Saturday 26th April 2008
By Shaun Keddle
Championes, Championes, Ole, Ole, Ole…
After an excellent season, the Guild wrapped up top spot to be promoted as Champions of Division Two West. It was a tough fought encounter against traditionally awkward opposition who really made us battle right up until the very last kick of the ball.
It was the best day of the year so far, an ideal occasion for a bumper crowd at the Guild. Around 70-100 people gathered to watch as Farnborough kicked off with a slight wind in their favour. In the first half, the Guild had the majority of the play and the chances. A free header from Cooke, R found the keeper''s arms as well as a snapshot effort from Williams, L that found the post. A great run & strike from Williams, J again struck the upright after sensibly shooting across the keeper.
Down at the other end, Warren came to the Guild''s rescue after quick-thinking saw him drop back to cover the stranded St John and acrobatically clear off the line. The half finished with the Guild having the better opportunities and most of the play, but Meridian were always working hard and always looked dangerous.
At the half we spoke about being patient, winning the second ball and not being overawed by the occasion.
At the beginning of the second half, opportunities were few and far between with the majority of play being fought in the midfield. On days like this, it looked as though we needed a lucky break. That break came on the 62nd minute when Williams, L latched onto a through ball and was fouled by the keeper. The referee pointed to the spot much to the delight of the Guild. Despite the pressure, Cooke, J calmly tucked away the pen using all his experience and guile.
The goal really sparked us into life as we could relax a bit more, but results are never beyond reason at one nil and we needed some sort of cushion.
Fantastic ball control and skill from Cooke, J saw his goalbound effort acrobatically saved by the Meridian keeper – a stunning save to keep his side in contention.
However, the second goal was not far behind and it worked out to be the move of the match. An excellent turn and defence splitting pass by Williams, J picked out Cooke, J who held off the Meridian defender and crossed the ball to the onrushing Williams senior who finished clinically low and hard to the keeper''s right.
Even though the second goal gave us the comfort factor we needed, Meridian never gave up hope. They kept pressing and applied attacking pressure. This resulted in a corner and the deficit was reduced when a defensive mix up left Chambers to fire into the net. With 12 mins left on the clock, it was going to be a grandstand finish. Farnborough’s nerves started to creep in as we stumbled towards the finishing line. A number of rash free kicks were conceded in dangerous areas as the Guild’s composure started to waver. An injury to a Meridian player meant around 4 mins additional time was to be played which added to the jitters.
The tense finish was ended by the excellent Mr Townley’s whistle, who was as glad as anyone to see the end of the game.
This sparked the beginning of the celebrations and jubilations that lasted long into the night – memories of which are to be largely remembered and some to be forgotten! The skipper being unceremoniously dumped ‘WWE style’ into a skip, injuring body, ego and any fashion sense that he had left will be an everlasting memory.
This was a memorable match in terms of what the result did for us, but it did lack quality for large periods of the game. We had not played for 3 weeks and it showed. Add in a few nerves due to the importance of the occasion then this was an understandably below par performance. However, in seasons gone by this would have been a game that we would have drawn or maybe even lost. Despite not playing that well, this season we have managed to grind out results due to our will to win and our work rate.
Man of the Match was Mike McKeown who once again turned in a solid and reliable performance. He won countless headers, competed for everything and showed a lot of heart. Additionally, I am yet to see him lose a tackle all season although the Kent FA have sent us a direct debit form for his bookings. Well played Mike. Just behind him was Cooke, J who really did show his class on a number of occasions.
Farnborough: 1. St John; 2. Warren; 3. Cleaver, 4. McKeown; 5. Davis; 6. Cooke; 7. Williams, J; 8. Perkins; 9. Williams, L © 10. Cooke, J; 11. Cleaver, B
Subs: 12. Pragnell for 3. Cleaver, L & 14. Moulson for 11. Cleaver, B Subs not Used: 13. Small; 15. Mace; 16. Keddlinihio
Chaps – A number of things:
• Training will still run throughout the summer, but in a very much diluted format. It will just be a short warm up, a stretch and a game. This week it will be moved to Thursday at 7pm to avoid the Champions League games. Every other week will be on Wednesday at 7pm (excluding Champions League final). Training will take place down at Tubbenden Park and then move to the clubhouse, once all club games are finished. This will not be compulsory, it will just be a once a week get together to keep ourselves in touch with the game throughout the close season. Feel free to bring down any friends or trialists.
• League presentation evening is on Saturday 31st May in Maidstone. Tickets are £20 (separate mail to follow).
• Club presentation evening is on Saturday 7th June at the clubhouse. Tickets are £10 (separate mail to follow).
• Pre-Season training will start on Saturday 5th July.
• Five-a-side tournament with after party and Guest Speaker (Kenny Sansom) will be on Saturday July 26th (separate mail to follow).
• Friendlies will start on Saturday 9th August.
• New Season will start on Saturday 6th September.