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Resolute Rams roll on at Bracknell

Tuesday 26th September 2023

Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South 

Bracknell Town 0 Beaconsfield Town  3

S B Stadium - Att 234

Ram of the Match - Josh Payne  

With the pressure of the hunt for a first win finally,off after Saturday’s narrow home win over Sholing, Beaconsfield followed up with a thoroughly professional and comprehensive victory at Bracknell Town in a hugely competitive and entertaining encounter at the SB Stadium on Tuesday night. 

The eventual comfortable looking scoreline was a somewhat misleading summary of a game that ultimately swung on The Rams being the more clinical in front of goal in a game of few clear-cut chances. It also demonstrated the importance of quality on the bench, as all three of Jon Underwood's second-half substitutes made significant contributions at key stages of the game.

When Bracknell were dominating and cranking up the pressure on The Rams, committing players forward early in the second half, Jacob Gardiner-Smith added increased energy in midfield and broke up the host's rhythm with his tenaciousness both in the tackle and press out of possession. While making good decisions with the ball.Jonathan Hippolyte added pace and trickery on the right as the game opened up and Bracknell threw more and more into trying to get back into the game. Operating in tandem with Ibby Sankoh spearheading the counter and exploiting the spaces created by Bracknell's full court press the pair combined for the Ram's third, win-sealing strike.The back four were excellent throughout and when they needed him Matt Rowley dealt with everything that was thrown at him.

Ahead of them Josh Payne put in his most effective showing in a Ram's shirt and his range of passing brought the best from Zidan Akers and Iker Noguera on the flanks and Asher Yearwood in the centre. Sam Granville gave his usual 150% for the cause before giving way to the fresh legs of Gardiner-Smith.

The key to success for The Rams at this level will rest with finding the right blend of youth and experience. The Beaconsfield opener combined the opposite ends of that scale. They went ahead after 27 minutes of absorbing football. Iker Noguera the youngest Ram in the current first team made half a yard on the left stepping back from the bye-line onto his right foot he delivered a deep cross which was met by Jefferson Louis, comfortably ahead at the opposite end of the birthday leaderboard. The evergreen striker's firm downward header from the corner of the six-yard box, flew in at the far post. Bracknell upped the pace in search of a quick reply but the Ram's defence stood firm and the homeside despite speed and precision in their approach play seemed a little shot shy and preferred to overplay as a result The rams navigated to the break without much alarm. There was a voiciferous crowd appeal for a penalty but it wasn't supported on the field and the referee who was well placed, for that decision and all evening, was unmoved.

Half time 0-1

Bracknell started the second period very much on the front foot, so much so you'd be forgiven for checking if the new 3G surface had been laid with a severe slope. Beaconsfield were under the pump for fifteen minutes as the hosts pressed for the equaliser but again chances were few and attacks too often foundered on the extra pass. Rams defenders put their bodies on the line as Bracknell pressed and threw more and more resources forward. All they really had to show were a header wide and a couple of shots off-target. They rang the changes up front in search of the breakthrough but Beaconsfield resisted and gradually spaces began to appear particularly in wide areas. Prompted by Payne, Zidan Akers, and Jonathan Theophile began to threaten the home defence and also relieve the pressure on their own back four which was basically a back 9 a lot of the time.

There is no planet where you could say the second goal was coming for Beaconsfield but the way the game played out it was also no real surprise that Bracknell would be punished for not turning 20 minutes of pressure and possession into goals. 

There was a sort of inevitability about it when Joe Morrison gleefully swept home James Dobson's inswinging free kick which he caught in stride on the half volley from 12 yards. 

Bracknell continued to press and with 6 minutes left Beaconsfield constructed the goal of the night. James Dobson broke up another Bracknell attack in the left-back position fed Payne who played a delicious first-time lobbed pass into the vacant Bracknell right-back area where Zidan Akers cut in and Gardiner-Smith combined with Theophile freeing him on the opposite flank, he beat his man and headed for the bye-line before cutting the ball back to Ibby Sankoh just inside the box. Sankoh looked up and curled a delightful strike into the opposite top corner.

That was pretty much that.

Although there was still time for Rowley to protect his and his back four's clean sheet with the save of the evening, flying to his left to tip over a dangerous freekick.  

Was 3-0 flattering on The Rams? Probably, it was certainly a poor reflection of Bracknell's contribution on the evening. Did Beaconsfield deserve a bit of luck? Hard to argue they didn't after the hole their season seemed to be headed into just three games ago. 

For now, the changes to the squad appear to have completed the puzzle. Long may it continue, beginning at Hayes and Yeading United on Saturday.


Teams and Match facts -  [Southern league website]

Images © Neale Blackburn Photography 2023

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