Saturday 2nd January 2010
Bill Manklow Inter Regional Challenge Cup
By Shaun Keddle
Wonder Strike Defeats the Better Side
Poor finishing was the vital ingredient missing on Saturday as Farnborough could not turn their footballing dominance into goals. Farnborough’s general play deserved to be rewarded with a quarter final encounter against Hollands & Blair, but lack of striking options lead to a lack of goals, a fact that must be addressed if we are to progress as a squad.
Williams L and Williams J were both missing as was Cooke who had car trouble. With your three top scorers absent from proceedings, it was always going to be difficult to score goals or change things from the bench. With this in mind, the decision to play all of the youngsters was made with two of the midfielders being 17 years old accompanied by the 18 year old Travers and a defence that were all under the age of 24.
With the pitch passed fit and looking in good condition given the recent fun that the elements have had, the game kicked off in cold but sunny conditions. Early doors, it was Lewisham who looked the better side and had a couple of half chances in the opening exchanges. Lewisham knocked the ball around comfortably and it looked as though the Guild were giving the visitors a bit too much respect, but maybe the Guild were just trying to find their feet in the new system that was adopted due to lack of attacking options.
The tall number 9 upfront was holding the ball up well and bringing together some good play. On twenty minutes, the Guild started to get into the game more and more and against the run of play, Lewisham went ahead with a wonder goal. Meta picked up the ball out wide who cut inside of Warren, from thirty yards out Meta did not look a danger but he struck a wonderful curled effort high into the sun, which found the very top corner of the net leaving Mumford with no chance.
At the half we pushed Perkins further forward to pressurise the Borough back four and understood that we could easily compete with the higher placed team. The second half saw a wonderful Farnborough performance and dominated Lewisham who were left to the very odd breakaway and forced them to sit deeper and deeper as the half progressed. The first real chance fell to Hughes; with the defence AWOL, the keeper drawn, an easy lob would have brought the Guild level, but a nasty bobble at the last moment meant that Hughes’ effort skewed unfortunately wide. Perkins then tried his luck from range as did Warren, but both efforts failed to trouble the keeper.
Cleaver replaced Stevens on fifty five minutes.
With 35 minutes to go, the Guild continued to turn the screw and Lewisham looked there for the taking, with their midfield looking shaky and their forward line stranded but their defence (although pressured) remained strong.
On seventy minutes, Judge replaced Wray pushing further bodies forward in search for a deserved equaliser.
Cleaver then had a chance that was blocked and an Elliott header was narrowly missed. The chance of the match fell to Hughes whose effort flew narrowly wide when the entire ground thought it was in.
Despite the heavy pressure the time gods were against us and the excellent Jon Barnard bought the game to a close.
The Guild were desperately unlucky today and should have won the tie; but if you don’t score you will never win matches. The lack of goalscoring options showed and although we created enough chances, we never took them or even looked confident enough of hitting the net. It’s a real shame as I would have loved a trip down to Gillingham to test ourselves against Hollands & Blair who are widely regarded as the best side in the league. Defensively we looked excellent today and gave a dangerous forward line very, very little with only a wonder goal from thirty yards being our undoing.
Overall, I was very pleased with our general play. We fielded a very young side today with an average age of 22 years who kept the ball well, played very well out wide and kept a Premier side back in their own half for almost the entire second period.
The classic cliché here is that ‘we can now concentrate on the league’ but we will have to sort out our finishing if we have any aspirations of promotion this year and must get back to the winning and scoring ways of the early season. This starts with training this week.
Man of the match was a close call with the majority votes being split between Travers and Davis, with the latter nicking it by one vote. Travers played another good game in the centre and was very competitive throughout and showed a great engine and attitude. Davis at the back was his usual classy self; composed and controlled pinging the ball around in a controlled and positive fashion.
A quick mention here to the officials today who were an outstanding team and never put a foot wrong. The game is so much better with three officials present, but we must get promoted from this division to enjoy that luxury. I am sure the officials will agree that the game was contested in a fair manner and the spirit that a game should be played in.
A really good performance today, we outplayed a good side and should have gone through. Need to sort out our finishing though!
Farnborough: 1. Hawkes; 2.Judge; 3.Davis; 4.Elliot; 5.Travers; 6.Abbott; 7.Williams J; 8. Perkins; 9.Hughes; 10. Cooke; 11. Cleaver
Subs: 13.Cleaver for 11.Stevens; 12.Judge for 7.Wray;
Sub not used: 15. Hawkes
Lewisham Borough: 1. Hall; 2. Akday; 3. John; 4. Simpson; 5. Vata; 6. Palmer; 7. Wade; 8. McBean; 9. Garrick; 10. Odai; 11. Meta
Subs: 12. Mohammed; 13. Olmedo; 14. Roach; 15. McLoone
Referee: Mr Jon Barnard
Assistants: Mr Tony Woods & Mr Alan Prime
Man of the match: Richard Davis