Saturday 2nd October 2010
By Colin Brazier
Norman Park Nightmare Exorcised by Rejuvenated 4ths
This is what I wrote after our second match – and first win – of the season:
“Being realistic, we cannot expect to win the league; we can, though, be competitive against every side in the division, get used to playing together, and have a few good performances and results along the way.”
Well this was definitely one of those “good performances”. We have now played a full quarter of our league matches this season, and have a decent return of 7 points from the 4 games, all of those points coming in a 3-game “road trip” before our return to Farrow Fields this Saturday. We sit a healthy 3rd (out of 9) in the table, having lost to the top side, beaten the two bottom teams, and drawn with the side sitting exactly halfway; so we cannot get carried away and must build on this good start.
Saturday’s trip to Norman Park to take on another “new” side, Bywood Athletic, turned into a revisit of one of the badder days of last season. Bywood are, in fact, last season’s bottom side Royston, against whom almost a year ago we coasted into a two goal lead at the same venue only to throw it away to draw 2-2 before losing the return fixture at home a week later.
With Jez out for another 3-4 weeks, we again had a problem in the goalkeeping position until Ivor “Have Gloves will Travel” Swatton happened to pop by the clubhouse Saturday lunchtime. Des opted for him over Neil Barnes (a harder decision than it should have been!) and with Luke Allen, Mantas Gaiglas and Mark Edwards all returning but both Steve Blanchards away, we lined up as follows, with Matt Lenton having his first game for us:
Ivor Swatton – GK
Richard Whitlock – RB
Todd Arnold – CB
Mark Edwards – CB
Colin Brazier – LB
James Foyle – RM
Matt Lenton – CM
Neil Barnes – CM
Scott Barnes – LM
Mantas Gaiglas – CF
Matt Gardiner – CF
Luke Allen and Connor Barclay were on the bench.
The first 25 minutes were closely contested with both sides full of attacking intent. The first goal would be crucial, and it was the Guild who made the breakthrough, and what a goal it was. Possession was won in midfield, the ball was swiftly moved from Scott to James to Mantas, wide out on the right: a threatening position, if not a scoring one. Mantas had other ideas though, as he hit a crashing volley over the keeper and into the far corner – 1-0 Farnborough! This rocked the home side back on their heels, and a second good goal soon followed as Mantas collected another pass from Scott, this time in a central position just outside the area, and coolly curled his shot low inside the right hand post to give us a two goal cushion.
Bywood then had their best spell of the match, and prompted by their no. 9 in midfield, pushed us back, almost breaking through on a couple of occasions. Ivor got his fist to a far post cross and Colin and Todd got to a Bywood forward as he threatened to break through the back line. At the other end, Matt Gardiner got to the byeline on more than one occasion to keep the home defence under threat.
Just as the half time whistle approached, we launched one final attack of the half, and this time it was James who found himself wide out on the right hand side. With few options available to him, he crashed a shot past a stunned keeper for our third goal.
Half time, Bywood 0 - 3 FOBG.
It was a scoreline that was hard on the home team but reflected the difference in finishing ability between the two sides.
In the second half Neil and Matt Lenton got closer to their dangerous midfielder who was forced out to the right wing in the end, such was the effectiveness of this move. We kept our foot on the gas and a good move was finished well by Scott for his first goal for the club – and in adult football – and then Richard capped a fine display at right back by allowing James to take a corner and then wandering into the area to put it in for our 5th goal. By this time Luke had come on for Matt Lenton and then Connor replaced Scott with a few minutes to go.
Bywood refused to give up and put a few dangerous crosses and corners into our goalmouth, one of which fell for a short range finish to end the scoring at 1-5.
Man of the Match deservedly went to Mantas for two terrific goals and much besides.
A great performance with a result to match; and now that selection is becoming really tricky, Des is taking a well earned two week break in Spain to leave Mark Edwards with the headaches.
Man of the match: Mantas Gaiglas