Monday 21st November 2022
Pitching In Southern League
Premier Division South
Beaconsfield Town 2 Met Police FC 2
Holloways Park - Attendance 75
Ram of the Match – Dan Bradshaw?
Beaconsfield Town bounced back from the disappointment of their penalty shoot-out exit from the Isuzu FA Trophy on Saturday with a hugely encouraging performance against Met Police FC on Monday night at Holloways Park.
They were denied the three points their performance clearly merited as much by the officiating as their opponents on the night who benefitted from two moments of refereeing madness as Mr Bakulin became the second official this season to award a visiting team multiple penalties. [Of the four you could make a strong case for one of them being a good decision.]
The Met Police started brightly and had The Rams at full stretch early but the home defence, with Myles Anderson stepping in for the recently departed Liam McDevitt, held them at bay and gradually the home side began to establish their football. Jacob Munting, in for the rested Sam Togwell, combined with Barnet teammate Sam Granville to good effect in the centre of midfield. Callum Webb returning at left back linked well in turn with skipper Toby Little, and Elliott Buchanan promoted to the starting eleven following injuries to Eitel Goueth and the luckless Olly McCoy who has re-injured the metatarsal he broke in pre-season. On the right flank, Dan Bradshaw settled into his usual high energy full-on game and carried a threat every time he had the ball.
It was Bradshaw who provided the cross for the first goal after a sustained spell of pressure during which The Met failed to deal with a number of crosses with keeper Liam Beech electing to punch under minimal pressure. Bradshaw stood up his effort from the right which Nathan Minhas, rising between two defenders six yards out, met with a firm downward header which nestled in the corner.
The Met fought back with their pace and fluidity, particularly in the person of Herson Rodrigues-Alves offering a constant threat. Joshua Keeya drew an excellent save from Ravan Constable plunging low to his right to turn away a firm drive, which seemed destined for the bottom corner, with a strong hand.
The Beaconsfield stopper then parried skipper Luke Robertson’s top corner-bound rising effort away. From the resulting corner, Mr Vladyslav Bakulin made his Mr Bean like presence known.
The deep delivery went over everyone and reached Matt Hall who could only help it away from goal, jumping with Myles Anderson and the two men fell and tangled legs in a heap.
The ref awarded a penalty, apparently for ‘obvious shirt pull’ - photos are attached for you to judge for yourself.
That no one from either side appealed for anything and most people watching thought the whistle was to stop play for a head injury in the subsequent clash probably tells you all you need to know.
Justice was almost done as Constable plunged to his right to turn away Rodrigues-Alves’ initial effort and then recovered to block the follow-up. You'd be forgiven for thinking he’d done enough at that point but the block fell for Jasper Mather who forced the ball home under pressure from Callum Webb.
Five minutes later The Rams restored their lead. Collecting the ball in his own half, Sam Granville set off on a driving direct run through the centre, drawing and dismissing two defenders. He fed Nathan Minhas who advanced to the edge of the box before rolling the ball into the path of the still advancing Granville who powered home a shot from twelve yards! The Met felt Elliott Buchanan may have been standing in an offside position and the ever vociferous Beach berated the linesman Mr Everett to the point that Mr Bakulin felt the need for a conference, presumably via the medium of sign language, but the goal stood.
On the stroke of the interval, Bradshaw had presentable penalty claims waved away. It would have been soft but there was actual contact and the ball was at least in the frame.
Half Time 2-1
The second half began with The Rams still on the front foot.
Toby Little and Callum Webb were making the evening a long one for Will Wickham.
Little saw a goalbound effort, turned away at the near post by Beach, who then stood motionless as Elliott Buchanans’ placed effort cannoned back off his right-hand post. Bradshaw flashed a blistering low cross-shot narrowly wide of the far post.
With his next significant touch, Bradshaw stood up a far post cross which Buchanan met with a cushioned header back the way it had come over and past Beach who waved it towards goal. A thing of beauty until the luckless striker saw the effort crash back off the underside of the bar.
Bradshaw’s next cross eventually fell to Webb on the opposite wing he stepped in and sent in a curling right-footed effort which Beach turned away at full stretch diving to his left.
As time wore down there was always the feeling that one of these needed to go in but The Met offered little to extend The Rams' defence. They remained a threat from set pieces though. Constable turned away successive efforts from distance and The Rams were none too convincing from the resulting corners.
The second was cleared to the right edge of the box where Bradshaw narrowly beat Mather to the loose ball. Mather challenged Bradshaw, he initiated the contact. Bradshaw went down under the challenge Mr. Bakulin saw this as a foul by Bradshaw and awarded the second penalty for the Met.
It was converted by Archy Taylor.
That was that.
You can’t finish any report on this game without some consideration of the Ref.
His performance and the performance of the people who consider him suitably qualified and competent to officiate a game at Step Three in English football.
Decisions are subjective and everyone makes mistakes but the Ukrainian official, who apparently spoke little if any English, performed as if he was refereeing a different match here. Possibly a different sport!
Many of his decisions were beyond explanation in any language and his interpretation of deliberate foul play would have required numerous footnotes and caveats to cover the various interpretations and wild inconsistencies offered here. Assuming he has qualified with somebodies FA, it’s fair to say it must be a more physical league than this one because on Monday at Holloways Park the threshold for a free kick was borderline arrestable assault at times. As long as it happened outside the box.
At one point in the second half, we went almost 15 minutes without a free kick. As the challenges grew more and more physical he eventually called a halt by penalising an innocuous minimal contact push.
It was an inept performance compounded by the lack of any communication or game management with decisions leaving both teams and benches scratching their heads in disbelief and succeeded in generating angry scenes at the end as two of the most polite and placid fan bases in the league combined to share their angry displeasure at the performance.
While he is ultimately responsible for his own performance, the real questions should probably be directed at the people who put him there.
Who has put him on the list and what qualifications does he possess to referee at this level?
What system is in place to assess his ability?
A brief google on his name would suggest this is not an isolated performance. Absolutely no doubt his abilities and enthusiasm should be allowed to develop.
Also, little doubt that the best place for that would be at a lower level of competition than this.
Here’s hoping for better from the officials on Saturday at Holloways Park when The Rams welcome high-flying Weston-Super-Mare.
R’avan Constable, Charlie Smith, Callum Webb, Myles Anderson [Sub Olly Sprague 49], Keano Robinson, Jacob Munting, Toby Little ©[Sub Sam Togwell 78], Sam Granville, Nathan Minhas, Dan Bradshaw, Elliott Buchanan
Subs not used: Ben Peters, Kai Allsop, Luke Neville
Liam Beach, Will Wickham [Sub Tom Read 80], Alex Fisher, Matt Hall, Bernard Tanner, Josh Keeya, Louis Birch[Sub Archy Taylor 77], Luke Robertson, Jasper Mather, Herson Rodrigues-Alves [Sub Mason Galloway 79], Oliver Knight.
Subs not used: Conor Lee, Louis Degand
Officials: Mr Vladyslav Bakulin
Assistants: Fernando Costache, Adam Everett.
Images ©Neale Blackburn Photography 2022
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