Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Saturday 4th March 2023
Tiverton Town 1 Beaconsfield Town 2
Ian Moorcroft Stadium - Attendance 297
Ram of the Match – Sam Togwell
Beaconsfield Town produced a performance of grit, determination, and most of all a spirit of togetherness to give their new management duo, Neil Baker and Jon Underwood an encouraging start to life at The Rams.
Tiverton Town has historically been, “a tough place to go”, “They make it difficult”. Pick any of a number of careworn old footballing cliches that accurately describe them.
They are and seem to have always been a big, physical, very well-drilled team. Used to playing on a sometimes difficult surface. A side for whom success comes from getting the ball forward quickly for their flare players to shine in the final third. Backed up by the battering ram abilities at set pieces fighting for second, third, and twelfth balls. Keeping things alive. They all know their jobs and they stick to the plan, accepting that, it may not always be pretty but it's pretty effective and on days like yesterday it makes for a gripping ‘clash of styles encounter’.
The home side started fast as Beaconsfield were finding their feet on the uneven and undulating surface. Neither side played very much football in the opening exchanges but it was Tiverton who had the early flashes with Niall Thompson, probably Tivvy’s outstanding player on the day, causing problems for The Rams with his pace strength and close control. He had Charlie Smith and Sam Togwell at full stretch on a couple of occasions but while he forced a couple of early corners he was restricted to one sight of goal. Sending in a low angled effort which was well blocked by Kie Plumley, now established as the first choice between the sticks with Ravan Constables' move to Hanwell Town.
Beaconsfield withstood the early barrage, not always completely convincingly but they battled their way out of awkward situations and clear sights of the target were few and far between.
At the other end Nathan Minhas was heavily marshalled by the home defense with Josh Jones, Jamie Richards, and Matthew Britton taking turns to restrict his efforts, the home defenses size advantage allowed them to dominate the opening aerial exchanges and early joy for The Rams came from width with Dan Bradshaw and Kyel Reid prominent.
Neither keeper was overextended until the 30th minute when Kie Plumley produced the save of the game, plunging to his right to turn away a low Tom Purrington effort, from just outside the box, as it arrowed toward the bottom corner.
The keeper's intervention created the break that lead to Beaconsfield’s opener.
His strong hand diverted the ball to Charlie Smith in the right-back position. He immediately fed Dan Bradshaw who set off on a trademark 60-yard sprint down the flank before delivering a good cross which Elliott Buchanan challenged for with Edward James. The right back climbed above Buchanan but the striker applied enough pressure to prevent James from making a firm contact.
His header fell perfectly for Kyel Reid, in the inside left channel 15 yards from goal. Reidy's finish was one of those, you know its in as soon as it left his laces strikes. A fiercely struck, low left foot volley back across Lewis Williams in the home goal and into the far corner.
A goal against the run of play may be but if you’re dominating the game, you have to make it count. The Rams almost had a second moments later when Buchanan fizzed in a shot from outside the box which Williams tipped over.
For the remainder of the half, the game followed a similar pattern Tiverton pressed, Sam Togwell and Luke Neville were outstanding under the aerial bombardment ably assisted by Charlie Smith and Toby Little, drafted in at left back, who displayed his usual calm authority and much needed composure under pressure.
In the midfield trenches, Sam Granville and Aaron Minhas were quick into the tackle with Buchanan linking and often putting in a defensive shift for the cause.
Just as it seemed The Rams would survive the onslaught to the break. The home side struck back.
Joe O’Loughlin’s burst down the left was halted by Dan Bradshaw's sliding intervention, at the cost of a corner. The cross was swung beyond the far post where skipper Jamie Richards, seemed to climb all over Toby Little, fairly in the view of the officials, to head the ball back into the six-yard box where it was forced home by Josh Jones.
Predictably, buoyed by the goal and roared on by the home support Tiverton pressed to try and nick the lead in injury time but Beaconsfield withstood the onslaught and Jones' next action found him receiving a yellow card after delivering a blatant body check on Nathan Minhas.
Half Time 1-1
Tiverton began the second period much as they had finished the first and should probably have been ahead on 47 minutes when Purrington again found space in the corner of the box after good work from James and Louis Morison on the right.
Purrington made good contact but his shot flashed wide of Plumley’s far post.
Again they were punished for not taking the chance by immediately conceding albeit in a less conventional manner than Beaconsfield's first.
From the next attack Jones' afternoon continued its downward turn, under pressure from Nathan Minhas, in the left back position and facing his own goal he attempted a very firmly struck back pass which took a wicked bobble off the surface, eluded Lewis Williams who then desperately set off to try and recover.
His agonising race to the goal line was won by the ball. Beaconsfield were ahead.
Tiverton responded well but despite their best and most coherent footballing move of the game, a swift passing counter culminating a clear sightof goal for Niall Thompson they abandoned any pretence at flowing football in favour of the howitzer and fight for the bits approach.
The Rams though at full stretch settled into the pattern, knew what was coming and played accordingly. It was never exactly comfortable but if anything they were less extended than in the first half. They didnt create much as an attacking force. Aaron Minhas saw a decent effort saved, Nathan Minhas who lived on scraps all had a late effort bobble at the crucial moment robbing the shot of any power and then one of few occasions when he was able to get the wrong side of Jones he was quiackly closed down by Williams and couldn’t get enough on his attempt to lift it over the keeper.
At the other end though Plumley was barely extended. He had a couple of moments under the aerial assualt but his defense dug in, won their headers fought for the second ball and held their hosts at bay.
You suspect Paracetomol consumption will be pretty high this morning, Togwell and Luke Neville in particular will like as not wake up with very sore heads.
Hopefully they all recover in time for the trip back down the M4 on Tuesday afternoon. When the Rams will take on league leaders Weston Super Mare who will present an entirely different but equally severe test.
Beaconsfield Town :
Kie Plumley, Charlie Smith, Toby Little , Sam Togwell, Luke Neville, Sam Granville, Dan Bradshaw, Nathan Minhas, Aaron Minhas, Elliott Buchanan, Kyel Reid
Subs Not Used -, Lewis Pegg, Cairo Richards, Kai Allsop, Oscar Lucey, Lucas Sinclair
Tiverton Town : Lewis Williams, Edward James, Joseph O’loughlin, Matthew Britton, Jamie Richards, Joshua Jones, Louis Morrison, Tom Purrington, Lucas Vowles Niall Thompson, Dylan Jones.
Subs Not Used : Chukwuka Iseguan, Oliver Sanders, Joe Belsten, Craig Woodman, River Allen
All images ©Neale Blackburn 2023
Full game images [later]