Saturday 20th September 2008
Bill Manklow Inter Regional Challenge Cup
By Shaun Keddle
Gibbs Great Goal Gives Guild Glory
On a warm sunny day on a fantastic pitch, Guild forced their way into round two of the Inter Regional Challenge Cup, thanks to a forty yarder from debutant Lee Gibbs. The victory was a good one considering our unavailability list has now stretched to nine players, we played the majority of the match with a 16 year old full debutant up front alongside a converted goalkeeper and the fact that Crockenhill are a useful and organised outfit.
Farnborough lined up on Saturday with a more defensive selection due to the unavailability of so many players, especially attacking options. With Perkins, Williams J, Selmes, Williams L and Abbott all injured, McKeown and Cooke both on holiday and Judge and Cleaver unavailable my hand was pretty much forced for selection but it was still a side good enough to earn victory and a side that I had full confidence in.
The first half ended nil-nil but the better chances fell to the Guild with Stevens and Graham failing to convert some good openings. However, disaster struck after 30 minutes with an injury to Koutsoudis which saw him end up in A&E with knee damage. Best of luck to him and another one to add to the ever growing list! This pushed Stevens into a striking role, Graham switched to the left, Small pushed up to right midfield and Warren entered the fray.
The second half started well for the Guild with Gibbs scoring in under 10 minutes of the re-start; the ball dropped to Gibbs some forty yards out and seeing the keeper off his line, launched an unstoppable rocket which the back-pedalling keeper failed to keep out. An intentional effort which reaped the deserved rewards. Before the game, we recognised Gibbs'' shooting as one of his strengths and fully encouraged that he struck from distance when the opportunity arose. That opportunity arose and he took it. Not bad for a goalkeeper, eh?
The goal fired up Farnborough but also encouraged a change of tactics from the Crocks who opted for the more direct route to try and change the game. In the last twenty minutes of the match Crockenhill bombarded us with long balls but our rock solid defending kept them out. This was turning into a battle between Crocks'' two strong forwards – Jeffery and Hackett and the responsible and resolute defending of Davis and Eales. Two stunning saves by St John in the Farnborough goal helped towards our route towards round 2, especially the save late on which showed what an excellent stopper he is.
However, it was the work rate and stubbornness of Farnborough’s defending that was the winner at the final whistle. The Crocks could maybe come away thinking that they could have sneaked a draw, but I was more than happy with both result and fixture given the number of players that we have out. This truly shows the strength and depth that we currently have at the club.
Man of the match was tight with Cooke nicking from St John by a few votes. Cooke performed outstandingly in the middle, with a great engine and attitude. He won every tackle, got about the park and was tenacious in the cause of working for a victory. Well done Richard.
This week we have yet another tough encounter; Tonbridge Invicta in the league. Tonbridge were promoted the season before ourselves and will look to use the additional season-long experience in this division to overcome us. We should have a number of key players back this week so we will only strengthen. However, if we defend as a team like we did on Saturday, we will always nick goals at the other end as it gives us an excellent, confident platform to work from. Week on week we improved ball retention and marking from set pieces, so as a squad we are progressing in the right direction and learning from our mistakes. Further ball possession work will be conducted this week at training, please make sure that you all attend. We have good numbers last week and bounced back from a loss which is excellent to see.
Let’s get three more points on the board this week lads.
Farnborough: 1. St John; 2. Small; 3. Cleaver L; 4. Davis; 5. Eales; 6. Roots; 7. Graham; 8. Cooke R; 9. Gibbs; 10. Koutsoudis (12. Warren); 11. Stevens
Subs not used: 14. Keddle; 15. Mace; 16. Abbott
Crockenhill: 1. Scott; 2. Parker; 3. Hill; 4. Blake; 5. Gartlan; 6. Godward; 7. McCarthy; 8. Knox; 9. Jeffrey; 10. Hackett; 11. Powell
Subs: 12. Ellis 14. Rayfield; 15. Filkins; 16. Martin; 17. Roberts