Beaconsfield Town 0 v Merthyr Town 0
Rams Man of the Match - Louis Stead
Beaconsfield bounced back from the disappointment of Tuesday evenings late loss on the front foot in a lively affair against Merthyr Town.
Setting up with Jordan Ajanlekoko in his now familiar right centre back of three position it was soon apparent that the formation was not the only thing that had been tweaked in preparation for the visit of Merthyr .
In possession The Rams sought to release the pace of Brendan Matthew and Tyrell Mitford in the channels behind the visiting full backs asking the forward duo to secure and hold possession, linking with wing backs whilst pushing up the backline, compressing the space and playing more of their football in their opponents half thus inviting less opportunity for the Merthyr midfield and attacking players to apply the press in dangerous areas and supporting the front two more quickly.
With skipper Wes Daly, making his 100th appearance for the club, Ade Shokunbi and Louis Stead dictating play in the midfield the home side spent the opening quarter encamped in the Merthyr half.
Tyrell Mitford saw a goal-bound freekick deflected to safety by the edge of the defensive wall. Louis Stead saw a good low shot well saved by Alex Harris and Wes Daly blazed over when well placed on the edge of the box.
At the other end, on the occasions that Merthyr did threaten, The Rams back line, well marshalled by Reece Yorke, held the visiting attack in check due in no small part to Gethyn Hill and Ian Traylor in particular struggling to come to get to grips with the offside law.
This was particularly the case when the two combined in the 38th minute, Traylor’s low shot drawing a low save from September player of the month Myles Bowman. The rebound off the keeper found Hill at the far post and he forced it in before turning to see the flag raised as he was in an offside position at the time of the initial shot.
A let off or disciplined defending depending on your point of view.
The half ended with possibly Beaconsfield’s best chance. Luke Nevilles steepling clearance caused confusion between Ashley Evans under pressure from Tyrell Mitford and Kyle Patten who allowed it to bounce, Mitford forced his way between the two and sent in an effort on the half volley of the second bonce but did not connect sweetly enough dragging the shot and taking enough pace off it to allow Harris to make a comfortable stop.
Half time 0-0
James McCluskey was introduced at half time and immediately had an impact, injecting urgency into The Rams good play of the first half. Good possession was now infused with greater urgency. Louis Stead linked with McCluskey and Shokunbi and began turning up in more central positions consistently wanting possession and driving at the heart of the visiting defence and The Rams looked threatening every time he was in possession. His dinked cross was tipped away by Harris as Mitford seemed favourite to apply a touch then the midfielder saw a stinging 20 yard drive ripple the roof of the net as it skimmed over the bar.
Steads prominence was also creating pace for Shokunbi to put in probably his best performance in a Rams shirt and his delightfully flighted cross was headed clear art the far post by Evans at full stretch to prevent Mitford applying the killer touch.
Despite being on top there is always the fear, particularly when results aren’t going your way that you need to score when you are on top and moments after that clearance Myles Bowman was called into acrobatic action, stretching out a telescopic arm to guide away a cross come shot from Jamie Veale that threatened to creep in at the far post.
The Rams back line maintained its resolute form and the visitors continued to struggle with the off side as the home team continued to press for the elusive opener. Louis Stead thrashed a low effort across goal but no one could stretch to apply the touch. Then the midfielder burst through to pick up a Shokunbi through pass and play in Mitford whose well struck shot drew a good save from Harris. It seemed only a matter of time but Merthyr remained dangerous themselves on the break and Reece Yorke took one for the team picking up a yellow card with a well-timed check on Eliot Richards when the attacker was breaking with pace over half way with The Rams seemingly stretched.
The resulting free kick was cleared at the expense of a corner from which the visitor could and should, probably, have taken the lead. Centre half Jarrad Wright somehow found himself free at the far post six yards out but could only glance his header tamely wide.
A let off for the home team who countered with Mitford and Stead again going close before substitute Shawnikki Clement Peters made space for a shot which he placed narrowly wide. Then Mitford worked an opening cutting in from the right wing and at a narrow angle his chip beat the fingertips of Harris but nestled in the roof of the net.
Overall an encouraging afternoon for the Rams and their supporters who saw enough attacking intent and application to suggest that in a highly competitive league where the margins between winning and losing are so fine, better results can not be far away if this approach is maintained.
Final score 0-0
Next up a Tuesday evening trip to Gosport.
1. Myles Bowman
2. Sean Fraser
3. Mayo Balogun
4. Reece Yorke
5. Luke Neville
6. Jordan Ajanlekoko
7. Wes Daly © [Sub 14 James McCluskey 45]
8. Ade Shokunbi
9. Brendan Matthew [Sub 17 Shawnikki Clement-Peter 83]
11. Louis Stead
Subs Not Used:
12. Alex Nolan
15. Jon Jo Bates
16. Kaine Kennedy-Sinclair
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Alexander Harris
2. Kieran Lewis [Sub 14.Corey Jenkins 61]
3. Daniel Summerfield
5. Jarrad Wright
6. Kyle Patten
7. Jamie Veale [Sub 12. Adam Davies 61]
8. Lee Lucas
10.Eliot Richards (Sub 15 Ryan Prosser, 71)
11. Ian Traylor
Subs Not Used:
Manager: Gavin Williams
Ref: Shaun Barry - Assistants David Jarrett - Matthew Lake