Saturday 24th February 2007
By Paul Parsons
A real six pointer this one with Bexley Park a place above us in the league by three points but having played two more games.
The significance of the game was certainly not lost on Ben, who having only got in an hour ago from a night out in Hastings was looking rather pale, while Todd and Steve were recounting how they always have a whole weekend in Hastings and usually break the journey half way down at the Little Chef for a mixed grill and a comfort stop!
With Toby M drafted in between the sticks (thanks!) and the best subs lined up on the bench in the history of third team football at Farnborough (I would say that wouldn’t I?!) we were all raring to go from the off!
We started brightly and found lots of space down the flanks, with Colin and Chris V looking lively. Chris seemed more composed as the game went on and showed how he can take on and beat the opposition with some sure footwork and nifty dribbling. Colin was always on hand to back him up and both players were able to manage giving the useful number 12 short shrift when he tried to muscle his way down the wing. The first 20 minutes saw us have a number of good chances, much of which was due to Simon D''s relentless running off the ball, and along the line, creating space for Ben T and Rod to put the pressure on a poor Bexley defence, their keeper seeing most of the action with his feet (he didn’t seem to know he could use his hands until he picked up a back pass!).
From the ensuing free kick, Simon D had the presence of mind to take it quickly and Matt G pounced on the opportunity but steered it wide of the goal inside 6 yards. So many chances came and went in the first half that Bexley changed their keeper with 15 minutes to go in the first half! We went in at the half one goal to the good, with a Simon Davies goal from good interplay between Ben and Matt on the right hand side.
It should have been more and but for one save that Toby made we were in the ascendancy, however everyone knew that we had been in this position before and like last week, we needed to score goals to take the pressure off Joe and Jay and Todd at the back. Joe was solid all game, Jay was tackling solidly, and Todd just looked solid! The back four were excellent all game, riding a high line with an aggressive stance that proved too difficult for the Bexley players to break through.
Edd had tried a new centre midfield position with Rod taking over from the missing Ant, this is the second major change that Edd has tried in the second half of the season, (Jay moving to centre back being the other one) and it paid dividends, with Rod winning everything in the air in the first half, and in the second shutting down the Bexley midfield giving them no time on the ball, Rod (MOM) was tiring in the last 20 minutes after this punishing work rate up to this point. From nowhere Bexley drew a goal back, a well timed header from a corner that gave Toby no chance. Again a cruel game….
Immediately from kick off Steve V stroked a delightful ball on towards Ben T who caressed a chip over the keeper from 25 yards and we were back to a deserved 2-1 lead. The Bexley players were dumbfounded and heads went down. Soon after, Colin picked up the ball on the left, neat interplay with Chris led to Todd surging forward, creating an extra man and upsetting the Bexley defence and then Simon D showed what happens when he gets a little bit aggressive and, fighting for the ball, made his own chance by slotting the ball home as he turned and spun round on the ground after a 50/50 challenge. Edd made changes later in the game bringing on Aaron with 30 minutes to go who looked calm and assured for a player with nominal minutes of football this season, and then Paul Burford came on for two goal hero Simon D for the last 20 minutes.
Bexley got a second when the nippy winger managed to keep the ball in play and cross to the far post for the Bexley forward to hit at pace over the top of Toby, then Paul made an immediate impression when his strong near post header took a wicked deflection and made a nice safe 2 goal cushion for us to enjoy the remaining 10 minutes.
Toby came off the park, and looked as if he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as he has only ever won one game in the past 2 years at Farnborough!
All in all, an important victory and Edd made some important changes to a squad that is beginning to find its best shape.