Saturday 29th September 2007
By Shaun Keddle
The best side lost after an awesome goalkeeping display by Lee Gibbs in the Wickham goal teamed with some disappointing refereeing.
Saturday saw us have the opportunity to go three points clear. Wickham Park were the opponents and were coming into the game on the back of a loss to Borough United. Farnborough OBG were flying with three wins from three starts.
The game started well for us and the pressure led to a succession of corners in the first 10 minutes. The first corner was whipped in by Roots who found the head of Williams whose goalbound header was saved in Banks-like fashion by the Wickham No1. The second corner was tipped onto the bar again by the keeper after a fabulous header from Williams and on the third corner the Wickham stopper again denied us the lead with another good save. This gave us an early indication of what was to come and we should have realised that it was not going to be our day. The half was dominated by Farnborough. After half an hour Cooke, J was through on goal only to be denied by a fabulous tackle by Atkins. Further efforts were denied by great goalkeeping and poor finishing. The half finished 0-0 with FOBG in the driving seat.
At half time Williams was forced out through injury to be replaced by Cleaver, B. Within two minutes of the restart Wickham had their first opportunity on goal but the effort was well over the bar. Again Farnborough took control and lay siege of the Wickham goal. Chance after chance was missed, not due to particularity bad finishing, but Gibbs in the Wickham goal was playing a blinder and got his hands, feet and @rse to everything. With around 25 mins to go we did take the lead when Cooke, R found space in the box to finish from close range (that too was almost saved!). At this point with so much pressure and so many chances we thought the floodgates would open. However, we did not increase our efforts and poor defending from a corner gave Wickham the chance to equalise, which they duly accepted. A bitter pill to swallow being totally against the run of play, but mistakes cost goals and this was no exception. Evans replaced Head on the left side of midfield. The Guild pushed on to try and re-take the lead and a blatant penalty decision was laughed off by the referee after an obvious foul on Cleaver, B. 5 minutes later another individual error left the Wickham centre forward the easiest finish of his life and amazingly Wickham went ahead, I don’t think they could believe their luck.
With 15 minutes remaining we pushed Perkins upfront to change to a 3-4-3 formation to push for an equaliser. A ball through the middle found Cooke, J who eased past his marker and was blatantly pulled back in the box, a clear penalty that again the referee laughed off which incensed the Guild management and small crowd that had gathered. In this last third of the second half we were pretty much camped in the Wickham box only allowing them the odd breakaway. From a breakaway, Wickham nearly put the result beyond doubt but the sub''s effort flew over the bar. In the last 10 minutes we played some really good attacking football but failed to convert once again to the heroics of Gibbs who held a long range effort low and to his right. A further effort was stunningly tipped onto the bar and an amazing double save in the dying minutes meant Wickham Park had robbed the Guild on their own turf and took all three points.
The result was very disappointing, but we did play relatively well without really slipping into top gear. Nobody had a bad game and we created chance after chance. Gibbs in the Wickham goal had the game of his life and should maybe look at competing at a higher level. He must have pulled off 6 or 7 fantastic saves in which we looked certain to score. Additionally, there were at least 2 blatant penalty claims turned down (keeper would have probably saved them anyway!) in which they were laughed off by the referee in a poor second half performance by the man in black.
In the 90 minutes of the game, we switched off and relaxed for the 10 minute period after we took the lead and then paid the ultimate price for doing so. We cannot do this ever again. Our response and reaction to being a goal down was excellent and just could not find that piece of luck that we so richly deserved. I believe that every sde will have at least one of these games this season, let''s hope that this is our one out of the way.
There was an obvious man-of-the-match award for the Wickham No1 but FOBG’s equivalent was Roots in the centre for keeping the ball really well and really setting things off in the middle.
This week we have a distraction to the league and are away at Bromleian Sports in the Cup. I will look to change things slightly in this game so again your patience is requested.
Farnborough: 1. St John (GK); 2. McKeown (RB); 3. Cleaver, L (LB); 4. Judge© (CB); 5. Davis (CB); 6. Roots (CM); 7. Perkins (RM); 8. Cooke, R (CM); 9. Williams (CF) 10. Cooke, J (CF); 11. Head (LM)
Subs: 13. Evans for 11. Head; 14. Cleaver for 9. Williams Sub not Used: 12. Small
Wickham Park: 1. Gibbs; 2. Smith; 3. Atkins; 4. Vahdat; 5. Lincoln; 6. Richardson; 7. Anderson, J; 8. Ward; 9. Anderson, S; 10. Kane; 11. Rathbone.
Subs: 12. Johnson; 14. Coombe; 15. Oosterling.