Saturday 12th September 2009
By Paul Parsons
"It never rains but it pours".
On a baking hot day in the middle of middle England that is represented by Chislehurst Rec, FOBG started their pursuit of promotion. Edd decided on a very strong starting eleven, which was just as well as he only had eleven to choose from! Two dropouts during the week, but another three on the day without any notification left the eleven that were there disappointed but ready for action. Our line up was very strong along the back four with Jez Allen making a return after at least three or four years, and a mixture of experience, youth, strength and guile, you can decide who’s who with Marvin Sinclair, Paul Parsons, Mark Smith and Ben Dutton at the back. Midfield was again an excellent mix with the very hard working Dan Head being supported by Lee Cross, Lee Shorter and Carl Bossley. Upfront was quick and tricky Kane Valdes alongside a not so quick but just as tricky Simon Davies!
We started strongly and created a fluid mix of sharp passing and excellent closing down, but within 5 minutes went a goal down as they broke the offside trap and finished powerfully past Jez. Even at this early stage we felt it was against the run of play. We again produced some good play especially down the right hand side with Ben Dutton and Lee Cross linking well. From one such attack Lee Cross delivered an excellent ball across the penalty area, and Simon Davies was running in from the far post to nod it in and already it was 1-1 after only 10 minutes.
The next blow (literally!) was a mistimed challenge after just 15 minutes where I caught the underside of the opposition's boot and came off worse, there was no way I could continue and we had no subs! So 10 man Farnborough battled on while I looked for the magic sponge. Just when things couldn’t get any worse I realised that I had crawled over to the touch line that had Ivor ‘running’ the line and giving me grief over ‘a stubbed toe’, however when I eventually had the nerve to pull my boot off, even Ivor conceded ‘that looks painful!’ Of course this was while Ivor, the trained professional he is, was able to give Jez some tips in goal, me more grief and ably assist the referee in all his decisions!!!
Some of the younger Elmstead players seemed not too confident, although the core of Elmstead players down the middle were very experienced indeed, some having played top class football, and being paid for it too, only a few years ago, so class prevailed in the first half and they went in 3-1 to the good, which was deserved by the clinical finishing of the more mature members of their team.
Edd stirred us into action for the second half and we reshuffled the team around by playing 5 in midfield, if you include me hobbling around the centre circle. Immediately that provided dividends as Dan Head scored a great goal within 5 minutes of the start. We had Elmstead rattled and created very good chances for Simon, Kane and Dan, all which might have gone in on another day. Lee Shorter was industrious and hard working in midfield, as was Kane and they never gave up. FC Elmstead created everything down the middle, where Mark Smith (MOM) was able to continually intercept strongly and clear the lines until the very end when they got their 4th after smashing a half volley from 20 yards against the crossbar which fell neatly to their forward to tap home at the far post.
An excellent performance against a strengthened FC Elmstead from last week and a much weakened FOBG team let down by no-shows.