Saturday 20th January 2007
By Shaun Keddle
Squad: 1.St John; 2. Small; 3. Cleaver, L; 4. Wright; 5. Judge ©; 6. Pragnell; 7. Williams, J; 8. Perkins; 9. Harrigan; 10. Williams, L (15. Cleaver, B); 11. Connelly, N
Subs not used: 12. Martin; 14. Davis
Once again a real decent performance without all 3 points to show.
Selections were once again very difficult for this tough encounter against top-of-table Tonbridge and people were bound to be disappointed. However, people took and understood my decisions very well. I do not expect people to be happy, but I do expect them to understand – so far everyone has showed an excellent attitude this season, and I will thank you all for that.
The match started well for us and we decided to kick with the wind and away from the sun to try and take an early hold in the game. We dominated possession early on, battling hard and playing some pretty decent football. Chances were being carved out due to the pace of our forwards and some indecisive goalkeeping but combinations of last ditch tackles, bad finishing and some excellent defending by the ever reliable Tonbridge no. 2 (who always has excellent games against us), prevented us from opening the scoring. Towards the end of the half Pragnell hit the upright with a towering and powerful header.
By the time the half was done, we should have been at least two goals to the good as we did carve out around 4 or even 5 decent chances.
In the second half and the wind against us, we really started to get the ball down and play and took the lead with 10 minutes gone after Williams, J curved in a beauty from outside of the box into the top corner. It certainly looked as though the ball was over, and left the keeper stranded, but the ball dipped and swirled into the net and gave us the advantage. Tonbridge meanwhile were restricted to half chances with nothing clear cut on goal. On the hour the game was changed to suit Tonbridge as Wright was adjudged to have sworn and was sent from the field of play. A very harsh decision and one we were going to regret. Tonbridge took advantage of our reduced numbers and pushed another player up front. We shuffled our pack accordingly but this meant we had to change our game plan and invited pressure. With around 10 mins to go, Tonbridge equalised after we sloppily gave the ball away and did not close down their winger in the box and let him shoot. The shot whistled into the side netting giving St John no chance. Once again we had shot ourselves in the foot. Literally straight from the kick off a decent ball in from the left found Williams, L in the box who smashed his effort onto the bar when it appeared easier to score. Cleaver, B replaced Williams, L. In the last few minutes Cleaver, B had a looping header cleared off the line. Everyone thought that Harrigan got the winner in injury time only for the diving header to be adjudged offside. I myself could not make a judgement on where I was positioned but the players involved believe that it was the wrong decision and the goal should have stood. The referee sided with the linesman and disallowed the goal. It was not a popular decision to say the least!
Overall it was decent and friendly game of football played in the best of spirits which simply was not reflected by the performance of the referee. Farnborough and Tonbridge always try to (and did) play good football giving good accounts of themselves and Kent County League football, regardless of the standard of refereeing.
Again lots of positives to take from this fixture including a man of the match performance from Matt Pragnell who was well up for this one and showed plenty of heart and desire and showed effectiveness by keeping it simple. Jamie Williams also had a decent game showing how effective he can be when he gives and goes and makes it simple and scoring a fabulous goal. More of the same please mate. Jim St John in goal was also worth a mention, recovering from an ‘indifferent’ performance the previous week, despite not having a great deal to do.
In terms of performances, the last two weeks have been excellent which all stems from the right attitude. Where we need to improve is getting bodies in the box at key times and concentrating on our finishing. We should have scored a number of goals on Saturday and we cannot afford not to convert this many chances, especially against good teams like Tonbridge.
This week we have an away fixture against Borough. Again Borough always give us a good game, so we need to be prepared. Once again we look strong as a squad so the rotational system will be used to keep everyone happy. We always tend to struggle away from home, we need to turn that around and that starts this week.