Saturday 13th January 2007
Barry Bundock West Kent Challenge Shield
By Shaun Keddle
Squad: 1.St John; 2.Small; 3.Cleaver, L (15.Wright); 4.Davis; 5.Judge; 6.Harrigan (12.Pragnell); 7.Williams, J; 8.Perkins; 9.Williams,L; 10.Cleaver,B; 11.Martin; Subs Not Used: 14.Connelly; 16.Keddlinihio; 19.Mace,D
Good performance, shame about the result!
On Saturday we travelled to Lee for a quarter final against Tudor Sports who had convincingly beaten us at our place earlier in the season. We had not kicked a ball for 5 weeks but we had a strong squad capable of getting a result. A place in the semi final of the West Kent Challenge Shield was at stake.
The game did not start that well for us and we appeared to be a little rusty which was understandable given the lack of games of recent times. The game was relatively scrappy with not alot on goal. With only around 10 minutes gone a runner from midfield broke through our defences and fired past the back peddling St John in goal to give Tudor the lead with their first attempt on goal. This appeared to spark us into life and we started to get to grips with the game and started to get hold of the ball and knock a few moves together; however, despite the possession, attempts on goal were few and far between and we seem to fumble around a bit in their box. The half finished with Tudor a goal to the good, but Farnborough looking the better side just before the break.
At half time there was not a lot to say, but keep on doing what we were doing and we needed more attempts on goal as the wind was with us in the second half.
We really upped the ante in the second half and started to dominate with intent and within five minutes we were level after Harrigan capitalised on hesitancy within the Tudor defence and coolly slotted past the keeper into the corner. We were in the ascendancy and further pressurised to create more opportunities. A free kick 30 yards out with the wind behind us gave Richard Davis an opportunity to unleash his bullet like left foot, which he duly did, hammering the ball and goalkeeper into the roof of the net. A truly fantastic strike. With twenty minutes to go we knew that Tudor would now come at us and we had to be prepared. However, everyone was up for the challenge and we were defending with a lot of pride and passion limiting their forwards to scraps and slim pickings.
Another fantastic opportunity was carved out on a fast break after good work from Williams, L and Perkins resulted in Williams Jnr finding a defender’s feet when it appeared easy to slot the ball home - a clear cut opportunity to put the result beyond doubt. With around 20 minutes to go in normal time, Tudor equalised through a very soft goal due to another individual error – calling and not coming. The goal took the stuffing out of us for the next 10 minutes as it was a major disappointment, and it appeared that Tudor would push on and nick it. However, we manage to pull ourselves back into and created further opportunities with Martin thumping a header against the bar and towards the goal line; other opportunities only required a toe-end to convert. Full time was called and extra time it was.
The first period of extra time saw us take the edge and it looked like we might nick a goal as we looked more likely to score. Fatigue was taking its toll on both sides as either team had not played since early December. Into the second half of extra time and with around 7 minutes left – it was howler time. Judge did extraordinarily well to stretch and cut out a whipped-in cross from the left. The ball rolled back to St John who somehow judged it being a back pass and let it roll into the empty net. I don’t think anyone could believe what had happened. Tudor were buoyant and we had shot ourselves in the foot. In the last few minutes we changed formation and made some substitutions to try and at least get a replay (which would not have suited anyone!) and in the dying embers of the game Tudor added a fourth on the break. 4-2 it finished and we were out of the cup.
I do not feel the result reflected the game as we did play very well and battled for everything. I think we had more of the ball and had the better opportunities, but once again we shot ourselves in the foot with some key errors at either end. MOM was Judge who also cleared up on the players voting as well, receiving around 12 of the 15 votes. Well done on a fantastic display – we need to replicate some of Judge''s positives in our play especially the talking which is clear, positive and encouraging and does get everyone going, especially at key times. Perkins also put in a performance to mention as well as Davis, who really had his work cut out.
We will not lose many games if we play like this for every game. The league is wide open and we have only played 7 games. We still have to break a nasty habit of not getting results away from home. This week we have Borough and again we have a strong squad so I will have to make changes. Please bear with me as we will need a strong squad to get through our fixture backlog. As a word of warning, please expect quite a few evening fixtures during March, April and May as I can predict that we will be behind schedule and the worst weather is yet to come. Please prime your bosses and missus etc, and don’t say that I have not told you so!
Once again, despite the result, well done - there are far more positives than negatives from this fixture.