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Togwell completes Rams‘ come back with injury-time header

Saturday 16th December 2023

Pitching in Southern League
Premier Division South
Beaconsfield Town 3 Hungerford Town
Holloways Park Att: 125
Ram of the match Jacob Gardiner-Smith


Sam Togwell’s 96th minute goal, rising above ex-Ram Baboucarr Jarra at the far post to power his header past Ryan Clarke, earned Beaconsfield Town a battling point after The Rams twice came from behind in a pulsating encounter at Holloways Park.

Indeed, with Hungerford grumbling about Mr Mario Stetakovic’s decision to punish their ‘game management’, by adding 8 additional minutes, Beaconsfield had further chances to pinch all Three points before the final whistle.

Sam Togwell, who will now take charge of the team’s festive fixtures with manager Jon Underwood heading for a family Christmas in Australia, was returning to the starting line up, after Joe Morrisons’ move to Gosport Borough.

After a spirited second half that The Rams largely dominated, In the end the point was the least they deserved.

In form Hungerford who arrived on the back of a lengthy unbeaten run, began on the front foot and raced into a two-goal lead after just 23 minutes.

In the ninth minute Conor McDonagh met Elis Watt’s low cross, to fire home from 8 yards.

Then Mr Statokovic adjuged a clash of toes enough contact to award a penalty, as Jacques Kpohmouh and Fabio Verissimo Lopes stretched for the ball. There was contact albeit it minimal and you’d be amazed if Beaconsfield were ever awarded one in similar circumstances but Mr Stetakovic’s central position probably didn’t help.
For those keeping count. That now brings the penalty count to 12 against and one for this season.

Predictably the excellent McDonagh made no mistake from the spot despite Matt Rowley going the right way and getting fingertips to the ball on its way to the corner.

The Rams were not entirely outplayed.

Asher Yearwood saw a header hit the bar at 1-0 and James Dobson brought the best from Ryan Clarke, in the Hungerford goal, who flew high to his right to tip away over a trade mark Dobson freekick.

Just as fans were beginning to wonder if the Rams would get a break, Jacques Kpohmouh robbed Fabio Verissimo Lopes in the left-back area.

There was probably more contact in this tackle than the penalty award at the other end but Mr Stetakovic waved play on.

Kpohmouh played in Dan Bradshaw who wriggled into the box in customary fashion before pulling the ball back for Yearwood, who side stepped one defender before sliding a low shot past the desperate late lunge of another and into the corner.

Having tested Clarke with one shot from distance earlier in the half Zidan Akers gave him no chance on the stroke of half time. Collecting Jacob Gardiner-Smiths’ pass in the right back area Akers, who seems incapable of scoring ordinary goals, meandered back towards the corner of the box and restored parity with an absolutely beautiful curling effort that flew into the top corner on the stroke of half time.


Half Time 2-2

Beaconsfield began the second period well but were behind again just after the hour. Hungerford who played with noticeably more width after the break worked an overload down the left flank and created space, 20 yards out for McDonagh who completed his Hat trick, with another beauty.

Hungerford did their best to see out the remaining minutes and bar the occasional foray and one or two set pieces they sat in and surrendered possession and territory to The Rams who picked themselves up and battled back.

Jon Underwood switched to a back three and threw on Iker Noguera Leon, Jefferson Louis, and Tom McElroy.

Gardiner Smith and Sam Granville strengthened their grip on the midfield and kept up the pressure on the visitors, who seemed happy to sit in and see out the final half-hour without too much ambition to kill off a game which seemed there for the taking.

Beaconsfield hammered away but as time ticked down they could not get the run or bounce of the ball and clear chances were at a premium and whenever they got through Clarke stood firm.

Just as the Holloways Park faithful were contemplating another narrow defeat against a good side up popped Togwell.

Next up, unless the weather intervenes The Rams head to Tiverton Town for their last fixture before Turkey dinners all round.


All Images ©Neale Blackburn Photography 2023
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