Saturday 3rd March 2007
As the players arrived at the club for the early afternoon kick off, the first home game for the Fourths at the club for what seems like an eternity, the disappointing news of another unfit home pitch had to be taken on board along with instructions to travel to our new home venue for the afternoon at Sparrows Den.
Players hastily made their way, overcoming the major road closures on route and an initial 12 out of the 14 players in the travelling squad that had arrived on time took to the pitch, with a starting eleven selected and arranged minutes before kick-off.
Unfortunately the referee arranged for the Farnborough venue was not available to travel to Sparrows Den and I stepped in at the eleventh hour to referee the type of game that referees up and down the country detest, a match filled with sly comments directed at every decision that is made.
The unfamiliar starting line up included Harry Bidewell in goal, who truely had a Jekyll and Hyde afternoon, performing admirably between the sticks in the first half, dealing with everything thrown at him then reverting to an outfield player in the second period, in which he decided to leave the proceedings early, helped on his way by the unimpressed Des Fallon.
The first half was a period where neither side slipped into a rhythm, which seemed to effect our opponents more than us, as a continual bleating at anything and everything began.
Adam Daniels had to be replaced through injury early on and the reshuffled pack led to a frontline of Bobby Moulson and Paul Edwards, a midfield of Laurence Smith, Djan Akwasi, George Hillman and Joe Oatley, with a rearguard of Lee Sheppard, Steve Blanchard, Mark Doyle and Michael Seymour.
An uremarkable first half reached its conclusion and the younger players were replaced by senior players and by no means had their performances been below par.
The second period at mid paced tempo, again with no side taking the upper hand. This unfortunately was not to continue as the South Star forward who had used up all his energies moaning , was replaced by a talented left winger who was to complement the steadily improving right winger of South Star and between them opened up Farnborough to assist and provide three quality finishes for their side.
With time dwindling away and now down to ten men, Farnborough pushed on and, with the energy levels of all the players improving, started to create their own chances. A freekick was given away by South Star thirty yards from goal and from the resulting lofted ball from Gary Harrigan into the penalty area, Michael Seymour was deliberately bundled to the ground. A hotly contested penalty was given but Gary Harrigan, usually the cleanest striker of the ball, managed to mishit his shot just enough so that the goalkeeper could manage to fall over and direct the ball onto a post, with the ball eventually scrambled off the goal line.
The continual bleating of the opposition seemed to be the focus of our opponents'' energies and like when you''re waiting for a bus and two arrive, another penalty was awarded, this time for a blatant pulling back of Djan as he closed in on goal. A straightforward decision and agreed by the guilty culprit, but somehow disputed by the South Star centre forward who rarely ventured from the centre circle all afternoon. As his protests continued and after being told to be quiet from not just me but by his team mates as well, this man with all the guile of a footballing "Chris Eubank", talked his way into the referee''s notebook. For the benefit of anyone from South Star who reads this report, could they point out to this uneducated man that he was cautioned for the offence of `showing dissent by word or action'' as outlined in Law 12 of Association Football.
The penalty this time was despatched past the goalkeeper by Gary Harrigan before he had time to blink. The game was played out to its conclusion with our opponents the victors at three goals to one.
Special mentions for the afternoon go to young Steve who ran the line superbly and George Hillman who chased every cause throughout the afternoon.