Saturday 21st March 2009
By Shaun Keddle
Last Gasp Cooke Goal Steals Guild a Point
The Guild travelled to the decent facilities at Fleet Leisure today, to try and put the woes of last week behind them. This was the last of three successive away games before we can enjoy six of the last eight games at home.
The Guild started the brighter of the sides having the best of the opening stages, but you could easily see why Greenways are a tough outfit to breakdown and have a good defensive record. The Guild had a lot of the ball but lacked that cutting edge in the last third. After twenty minutes, Greenways started to get a foothold in the game and started to impose their 3-5-1-1 system on the Guild. Dixon was starting to get into the game and ran the front line really well for the home side, using his strength and frame.
On 30 minutes came the only real chance of the half when Dixon was through on goal only to be thwarted by the excellent Edwards in the Guild goal; sticking out a leg to deny the home side the opening.
At the half it was honours even, but Greenways had finished the stronger side. At the half, Piper replaced the injured Stevens and we adjusted the system to try and counter-act Greenways' dominance.
In all honesty, we never really got going in the second half. From the off, Greenways looked the hungrier side and went for the kill. We looked deflated and disinterested as Greenways started to take control and had a couple of good chances. On 55 minutes, they did take the lead. Sloppy defending and mistimed interventions saw Greenways break quickly and cleverly down the left and a low hard cross from the left was driven into the front post and finished from close range by Bruce, the right wing back. Greenways will claim it was a good goal, but the Guild will point the finger at poor defending and were given enough warning signs that it was coming.
Instead of a response, the Guild appeared to take the goal as a hammer blow and looked flat, quiet and despondent. We acted as though we were ten-nil down and should have realised that it was only one goal and there was plenty of time on the clock to make amends. For the next 15 minutes we rode our luck and Greenways had a number of opportunities to further their lead, but a mixture of good goalkeeping and poor finishing kept Greenways lead to the minimum. With fifteen minutes left, Carpenter replaced Warren and we shook up the formation to 3-4-3 to try and liven things up.
With ten to go, Nott replaced Cleaver.
The change in formation gave the Greenways defence something to think about and they played into our hands by not adapting to our change and were still looking to impose themselves with their existing formation. The change gave us three versus three at the back and forced more Guild bodies further up the park. This appeared to liven us up a little bit, teamed with a bit of Greenways over confidence and with ten to go, the Guild had two good chances with Williams heading into the keeper's arms; and after excellent quick feet by Cooke his toe-poked effort ended up over the bar. With just injury time on the clock, Cooke J forced the ball over the line after good work down the left and a flick on from Williams L.
Shortly after the re-start, Mr Culpeck blew time on the game.
Across the ninety minutes we will definitely believe that we rode our luck and stole a point in a very difficult encounter against organized, established and hardened opposition. However, across the season and especially last week, how many times have we come of the pitch knowing we should have won? When a little luck comes our way, we got to take it.
There is a lot to learn from this fixture and that’s go for me as well. We never really got hold of Greenways tactically until the last 15 minutes, so that is something for me and Darren to discuss (we have already!) and maybe there is also times when I should bite my tongue and discuss matters less publicly.
As a team we completely switched off in the second half and our heads dropped massively after conceding just the one goal. We need to understand that a one or even two goal lead means nothing until the final whistle blows – Saturday clearly demonstrated that. A goal in our net should signal a response, a time to roll up our sleeves and a time to stand up and be counted.
On the positive side of things, I was impressed by the start we made (especially away from home) and was impressed how we responded to the formation change which gave us a good finish to the game. Perkins was a clear winner for man of the match and showed why we missed him last week as he worked tirelessly in the Guild middle covering every blade of grass, showed a lot of desire, kept his discipline and tried his utmost for ninety minutes. Well done Ray. Cleaver B also had a reasonably good game again showing his return to form and value to the team.
Next week we have Tudor at home. This game will signify the start of six out of our last eight games being at home. Let’s ALL learn from this weeks mistakes, maintain the positives, seek to get all three points and have a successful end to what has been a reasonable first season in this tough division. If you need a reminder of how tough this division is, look how well the sides promoted in recent seasons are doing in the division above? Up our efforts, drop the non-football related weeks away, have a better attendance rate at training and that could soon be us….
Farnborough: 1. Edwards; 2 Warren; 3. Eales; 4. Fullone; 5. Davis; 6. Stevens; 7. Williams J; 8. Perkins; 9. Williams, L; 10. Cooke, J© 11. Cleaver B.
Subs: 12. Piper for 6. Stevens; 15. Carpenter for 2. Warren; 16. Nott for 11. Cleaver B;
Greenways: 1. Bean; 2. Bruce; 3. Stunt; 4. Cooper; 5. Parkinson; 6. Cuthbert; 7. Whitehead; 8. Mullen; 9. Dixon; 10. Briant; 11. Taylor
Subs: 12. Joblin; 14. Avery; 15. Hynes; 16. Cole