Saturday 23rd September 2023
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Beaconsfield Town 2 - Sholing 1
Holloways Park - Att 86
Ram of the match - Luke Neville
Players staff and fans were wreathed in smiles at Holloways Park on Saturday afternoon as Beaconsfield Town recovered from conceding an early goal before finally protecting a halftime lead, at the 7th attempt, to emerge with a first home win since 1st April and the visit of promoted Truro City.
With the enforced mini break resulting from their early FA Cup exit, Jon Underwood took the opportunity to freshen up his squad. Out have gone Lewis Pegg and Lenny Farhall, not in Underwood's plans and Elliott Buchanan who has joined former manager Gary Meakin and the other familiar former Rams faces at Rayners Lane.
Here The Rams gave debuts to familiar face Zidan Akers signed from rivals Bracknell Town.Experienced and versatile defender Jacques Kpohomouh, who boasts several seasons at National League South Hemel Hempstead on his CV .and young Kingstonian prospect Iker Noguera who impressed in a substitute's cameo against The Rams in pre-season. With all the changes, perhaps not surprisingly The Rams didn't make the most cohesive of starts and they were punished after Eight minutes when the visitors went ahead. Joe Morrison clearly laid hands on Jake Cope who went down very easily to ground in the inside left position and was rewarded with one of those free kicks we were told we wouldn’t be seeing this season.
Charlie Davis, the game's best player at that early stage, stepped up and curled his effort over and through the somewhat unconvincing Beaconsfield wall into the corner, giving Matt Rowley in the Rams goal absolutely no chance.
Moments later with the visitors dominating possession and territory Sholing were disrupted by the loss of Davis, who limped off shortly having come into the game carrying an injury that he seemed to have aggravated.
From that moment, whilst the visitors remained a threat at the set piece with Daniel Mason leading the line with a muscular presence, it was Beaconsfield who looked more likely.
The Rams should really have been level when Jacques Kpohomouh made space on the right and sent in a low cross that Jefferson Louis somehow contrived to head wide from Six yards.The equaliser eventually came on 27 minutes when Sam Granville’s persistence saw him ride two challenges on the edge of the area before advancing to fire a low shot past Ryan Gosney and into the bottom corner.
Nine minutes later, Skipper Luke Neville rifled the Rams ahead. His initial goalbound shot after a pull back from Sam Togwell was blocked wide for a corner. James Dobson's kick found its way to Joe Morrison beyond the far post his side-footed cushioned low cross was met by Neville who smashed a low shot through crowd and into the net from Eight yards.
Akers had a good opportunity to stretch the lead on the stroke of half-time but his dinked finish drifted wide when a firm contact may have served him better.
Half Time 2-1
Sholing started strongly after the break and Jake Adam’s will probably feel he should have done better when he shot wide when well-placed with the visitor's first attack of the second half.
Hesketh and Cope dominated midfield driving Sholing forward at every opportunity but Beaconsfield kept their clear opportunities to a minimum. The home defence marshalled superbly by Neville stood firm it was Beaconsfield who created good had good chances to put the game beyond Sholing.
Ryan Gosney in the Sholing goal was at his very best to Deny first Akers, who saw his shot deflected into the ground and onto the post after he latched on to Jacob Gardiner-Smiths pass and then the keeper stuck out a telescopic leg to keep out Kpohomouh's low shot after Akers played him in.
As the clock ticked down and Sholing pressed Rams nerves began to fray and a succession of set pieces did nothing to calm the faithful. The Rams stood firm though and when Dan Mason’s added time header cannoned up off the Beaconsfield crossbar you could hear the sighs of Rams relief from Chesham!Sholing will probably feel, with some justification, that they deserved to take something from the game.
A position Beaconsfield have occupied repeatedly so far this season.
With a win finally on the board The Rams can now ready themselves for a pair of away games at Bracknell Town on Tuesday evening and Hayes and Yeading united next Saturday.
Teams and Match facts - [Southern league website]
Images © Neale Blackburn Photography 2023