Having lived in Beaconsfield for 4 years and needing to drive past Holloways Park on an almost daily basis, it is strange that this was going to be my first visit. The ground has been on my list for quite a while now but, maybe because it is so close and easy, I have always kept it as a bit of a backup just in case I can't get any further afield one day. Well, what a gem I have been missing all this time. The ground has pretty much all you could want from a non-league stadium. Cover on three sides, a terrace behind one of the goals, an interesting, very shallow main stand, and a bit of quirkiness. The ground is nestled right on the junction of the A335 and the M40 and accessed through a small service road. This runs alongside the ground and gives access to a large car park at the far end of the ground. Entrance is through turnstile just off the car park, although I did notice that there was also a turnstile at the other end of the ground that I assume is not in use at this time.
Upon entering the ground all of the main facilities are immediately to your left. a fairly large terrace behind the car park end goal is backed by the clubhouse and snack bar. At the far end of the ground there is also a covered seating area behind the goal and the dugouts are on the service road side of the playing surface. On the motorway side is the main seating stand which is an interesting structure in as much as it is noticeably very shallow with only about a two inch step between the rows of seats. The quirkiness is provided by two three-step terraces (see photo below), one either side of the main stand. I have never seen this type of standalone terrace before and they certainly gives Holloways Park a unique feel.
When the game got under way it was quite a cagey start for the first five to ten minutes with neither side really getting a grip on the game. Probably to be expected in what was, after all, pretty much a local derby. An early Saints attack lead to a free-kick on the edge of the box, but too far wide to be seen as a clear chance for an attempt. The free-kick came to nothing and, from that point onwards, SYCOB started to impose themselves on the game.
It took until the 25th minute for the home side to make a breakthrough and when it came it was through a slightly fortunate penalty decision. A ball into the Chalfont box was actually pushed too far ahead by the Becaonsfield player and, from my position it didn't look as if he would be able to get to the ball. However, he was defintely caught by a Saints defender in what was possibly a needless challenge. Easy to say from the sidelines I suppose. Either way, Aaron Berry strode up and stroked the spot-kick home to make it 1-0 to SYCOB.
With the confidence of the six goal winning streak and a goal advantage the home side went looking for more goals. However, we had a broken passage of play for the next 10 minutes with the visiting golakeeper twice going down with what looked like an ankle injury. With no substitute keeper on the bench, it was a worrying time for Saints. Pickford, however, was patched up and was able to continue.
The Chalfont backline was getting very little respite from waves of Beaconsfield attacks, so it is something of a credit to their resilience that they managed to almost make it to half-time before their resistence was broken. When it did come, thoug, the second goal was avery nicely crafted effort. Ryan Hill's pace and trickery on the left created an opening for him to drive in a low cross which was turned in at the near post by the onrushing Aaron Berry. 2-0 to Beaconsfield with 44 minutes on the clock.
HT Beaconsfield SYCOB 2 Chalfont St Peter 0. A fully deserved lead for the home side.
A superb curling effort from the right smacked off the Saints post and out to the left where Hill got it uner control. His cross caused more mayhem in the box and, when the ball was cleared to the edge of the 18 yard area, Ollie Jones smashed it back through a crowd to make it 3-0 to the home side.
Once again, it was all Beaconsfield with Chalfont once more unable to get a foothold on the game. Hill, on the left, was causing plenty of problems with his pace. aided and abetted by the overlapping runs of left-back Ryan Haugh. Five minutes after the third goal Berry grabbed his hat-trick and The Rams fourth. Once more the threat came from the left flank and a low, driven cross. This time Berry managed to nip in front of the defender and deftly backheel the ball past the keeper. 4-0.
There was some late consolation for Chalfont when SYCOB defender Lee Rushe, attempting to get a head on a cross from the right, glanced the ball past his own keeper Sam Bunting to make it 4-1 on the night.
Any joy that Saints may have got from the goal was very short-lived though when, in the 93rd minute, yet another driven left-wing cross was met by Callum Bunting who made no mistake with the finish.
Full-time Beaconsfield SYCOB 5 Chalfont St Peter 1.
Saints can have no complaints with the result. They were never in this one and will need to put it behind them in preparation for trip to another form team, Barton Rovers next Tuesday. Beaconsfield entertain Kidlington on Boxing Day hoping to make it eight from eight.
Beaconsfield SYCOB - @becky_sycob_fc
Chalfont St Peter - @csp_afc