Saturday 30th October 2010
By Colin Brazier
Disappointing End to a Terrible Week
It has been a bad week, and a horrendous one for promising young striker Mantas Gaiglas, who suffered a broken leg after 5 minutes of his Third XI debut last Saturday, while the rest of us were enjoying a week off. The whole of FOBG wishes him a speedy recovery.
The reason for our free day was the folding of Bywood Athletic, whom we had beaten 5-1 in an earlier fixture, which has since been struck from the league records (but not from our fixture list!).
So on to this week, and the season’s first cup tie, an Ashgrove Trophy last 16 game at Coldharbour, and a chance to suss out league rivals AFC Mottingham.
Selection-wise, we had the return of Todd, not in itself complete compensation for the loss of our leading scorer, but to give the lad his due he did get his name on the scoresheet (at the right end, might I add!) and brought back some (OK, most!) of the missing vocality of recent weeks. Also making a welcome return to the squad was Tom Smart. To complete our squad we had a new signing from Portsmouth (no, their finances aren’t quite THAT bad!) University, Graeme Barnes (yes, another one!), slotting straight into a central midfield berth, possibly because of Matt Lenton’s late appearance, but I can’t be sure. Neil “Utility” Barnes was given the unenviable task of stepping into Mantas’ boots up front.
Our line up, then, was…
Ivor Swatton – GK
Steve Blanchard jnr - RB
Steve Blanchard snr – CB
Todd Arnold – CB
Colin Brazier – LB
James Foyle – RM
Luke Allen – CM
Graeme Barnes – CM
Scott Barnes – LM
Neil Barnes – CF
Connor Barclay – CF
Matt Lenton, Mark Edwards and Tom Smart made up our full complement of subs.
New skipper Steve Blanchard Snr won the toss and elected to play down the slope in the first half, no doubt to help get us off to a confident start following our recent run of bad results. Well, we didn’t get out of our half for the first 20 minutes!!
A typically rumbustious cup tie, this one, with both teams taking full advantage of the season’s first wet pitch to try to impose themselves on the opposition. As a result the game struggled to find any fluency, numerous free kicks peppering the play, most of them seeming to be given against the Guild. It was from one of these that Mottingham opened the scoring, with their forward finding room to head goalwards, Ivor parried but the ball fell nicely for a tap in. 1-0 Mottingham. Soon after we might have been two down but for a great point blank save from Ivor which did enough to divert the ball onto the bar, a variation from his usual tip overs.
Slowly we started to get into the game from an offensive point of view with man of the match Graeme Barnes and Luke Allen prompting from centre midfield, and it soon became apparent that AFC were less comfortable defending than they were attacking. After one of the home side had been fortunate to escape with a yellow card after kicking out at Colin, we equalised when the aforementioned Guild left back sent Todd up into AFC’s area and flighted a free kick deep into the danger zone. The loose ball was laid back into Todd’s path and he just got there before a defender to find the corner of the net. Game on!!
Farnborough had a firm grip on the game now and following the third of a string of corners, Colin’s cross from the right wing to the edge of the area found a pair of Barnes (just like his usual crosses!). Scott deferred to the call behind him, and dad hit a waist high volley goalwards but also skywards. Neil, who will be dining out on this for years, will have you believe the late, lethal dip on the shot was a result of controlled technique, but I must admit I was scanning the skies for a stunned pigeon as I went back for the restart. Pains me to say it, but great goal mate!
Buoyed by this sudden turn in events we strived for the all-important third goal before we had to switch ends, but it was not to be and we had to be content with a 2-1 lead at the half.
The match turned on a couple of decisions 10 minutes after the restart. Steve B. Jnr was penalised for a handball when the ball had hit him from behind after he had been pushed on the edge of the area. The free kick was blasted over the wall at pace and found the top corner, but Ivor’s view had been obscured by a couple of AFC players standing in front of him in an offside position. The young referee decided that they were not interfering and our fragile lead was gone. Worse still, we conceded another goal soon after and found ourselves chasing the game, which became an exciting end to end affair. At one end Ivor dived to save low to his right and Colin waved a shot by which hit the post, and at the other we made – and failed to take – good chances.
AFC held on to progress to the quarter finals where we wish them well. It had been a terrific match to play in, had threatened to boil over on more than one occasion, but in the main was well refereed by Mr Hilden.
What? Oh yes, 4-2, the irrelevant fourth goal coming from a breakaway in the last minute.
So we dust ourselves down and get back to league action this week, looking for our first home points of the season against Lord Hood.
Man of the match: Graeme Barnes