Saturday 6th September 2008
By Shaun Keddle
With new matching y-front underwear in club colours, the Guild took to the pitch for this opening encounter of the season. This was going to be a real test to establish where we are in terms of progression and development as Crockenhill had come down to this division with the Guild just being promoted. With these factors in mind, it was always going to be an intriguing clash.
Five debutants were starting their first match for the Guild with 2 more on the bench, a sure sign that the side and the club is heading in the right direction. Additionally, Perkins, Williams J, McKeown, Judge and Cleaver B are all set to return in the next few weeks to compete for places which are further signs of the clubs development.
The game started well for the Guild as we looked to get the ball down and play. Crockenhill themselves looked to do the same and there were neat passing passages from both sides. Our good start was rewarded when Williams, L netted from a corner, always very satisfying when a set piece comes off, especially from the first corner in the first game of the season.
With a goal to the good we pressed forward looking for the second killer goal but good keeping by the Crockenhill No. 1 ensured that we came into the break with only a goal to our advantage when it should probably have been more.
At the half we spoke about how we were playing well but needed to find the runs of Selmes more often. We also needed to keep the pace going to impose our good fitness levels upon the opposition. Our new system was obviously frowned at before kick off, but it was working very well and it was the playing personnel that was making it work.
The second half was underway and the Guild survived a slight scare when a deflected shot left St John stranded in the Guild goal but the effort clipped the outside of the post. At the other end, a terrific free kick from Roots hit the underside of the bar and unfortunately bounced out. The second and killer goal came just after the hour when Cooke, J finished from 10 yards despite desperate efforts by the Crockenhill defenders to thwart the goalbound effort.
10 minutes later we added a third when the impeccable Mr Townley pointed to the spot with Cooke, J sending the keeper the wrong way and securing the victory.
Warren replaced Abbott; Small replaced Cooke, R.
3-0 should have been 4-0 but Koutsoudis was very unlucky to see his effort rebound off the post after a great run.
With 10 minutes to go Jefferies gave Crockenhill a lifeline with a well converted effort. However, the remaining 10 minutes were played out with control and composure to ensure the Guild all three points.
Overall, I was really happy with both result and performance. We have a number of new players in the squad this season and we are just getting better with time. Our playing formation has also changed, but it was great to see it working well with all players working together and making it work.
Man of the match was a tough call but that honour was awarded to Mark Abbott. Abbott playing in his first official game for the Guild really showed what a useful performer he is and a valuable asset to the improving squad this season. Abbott battled hard in midfield, challenged for everything, stayed tight and was involved in all things positive. Abbott’s hard work was also appreciated by the rest of the team as he walked off with 14 out of the 18 possible votes.
Additionally, there were a few players returning from injuries that slotted in as though they had never been away. All of this and we still have some really big names to return and compete for places. We always looked in control of this game and were both positive and prepared. Everyone’s attitude and timing was fantastic and the bumper crowd were treated to some good football from both sides which left the referee with little to do apart from kindly warn us with regards to our goal celebrations which was, quite frankly...pants...
This week we travel to Metrogas which will be a real test and we will require that everyone performs to the same high standard as this week. Metrogas are a decent footballing side on a real decent surface which suits our fluid passing game. We need to be up for this one and maintain our excellent away form from last season which was key to our success.
P.S. You will be fined if you don’t bring your pants next week (washed, preferably...)
Farnborough: 1. St John; 2, Cooke, R; 3. Cleaver, L; 4. Davis; 5. Abbott (15. Small); 16. Roots (14. Warren); 7. Koutsoudis; 8. Selmes; 9. Williams, L; 10. Cooke, J; 11. Graham;
Subs Not Used: 13. Gibbs; 16. Stevens