Saturday 11th November 2006
Ron Pope Cup
A starting line up of James, Lee, Steve, Rob and Mark at the back with Laurence, Stuart, Gary and Billy in the middle, Bobby and Michael up front, Tom and Paul on the bench.
Could this crack team (that’s crack) trouble an outfit that were two divisions above us, and over the last couple of years had good runs in various cups?
The answer was a most definite yes.
After various different routes to Dulwich, some much better than others……we all arrived to discuss the opposition and how we needed to be strong from the off and show that we could give a good account of ourselves.
We welcomed back Mark Friend and new recruit James Stevens who said that he was surfing the net during the week looking for a local football club, I’m not too sure as MILF and FOBG are very close on the keyboard…!
From the start we looked OK and to make James feel at home we gave him his first opportunity of a one on one within a couple of minutes, which he saved and was then frantically cleared by the grateful defence.
We started to string a decent number of passes together and were the better side when we took the lead after about 20 minutes. Michael tapped the goal in but the talk was of the 50-yard cross-field ball to Bobby. As I hit it I shouted to him not to break stride..it was that good?!
We tried to push on but Hollington kept us on the back foot as they tried to get back onto level pegging. On his return Mark hit the post twice...at the wrong end and one was cleared, just the right side of the post.
At half time we knew that Hollington were going to come at us and we needed to keep our composure. We tried to do this but unfortunately their right midfielder did not and was red carded for dissent. Hollington were again stretched at the back by a hard working Bobby and Michael and the ball was well controlled by Bobby and he chipped the keeper to put us 2-0 up.
We tried to strengthen our defence by Stuart now sacrificing his midfield role and now sitting just in front of the back four. Also Tom came on for Laurence and Paul for Billy, which gave some extra legs on the heavy pitch.
We tried to hold on with continued strong defending by Steve but the breakthrough came when the ball Rica shaded (Shep, what the **** is Rica shaded??? - Ed.) ricocheted off me to fall to their front man to slot home. 10 minutes to go...could we hold on (well you know we didn’t..!) and a cross from the right was headed in to bring them level.
We were now thinking about extra time but more cup drama was to come.
A shot from another corner hit my arm (ball to hand) and I was harshly awarded a penalty against me.
A couple of minutes left and a chance for Hollington to score and save us playing in the dark. He missed and Steve cleared.
2-2 and extra time of 30 minutes was to be played...no golden goal and everyone was feeling knacked after a hard fought 90 minutes.
After a game of 50-yards defence splitting passes, Hollington’s third was an old fashioned 6 yard out toe punt. We again showed great spirit and pushed on the equalise with a lovely side foot from Bobby.
Hollington scored another 2 to make it 5-3 but again we showed great spirit by scoring with a couple of minutes left to ensure they could not relax.
Good game lads and thanks to Neil for doing the line all game.
Also how’s my luck..said I would do the match report before I was told that I also had the kit on the first really muddy weekend!
A helicopter hovering overhead, a police car setting up a road block & kids being questioned by the local constabulary highlighted the fact that we had arrived at the home ground of Peckham Town F.C., shared by our hosts for the day, Hollington Y.P.C.
The draw for the first round of the Ron Pope Cup had brought together a Premier side with cup winning pedigree & our League Two side. Fortunately, Farnborough were in no mood to roll over & produced as spirited & gritted performance from a team representing the club this season.
The team was a mixture of youth & wise heads boosted by the return to action of Mark Friend & the addition of our new goalkeeper James Stevens.
The game quickly settled into the familiar pattern of play for the entire afternoon, Hollington pressure, followed by patterns of play that frustrated our Premier League opponents. The first half finished with a one-nil lead to Farnborough, courtesy of some fine individual play by Bobby Moulson & finished off by Michael Seymour.
The opposition had already set about their intimidation & crude challenges on the younger players, which eventually led to the dismissal of the Hollington right sided midfielder, who eventually left the field after verbally assaulting the referee.
Bobby Moulson scored the first of his hat-trick to make the score two-nil. Hollington pressed, but Farnborough sprang, Paul Edwards evading their last man of defensive line, only for their goalkeeper to save well, in hindsight a ball played to the unmarked Gary Harrigan may have been the better option. The last nine minutes of the ninety arrived & Hollington eventually hauled themselves back in to the game and forced extra time.
Extra time was an arduous thirty minutes for both teams, but a period in which Farnborough could not quite get their noses in front & despite some last minute flurries in the opposition penalty area, the equalising goal was not to arrive.
The match ended five-four, in twilight surroundings in favour of our hosts.
A fine team performance where not one single player threw in the towel & with a little more luck may have produced an upset.