Saturday 8th November 2008
By Sam Evans with a second report from Shaun Keddle
A resounding victory sees us progress into the next round. The result was never really in doubt as we controlled the game from start to finish. It also demonstrated the strength of our squad as we were missing Ricky and Taps from defence yet we still looked strong. Our team was:
Evans (RM) (Captain)
We took the lead after half an hour. Stu took a corner from the left wing and Georgio rose above their defenders to head home. The ref actually blew his whistle before the ball crossed the line, having noticed a foul on Chris. Rather than pull it back for a penalty he decided to allow the goal. We made it 2-0 soon afterwards. Spence made a great run behind their defence and showed excellent composure in rounding the keeper.
At half time we were confident that we would win the game, but knew that we needed a third to really kill it off. So it made matters more interesting when Eynsford scored early in the second half. We failed to clear the ball in our box and their captain half-volleyed the ball over Mark’s head. This was a bit lucky as he clearly mis-kicked it, had he caught it properly it would have sailed over the bar.
There then followed a period of Eynsford pressure which we did well to withstand. Lee Roots in particular turned in a good performance to maintain our lead. At the other end we continued to create chances but perhaps lacked a bit of quality in the final third. Then on the hour Johnny scored a great goal from outside the box for the second week running. Picking up the ball 35 yards out Johnny dribbled forward before shooting powerfully into the top right hand corner of the goal. This was a wonderful goal although I understand that Tiffany must take some of the credit having cleaned Johnny’s boots a couple of weeks ago.
Danny subsequently made a double substitution; Dan replaced Russ and Daragh replaced Stu. Ten minutes later Tant replaced Spence. These players slotted right in and as Eynsford tired we came close to making it 4-1, Chris escaped a couple of times down the left and crossed well. On one occasion Dan couldn’t quite reach the ball to make a proper connection, and on another occasion Chris rolled the ball across the box but no-one was fast enough to get there to score.
All in all though this was a very convincing display. Johnny (7 votes) just pipped Lee (5 votes) to win man of the match, and I thought there were some excellent performances from other players as well. In particular it was pleasing to see Chris doing his jiggly thing, that is always a real treat. We have no game next week and then we commence a run of 3 massive games: NASFAT (H), Old Town New Boys (A) and Thames Borough (H). These 3 teams are all mid-table like us and if we want to establish ourselves near the top of the league we need to be looking for 7 points minimum, ideally 9.
Man of the match: Johnny Piper
(First team) Manager''s View
I hate it when we (the Firsts) do not have a game, especially when we have a large strong squad available. It’s strange how cruelly football operates, but the ‘week off’ never occurred during our early season injury crisis.
However, It’s not very often that I get a chance to watch the reserves and although I keep a close eye on proceedings and get good feedback from Danny and one or two others, there’s nothing like having a look for yourself. It was great to see that the reserves did not have to call upon any first team ‘regulars’ and had a full squad of 14 available and also one or two regular faces on the injury table. This can only bode well for the future of both reserves and club which will hopefully reflect on results and therefore fill the trophy cabinet.
Checking through the results and including this win; the reserves are now on a four match unbeaten run and have not lost a league game since the last day in September. With their squad and my squad back to something like full strength, fruitful times lay ahead
From the start, it was clear to see that the reserves had improved so much season on season and it was clear to see why the results have been good of late. From a personal perspective it was good to see a number of faces that had played for me in the past that had all grouped together to form a decent looking reserve side. Historically, when a player stops playing for the firsts or does not get selected by me, they appear to fall into a ‘black hole’. In fact Edwards, Nott, Tanton, Head, Evans, Fullone, Havers, Nethercot and Pragnell had all featured in first team football in some capacity in the past.
Without going into too much detail about the game; Farnborough scored three excellent goals worthy of any pitch - one set piece, one fantastic piece of team play and one moment of individual brilliance. The first was a set piece corner, which is always great to see. A great delivery from Nethercot was met solidly by the head of the 16 year-old Fullone who found the back of the net. Don’t get many 16 years olds doing that now do you? The second goal followed shortly afterwards and superb one and two touch build up play cut the Eynsford defence wide open leaving Havers through on goal to very coolly round the keeper and find the net. Farnborough finishing the half with an important two goal advantage
The start of the second half was slightly more of an even affair and despite conceding a very early goal, the reserves did not hit the panic button and continued to play controlled and measured football. With around an hour gone, it was another 16 year old that found the net. However, this was no run-of-the-mill goal. After some confusion between the Eynsford defence and the goalkeeper, the ball fell to Piper some forty yards out, who responded by hammering the ball over the keeper’s head and it rifled into the top corner. An unstoppable effort that was richly praised on the sidelines.
The remainder of the game was played out comfortably with Eynsford failing to make any dents in the solid Farnborough defence
There were a number of good performances of note. Personally, I thought Lenton in the middle was class. Great touch, awareness and ability to keep the ball and rarely gave it away. Lenton really controlled the middle of the park. However, I don’t think he got any MOM of the match votes, but I believe that his is probably due to the fact that the seconds see this week -in week-out from Lenton and also it was hard to ignore the forty yarder from Piper. New recruit Roots had a solid game and formed a reliable bond with Fullone against two of Eynsford’s better players. Roots kept it simple and talked, talked, talked; an invaluable asset that the Guild as a club lack. Fullone is also a tidy and classy operator and it’s rare that you get a centre half of that age with so much composure. Piper in the middle has a great engine and enthusiasm and is a goal scoring midfielder which is a sought after commodity nowadays. He breaks very quickly from the middle, but his best attribute is that he is prepared to work in the other direction as well; which again is quite a rarity amongst youngsters who sometimes can only be enthusiastic in one direction.
I also keep a good eye out on thirds that are on a roll at the moment and scoring bundles of goals. Obviously, my opportunities to see the thirds are even more limited, so it would be good to see one or two of you boys at training and any of you that have aspirations to play first team football can always have a quite word with me or just attend the training sessions where we can discuss the way forward. The names of Hawkes, Slade, Thompson and Steward are feedback to me most weeks with good praise. Unfortunately (for him) / fortunately (for us) the name ‘ARNOLD’ has not featured whatsoever).
Overall, both teams had good victories and it was excellent to see that all 8 goal scorers were 25 or under (yes Spencer you were the oldest and you definitely look it as well!) with 6 of the 8 being 20 or under. If everyone sticks together at this fabulous club and player availability remains high I can only predict good things
Well done to both teams; the future looks bright; the future looks red and yellow.
What also was great to see were the attendance levels at training this Saturday. Usually, when we do not have a game the temptation is to grab a week off. However, despite cr@p conditions, Francenal vs Utd on the box and Judgey’s unusual choice of tighter-than-normal training shorts we had the full squad training (other than Cooke R who is injured). Competition for places this season is at an all time high and having good training sessions together can only work towards improvement as individuals and a team, so well done to all of my squad. This bodes exceptionally well for next week’s encounter against higher placed opposition – our big chance to take a premier division scalp on our own turf.
Let’s be up for this one boys...