Saturday 14th May 2011
By Colin Brazier
On a warm spring day at Farrow Fields, Farnborough, "The Guild" fought back against a spirited Metrogas side to gain the single point we needed to edge out Eltham Palace (on goal difference) and Tudor Sports in what had been a nail-biting three way race virtually all season.
Billy Webb's acrobatic 51st minute equaliser was harsh on the visitors who, with nothing to play for as far as the league table was concerned, had dominated the first half. Following the goal, though, the Guild settled and fully deserved the draw.
Metrogas were the sharper side from the kick-off and immediately put the home team on the back foot. Farnborough struggled to get any kind of rhythm going and threatened mainly from set pieces. The visitors took a deserved lead on the half hour when Guild keeper Stewart Copeland was adjudged to have brought down a Metrogas forward. Just minutes earlier the keeper had saved in a one-on-one situation. There were few complaints about Mr. Keating's decision, and Lewis Nightingale deftly sent Stuart the wrong way with the spot kick.
Farnborough manager Darren Burkett's half time talk was of encouragement rather than beratement, and this approach was repaid by his players' increased second half urgency. The reward was almost immediate. Metrogas failed to clear a bouncing ball properly and it sat up perfectly for Billy Webb to thrash the ball home from 15 yards with a flying left foot shot.
The goal inevitably gave us a great lift and we came close to a second on several occasions, but the 'Gas defence held firm. Metrogas began to threaten a winner themselves in the latter stages, but the Farnborough nerves survived intact and the large crowd greeted the final whistle with gusto!
A word for the three officials; the game was played in a competitive but good spirit and Darren Keating, with his assistants Phil Cheverton and Trevor Bailey, controlled it superbly.
The title is a just reward for Darren Burkett and his team after deep but unsuccessful runs in three cup competitions coupled with the bad winter weather had left them having to cram in 13 matches in 44 days, including three encounters against their title rivals and two local derbies against Orpington.
They will be renewing "hostilities" with these teams in the Premier Division next season but for now they are entitled to enjoy the summer in the glow of a job well done.
Promotion to the premier division of the Vandanel League requires us to make several significant improvements to the clubhouse and grounds this summer. We also have alot of work to do for the top pitch to drain more effectively. Any help will be much needed and welcomed throughout the summer.
Man of the match: The Whole Squad