Saturday 10th March 2007
Due to the amount of matches called off in the early part of this year, the League had sanctioned a `double banker'' weekend for Farnborough against a side who if you looked at the seasons stats had mirrored our performances over the season. Heathfield arrived with a full squad, as did we, along with the welcome additions of Terry Dunford and our new centre back Dan, dovetailing with the return to action of Rob Weekly and James Stevens.
The pitch was in perfect nick, sun was shining and an afternoon of freeflowing football was envisaged. This however, was never going to be the case, as two sides who knew the importance of the fixture, both dug in deep and produced a two hour battle of wills, in which neither side gave any quarter but also ensured a dour contest.
Two starting line-ups were drawn up prior to start of the games, maybe a more experienced eleven selected for the first game in the hope that points could quickly be put on the board.
The first game started with an unmemorable first half, with only half chances for Terry Dunford and Michael Seymour to break the deadlock, while at the other end of the park the wise heads in defence plus James Stevens'' sure handling nullified any Heathfield attacks.
The second period began and the contest was becoming fiesty with verbal confrontations between players escalating and concentration levels beginning to wane. This all came to a head when Adam Daniels and the Heathfield centre half let things boil over and punches were thrown following a verbal tat, before a melee of players arrived to break up/enter the fray. Red cards to both players was the only option and the ten men on each side played out a 0-0 draw for the first game.
The second game began with an unfamiliar and much younger average age side for Farnborough, mainly due to the withdrawing of Steve Blanchard, who I must say has had an outstanding season, and the additions of Laurence Smith, Paul Edwards and Tom Hughes into the starting line-up.
The first half of this game was edged by the visitors and after a succession of corners, they eventually scored the first goal of the afternoon from a close range header.
The sides turned round at half time with Farnborough pushing on for an equaliser, but were leaving gaps for Heathfield to exploit on the counter and they almost put the game out of reach when a shot eluded James, but rebounded off the post back into his arms. Chances were now starting to appear for Farnborough and George Hillman, with his pre-match meal now fully digested, came closest to evening the scores.
Five minutes remained and a free kick was awarded in Farnborough''s favour thirty yards from goal. Gary Harrigan floated a high ball towards the penalty spot and Terry Dunford rose like a leaping salmon to head a goal of real quality. The final minutes were played at a higher tempo by two tiring teams, with Farnborough slightly on top but unable to force home a winning goal.
The afternoon finished with a share of the spoils, probably the right outcome for an afternoon of hard endeavour from both outfits.
Overall a good squad performance, with Stuart Gaylor producing as high an energy display seen in the Fourths this season, catching the eye.
The side now sit comfortably towards the higher end of the league table and with the benefit of six of the remaining eight games to be played at home, two of these games against the bottom side and with hopefully an improvement in our goal scoring ratio, will produce an exciting run-in towards the end of this season''s campaign.