Saturday 10th December 2005
By Shaun Keddle
A deserved result after a good performance against a good, young, footballing side.
With mixed form going into this game but an encouraging performance the previous week, it was always going to be difficult against a young and energetic Tonbridge side which are capable of giving any side in this division problems. Tonbridge had only lost one league game before this fixture and were probably favourites to take it.
The match got underway and within two minutes of the start Liam Williams was through on goal and missed a gilt edged opportunity to take an early lead. Despite the game starting with a spark, neither side really grabbed hold of this fixture, both sides appeared to be lethargic and in second gear. Neither keeper was called into any sort of action during a very ‘boring’ first half but Jim St John in goal commanded everything in his area with big shouts and reassuring hands. Our back four were gain solid and giving nothing away. The game was there for the taking but both sides were cautious and a lot of the game was played either in midfield or in our half. Tonbridge looked the better side at the half, but with no real cutting edge. Danny Clark tried to rally the troops before the half, but the half just fizzled out to a boring climax.
At the half we spoke about tempo and urgency, because that is when we play best. Get the ball moving quickly and sharply and be more reactive to the second ball. We won literally all our first challenges, but never seemed to capitalise on any loose or second balls. We also needed a bit more life in the performance as we were very quiet.
The second half started and the game sprung into life, we were more positive, more attacking and more inventive. More chances fell to the likes of Adam Dawson, Liam Williams, Aaron Carpenter and Matt Wilson but we failed to capitalise due to hesitancy, not enough confidence in pulling the trigger and Tonbridge’s very pacy skipper (who looked their best player) thwarting some good attacks. It also appeared that the FOBG lady luck was on ragweek.
The footballing was now starting to flow and we were now on top and looking to capitalise on a good second half performance. Our defence was really solid with Dave Harrigan easily sweeping up bits and pieces at the back and Richard Davis pinging the ball around with his sweet left foot. Sam Small now looked the part at right back and again got better and more confident as the game went on. Steve Pester was little troubled by his man, due to some tight marking. Danny Clark was sitting in as the safety man and breaking down most attacks through the middle. Also in the middle, Matt Wilson started to really come into the game and started dictating the play, but also getting involved in his defensive duties as well. Neil had not seen a lot of the ball in the first half, but started to come into the game now. Aaron on the right started to gel with Sam and proved a source of supply. Liam’s strength and pace and ability to win literally all his aerial challenges was always a problem for Tonbridge and Adam Dawson’s trickery and skill was forcing the defenders backwards. Jim St John in goals had little to do in the second half, which is a sign of a good team performance.
Despite being on top we were missing too many chances and in previous games, this has cost us dearly. This looked as though this could be another one of those games but a handball in the area during injury time led to a converted spot kick by Adam Dawson. Tonbridge disputed the ref’s decision and felt aggrieved by the penalty kick, but I thought it was a good decision and a good overall performance by the referee. The game ended shortly afterwards and overall I thought we were deserved winners.
Man of the match was given to Matt Wilson for a commanding display and Matt showed truly what he is capable of and what an asset he is to the team. Danny Clark and Richard Davis were the other two names that picked up a few votes each, both with solid displays.
So what do we get out of this game? Firstly - we have beaten a good side, which Tonbridge are. Secondly, we need to learn to attack balls in the box. This is something we are weak at. We are good from a defensive point of view, but just don’t seem interested when the ball is up the other end. The deliveries into the box have been good and we are not capitalising on this asset. Thirdly, finishing – age old problem and we will continue to work on it. We also have two very good strikers, but we do need them to work together more. It’s something that can be worked on in training.
Next week we have Wickham Park away. Again, a big performance will be asked for to end the year on a high against a side that have only lost twice this season, but our form over the last two weeks has been good, so it will be a good encounter. If we play well, it will make the evening''s entertainment very worthwhile. Which reminds me, don’t forget your ball gowns and presents on Saturday!
Well done, onwards & upwards!