Sunday 11th October 2009
By Danny Clark
A day blighted by injuries and unavailability with no fewer than 7 players missing that have figured so far this season. That said the starting XI selected by Darren and Vince still had a very strong look to it.
On a surface reminiscent of a bumpy postage stamp, Farnborough didn't move the ball with as much conviction or as quickly as in previous weeks. On smaller pitches and against better sides you don't get so much time on the ball and it appeared to take a while to realise this. Too often players were caught in possession or the ball was given away cheaply. To their credit Ex Blues started by far the sharper retaining and moving the ball well and having the lion's share in the opening exchanges...without seriously threatening Burkett Snr, deputising for the injured Burkett Jnr, in the Farnborough goal.
It was probably a good 15 minutes before Farnborough put anything that resembled a string of passes together, but as the half progressed the game became more even.
The half came and went with Ex Blues going in at the break 1-0 to the good courtesy of a well taken penalty midway through the half. Farnborough's only efforts came from distance and a set piece...none of which tested the Ex Blues number 1.
The half time team talk was predominantly based around trying to keep the ball better by moving it at pace, shutting down the opposing side with a little more urgency and building on the fact that as the first 45 minutes progressed Farnborough were getting more and more in to the game.
What followed in the next 7-8 minutes did nothing for Farnborough's chances of taking anything from the match. A combination of good forward play and an underhit back pass saw the scoreline quickly become 3-0 to the home side. At this stage it would have been easy for Farnborough to collapse, but heads didn't drop and whilst the urgency levels didn't seem to necessarily pick up, everyone stuck to their tasks and a potential disaster was avoided.
Farnborough did pull a goal back courtesy of Jim Ellis getting on the end of a flick from a long throw but within 10 minutes Ex Blues made it 4-1 and saw out the game relatively comfortably.
There were solid enough performances throughout the side, but with no outfield player outshining any other. Beesley and Benningfield at the heart of the defence faced their biggest test of the season. They came up against a good pairing consisting of a sturdy number 10 who held the ball up well, linked play and scored a hat-trick for good measure whilst the number 9 seemed to ghost effortlessly around the front line and was deceivingly quick and strong in the air. Beesley and Benningfield played relatively well which the scoreline and scorers wouldn't suggest. The Ex Blues didn't have a star midfielder, nor did they have a ball playing defender but they obviously do something right as if the forwards don't get given the ball they can't score goals!
Based on today's showing and previous performances Ex Blues are by no means head and shoulders above Farnborough. Today they converted 4 out of 6 opportunities and for that you have to admire them and say they deserved the three points. Farnborough's only effort on target was Jim Ellis's header from all of three yards. Bitterly disappointing given the number of opportunities created in recent weeks, albeit against weaker sides.
MOM this week went to Darren Burkett in goal. Darren stepped in at late notice covering for injury and made one or two excellent saves. His distribution was good and his communication with his backline was exemplary. Well deserved and in my eyes the only choice.
Appreciating it is a much easier game to play from the touchline, I made the following observations today...1) we are an incredibly quiet side, 2) we lacked distinct positive movement when in possession, 3) too often we ignored the sensible ball, and 4) we are sometimes a little predictable in our play.
From a positive I would say that we have probably played one of the stronger sides in this fixture and are more than capable of matching them. I believe we have some strong individual ability within the squad, and whilst we have seen it in glimpses, we can gel into a really effective unit. A little more organisation and responsibility on the park, coupled with a mass improvement on volume and content of communication will go a long way to making that happen.
Despite this defeat it is still early days in the season and we have picked up victories over sides we need to beat. We have also shown that despite missing so many regular squad members we can still field a strong side. Lots to be positive about so far in my book, and it is really the basics that we can do something about that will improve us the most.
There is no game scheduled this week at the moment, but watch this space.
Today's team: GK - D. Burkett, RB - J. Adams, CB - B. Beesley, CB - A. Benningfield, LB - T. Skrine (R. Johnson), RM - J. Miller , CM - P. Butler, CM - M. Wilson, LM - D. Head , CF - J. Ellis, CF - S. Small