Saturday 17th January 2009
By Colin Brazier
Our first league game of the year took us down to the ol’ Coldharbour Leisure Centre, which seems to be the venue for a good proportion of FOBG’s away games these days. Still, it’s easy to get to, has nice enough facilities and the pitch was OK.
The newsletter squad size of 17 had dwindled to 14 by the time we got to the ground, and Des hid himself away in the shower area of the dressing room to finalise his team selection. Now, part of the “nice enough facilities” I mentioned above are motion-sensitive showers, and, yes, you’ve guessed it, Des’s entry was indeed sussed out by the aforementioned plumbing equipment, and he emerged a couple of minutes later with wet hair and a sheet of A4 which I thought was laminated but had been given a good dousing of warm water along with the team manager. Yet another “Des-ism” that I couldn’t imagine happening to Sir Alex, somehow, alongside such legends as starting a game with a 4-4-3 formation (work it out!) and naming as sub a player who had driven 200 miles on a Saturday morning to help out because they were short! Paul Parsons has still not forgiven him.
So once we had dried out the teamsheet, the line up was discovered to be:
GK: Paul Burford;
Back four: Lawrence (Lol) Kamara, Steve Viner, Steve Blanchard, Marvin Sinclair;
Midfield: Lee Cross, Chris Landy, Kane Valdes, Colin Brazier;
Strikers: Matt Gardiner (Capt.), Josh Walsh;
Subs: Chee Yong Lee, Aaron Kenton, Levi Facey.
This side has largely come to represent the Guild’s youth section in recent months, and the two Steves and I are proud to be a part of it!
The skipper, Mr Gardiner, or “Sir” to his mates, took us through a warm-up routine and then won the toss and decided to go with the slope in the first half, a decision I heartily endorsed from a personal standpoint, “stand” and “point” being virtually all I could manage after a six week layoff. I did claim “the assist to the assist” for our first goal after ten minutes, when I sent Matt down the left wing, and his low cross was met by Josh for his 4th goal in 5 games.
Swan were clearly unsettled by our bright start, but were given a chance to equalise by the concession of a needless free kick in a central position just outside the area by someone who’s old enough to know better! The free kick was hit hard and directed just over the wall and flashed into the net. 1-1. We stuck to our task, and were a constant threat to Swan’s goal, with Matt winning everything in the air but no-one anticipating. We regained the lead from one of Lee Cross’s dangerous corners, when Steve Viner took up a position at the back post, was ignored by the Swan defence (well they have played us before this season) but this time Steve surprised everyone, not least himself I suspect, by atoning for his earlier error and burying the header into the top corner. Are you watching, Darren Bent???
So, 2-1 up and we weren’t going to settle for such a slender lead before the uphill battle in the 2nd half. The defence was settled and coped well with Swan’s attacks, with the two Steves pulling the strings and the young full backs winning their individual battles and finding time to help our attacks. This was to pay off about 15 minutes before the break when a great turn and shot by Matt came back off the crossbar and Marvin tapped in the rebound for his first goal for Farnborough. We could have wrapped the game up when Josh went through but his shot rolled agonisingly wide of the post. Still, 3-1 at the half and we felt confident of seeing the game out, if not increasing the lead.
I was replaced by Levi to add more energy and, yes, pace! to the midfield and we awaited the onslaught from the home side. Swan did indeed put everything into reducing the deficit but once we had survived 15 minutes of pressure there was only going to be one winner, despite Swan’s domination of possession. Des made two further substitutions; Aaron replacing Lee and Chee getting on for the last 10 minutes (can’t remember who went off!).
An emphatic win against a side that had beaten us 7-0 earlier in the season. They were certainly impressed, one of their players asking if we had 1st team players in the side! Well, it wouldn’t surprise me in, say, 2-3 years if some of these youngsters were indeed knocking on the door of the first team.
For the moment, however, we can still improve. Positional play and verbal communication will come with experience, but one thing we can work on immediately is teamwork. That means passing if you are under pressure (it doesn’t hurt to go backwards sometimes); making yourself available to the man with the ball, and supporting the forwards, expecting headers to be won by your team mates. The work rate in the team is excellent, a good basis from which to progress.
Thanks to Mr Wilson (Matt Wilson’s dad!) for refereeing and to Todd Arnold for lending his vocal encouragement!
Man of the Match: Marvin Sinclair for a brilliant display of defending, marauding and scoring from left back. Remind you of anyone??!
There are only 5 league games left, but there will be another trophy to play for, on a group basis, so we can expect at least 3 games from that, with hopefully more when we qualify. Our next game is a Ron Pope cup match against 1st division Dulwich. We have already played higher level opposition in losing narrowly 2-1 to Ilderton, so there is no reason to think we can’t give Dulwich a game as well.
Bring it on!