Written by Rob Overfield Hits: 1353
Swans Ducked Out as Beaver Splash to Victory
As Jimmy Greaves used to say in the Eighties that "Football's a funny old game!", yesterday at a waterlogged Wheatsheaf Park, the Beavers proved that old saying as they adapted better to the appalling conditions and strolled away with all the points, easily looking the better team, writes Rob Overfield.
Manager Mark Harper made just two changes, bringing in Paul Johnson for Karle Andrews and Louis-Rae Beadle took Charlie Moone's place up front. Lewis Ferrell came back in at right back as Nathan Collier reverted to his preferred midfield spot alongside Josh Huggins.
The Beavers had the first chance early as Nathan Collier forced Evans into a diving save to push the ball away, but in the 8th minute, Evans had no chance. A long Delap-like throw from Matt Ruby was headed on, but the ball landed in the standing water in the box where it promptly squatted down in front of Dave Tarpey; his shot was pushed away but Louis-Rae Beadle was on hand to fire the ball home.
It was very much a day when pretty touches and neat football was at a premium but the Beavers managed to keep the ball moving forwards by whatever means possible; Staines couldn't really make much from the sodden pitch, their best chance in the first half came from Beavers nemesis Ali Chaaban whose 25th minute shot came through a crowd of players leaving Craig Ross with a late save.
The best ground looked to be on the flanks, Nathan Collier and JJ O'Donnell made life difficult for the Swans, Collier had a good shout for a penalty just after Chaaban's shot, as he challenged Evans for the ball and appeared to tumble over the keeper.
As the half came to a close, Jackson managed to dig he ball out of the mud and try to beat Ross from distance but it was almost nearer the corner flag than the goal.
HT STFC 0 HRBFC 1
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Beavers still held the upper hand; James Simmonds creating a chance almost immediately on the restart but it flew over. The Beavers midfield of Huggins, Collier, Johnson and Simmonds were pretty much dictating the battle in the puddles, using O'Donnell and Ferrell to good effect.
On 56 minutes, the Beavers made this dominance tell; Beadle made a run into the box, but he was no more than nudged by Goodman as he was looking to get the shot off from about 10 yds. The referee deemed this a foul and a penalty was given, which Dave Tarpey finished with some delight through the incessant rain.
Two minutes later, the game was put beyond the Swans as Matt Ruby met an O'Donnell corner with some force and his header rocketed past Evans who never had a hope of reacting in time to stop it.
From here, it was all Beavers; Tarpey had two shots blocked, one from an acute angle and then from a one-on-one with Evans. He then tried an ambitious free-kick from 30 yards that Evans could only tip wide.
On 68 minutes, the game finished as a spectacle with the 4th goal coming from a Charlie Moone tap-in after Dean Inman's header from another O'Donnell corner was stopped on the line. The Beavers were making light of the standing water on the pitch and riding roughshod over the Swans.
Staines tried to show some fight with Goodman's header going over, but on 78 minutes, they too benefited from a fortunate penalty decision as Inman was deemed to have fouled Chaaban as he also tried to get a shot off. Your correspondent is still trying to decide for what referee Holderness gave the decision, but give it he did and Chaaban slotted the ball past Ross for a consolation goal that flattered the Swans to some extent.
With 5 minutes to go, the Swans frustration at the conditions, their performance or the result boiled over with a reaction to a raised arm that lead to a 15 man melee in front of the dugout. To quell the atmosphere, referee Holderness spoke to players at length and booked Moone and Everitt.
At the end, the Beavers were still looking for a fifth as Tarpey's skimming shot was saved by Evans, at the expense of a Beavers corner...
The team made light of the conditions with the midfield having a very solid performance, the defence performed admirably on a surface that made tackling a bit of a lottery and the forwards in turn using the pitch to their advantage.
Special mention must be made of the 50 or so members of the travelling support, who sang their hearts out from the start, effectively out-singing the Staines Massive on their own patch. Exposed to the elements as they were, their support encouraged the team to greater efforts and it showed throughout.
Manager Mark Harper will be more than satisfied with this whole-hearted performance, and the visit of Tonbridge to the Beveree next Saturday will be an easier task to deal with after this performance, as the team will now be loaded with confidence.
Staines Town 1
Chaaban (P) 78
Beadle 8, Tarpey (P) 56
Ruby 58, Moone 68
Ross, Ferrell, O'Donnell, Inman, Ruby (c), Huggins, Collier, Johnson (Moone 67), Tarpey, Simmonds, Beadle.
Subs: Jeffreys, Hickey, Lovett, Morgan