Saturday 26th January 2008
By Shaun Keddle
An early Perkins strike saw the Guild take all three points away from the tranquil settings of Woolwich village
For me, this was the biggest game of the season so far; for a number of reasons. Firstly, seven regulars were all unavailable for this fixture, so I had to dig deep into the reserves to be able to assemble a decent enough squad and play a number of players in uncharacteristic positions. Judge, Pragnell, Cleaver, L were all of skiing, Williams J and L were still in Australia and Roots is still recovering from ligament damage. Secondly, Meridian have been a somewhat bogey side for us and we did not score a single goal against them last season. Thirdly, in the four seasons as manager I have never won a game at Meridian Sports. Despite the narrow score line, this was a very pleasing result.
One of the reasons for today’s success was the excellent condition of the pitch. As long ago as last season, the pitch was one of the worst in the league and the grounds men have really done the business to make it look one of the best. This suited the Guild''s style of play, in moving the ball around in short fluid passing movements.
The game started well for the Guild who took advantage of the good surface and the wind and was stroking the ball around with a lot of confidence. We created a number of opportunities with the highlights being a fantastic effort from McKeown which crashed against the Meridian bar, a first time Cooke, J effort that fizzed just wide and a good Moulson strike that went straight into the keepers arms.
After a good corner from Small caused confusion in the box, Perkins latched onto the loose ball and hammered into the net from 12 yards out. A goal that we really needed and definitely deserved. The last 15 mins saw Meridian create their first chance of the match when a free kick was blasted high and wide, but in general the latter stages of the half became a bit scrappy with a number of bookings for Meridian players
The second half was going to be a tougher affair as the wind was playing a part in the game, but this was not to worry the Guilds superior footballing ability. The half proved a more open affair but the Guild were creating the more clear-cut opportunities without adding to their tally. Meridian was now becoming desperate with a number of harsh challenges that somehow went unpunished. However, the Guild was keeping their heads and their discipline and was keeping things solid at the back.
The last 10 mins saw Meridian''s best spell of the match as they started to open up and commit more players forward. Excellent keeping from St John in the Guild goal to hold onto some dangerous crosses and corners and a good stop in the dying minutes ensured that the Guild held out to walk away with the narrowest margin, despite the referee playing 53 minutes in the second half.
Overall I was well, well pleased. Not only had we won the match, we played well in the process, dominated possession and kept a clean sheet. Under the circumstances, I could not have asked for more.
There were a number of decent performances; St John had little to do in this encounter but proved he was still alert and had excellent hands in the last 10 mins and making a crucial save at the feet of their dangerous centre forward. Warren made an impressive right back debut, making competition for that shirt particularly fierce. Small had the trickiest job on the pitch playing left back and had a decent second half. Davis was composed and poker-faced as usual and was partnered by man-of-the-match McKeown who is growing in confidence with every match and really wanted the result, hitting good tackles in good places. In the centre of the park Cooke, R and Perkins again ran the show. Cleaver, B had a stormer at left midfield despite some unnecessary attention and Evans on the right showed what a decent player he is with efficient ball distribution. Upfront Cooke, J held the ball well and kept his patience once again despite some shocking attempts to take him out of the match, he was supported by Moulson whose fitness and work rate has improved vastly in recent weeks and put in another solid performance
Really good stuff boys, I am a very proud manager. Let’s follow up this good work with a good attendance at training this week.
Farnborough: 1. St John; 2. Warren; 3. Small; 4. McKeown; 5. Davis; 6. Cooke, R; 7. Evans; 8. Perkins; 9. Moulson; 10. Cooke, J 11. Cleaver, B. Subs: 13. Dine for 7. Evans Subs not used: 12. Head; 14. Nott
Meridian: 1. Jessop; 2. Wayment; 3. Chambers; 4. Clarke; 5. Halliday; 6. Bryan; 7. Le; 8. Hall; 9. Tamna; 10. Collier; 11. Akiboye. Subs: Kargbo; Tummana; Tamna; Wager