Saturday 15th September 2007
By Shaun Keddle
A devastating display to see off traditionally difficult opposition.
This was an excellent performance from a really strong squad with still some faces (Perkins, Pragnell and Carpenter) to return from injury.
Both sides prepared for this usually tight encounter very well. Both sides had a good warm up, the pitch looked excellent and the sun was shining. A crowd of around 20 slowly gathered before kick off.
Right from the start the we went on the offensive and attacked really early down the left hand side, the ball was played low and hard into the box and was finished by the waiting Evans who squeezed the ball under the body of Kent, the Borough keeper. Within 4 minutes of the start we were two up as again good wing-play by Williams, J found Cooke, J who angled a nice finish into the net. Within twenty minutes of the match starting we were four up, courtesy of a neatly threaded through ball with Williams, L outpacing the Borough back line and smashing the ball past the keeper inside the near post. Not to be outdone, Williams, J also outpaced the Borough backline and found the net to put us four up. 5 minutes before the break, debutant Evans made a fantastic forward run to beat the offside trap and finish low past the keeper. The half finished 5-0.
At the half we spoke about maintaining the pace and tempo of the match and getting balls out wide and finding the runs of Evans through the centre. Defensively there was nothing to change as we were tight and compact not giving them a sniff, despite marking the division''s top scorer who has 5 goals in two league games.
The second half got underway and within 5 minutes Borough got on the score sheet through a lapse in concentration and the intercepting forward finished past the helpless St John. Despite the scoreline, this gave Borough hope that they needed, but we were still in total control of the game.
20 minutes into the half and Cleaver, B and Roots were replaced by Head and ‘debutant’ Cooke, R who was returning for his second spell at the club.
The substitutions revitalised things and Cooke, R had an immediate impact as he saw his strong header cleared off the line. The constant pressure on the Borough goal took its toll as Cooke, J doubled his tally with a poacher''s finish at the near post, which restored our 5 goal advantage.
After a ferocious display of pacy wing play, Williams, J was replaced by debutant McKeown who recently signed from Tunbridge Wells. Williams, J’s ankles were most pleased with the breather. McKeown had an instant effect on the game scoring with a great strike – apparently (I was ball hunting in deepest Kent at the time) which was adjudged to be offside. Not to be beaten, within a couple of minutes McKeown repeated the feat, this time with his left foot, finishing the ball low to the keeper''s left. 7 -1.
Minutes later the rout was complete when Williams, L added the third brace of the game and finished past the keeper after good work from Head.
Overall it was an excellent performance. Our game plan was to go man for man and shut out the dangerous forwards which Judge and Davis completed with aplomb. St John in goal had little to do, but what he did do he did well and there was a vast improvement in the quality of his kicking and distribution. We were to play to our strengths which was the use of midfield pace and movement to drive at the Borough back line, Williams’s pace down the right hand side was frightening and I am sure the left back will need some sort of counselling come Sunday. He was ably assisted by Small who was consistent as ever with some good service and distribution down his flank. Roots in the middle was controlled and orchestrated the midfield and Cleaver, B&L were both patient and clever down the left hand side, working the ball and the opportunities. The balls into Cooke’s feet and into Williams, L ‘flight path’ in the channels were first class and enabled them to bag a brace apiece.
However, man-of-the-match and manager’s man-of-the-match went to Evans for an excellent brace scoring debut. Evans picked up 11 from 16 votes. Our ‘token Northerner’ performed excellently and should gain a lot of confidence from his display. Always driving forward, making intelligent runs and supporting the front two where possible.
We have had an excellent start to the season and must continue this rich vein of form and results. Next week we are away from home for the first time this season and must take our show on the road. Last season we drew 1-1 with Eltham Palace at their place and must look to improve on that result and maintain our long overdue aspirations to win this league. If we win on Saturday we go top, and leave others chasing – it’s as simple as that. Palace are a decent side but they suffered a defeat on Saturday and have a number of key players missing, so we must take advantage of this situation. No learning’s here to be had, just repeat the performance of this week and there shall be no probs.
We have a full strong squad and selections at the moment are a ‘lovely headache’. I cannot ever remember having a squad this strong with so much depth. Competition for places is high, so please bear with me as success is achieved with squads, not teams.
P.S Do not forget our night out on the 29th. Full details to follow.
Farnborough: 1. St John, J (GK); 2. Small, S (RB); 3. Cleaver, L (LB); 4. Judge, C © (CB); 5. Davis, R (CB); 6. Roots, M (CM); 7. Williams, J (RM); 8. Evans, S (CM); 9. Williams, L (CF); 10. Cooke, J (CF); 11. Cleaver, B (LM)
Subs: 12. Head, D for Cleaver, B; 13. Cooke, R for Roots, M; 14. McKeown, M for Williams, J
Borough United: 1. Kent, M; 2. Head, S; 3. Tennent, C; 4. Wellman, J ©; 5. Mbaya, D; 6. Meade, S; 7. Massett, B; 8. Franks, J; 9. Pinner, K; 10. Stoddard, J; 11. Bell, D
Subs: 12. Fahy, A; 14. Townsend, J; 15. Tye, A