Saturday 24th September 2022
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South Hayes and
Swindon Supermarine 1 Beaconsfield Town 1
At The Webbswood Stadium 224
Ram of the match - All of them
Beaconsfield Town left the Webbswood with a hard-won point that was the least their performance deserved on an afternoon when they pushed high-flying Swindon Supermarine to their limit. Leaving the Homeside a little shell shocked. Having arrived at the ground with thoughts of Three comfortable points and upward mobility towards the league leaders, they found themselves holding on to their point grimly by the end.
Following the collapse against Chesham United and the equally dismal friendly drubbing at the hands of Enfield Town Gary Meakin rang the changes and introduced some new blood.
Evolution not revolution but The greater rigidity in the spine of the team was apparent throughout. On an afternoon when the team performance was greater than the sum of its parts, The return of Liam McDevitt and the introduction of Sam Granville were instrumental in the greater resilience and skipper Toby Littles welcome return down the right brought with it the quiet efficiency and game management sorely missed while he nursed his hamstring. With Luke Neville competing for every header and adding much need pace on the turn. Olly Sprague returning to the form that made him the managers player of last season and Callum Webb, as usual, was Callum Webb quietly reliable and effective. The back four set the base required, played short when appropriate without being afraid to clear their lines when the situation required.
The Sams, Togwell, and Granville dominated the midfield for large periods with Kyel Reid and Toby Little always available on the flanks supported by the persistent nuisance for defenders supplied by the Minhas brothers with Aaron, in particular, snapping into the press and battling for the scraps. You love to see it.
For all that. The Rams still found themselves behind after 13 minutes. Notwithstanding that goals, like traffic accidents, are always somebodies fault. Supermarine’s opener owed as much to the scorer as any defensive shortcomings. A deep corner beyond the far post was cleared at the second attempt under pressure, falling to Tyrone Duffus on the edge of the box. His cushioned header back was met perfectly by Brad Hooper who struck a sweet volley past the crowd scene in front of him and into the vacant top corner.
Could the clearance have been better? Possibly? Could the shot have been closed down more quickly? May be but the header back created enough space for the shot and enough distraction to occupy the defence. The shot itself was well-struck and benefitted from the crowd of players which offered him a clear path to goal with Constable largely unsighted. If he hit the target with reasonable firmness he was going to score and he did with interest.
The goal was the home side's first shot on target and first meaningful effort of any kind. You could have forgiven The Rams for wondering if this was going to be one of those afternoons. Supporters and match reporters possibly entertained this pessimism but it was pleasingly absent, where it mattered, on the field.
The Rams roared into their hosts and but for a tame effort comfortably saved by Constable low by his post the remaining goalmouth action was at The Marine end. Kyel Reid, who gave right back Sam Turl a torrid afternoon, cut in from the left onto his right foot and let fly with a stinging drive which James Edge deflected over his own bar without knowing very much about it.
Toby little tested Connor Johns with a curling effort from 20 yards which the keeper turned away at full stretch. Reid was first to the rebound but the angle was too tight for a shot from him. As Johns recovered his footing to close down the winger, Reid pulled the ball across goal but The Marine had regrouped and it was scrambled clear.
The Rams thought they were level as Reid turned provider shaping an outswinging low cross to the far post where Little added the finish from 6 yards but the winger was adjudged just offside in the build-up.
Just as we were wondering if the pressure would tell or the home side would somehow struggle through the remaining Four minutes to the break, up popped Aaron Minhas. Picking up a loose ball 30 yards from goal and advancing to the edge of the box he steered an angled left-foot shot inside the far post under a challenge from Leon Morrison.
The effort meandered past the despairing dive of Johns, seemingly deceived by the lack of pace. and into the corner.
The Rams continued the second half in the same style dominating possession for large periods and putting the home defence under severe pressure. The Marine by and large rode their luck and had their own moments. Morrison somehow heading wide from a corner that flashed across the six-yard box when it seemed all over a goal.
Their best chance was presented to them when Constable and Sam Togwell got tangled up as the big keeper came for an innocuous looking high ball. He spilled the ball which fell to Henry Spalding but Constable made amends and recovered to advance and make himself. The big stoppers presence and staure proved to be enough to force the winger to shoot high and wide.
Gary Meakin introduced Eitel Goueth, Elliot Buchanan, and new signing James Dobson and the three combined almost immediately Dobson bursting down the left and sending in a low cross which Buchanan challenged for at the near post the ball broke for Goueth but he was challenged immediately byTurl and could not get a meaningful shot off.
Reid and Olly Sprague continued to run riot down the left flank but The Marine defended well and made the most of their luck.
It was Reid, popping up in the middle who almost secured the win The Rams probably deserved. Wriggling free on the edge of the box he created half a yard of space and drilled a low shot inches wide of the post with Johns beaten.
Credit to both teams who provided a thoroughly compelling and entertaining encounter and the officials who by and large got most things right and did their best to let the players play most of the time.
Beaconsfield will probably feel they deserved the win and had this been a heavyweight contest they would probably have won on points but The Marine could easily have nicked a second and the points with the two good chances they had after the break and they defended stoutly reducing the threat to Johns, beyond his almost calamitous sprint from goal where he completely missed Elliott Buchanan and the ball but was grateful to Morrison who stepped in to limit the damage and his keepers blushes.
The Rams return to Holloways Park on Monday night with much to be optimistic about but they face the classic trap fixture with the visit of struggling Harrow Borough. There really are no easy games in this league They must show the same level of effort and commitment as they displayed here to prevail. Here’s hoping.
Ravan Constable, Callum Webb, Oliver Sprague, Liam McDevitt, Luke Neville, Sam Togwell, Toby little© [Sub James Dobson 62] Sam Granville, Nathan Minhas[Sub Elliott Buchanan 79], Aaron Minhas [Sub Eitel Goueth 67], Kyel Reid
Subs not used: Mark Nisbet, Jacob Munting
Connor Johns, Sam Turl, Tyrone Duffus [Sub Louis Spalding 20], James Edge, Leon Morrison, Matthew Liddiard©, Henry Spalding, Bradley Hooper, Harry Williams, James Harding [Sub Ryan Campbell 60], Zakariah Kotwicka [Sub Conor McDonagh 60]
Subs not used: Tom Sharpe, Salhin Abubakar
Ref - Andrew Sheppard