Met Police's Imber Court Ground is part of a large sports club that incorprates, amongts others, rugby, bowls, football and cricket. The complex is a stone's throw from Hampton Court Palace, just South of the River Thames in East Molesey. Met Police have played at the stadium since their formation in 1919, although the ground itself has changed considerably as the team has progressed up the pyramid. Currently playing in Step 3, The Southern League South Premier Division, the ground now has a capacity of 3,000 and features a fairly large covered 300 seat stand and a covered terrace behind one of the goals, at the Mounted Branch End. There is also a small, uncovered terrace running the full length of the ground opposite the main stand. You enter the ground, after a walk through the complex from the quite large car park, through a dual turnstile which takes you in at the corner of the ground alongside the Mounted Branch End stand. All of the facilities are located on the same side as the main stand, the dugouts are in front of the stand and the snack bar (which does great burgers) is alongside. It's quite an impressive stadium for this level and features three old-fashioned pylon style floodlights which tower above the ground. The fourth floodlight is one of the more modern style lights with a single pole rather than a pylon.
Both sides were coming into the game in good form and in decent league positions. The Met were on an unbeaten run stretching back into September and, with two games in hand on most, were in sixth spot just outside the play-offs. A win in this game would take them into fifth place and well within striking distance of top spot. Beaconsfield, who had won their last two games, were hoping to have ended a wobbly spell which had seen them only win one in six before Boxing Day. A win for them wouldn't lift them into the play-offs but would put them within a point of Merthyr Town.
The top scorers for both teams, Jack Mazzone for The Met and Brendan Matthew for The Rams, were level on 12 goals each. The telling statistic before the game though was that Mazzone was in the Met's starting line-up whilst Matthew was out of Town's squad after picking up an injury in the New Year's Day win over Basingstoke.
A lively start to the game saw Met Police start looking the more likely. Twice within the first 15 minutes Oliver Knight had chances, the first volleyed well wide whilst the faintest of touches from Rams keeper Ravan Constable turned the second against the far post and away to safety. Then, as so often happens when a team starts well, Met Police conceded. It was a good, swift break from Beaconsfield down their left flank resulting in a low cross from Balogun which caused havoc in the Met defence. The keeper and his defence seemed to get in each other's way and the ball ended up in the net. Credit was given to Rams striker Jon-Jo Bates for the final touch. 0-1. A goal against the run of play but credit to Beaconsfield who took their chance when it came.
The goal only served to make Met Police up their game even more. Mazzone and Gilbert both drew good saves from Constable and Gilbert put a good chance wide.
HT Metropolitan Police 0 Beaconsfield Town 1. The Rams somehow managed to stay in front despite being under the cosh for much of the half. A combination of good goal-keeping from Ravan Constable and some, frankly, woeful shooting from Met Police mean that the away side go into the break 1-0 up.
However, just after the hour mark the game was turned on its head in the space of three minutes. First, following a raid down the left, the ball was knocked back inside for John Gilbert on the edge of the box. He took a stride to his right, steadied himself and then curled a low effort past Constable into the bottom left corner of his goal. A great strike to make it 1-1 after 62 minutes.
On 65 minutes Gilbert was in the action again, this time being tripped in the box for a penalty to The Met. Top scorer Jack Mazzone stepped up and tucked the ball away to make it 2-1.
The Rams tried to up their game after going behind and Williams had to be alert to block Morgan after he had latched onto a through ball. However, it was Constable, in the opposite goal, who was still the busier of the two, saving from Mazzone again to keep his team in it.
Yet, even with the greater possession, The Met could not find the third goal that would put the game beyond Beaconsfield. The Rams were starting to make one or two in-roads but were still finding the home defence difficult to breach.
With a minute to go Met Police finally sealed the game when Blackmore headed in to make it 3-1.
FT Metrolpolitan Police 3 Beaconsfield Town 1. A well deserved victory for Met Police who were the better side for the majority of the game.
Metropolitan Police: Williams (c), Webb, Fisher, Robinson, Arthur, Birch, Knight, Robertson, Mazzone, Blackmore, Gilbert. Subs: Guinness-Walker, Hippolyte, Atkinson, Murdoch, MacLaughlin
Beaconsfield Town: Constable, Eccleston, Balogun, Yorke, Neville, Daly (c), Stead, Ajenlekoko, Bates, Passaj, Losasso. Subs: Adoo-Peters, Webb, Brown, Costa, Morgan
Ground Number: 175