Saturday 2nd September 2006
By Shaun Keddle
We kicked off this season’s campaign with a good result and dominating performance despite a few big names missing.
As I stated in my pre-match notes, I have a really good feeling about this season and Saturday’s game proved that. Even before kickoff we were all up for this. Everyone was early, everyone was up the top pitch supporting the reserves (who looked very good with a number of decent performances) and team spirit was excellent. Preparation was spot on with everyone eager and listening. The warm up was conducted with purpose with Judge and Pragnell getting everyone going and adding a sense of humour to the serious approach. After the pre-match talk, the roar from the changing room said it all. We were up for this one and we wanted to win. We started with St John in goal, Small, Davis, Connelly and Pragnell across the back, Williams J, Hardy, Judge and Cleaver across the middle with Perkins and Williams L taking the front slots. The bench was occupied by Carpenter, Ives and Connor.
Our performances were helped by quite a few local supporters who were present to lend their support. The new match day programmes went down a storm and the match day posters are to follow. We really need to promote the club this year.
Despite uncharacteristic weather for the opening game of the season, right from the kickoff, we made our intentions known as we pretty much dominated the game from then on. Plenty of opportunities were created with some flowing moves and players were starting to put into practice some of the things that we had worked on in training. Set pieces from corners and free kicks were close and creating opportunities, something that we were very poor on last season. Nothing much was coming back from Addeyans, but they were defending with a resolute attitude and kept at it. Across the middle Judge and Hardy were covering plenty of ground and putting a foot in where need be. Chances came and went, but the positives were that we were creating opportunities and it was just a matter of taking them. Just before the half the Addeyans keeper spilled the ball to Perkins who coolly slotted away from close range but was adjudged to foul, although no Farnborough player was within yards of the keeper. The half amazingly ended 0-0 despite us dominating proceedings.
At the half we knew the game was there for the taking and the hard work put in by Addeyans was always going to take its toll. We spoke about hitting the target as knew plenty more opportunities were going to come our way. We also spoke about continuing to replicate what we were doing, especially on set plays and be patient as we knew goals would come.
Not too long after the restart, chances again came our way and the deadlock was broken when Williams neatly finished a sweeping team move. We were now rampant and Williams, J added a second after a fantastic finish into the far corner. 2-0 up and cruising. Another moment of controversy occurred when Pragnell was harshly adjudged to have handled in the box. The spot kick was superbly saved by St John between the sticks and pushed away to safety. 10 minutes later, more controversy was to follow when Pragnell bought down the Addeyans winger in the box. A penalty was awarded which was the correct decision, but the sending off to follow looked very harsh. This time the penalty was ballooned high and over the bar. "It’s all in the eyes" I was reliably informed. Substitutions were now difficult to make after the sending off but Williams L was injured due to a dead leg and was replaced by Ives, and Carpenter replaced Cleaver with around 10 minutes to go. So down to 10 men but we still continued to dominate and with around 5 minutes left Williams, J finished off a box to box team move to bag all three points. This effectively gave us the points and we go into this week’s Meridian game with great confidence.
What a great start and some great football played. We now look like we have plenty of goals in us and really do look mean at the other end. Our play was all built on the very basics of football – hard work, team spirit and desire. All those three were in abundance on Saturday afternoon. At times the football was a joy to watch with many impressed people on the sidelines. I am sure we will see those faces again and it makes football such a better game if we can attract more faces to the club. The back four was really well controlled by Connelly with the solid, but rather unlucky Pragnell in support. Small looked comfortable and clever on the right and Davis was rock solid on the left. The middle was all based on hard work with great box to box performances from Hardy and Judge. Cleaver on the left never gave the ball away and was always an option with Williams on the right meaning business. Up front Perkins was just class and Williams, L was typically strong and bullish. Ives and Carpenter blended into the play very well when they appeared.
Man of the match was a difficult one for me to pick, but having the ability to see the bigger picture ;) I went for Judge after a very energetic and hard working performance. His pre-match contributions in the changing room and during the warm ups where he showed plenty of character also added towards the decision. Williams, J got the players man of the match vote closely followed by Perkins. Mace got the alternate MOM award and is now on detention every Saturday for the next month!
It''s performances like this that build winning seasons.
Player''s View: Matty Pragnall got booked, then gave away a penalty, then decided to play right wing, then left wing, then in front of Judgie, then gave away another penalty, then got sent off, then got banned from running the line which led to Macey being sent to the sin bin.
No wonder I had a headache on Saturday evening!!