Saturday 22nd November 2008
By Richard Tapsfield
On a freezing cold afternoon we picked up a well deserved 3 points, with a terrific display from a depleted squad.
Thankfully I was on holiday all last week so missed the fun and games, but according to Danny on Thursday night we only had 9 players available and the game was in doubt! Injury left Lenton, Roots and myself out. Evans had returned home to the bleak north and is probably still stuck there looking at the weather, Morton was revising?! Nethercot and Fullone were away on business; or till training and a work course respectively.
Together everyone rallied round and a collection of old and new faces turned up on Saturday to help out. Our thanks to old boys Aaron Carpenter and Rich Davies as well as new face Jed and finally Gibbo and Jon coming up from the Thirds. All five players were excellent and played a vital part in the victory.
Danny started with the following line up:
Mark Edwards (GK)
Aaron Carpenter (RB)
Chris Charlton (CB)
Matt Pragnell (CB)
Daragh Nott (LB) (C)
Paul Tanton (RM)
Jonny Piper (CM)
Jon Ware (CM)
Dan Head (LM)
Spencer Havers (CF)
Jed Wilders (CF)
Ricky Simmons (Matt P - 45mins)
Matt Gardiner (Jed W - 45mins)
Rich Davies (Aaron C - 70mins)
The first obstacle of the day was to keep warmed up and ready as we waited for NASFAT to turn up, eventually they made it and we kicked off late at about 2.30pm. We started well and took the lead when Dan Head scored from a tight angle, although Jonny 'Facebook' Piper did his very best to steal the goal by sliding in to connect with the ball just after it had crossed the line. Obviously young Jonathan is not content with stealing other players shirts, as he now wants to steel their goals as well! NASFAT then came at us with wave after wave of Kamikaze attacks of which they always had at least 6 players attacking each time. Eventually we surrendered and conceded two rather unfortunate goals to go 2-1 down. We were not worried on the sideline and Danny's belief that we would still score goals against the opposition came true pretty quickly. An excellent set-piece delivery found the debutant Jon who headed in at the far post for a debut goal, 2-2.
At half time Ricky made a welcome return from injury to replace the dying Matt Pragnell who was suffering with bronchitis, but had still put in a fantastic performance. He deservedly left for his bed! Matt Gardiner also came on up front for Jed who had performed well up front but had offered to come off pre-game to allow everyone a decent run out. At this point I opted for the warmth of the club house and a cup of tea with Shirley and Vic, as going from 75 degrees Las Vegas to -5 degrees Farnborough Village was not agreeing with me! Unfortunately because of this I missed our third goal; but I'm told that Spencer did well in the box and was hauled down for a blatant penalty. Chris Charlton then stepped up and rammed the ball home into the top corner, an un-saveable penalty by all accounts.
Unfortunately the lead didn't last long, as I returned from the bar NASFAT made it 3-3 and their striker celebrated by boxing the corner flag ala Tim Cahill - what a plum! (Manager's ed - Roger Milla (Italia 1990) for all us old 'uns)
This merely spurred the team on to play even better and after this we dominated the last half hour, grabbing two more goals. The fourth came from Dan Head who volleyed home after a cross from the left and the best of the bunch and sealing the victory from Matt Gardiner. A great inter-change of passes down the left saw Spencer find Dan who crossed to the back post for Gibbo to head home and make it a comfortable 5-3.
Unfortunately the one sour note was a very harsh red card for Chris Charlton at the end of the game. I was right behind this and it was never a sending off, in fact it probably wasn't even worthy of a yellow card as it was merely a strong shoulder barge which their player made a meal of.
Overall this was a fantastic result under the circumstances and one which extends our unbeaten run to 5 games, although I'm calling it 7 as the last time we lost was only on penalties! This puts us 5th in the table with a game in hand over two of the sides above us, so after a slow start we look to have turned the corner. We're also looking far more dangerous in attack and are scoring a few goals, which are coming from all areas of the team.
Next week we should have close to a full squad again with only the injured players as doubts. We also have the pleasure of a trip to Ivor Grove and the STC sports ground, so watch those valuables boys!
At the time of going to press Dan Head was in the lead for man of the match voting with 5. Jonny and Spencer had four each, with just Ricky to vote I believe. I'm predicting a tie as I'm thinking Ricky will keep it in the family by voting for his 'bruv' Spencer, but who knows?