in the left back area, looked up and played a measured diagonal ball infield, straight to Ben Cook who gleefully rifled a stinging effort high past Matt Rowley, in the Rams goal, making his debut on loan from Reading after The Rams parted company with Sam Beasant following their FA cup exit on Tuesday night.
It was the visitors first effort on target in 31 minutes. They then enjoyed a flurry of attacks as The Rams were rocked by the sucker punch. George Reid's shot from the edge of the box was blocked up into the air looping over Rowley before dropping to safety via a bounce on top of the crossbar. Reid then fired a volley into the ground which was well claimed by Rowley diving away to his left. Reid then wasted probably his best chance of the half, Scott Armsworth's far post knock-down fell for Reid who blazed high wide and not very handsome from 15 yards.
The Rams continued to press and play their football with Buchanan at the hub of everything. He and Granville combined to create shooting opportunities for the busy midfielder the best of which could have perfectly finished off the passing move of the half. Buchanan fed Granville in space just inside the box the midfielder took his time before placing a shaped effort narrowly wide of the top corner when making Strudley work was the least the move deserved.
There was an element of fortune about The Rams equaliser but no one could argue it wasn't deserved based on the balance of the game. A testing James Dobson cross was headed unconvincingly up in the air as the visitor's defence struggled to clear their lines it fell to Dan Bradshaw who shinned a volley from 12 yards which seemed to deceive Strudley who watched, without seeming to react as the ball crept inside his post.
Half Time 1-1
The Second half followed a similar pattern. Beaconsfield pressed and probed. Basingstoke defended and took the lead with their first effort on target. Reid found space on the right flank advanced to the corner of the area as defenders stood off inviting the shot he accepted the offer and curled his shot into the far top corner beyond Rowley.
The Rams still pressed Hippolyte had two chances to equalise the first was probably the best as he found space behind the back four after a quick clearance but he could not tame the bouncing ball and volleyed just over the bar from the edge of the area. Then he made space on the left edge of the area and sent in a left foot effort which was comfortably saved by Strudley. When Dan Bradshaw was helped from the field with a damaged knee and Brad Wilson converted the 8th penalty the Rams have conceded already this season with Five minutes remaining. The Ram's chance seemed to have gone.
To their credit they refused to go quietly and Asher Yearwood's first goal as a Ram, heading in from a Dobson Corner set up an unlikely grandstand finish.
Buchanan almost rescued a point for The Rams but his 20-yard drive was brilliantly touched over by Strudley.
In the end though Beaconsfield despite a much-improved performance still came up agonisingly short.
They now head to fellow strugglers, the also winless, Swindon Supermarine in what looks like a must-win game, even at this early stage in the season.
Images © Neale Blackburn Photography 2023