Saturday 11th April 2009
By Colin Brazier
This started as a few notes to go with the photos which you can now see in our gallery, (HERE) but what the hell, let’s call it a report!!
Paul Ed. had a strong squad this week, and the team was
Ben Dutton James Hopper Luke Dunne Paul Parsons
Adam Steward Piers Moss © Josh Travers Ben Tomkins
James Behagg David Thompson
Subs: Simon Davies, Michael Seymour, Stuart Gaylor
From a photographer’s viewpoint (literally!) I definitely selected the wrong end as Valley Park dominated possession from the start, and the Guild couldn’t get out of second gear. The home side were flat and lifeless as though the difference between 4th and 5th, our likely finishing places in the table, didn’t matter.
Valley exploited the pace in their side by playing to the wings at every opportunity, and took the lead from a free kick at the right hand edge of the penalty area, a superb effort over the wall and into the top corner giving the keeper no chance.
Farnborough struggled to respond, Valley’s midfield dominance throttling their efforts to bring Behagg and Thompson into the game. Adam Steward threatened sporadically, winning throws and free kicks in dangerous areas, but the visitors’ keeper was well protected by his defence and with Valley failing to capitalise on their greater possession the interval score remained 0-1.
Personally, I might have been tempted to throw a few tea cups during my team talk, but Shirley would have been none too pleased; instead Ed stressed (good word for a manager, that!) the need to close their midfield down and get some tackles in, and from that platform play the passing game that has given the Thirds their best season for several years. The final result will tell you that’s why Ed is the manager and I just take photographs!
The players put Ed’s words into action to the letter, and it seemed a different side had been sent out for the second half. Just as well, because I had again taken the camera down to the end we were attacking, as much through habit than expectation. Valley’s rhythm was certainly disturbed by the Guild’s improvement, and as they struggled to keep their hold on the match a few tempers were being lost, the excellent ref Ron Newby keeping the lid on the game with a few well chosen words.
All three subs were introduced at various stages of the second half, and we began to give the Valley defence a more thorough examination, with crosses and shots coming in on a regular basis. Piers returned a poor kick from the Valley keeper with interest, his 25 yard looping shot sailing over him and into the net for the skipper’s first goal of the season.
Buoyed by this, several more chances came and went. A huge cheer went up as the Firsts got their late winner, and a couple of minutes later the Thirds emulated it when top scorer Dave Thompson ran through and calmly lifted his shot into the net for his 20th goal of the season – a great return in this young player’s first season with the club.
So in the end, a hard fought win over a spirited Valley side who could feel a little hard done by, given their first half display and the lateness of the Guild’s winning goal. That should not detract, however, from a great second half fightback from Paul Ed’s team.
Man of the Match went to Piers (11 votes) for his part in turning the game around, some influential and uncompromising tackling and a very good equalising goal.
Paul Ed. is in his fifteenth season as manager of the Thirds, a great achievement in itself, and over this period there have been many more low points than highlights. In fact, some very low points (Avery Hill anyone?? S Club Eleven??) Despite it all he has always stuck to his belief that he can put a successful side together, and this team should go very close to honours next season, subject to the rigours of club selection policy. Well done the Rooster!