Saturday 13th October 2007
By Shaun Keddle
A fantastic result and our second clean sheet of the season to put us back to the top of the division.
Saturday really saw us show our true colours and bounce back to winning ways following a couple of defeats. It was a top of the table clash where the Guild, who were lying second, met the leaders Hawkhurst. Traditionally, the Guild never appear to take all three points against a top two side, but today was so very different as we not only took all the points but also performed to a high standard.
Despite the late loss of Williams, J through illness which meant a loss of pace and power down the right hand side, we had enough cover and quality in replacing the loss with Roots who was more than up for the task. A real good show of how strong our squad is and the spirit shown to adopt differing positions when required.
Before the match everyone was up for this clash and it was Farnborough who got off to the better start creating a few half chance opportunities. Some timely tackles by the Hawkhurst centre backs were limiting the chances on goal. On 15 minutes a chance to open the scoring dropped for Cooke, R but a stunning save by the Hawkhurst No1 kept the scores level. A feeling of ‘deja vu’ crept over the Guild management. With twenty minutes gone Farnborough opened the scoring with a goal good enough to grace any match. The ball was played out of the back by Small who found Roots in the centre. Cooke, J cleverly found space on the right hand side whose inch perfect cross tempted the goalkeeper but found the (cone) head of Williams, L who rose over the Hawkhurst centre back and found the corner of the net. 1-0 to the Guild.
This lead gave us a lift and we continued to press for the second goal. However, the last 15 minutes of the half became a bit sloppy as we took our foot off the accelerator. In this time the Hawkhurst centre forward went through on goal only to be judged offside by the official followed by a small lapse in our defending which lead to us scrambling the ball away.
At the half we spoke about maintaining our tempo as it was pace and movement that were putting Hawkhurst under pressure and our superior fitness would show.
Again we started the half well seeking out a second goal which would hopefully kill off this fixture. Time and time again we were flagged harshly for offside so we were going to have to be very careful with our runs. Williams, L was replaced by McKeown, M. With 27 mins on the clock a great ball out wide on the left found Cooke, J who started to run at the Hawkhurst defence outpacing them. His pace took him clean through on goal where he shimmied the keeper committing him to the floor and then cleverly chipping the ball over the keeper and into the empty net. 2-0.
Hawkhurst staged a fightback in the last 20 minutes looking to utilise their tall strikers with a series of long balls looking to nick a goal to revitalise their chances of getting something from the game. However, the remainder of the game was played out and the Guild grabbed all three points.
This was a good performance in my eyes although some of the players feel as though there is another gear to be had. St John, Davis and Judge dealt with everything really well, showing the steel that they are made of. Additionally, Cleaver, L played a blinder and more than matched the free-scoring Mitchell – the league''s top scorer. Small on the right bounced back from his illness and showed what a good player he is, being involved in both goals.
In the centre of the park is where we really controlled things. Perkins was driving forward at everyone opportunity really driving the Hawkhurst midfield backwards. Roots was clever and resourceful on the right hand side linking really well with the rest if the team. Cleaver, B on the left played well and worked hard supporting the defence when needed, although must pick his moments on when to comment on things. It’s easy – on the pitch -if it’s not positive do not say it at all. Upfront Cooke, J looked as though he is as close to full fitness and worked tirelessly finding space in the channels. The cross for the first goal was sublime and the finish on the second goal was class. Williams, L was rushed back from his injury ahead of time and worked really hard, scoring a valuable goal despite not being 100%. McKeown replaced Williams, L upfront who worked the line really well, continuing where Williams, L left off.
Manager''s man of the match and players'' man of the match fell to Cooke, R for the third time this season. ‘Cookie’ was well up for this game and was always in the right place at the right time – winning headers, breaking up the play and really positive going forward. St John in goal, although he did not have many saves to make, was outstanding on crosses and his talking has improved immensely. Keep the good work going.
Personally, I was very impressed with our attitude towards this game. We were really positive from the start and wanted this game well before kick off. Our tempo was good and we limited a high scoring side to very few chances and kept a nice clean sheet as a result. We must therefore bring this attitude and commitment into this week’s game and treat every fixture like this one. Over the next couple of weeks we have an opportunity to consolidate our position, an opportunity we must take if our title aspirations hold any weight.
Great result, well done to everyone involved.
Farnborough: 1. St John (GK) 2. Small (RB); 3. Cleaver, L (LB) 4. Davis, R (CB); 5. Judge © (CB); 6. Cooke, R (CM) 7. Roots (RM) 8. Perkins, R (CM) 9. Williams, L (CF); 10. Cooke, J (CF); 11. Cleaver, B (LM)
Subs: 13. McKeown for 9. Williams, L Sub not used: 14. Pragnell
Hawkhurst Utd: 1. Chandler; 2.Pantry; 3.Sands, S; 4.Hyner; 5.Bolton; 6.Michmott; 7.Hazell; 8.Sands, B; 9. Norman; 10.Channer; 11. Mitchell;
Subs: 12. Ham; 13. Golding; 14. Herry.