Sunday 17th December 2006
By Vince Wray
This team just goes from strength to strength, they don’t know when they’re beaten and tirelessly attempt to play their passing game whatever the opposition or conditions.
Croydon had won all of their games in all competitions going into this fixture and are top of the A division. However we’ve also had our own success story in the first half of the season, top of the table and dropping just 2 points on the way. We’ve never been top of the table at this point in the season previously and we’ve never been further than the quarter finals of the cup before today. We, therefore, had a record to beat, if we could get to the semi finals that would be the furthest the club have ever been in this competition. We knew the quality of the opposition and knew it would take every ounce of our skill, guts and determination to overcome them. This fixture represented a real challenge, could the boys rise to the challenge?
Farnborough didn’t really get off to a good start, Croydon creating all the early pressure and several goalscoring opportunities. We looked detached from each other, defence, midfield and attack not linking up well. We were too deep in defence, the back line hardly got a chance to push up because the ball didn’t stick when it went to our forwards. We weren’t passing to players, we were passing to space and the channels for players to attack. That’s not our game. The midfield had switched off and were not offering themselves as a link between defence and attack. Additonally we did not win hardly any second ball. It may not have seemed like it to some spectators but we were completely out of co-ordination and were not communicating. Our flank play in defence was totally imbalanced but only because of lack of communication. Simple talking could have done the trick but it didn’t happen and it was no surprise when Croydon took the lead through work down their left flank and a shot from the left hand side of the box past Burkett. Burkett had done well keeping the score down to 1-0 at half-time.
Farnborough started the 2nd half with a re-organised defence (Skrine on for Barnett) and midfield. Suddenly we started passing the ball with effect, the forwards held on to the ball and the defence pushed up. We were able to apply our own passing game and create pressure. Just five minutes into the 2nd half Stevens won a 50/50 challenge and went through on goal with the inevitable outcome – a left footed drive into the corner of the net. Croydon had been stung. Farnborough grew in confidence and just a few minutes later Laurent latched onto a through ball and finished with a shot over the keeper’s head 2-1. Croydon were visibly shaken and rallied, putting long balls into our box and trying to get on the end of them. In the same passage of play, Fullone headed off the line and Burkett managed to palm away what seemed like a certain goal, a remarkable effort by both players to keep the ball out. Farnborough defended confidently and Croydon were left wanting. Our third came with 10 minutes left, from a free kick from Stevens after he had been bundled over in the right flank corner. He crossed and Myatt headed in at the far post. Croydon were well and truly cooked.
Well done lads. Another magnificent team effort. Every player played their part in this victory. On to the semi-finals and still unbeaten into 2007, Merry Christmas.