Saturday 3rd February 2007
By Shaun Keddle
Squad: 1. Mumford; 2. Small; 3. Cleaver, L; 4. Davis 5. Judge; 6. Pragnell; 7. Williams, J: 8. Perkins; 9. Harrigan; 10. Williams, L (14. Head); 11. Cleaver, B
Subs not used: 12. St John; 15. Connelly; 16. Keddlinihio; 19. Mace.
An excellent result and one of the best performances I have seen from my team. Saturday I was a very proud manager.
On Saturday we travelled to Chipstead who have recently had an excellent facility built and their pitch looked fantastic. Footballing conditions could not be better and it was so nice to travel to a facility that could match the facilities that we have to offer at home. A definite step in the right direction for Chipstead and Kent League football.
We kicked off and right from the start we dominated proceedings and kept the ball really well. We looked comfortable and reassured at the back with my regular back four of Small, Davis, Judge and Cleaver being in a mean mood, looking controlled and passing the ball from the back. Within minutes came our first real chance with Williams, J breaking down the right using his fantastic pace to skip past the defender and head goalbound. His shot was well saved by the keeper and Williams, L failed to convert the rebound due to a ‘really, really bad bobble’. Our outlets were down both flanks as both Williams, J and Cleaver, B caused havoc amongst the full backs. Cleaver, B was making his ‘left midfield’ debut and played the position as if it was his own. Switches were made by Chipstead to try and deal with Williams, J who was having a stormer, but this had little affect on our No.7. Chipstead then had a chance after confusion in the back four left us short of numbers but the Chipstead forward blazed the effort high and wide. Usually these efforts fly in. Further opportunities came and went which include us hitting the crossbar and some solid defending by the Chipstead back line. The first goal came on twenty minutes when a long kick from Mumford sent Williams, L on his bike and he did exceptionally well crossing the ball with his left foot which perfectly found the head of Harrigan who coolly placed his header back the way it came and into the net giving the keeper no chance. 10 minutes later Perkins was clearly bought down in the box and the resulting penalty was easily dispatched by Williams, L. It was now all us and Mumford in the sticks had little to do.
At the half there was nothing but praise, but we had to be reminded that the job was only half done. We reminded everyone that the first 15 mins was very important, to keep it tight and not let then back in it. Chipstead were not at the races in the first half, but a goal would put them right back in it. It was all going to be about patience and discipline.
The second half started and we took off from where we left. Pragnell and Perkins were strong and dominant in the midfield and the movement and pace of Harrigan and Williams was causing havoc to a tired looking Chipstead defence. Chipstead had a little more of the ball at the start of the second period but had little end result. Judge had control of everything at the back which all stemmed from being up for the game and being vocal and this rubbed off on Davis who never looked trouble with his sweet left foot picking out accurate passes both long and short. Mumford in goal was rarely troubled and his kicking and talking was a great asset. Small and Cleaver kept everything simple providing the ammunition for Williams, J and Cleaver, B to work with.
With half an hour to go the game really opened up with Farnborough playing plenty of attacking football again carving out chance after chance which failed to be converted. A great team move going from front to back involving a dozen or so passes presented Harrigan with a volley which was tamely met. Williams, L also had a couple of chances which should have found the onion bag. With around 20 mins to go Chipstead created a couple of chances; the first was finished poorly and the second found the net and was disallowed for offside. With around 15 mins to go Cleaver, B challenged for a cross from the right with the goalkeeper, and deservedly nodded in our third which effectively killed the game off. Cleaver, B deserved his goal as he worked so hard in an alien position and took a gamble that paid its dividends.
One Head replaced another head as Dan Head replaced the Cone Head. The killer third goal wrote off any chances that Chipstead had to get in the game and we played out the last part of the game with relative ease.
There were many man-of-the-match performances to be had – Williams, J had his best game all season rising above some unnecessary abuse and one particular unsavoury incident to have his best game in a Farnborough shirt. The more he is kicked, the better he seems to get and he truly showed us his full capabilities down the Farnborough right flank. Judge and Davis as centre backs were rock solid against some free scoring forwards and really provided us with a solid base to work from. However, I gave MOM to Cleaver, B for his tireless work rate in his ‘new’ position, his persistence to perform well for the team and ability to hold up play when required. He also had no qualms in doing the team a favour by dropping into the left hand side of midfield. Hopefully the goal will be the start of a goal scoring avalanche!
Everyone played well in fairness and I cannot praise my team enough and remember that we have a good defensive record because we defend well from the front, through the middle and down to the back four and keeper. Our defensive record is one of the best in the league because we defend as a team and as a unit.
This was a really good win against one of the better sides in our division. We did not concede any goals and have the best defence in the league against a side that has scored plenty.
For once I have no criticisms, well apart from the fact that we should still have had more goals! but all three of our regular forwards bagged which will hopefully be the sign of things to come so I cannot grumble too much. More importantly it was a big away win, something that we have struggled with over the past three seasons and we need to use this as a springboard for future success.
We are really starting to come together and perform as a unit and the side has a consistency and reliability about it, which is something that I have struggled with in the past. However, this victory will not mean that much if we do not travel to Wickham Park and win this week. We need to take advantage of this rich vein of form and play exactly the same way this week. We have nearly the same squad as previous weeks so we should have no excuses. Back to back away wins is the target for this week, it would put our season firmly back on track.