Sunday 22nd January 2012
By Gary Rosslee
Our first home game of 2012 saw us entertain Charlton Rangers Vets who recorded a 1-0 victory over Farnborough in the reverse fixture back in November, a game in which Farnborough had the better possession and created the better chances only to be frustrated by the heroics of the Charlton Rangers goalkeeper, and unfortunately for the home team today it had an all too similar ring to it.
Farnborough who were missing several first team players either through injury or last minute calls of nature (Jumbo) lined up on the evenly challenged top pitch as follows.
Gary Rosslee, GK
Danny Saines, LB
Paul Brett, CB
Andy Cobham, CB
Chris Greenhough, CB
Matt Wright. LM
Grant Gable, CM
Paul Bailey, CM
Jason Miller, RM
Paul Tanton, CF
Simon Davies, CF
Jim St John
The man in the middle today was Mr Gable who deserves a special mention for an excellent exhibition of officiating.
Charlton kicked off assisted by the strong wind behind them albeit into the bright January sunshine and they set out to utilise their big target man up front from the start, a real physical presence with quick feet for a big bloke, and a sight Paul Brett must have thought he could have done without on his first game in 4 weeks or so. 10 minutes had gone by without either team carving out a chance to trouble each keeper when a mix-up between Rosslee and Brett allowed the big centre forward to roll the ball to his unmarked strike partner to despatch the ball home and gift Charlton Rangers the opening goal, 0-1 Charlton.
Charlton somehow doubled their lead in a matter of minutes of the restart and again their towering centre forward was at the heart of the play, this time unleashing a rocket of a strike from the right hand side of the penalty area to which Rosslee got fingertips to and pull of one of the saves of the season only for the ball to cruelly spin back off of the left hand upright and bounce invitingly to an unmarked player in the box to duly nod the loose ball into the empty net, 0-2 Charlton.
Farnborough immediately rallied back in an attempt to reduce the deficit before the break and Paul Bailey saw a long-range effort neatly saved by the Charlton keeper to keep the visitors\' 2-goal lead intact at half time.
Farnborough made a couple of changes at half time that saw the introduction of Jim St John at centre back and Matt Wilson into the centre of midfield, and it didn’t take them too long to get a stranglehold on the game at take it to Charlton with Jason Miller and Grant Gable predominantly at the thick of things and Farnborough soon got a lifeline back into the game when Matt Wilson was brought down from behind in the Charlton penalty area and the referee had not option but to point to the spot. With Farnborough’s regular penalty taker Richard Davies sidelined with injury up stepped Paul Bailey to take responsibility, His spot kick was driven straight down the middle but the goalkeeper who had opted to dive to his right hand side managed to save the ball with his trailing foot, much to the delight of his team mates and despair to the home team, still 0-2 Charlton.
With Charlton pushing forward to grab a third that would surely kill off the game Jason Miller started to find more space out wide on the right hand side and he tormented the Charlton defence with his mazy runs and excellent crosses into the danger area. It didn’t take long for Farnborough to pull a goal back, his cross finding Grant Gable who timed his leap to perfection to glance a header past the helpless visiting keeper, 1-2 Charlton and the momentum clearly with Farnborough.
The home team now searching for an equaliser found the Charlton goalkeeper in excellent form as he denied Matt Wilson low down at his right hand post from a sweetly struck shot outside the penalty box and then Grant Gable with a similar shot but this time destined for the top corner, Farnborough must have wondered what they had to do to score today. Farnborough did eventually have the ball in the Charlton net but the goal was ruled out for handball after Simon Davies bundled the ball in with his hand after more excellent play from Miller.
Charlton nearly restored their 2 goal cushion completely against the run of play but Rosslee was out of his goal quickly enough to save with his feet way outside the box. Then came one of the defining moments of the game came when Chris Greenhough fairly won a 50/50 tackle against the big Charlton centre forward and he was shortly replaced, for want of a better phrase! With Charlton’s attacking options clearly limited and their general fitness levels starting to flag it was Farnborough who enjoyed the possession of the ball and continued to press but with the away keeper playing out of his skin and with the time ticking away it looked like it was going to be a first recorded loss of the New Year for Farnborough. With 2 minutes to go Farnborough were awarded with a fee kick just inside the Charlton half on the left hand side, up stepped Jason Miler who delivered a peach of a ball into the Charlton penalty area and again Grant Gable leapt higher than his marker to deftly flick the ball behind him and into the top corner to spark scenes of joy but more importantly relief around Farrow Fields, 2-2 and no more than Farnborough deserved.
The ref soon blew for full time and Farnborough had salvaged a draw after going 2 goals down yet they knew they had created enough chances to win the game. Had it not have been for a couple of lapses at the back today and less heroics from the visiting keeper this would have been a completely different result.
MOM award today was a very close race between Jason Miller who set up both goals and numerous chances on top of that and Grant Gable who grabbed a couple of excellent headers as well as a battling all round midfield display, but as goals are the currency of football Grant just edge it.
Another special mention also must go to the man in the middle, Mr Gable Snr who officiated to a very high standard and made the game a joy to play in.
Next week we are at home on the big pitch where we will entertain Crofton Albion Vets, a team we have a good record against over the years, so hopefully we can end this run of draws and record a much needed win against our names.
Man of the match: Grant Gable