Saturday 1st December 2007
By Shaun Keddle
A big defeat – a long time coming and much deserved
On Saturday the Guild slumped to only their second defeat of the season after leading for almost 70 mins of this game. For quite a few weeks now we have ridden our luck and have not played well enough across the 90 minutes to justify their place at the top of the division. The repercussions of this game will only be seen in the few weeks before Xmas, but hopefully it’s the ‘kick-up the @rse’ that we all need. We looked poor, complacent, irresponsible and gutless
Preparations for this game were relatively good with only Davis missing from otherwise a very strong and regular squad. Week on week, McKeown moved to centre half to cover Davis, Small dropped into his regular right back position and Perkins & Pragnell lined up in the centre of the park.. Cooke, R and Roots took to this bench.
In the first half and against the wind, we looked relatively comfortable without really slipping through the gears. We had a lot of the ball and quite a few opportunities, but nothing really clear cut. With around 15mins gone, Williams, J found the net, but the ball across the box by Cooke, J was out of play and the goal therefore did not stand. On around half an hour we made the breakthrough. A jinking run and fierce cross across the box ended in the net via an unfortunate defender. The rest of the half petered out without too much action, but the Guild with the upper hand.
At the half we spoke about complacency and really upping the tempo in getting the second goal. The second half started and the Guild were in control but Borough were still battling hard and always in this fixture. With 15mins gone a header from Pragnell flew over the bar after a good dead piece by Williams, J. The game now looked as though it was heading for a 1-0 win when lazy midfield work in failing to track runners was exposed when the No.6 broke his neck to get in the box and got his deserved awards. Borough were ecstatic with their equaliser which all stemmed from hard work, a never-say-die attitude and a midfielder who bust his nuts to get into the box – how often do we do that?
From this moment onwards ‘the walls of Jericho came tumbling down’ and it was very disappointing to see our excellent defensive record of only a goal-a game end in such gutless fashion. At this point we should have rallied and got our act together and responded. Instead we fell to bits. 5 mins later and Borough were ahead - more chaotic defending led to Borough netting and further goals followed in the last 5 mins to leave the score at 4-1.
Borough taught us a lesson on Saturday. We can learn a lot from Borough with this game and the learning’s must be applied from this week onwards. Borough defended with their lives on Saturday and kept battling and battling and never gave up. In the second half we did not battle and certainly should have battled back once the equaliser went in. They showed a lot of heart and desire to reverse a heavy defeat just 2 months earlier – we took it for granted that the points were ours and got lazy, arrogant and complacent. Three of their four goals were scored by midfielders, this shows us 2 things; we were not marking or tracking the runners and never had the desire to attack their box from midfield. We need more goals from midfield and more responsibility going back the other way.
Admittedly, tactically I may have got it wrong but I sill think that whatever 11 I play are good enough to beat any side in this division. You are all good players but we need to drop the arrogance, look in the mirror, take responsibility and WORK HARD (not one single player was out of breath on Saturday). I also admit that I should have made changes way before I did, so I too can learn from this.
Cooke, J got our man of the match who was probably our best player on display.
Where good teams show how good they are is how they react to defeats and poor displays. The basis of our success this season has been built on hard work, something that was clearly missing from this fixture – this will be rectified in training – please bring TRAINERS and BOOTS and be there at 7.15pm SHARP. I am aware that a number of players are missing this week, but I still expect you to be at training this week which can count towards a starting place on the 15th.
I require a response to this defeat
On an unfortunate note, Martin Roots has badly damaged his ankle (playing on Sunday) and will be sidelined for a number of weeks. The extent of the injury and the damage is difficult to tell with the swelling being so bad but it will be a minimum of six weeks, possibly more. We wish Martin a speedy recovery.
Farnborough: 1. Friend (GK); 2. Small (RB); 3. Cleaver, L (LB); 4. Judge © (CB) 5. McKeown (CB); 6. Pragnell (CM); 7. Williams, J (RM) 8. Perkins (CM); 9. Williams, L (CF); 10. Cooke, J (CF) 11. Cleaver, B (LM)
Subs: 12. Roots for 2. Small & 15. Cooke, R for 11. Cleaver, B
Borough Utd: Crabb; Meade; Tennent; Head; Edwards; Townsend; Bell; Lee; Piner; Fahy; Storey.
Subs: Davey; Hardstone.