Jon Underwood will be the happier manager after his Rams ground out a gritty 0-0 draw against Brian Duttons’ second-placed Salisbury.
Following last Saturday’s coupon-busting victory at Merthyr Town Underwood’s team have now taken 4 points from two of the top three on consecutive Saturdays.
Again there was no element of smash and grab here, The Rams were worthy of their reward against a Salisbury side who proved more difficult to frustrate and never ran out of ideas unlike last weeks opponents.
Beaconsfield needed to be on it for the full 90 minutes and aside from the now traditional slow start to the second half they were.
Jacques Kpohomouh and Luke Neville were outstanding at the back with emergency right back Dan Bradshaw showing every sign of losing the emergency tag with each start. With the ever-dependable James Dobson on the left the back four stuck to their tasks.
With the experienced Jake Gosling now settling in ahead of Bradshaw on the right and Dobson’s magic wand left boot on the opposite flank the pair are eminently capable of carrying an attacking threat on the counter.
Though they obviously rode their luck at times here, with Salisbury hitting the woodwork three times, Beaconsfield also had chances to nick it on the break.
The excellent Tom McElroy saw two efforts saved by Joshua Gould and Zidan Akers dragged a shot wide after bursting through with the goal at his mercy. Dan Roth, scorer of a superb right footer from the edge of the box on Tuesday night in the friendly against Flackwell Heath also saw a low left-foot shot saved by the Salisbury keeper.
At the other end, James Harding saw a first-half free kick rebound from the post with Matt Rowley beaten.
That was the closest either side came in a hotly contested first half somewhat fussily refereed by Jake Hiller who flourished Yellow cards before the break in a game that didn’t have a bad tackle in it.
After the break Salisbury pressed Beaconsfield back as the home side started slowly.
Harry Williams crashed a close range effort back off the bar when it seemed easier to score and it seemed only a matter of time before they would make the pressure tell.
Beaconsfield stood firm though, with skipper Luke Neville and the outstanding Jacques Kpohomouh snuffing out danger at the back. The home side defended with discipline and tenacity but Salisbury maintained the pressure and again struck the woodwork when a Harding header crashed back of Rowley’s bar.
Just as it looked like Beaconsfield may buckle under the onslaught, let’s face it they’ve got form this season. Underwood introduced former Ram Sean Frazer, making a third debut for the club to stiffen the midfield and add support for Josh Payne who was quietly effective in his deep-lying role all afternoon. Frazer, with his experience, did just that. Bringing a calming influence to the game, breaking up play and settling The Rams. Another debutant, Josh Rollinson signed on a dual registration with Weymouth this week, was introduced on the right side adding fresh legs in attack and combining well with Bradshaw at both ends. The changes calmed the storm for The Rams and as the game entered stoppage time it was the home side who finished the stronger with Gould kicking away a low cross-shot from Joel Rollinson to preserve Salisbury’s point at the death.
In the end, a draw was just about right although Salisbury will feel they could and maybe should have won. In much the same way The Rams felt on the opening weekend when they were denied the away win with a twice-taken last-minute penalty.
Next Up the Rams welcome Bracknell Town to Holloways Park on Saturday at 3pm.
All images - ©Neale Blackburn Photography 2024
Teams and Match facts - https://southern-football-league.co.uk/match/m/126361/squad/