Saturday 17th March 2007
By Shaun Keddle
Squad: 1. St John; 2. Small; 3. Cleaver, L; 4. Davis; 5. Pragnell (14. Perkins); 6. Clark, D (15. Judge); 7. Williams, J; 8. Harrigan; 9. Williams, L (12. Wright); 10. Head; 11. Cleaver, B.
Subs Not Used: 16. Keddlinhio; 19. Mace
The Guild marched through to the Sevenoaks Cup Final for the second time in two years after turning over a decent Hawkenbury side.
With a place in a prestigious final at stake we went into this game with only one change from the side victorious against Chislehurst in the quarter final. Williams, J came into replace the injured Carpenter. Judge, Perkins and Wright took to the bench. The pitch looked fantastic despite the battering the weather has given pitches across Kent this season and it definitely provided a surface to get the ball down and play. A crowd of around 60 people also turned out for the occasion which is fantastic to see.
The game started with the Guild kicking into the wind and Hawkenbury had the better of the early exchanges but nothing on goal. Farnborough slowly stared to play their way into the game, playing some neat and patient football across the back. Our midfield started to get into the game as well as Harrigan started to get forward more often and Cleaver, B was doing some positive damage down the left hand side. As we became more confident our good football started to flow and a couple of half chances went our way which were well saved by the Hawks keeper. Around the half hour mark we started to get hold of the game and fantastic ball over the top by the in-form Davis found Harrigan''s darting run through the centre. Harrigan took the ball in his stride and his right foot shot across the keeper was saved well again by the Hawks No1 but the loose ball was smashed into the net by Williams who had followed up well. 1-0 to the Guild. This should have spurred us on but the remaining 15 mins of the half saw a couple of opportunities fall Hawkenbury’s way including an opportunity that hit the upright. We seemed to have taken our foot off the gas. Just before the half, Pragnell landed awkwardly, breaking a toe and was replaced by Perkins. Half time came and we were 1-0 up.
At the half we spoke about regaining the momentum we had, before our goal. We also spoke about how important the next goal was and the game was only ours to lose. Hawkenbury were a good side capable of scoring goals and we had to up our game. The wind was with us this half and the harder half was completed, but it was no time to take it easy thinking the job was done. We switched Cleaver, B and Head around pushing Cleaver, B up front to make the ball stick and Head’s work rate was always going to assist the midfield.
The second half started and we were much more positive. Other than an early opportunity from 20 yards out which was well saved by St John in goal, the big Hawkenbury centre forward was now very quiet and we started to control the game. We had a lot of the ball, but not a great deal on goal but we did need a second goal. It came around the 60th minute when a good move down the right hand side saw a long powerful cross drilled in from the right by Williams, J was met with the outstretched leg of the big Hawks centre half and landed in the net. This done Cleaver, B a massive favour as he was carefully lined up behind the centre half to cunningly blast over from three yards out! 2-0 up and the 60+ crowd were being entertained. Hawkenbury were deflated, but never gave up. Farnborough seized the initiative and hit the bar with another effort. On a breakaway and good work from the Hawkenbury midfield as a clever ball was threaded through to the Hawks forward who beat the offside trap and slotted past St John. 2-1 with around 15 mins to go. Judge replaced Clark who had a knock. Farnborough then pushed on to try and restore the two goal advantage but found the post on an effort that should have found the net. In the final few minutes Wright replaced Williams. The whistle blew which indicated the end of the match but also that the Guild were in the final. A good performance and the right result.
All credit to Hawkenbury, I thought they were a better side than I thought they were going to be. They were a very tall side with players capable of winning games. Although I still thought we had another gear to slip into, I did think we were the better side, created more clear cut chances and were not troubled that much at the back. Again this extends our unbeaten run sill further and we have only lost one match since November 4th. Again we were mean defensively which always gives us a fantastic base to work from, because we will always score goals. Voting for players MOM was split between Richard Davis, Dan Head and Danny Clark each picking up three votes, but 9 players out of the 14 used picked up votes, so it looked like a good team performance. Managers MOM went to Cleaver, B for some very clever work down the left hand side in the first half and the ability to hold onto the ball when we switched him upfront in the second half. Other performances of note were Dan Head who never ever gives up a cause and was very brave when he had to be. Clark and Davis at the back were controlled and cool. The game in itself was played in an excellent spirit and the officiating was excellent.
Well done to everyone. The final will be an excellent day out and will be played against either Sevenoaks Town/Otford or Orpington. I am sure it will be a great game and occasion whoever gets through.
The provisional date for the final is Monday May 7th at Sevenoaks Town. ‘Suited & Booted’ please gentlemen. This date or venue is not confirmed as yet, but please make the necessary arrangements to ensure your availability. Talking of dates, this Saturday (24th) we have a planned night out. The agenda is loose, but we intend to end up in the Venue at some point and probably face down in a large Donner or someone called Donna later on – apart from the Sunday team who will be home early after drinking passion fruit J²O all night. "Another cocktail Barry?....."
On another note, the season has been extended up to and including Friday May 18th. We will play every Saturday up until then and will definitely have at least 4 midweek games including games on Bank Holidays. The league is wide, wide open and to give ourselves a chance we must have good availability of all our players all of the time. We have a chance for promotion here and we don’t need to shoot ourselves in the foot. Please sort this out. You have been told!