Saturday 5th November 2005
By Shaun Keddle
A good performance and a result that was undeserved.
With no fewer than 9 regular squad players missing from the squad this week, it was always going to be tough against deserved league leaders Westerham. Neil Connelly, Matty Wright, Dave Harrigan, Danny Clark, Michael Clark, Matt Wilson and Adam Dawson all on holiday and Neil Curd and Rob Goldup yet to return from injury. Firstly, my thanks goes to Barry Cleaver, Ray Perkins, Colin Judge, Paul Garrett who all stepped in to help with special apologies to PG and Daragh who did not get a game.
Also thanks to Jason Miller who also offered his playing services if required. Despite all these changes, due to the reserves not having a game we travelled with 14 players and a side good enough to get a result.
With so many changes and so many players in an out of the side it''s very difficult to get any sort of consistency at the moment. Week on week there were 5 player changes to the starting eleven plus further positional changes to cope with the bad attendance. However, things will change this week onwards.
On top of this it was myself who decided to accept the fixture after being told on Monday that there was not a game. I decided to accept the fixture so I can really see what some of our second team are about and to prevent a fixture pile up at the end of the season. Everyone knows when the season is, everyone knows when the season starts and ends and it is up to players to sort their attendance out and not for me to have the game called off.
Despite all this against us, we were very proud in defeat and every player can be pleased with their performance, everyone gave me exactly what I asked for and how we walked off the park without at least something is a total travesty. Defensive errors of not winning the ball in the air and then not responding to the second ball led to the first goal early in the first half. It was a good goal for Westerham, but a poor one for Farnborough. With so many changes and so many players not having played together before we could have crumbled and fell apart, but we really got the bit between our teeth and responded very positively.
We got the ball out wide and Jamie Williams and Ray Perkins were really starting to go at the opposition down the flanks. Richard Davis had now got the better of his man and was starting to give the ball to Jamie Williams. Across the middle Gary was putting himself about again showing us a lot of heart with some solid challenges. Colin Judge was covering every blade of grass and providing a good shield in front of the back four. The back four themselves took 10 minutes to get in the game but once they sorted themselves out, they looked solid and composed with Aaron Carpenter being a good outlet on the right. Liam Williams and Barry Cleaver were working hard up front it was just a shame that neither of them could find that magic finish after quite a good few opportunities fell their way.
The first half was all us really and it was very difficult trudging off at half time being a goal down, due to a defensive error, but mainly due to not converting our own chances. The second half was a bit more of a scrappy affair but we still continued to push for the elusive equaliser.
I think we tried too hard in the second half and sometimes went for the glory ball too early instead of building possession and waiting for the correct opening. The midfield appeared to be by-passed in the second half, which was a shame as all the good play in the first half had come down the flanks. However, we still deserved something from the game and with 15 minutes to go the formation was changed to push a third body up front by reducing the back four to three. This would obviously leave us open for a counter attack and Westerham missed a sitter in the dying minutes but not before we hit the bar with an opportunity that could have so easily dropped in - that just about sums up our start to this season and a good shot which was well saved by the Westerham No1 who once again was outstanding in goal. The final whistle went and we felt disappointed, but it was a good game of football played in a good competitive spirit and a good advert for Division Two football.
After the game Clive Edwards (manager of Westerham) was awarded manager of the month - well done Clive, well deserved. 7 straight league wins and only conceding two goals is a real achievement.
My man of the match went to Adam Benningfield who deputised very well as captain and after a dodgy opening 10 minutes, performed excellent in thwarting the Westerham danger man. He also obtained half the votes from the players as well and Aaron Carpenter picked up around four votes.
Adam has improved greatly this season and is now showing the form that justifies my decision to select him for first team football.
Overall boys, a disappointing result but a pleasing performance and we truly showed that when the chips are down we can perform and there are plenty of players at this club who can do the business when called for.
I am sure the second team will be in good hands this season if the guys who played for me on Saturday keep playing the same way.
This week we have a very challenging game and we must be up for this one. We have Phoenix away. Phoenix were undoubtedly the best side that we played last year and are now top of the league above us. We have a full strong squad available for this cup fixture and we must seek to beat them but we will have to work hard, be focused and we need to start sharper. Selections for once this week have been difficult and there are a few changes. The challenge for the players not selected is to play well for the side that they have been chosen for and earn their place and shirt back again, I have been very patient this season with a lot of players and now it is roles reversed. From now on in, a lot of players are becoming available and it will now be up to individuals to fight, graft and earn the shirt off each other''s back. This involves attendance at training and at matches and of course ability, but everyone''s future lies in their own hands. If not selected, do not be desponded - earn your way back in the team and you will certainly not be forgotten.
Big game next week boys we need a good cup run.