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Winchester defeat sets up Rams relegation showdown in season finale

Saturday 20th April 2024
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Winchester City 1 Beaconsfield Town 0
Charters Community Stadium Att - 395

Ram of the match - Dan Bradshaw

Beaconsfield Town were much improved from the disappointingly flat display they put in at Poole Town last week but still emerged from their trip to Winchester City empty-handed. Setting up a nerve-jangling final game of the season at home to Plymouth Parkway, with the final relegation place resting between them, Hayes and Yeading Utd and Swindon Supermarine.

The Rams will be watching with interest when Hayes and Parkway meet in Plymouth on Wednesday evening but whatever the subsequent permutations one thing is certain.

Beaconsfield’s destiny remains in their own hands.

Jon Underwood’s team who will go into Saturday’s game knowing a win at Holloways Park will secure their survival and preserve their place in the Southern League Premier South.

At Winchester on Saturday the Rams had their chances but it seemed that the footballing gods were against them.

Beaconsfield made a strong, start with the benefit of a strong breeze at their backs and thought they’d taken the lead when Dan Bradshaw picked out Adanioritsewo Okorogheye whose deft volley back across goal beat the flat-footed Luke Cairney in the Winchester goal and nestled in the corner.

Ada’s celebration was short-lived though as the assistant adjudged him offside. It looked marginal but in the absence of VAR the goal was chalked off.

James Dobson rippled the side netting with a direct freekick but unfortunately for The Rams. It zipped the wrong side of the post with Cairney beaten.

Though, with the help of the elements and a good share of possession and territory The Rams never came as close again in the first half.

Their hosts sat in and largely contained the threat and seemed happy enough to see out the half until their chance to play with the benefit of conditions.

They offered little threat to Tom Norcott’s goal, but their best work came through Trevor Caborn. His pace and direct running created problems for The Rams defence but his shooting didn’t match the quality of his approach play.

Half Time 0-0

After the break, Beaconsfield remained on the front foot, but chances were again at a premium as both teams battled wind and conditions as much as each other and largely cancelled each other out.

The visitors had a golden opportunity to take the lead on the hour though.
An initial dead ball was cleared by The Winchester defence fell. It kindly to the magic Left boot of James Dobson on the flank.

As Winchester pushed out Dobson’s out-swinging cross found the head of Tommy McElroy 12 yards out unmarked with Cairney stuck in no man’s land.

McElroy placed his firm header wide of the target.

Moments later Winchester took the lead. A right corner was headed back into the across goal by Jordan Rose. Ollie Balmer met it with a bicycle kick that beat Norcott at the far post.

The game opened up in the final 25 minutes as The Rams went in search of the equaliser and Winchester seemed most likely to increase their lead but errant finishing, good defending and one excellent Norcott save kept the visitors in the game and as time ticked down The Rams created chances of their own.

Another Dobson freekick skimmed narrowly wide.

Okorogheye made good contact with another cross after excellent work from Zidan Akers, but his effort spun straight into Cairney’s gloves.

Before another inswinging Dobson effort somehow travelled through a crowd virtually on the goal line without anyone applying the touch that would have diverted it home past Cairney who fell on the ball to snuff out the danger.

When second-half sub Josh Payne was red-carded for language after the final whistle, ruling him out of the season finale it just about summed up the afternoon for Beaconsfield.


All images ©Neale Blackburn Photography 2024
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