Saturday 26th September 2009
Ron Pope Cup
By Mark Edwards
Another difficult cup fixture for the Fourths, the second of three against higher division opposition, but the result doesn’t really do justice to a battling performance.
With four players missing from last week’s defeat, Mark Friend returned at RB and James Halford made his Farnborough debut at CF alongside the returning Danny Evans. Ben Jones was moved to a central midfield holding role leaving Tony Maillardet free to adopt a more attacking role to utilise his energy.
OPK were vocal from the outset but Farnborough matched them during the opening exchanges with Halford holding the ball up well and bringing the wide players into play well. Maillardet was creating opportunities with his enthusiastic running and throughout the team there was encouragement to try to play the ball to feet. Farnborough were getting plenty of the ball with good interplay especially down the left between Brazier and Smart.
There were a couple of half chances for both teams with most of OPK’s threat coming from their skilful right winger and from his cross on 30 minutes a miscued clearance following a goalmouth scramble fell kindly to OPK’s CF who nodded home from 6 yards. Less than 5 minutes later OPK made it 2-0 when they beat the Farnborough offside trap and despite the first opportunity being saved created another opening which the CF fired home at the near post through a defender's legs.
Farnborough raised their game for the final 15 minutes of the half and came close on a couple of occasions though OPK missed after comedy of errors when 3 attackers all had a chance to finish the game from less than 10 yards out with just Edwards to beat and either miscued their shots or then sliced wide.
At half time Farnborough were encouraged that, despite the lapses of the last 15 minutes of the half, they were still in the game and were mostly sharing the play with a team two divisions above them.
More of the same followed in the second half with Evans and Halford getting into good positions with Jones and Seymour creating opportunities for them. The best move of the match for Farnborough came on the hour when a delightful lay off found Jones on the edge of OPK’s area in space with just the keeper to beat but blazed over after a tiring burst from the half way line. Farnborough were now on top and frustration got the better of an OPK player after being fouled by Jones in midfield. A red card followed for the OPK player however Jones was also booked for the foul, his second, so both teams were reduced to 10 players. The belief seemed to then drain from Farnborough as OPK adjusted to the enforced change better and within 5 minutes another break through Farnborough’s offside trap resulted in an OPK player finding the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the area to make it 3-0. Farnborough then rallied creating several more half chances and one final chance forcing the OPK goalkeeper into making a good save from a well taken shot.
As the game got stretched by Farnborough pressing for a consolation, OPK had more opportunities which were either saved or missed by tired attackers. The scoring was completed in injury time when a long hopeful ball into Farnborough’s penalty area was met by the OPK CF who completely unmarked looped his header beyond Edwards to make it 4-0.
A disappointing result, but Farnborough can be encouraged from matching the opposition for the majority of the game however finding the net at crucial times was key to this match and Farnborough can’t complain about losing out to a team who created more and converted some of their chances.
MOM: Tony Maillardet for a hardworking and creative performance.
Team: 1. Edwards; 2. Friend; 3. Brazier; 4. Blanchard (c); 5. Arnold; 6. Seymour; 7. Jones; 8. Maillardet; 9. Evans; 10. Halford; 11. Smart
Sub: 12. Viner