Beaconsfield Town 1 Merthyr Town 1
Rams Man of the match - Alex Nolan
Beaconsfield Towns run of victories came to an end at the hands of an industrious Merthyr side who took the lead late in the first half at Holloways Park and will feel unfortunate to concede Louis Stead’s second half equaliser after the midfielders goal-bound effort took a deflection to completely wrong foot Lewis Webb in the visitors goal.
The strike cancelled out Ian Traylor’s 42nd minute opener for the visitors, the pacey striker pouncing on scraps after a challenge between Jerome Ecclestone and Ryan Prosser to rifle an effort past Ravan Constable from eight yards.
After the exertions of the weekend win over table toppers Weymouth the home side began brightly creating an opportunity in the first minute when Jon-Jo Bates low cross flashed across goal narrowly evading Thomas Gogo.
The pattern was established early as Beaconsfield got the ball down and played through midfield with Dan Brown and Wes Daly linking and controlling play, feeding the willing runs of Jon-Jo Bates and Brendan Matthew, with Thomas Gogo and Louis Stead prominent on either flank backed up by the quietly effective Alex Nolan and Mayo Balogun providing enthusiastic overlapping support.
The football was bright and sharp but lacked the incisive final flourish and created few clear opportunities. Lewis Webb in the Merthyr goal was extended only twice diving forwards to push away a low cross shot from Bates after five minutes and plunging to his near post to pouch a snapshot from Gogo.
In between, Merthyr sought to exploit the physical presence of Prosser allied with the intelligent running and pace of Kieran Lewis and goal-scorer Traylor, by some distance the visitors best player of the evening. For the opening 35 minutes the home defence effectively shackled Prosser and Lewis, with Prosser in particular expending more energy complaining to referee Mr Kyle at every opportunity, seemingly so convinced of his own ability that the only possible reason he wasn’t winning anything must be because he was being constantly fouled. Mr Kyle and the home crowd were less convinced as he repeatedly failed to win the aerial battle with Reece Yorke or Jerome Ecclestone.
When he stopped complaining and concentrated on his game he was a handful and it was no surprise that when he stopped moaning and started playing Merthyr enjoyed their best spell of the half, culminating in Traylor’s 42nd minute strike. The visitors first serious effort on goal, unless you include aside a laughably ambitious 40 yard Kieran Lewis free kick, comfortably collected by Constable.
Half time 0-1
The second half started with The Rams on the front foot with the busy Bates and Matthew pressuring and harrying the visitors defence at every opportunity, recycling possession and generating half chances without carving out any guilt edged chances.
The equaliser when it came owed much to the deflection but it would be harsh to dismiss the individual skill that preceded it. Louis Stead picked up the ball 25 yards from goal and seemed to be working a shooting opportunity but with brilliant poise and close control he worked his way through and past three defenders in the area before firing home from 12 yards.
Merthyr responded almost immediately with Lee Lucas firing in a fierce rising cross shot which was beaten away by Constable. The second half settled into an ebb and flow off attack and counter attack as Merthyr grew in strength and the Rams weekend exertions started to take their toll but still carried threat with the trickery of Thomas Gogo at the heart of everything positive in The Rams pursuit of the win. Again though they lacked the incisive final ball or strike.
Lewis Webb had to be quick from his line on two occasions to beat Brendan Matthew to Constable through balls but in truth he did not have a serious save to make. Similarly whilst Merthyr huffed and puffed and enjoyed more sustained pressure than the first half Constable was largely untroubled in the home goal. As added time approached the home team almost snatched the three points, first when Reece Yorke headed a corner narrowly wide of the far post and finally when Brendan Matthew thought he had won the game helping on a goal bound over head effort from Jerome Ecclestone, reacting to weak punch from Webb who had advanced far enough in making the punch to leave Matthew offside despite a covering defender on the line.
In the final analysis 1-1 was probably a fair reflection of the game, both sides did enough to win but guilt edged chances were few. At the final whistle both seemed happy enough with the draw.
Back in August if you’d offered Gary Meakin 4 points from two fixtures with Merthyr he’d have probably bitten your arm off.
1. Ravan Constable
2. Alex Nolan
3. Mayowa Balogun
4. Reece Yorke
5. Jerome Ecclestone
6. Wes Daly ©
7. Louis Stead
8. Dan Brown (Sub: 15, Billy Montague, 89)
9. Brendan Matthew
10. Jon-Jo Bates (Sub: 17, Alex Cathline, 76)
11. Thomas Gogo (Sub: 14, Omar Vassell, 76)
Subs Not Used:
12: Luke Neville
16: Jordan Ajanlekoko
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Lewis Webb
2. Kerry Morgan (Sub: 14 Corey Jenkins, 66)
3. Ben Swallow
4. Ashley Evans ©
5. Craig McDonnell
6. Connor Young
7. Lee Lucas
8. Jamie Veale
9. Ryan Prosser (Sub: 15 Owain Jones, 66)
10. Kieran Lewis
11. Ian Traylor
Subs Not Used:
12. Craig Reddy
16. Tom Meecham
Manager: Tom Killick
Ref: Mr Stuart Kyle
Assistants: Mr Conor Griffin - Mr Deryll David