Saturday 25th October 2008
By Paul Parsons
In front of a large crowd and on the big pitch the Third team struggled to show the flair of previous games but won the game through hard graft and a never say die attitude.
Leigh Hawkes made an early impression in goal in the first half, with excellent reactions inside the 6 yard box on two occasions. He showed why he is one to watch for the future with industrious kicking and sensible spread of play throughout the game. The whole defensive set up got 11 of the votes in this tough encounter, which summarised the game perfectly. Not many chances at either end, and what chances came about were smothered, tackled and saved.
In the first half we failed to create any goal scoring opportunities and although Simon Davies and Dave Thompson were working hard upfront, the ball was skidding through and beyond their runs, as the wind and rain was with us. Our midfield were being bypassed in the wind and our defence was strong with me at left back, for the first time in about 4 seasons (thank goodness someone remembers where my position is!) together with the unflappable Jack Hopper and Luke Dunne. Ben Tomkins is in inspired form at right back at the moment and gave excellent commitment and concentration throughout.
At half time it was 0-0, we were lucky due to some good stops from Leigh, but we also knew the game was for the taking, if only we could connect the play up more and find feet, our speed and space on the wings with Michael Seymour and Adam Steward would create problems that Simon and Dave might capitalise on. We began to assert ourselves on the game, Josh Travers putting in some ‘crunching’ tackles, at least he was saying the word ‘crunch’ if not always making them! Michael found width and more of the ball, and Piers Moss was winning important challenges in the middle of the park, but still stalemate.
With 25 minutes to go Bexlians changed things, bringing on a quick and tall centre forward. After running through the middle of a napping back four, first touch goal! We were deflated but not out of it and after a good build up down the right, Adam surged passed his marker and crossed to the back post where Michael had made an excellent run and headed it back towards the penalty spot, only for the ball to hit the arm of an unlucky Bexlians defender. PENALTY! 1-1 as it was coolly despatched to the keepers right by Dave Thompson.
We were now in the ascendancy and believed we could win with 15 minutes remaining, however Bexlians thought exactly the same and began to exert extreme pressure the Farnborough back four were just about equal to. The midfield were also tackling and tracking back well, with Adam, Piers and Michael all making important challenges. Best chances went to Bexlians in the final 10 minutes, one from a disputed free quick taken quickly and their forward being bundled over by yours truly to stop a goal scoring opportunity and then Leigh punching out well from a screamer of a corner that was destined for a Bexlians head.
With less than a minute to go the ball was knocked on upfront by Matt Gardiner, who was on for Michael, and the Bexlians centre back miscued a pass back that was going hopelessly towards the corner flag. Dave sprinted after this long lost cause, but to everyone’s amazement, so did the Bexlian keeper, Dave winning the race and putting in a great cross to Sean Webber who was lurking on the penalty spot, as he looked up and saw an open goal, it hit him squarely in the nuts, he slipped over, and Adam poached a goal from 5 yards out, ecstasy! Well maybe not for Sean! 2-1 and the crowd went wild!
Not the greatest performance but at the end of the season who remembers what the game was like, it’s the points that are important.