Saturday 7th October 2006
1st round replay
By Shaun Keddle
Beaten by a better side after a lacklustre second half performance.
In all honesty we were always going to struggle with this fixture, given our injury woes. With both the Williams boys, Judge and Harrigan out through injury as well as the absentees of Carpenter & Connelly it was always going to make this an uphill struggle. However, we did have a side capable of stepping up to the challenge, but that challenge ended as early as the whistle for the second half.
The pack was shuffled for this fixture due to having only 11 fit players. In fact we only started the game with 2 players playing in the same positions as the previous week. The side lined up with St John between the sticks, Pragnell and Connor in the full back positions, Davis and Clark as centre halves, Hardy and Ives in the middle, Small and Cleaver on the flanks and Perkins and Harrigan up front.
The game had a lively start with Farnborough pressuring the Guru goal but a break after a few minutes lead to a foul in the box by Connor, after he went to ground late, led to a penalty. St John saved well from the resulting spot kick to make his personal tally this season to 6 out of 7 penalty saves, a fantastic record. However, it was only a few minutes later when indecisiveness meant their clever forward went through, rounded St John and bagged an early lead. The goal settled the game down and both sides started to play some good football. It was clear that both sides could play a bit and the decent surface allowed the good football to flow. Farnborough’s equaliser came after about half an hour when a corner into a dangerous area meant that Ives could stab the ball home from a few yards out.
Just before the half a break away move left us napping and players were pulled out of position which resulted in Nanak taking a 2-1 lead into half time.
At the half, both sides looked pretty even and we spoke about using the left hand side as our outlet. We spoke about being tight to our men in the box, but not diving in.
As the half started our play capitulated and we lacked shape and invention. The little niggles started to creep in, lack of discipline and responsibility. Right from the second half whistle Guru kept the ball well for large periods of time, when we did get the ball we gave it away far too easily and surrendered alot of ground. We appeared to have the stuffing knocked out of us and this was apparent when lack of closing down meant a Guru player ran into the box and finished in the roof of the net. Another defensive error lead to an easy fourth and the game was done as a contest in the first 20 mins of the second half. 4-1 it finished and Guru deserved the game on their second half performance alone. Guru are a useful team and I wish them luck in the next round.
“We can now concentrate on the league” as all shrewd managers say and this is clearly the case. We know that promotion is our priority this year, but we must remember that we will not even come close if we continue to play the way we have over the last couple of weeks. The changes will come this week as I have the majority of my squad back and it is obvious that I have to make changes to a side that has conceded 8 goals in two matches – which quite frankly is not good enough.
We have two big league games coming up back to back and we must improve. We need to cut out the bickering, lose the ego and play as a team. We need to work harder than we have and take responsibility. We need to stop diving in in vital areas and situations, stay on our feet and hold onto the ball for greater periods of time. Finishing also needs to be worked on as opportunities were not taken when presented.
An improvement is expected this week.