Saturday 31st January 2009
By Shaun Keddle
Fortress Farnborough falls to Invicta despite dominating the game
The Guild lost their unbeaten home league record of 11 months and 2 weeks and were very unfortunate in doing so, but maybe have only themselves to blame through lack of availability and yet another injury crisis, which appears to be the pattern of our season so far.
Cooke J (illness), Selmes (hamstring) were late pullouts to add to the already injured Cleaver L (back), Cleaver B (fractured ankle), Koutsoudis & Roots (knee ligaments) and the unavailability of Williams J and Williams L (holiday). Overall there were 6 changes to the personnel that comprehensively beat Bromleians just two weeks previously and around 8 forced positional changes and no recognised strikers. Not good signals going in against a team that has already beaten us this season and pushing hard for promotion.
There was drama from the first whistle as in less than two minutes the Guild conceded a pointless penalty when Davis needlessly bought down Cooper in the box. Cornell easily converted the penalty. Right from the kick off the Guild pushed on and earned a penalty of their own a minute later when Graham jinked through the Invicta box and was tripped from behind. Graham duly converted the penalty.
After the re-start the Guild got the ball down on the excellent surface and played some excellent football; some of the finest play that I have seen all season. The Guild kept the ball, worked hard, created, passed and moved on and off the ball. A deep cross from the right found Stevens on the left and his first time effort went narrowly wide. When you play so well and don’t capitalise on your good inter play and possession you are always left thinking that a sucker punch will come.
That cruel punch landed in the 40th minute when a fantastic strike from Cooper beat St John in the Guild goal, struck the inside of the post and into the net. A high calibre strike. The Guild management team, players and supporters were left somewhat bewildered how their team can play so well, dominate the game but still be left trailing.
At the half we were full of praise and surely if we continued our good play, it would only be a matter of time till the footballing gods looked favourably on the Guild.
The second half started with a half chance for Invicta who failed to convert. The only time that St John was bought into action in the whole half.
The Guild continued their good football but in the second half just appeared to lack that cutting edge in the last third.
Havers replaced Small pushing Graham back to right midfield.
However, the Guild almost drew level with two long range efforts that came so close. The first effort was from Warren from 30 yards out that stung the hands of Redfern in the Invicta goal; the second effort from Stevens from 35 yards had Redfern well beaten and gazing helplessly when the effort struck the crossbar.
Cannon replaced Stevens at left midfield.
In the last 15 minutes the Guild pushed Warren upfront and went for broke in a 3-4-3 formation but the strong Invicta defence held firm to take all three points.
Overall, I was exceptionally pleased with the performance. There are such things as ‘good losses’ as we clearly demonstrated. Our squad was clearly stretched once again and exceptionally limited on attacking options. The Invicta will know that they had a battle on their hands will be very pleased in taking all three points when they were clearly outplayed.
Man of the match was Abbott who was excellent throughout. He was industrious and never gave the ball away and never allowed the Invicta midfield to play. Abbott is really showing the recent kind of form that is key to any side’s success.
Next week we have Bridon away. Bridon have an excellent pitch and a league form very similar to ours, so it should be an entertaining fixture. Hopefully, we will have one or two faces back and should be a stronger squad.
This is clearly a loss that feels like a victory, well done lads, play like we do at home in away matches and we will progress in the right direction.
Longer term we still need to sort out our availability issues if we have any aspirations to win anything further at this wonderful club. However, my words feel empty and pointless as season after season they provoke little or even no response.
Farnborough: 1. St John; 2. Warren; 3. Eales; 4. Davis; 5. Judge; 6. Abbott; 7. Small; 8. Cooke R; 9. Perkins; 10. Graham M; 11. Stevens
Subs: 12. Havers for 7. Small; 16. Cannon for 11. Stevens Sub not used: 15. Graham J
Tonbridge Invicta: 1. Redfern; 2. Dunk; 3. Pyne; 4. Fountain; 5. Paisley; 6. Crush; 7. Mandaluff; 8. Cornell; 9. Emery; 10. Thompson; 11. Cooper
Subs: 12. Thompson; 14. Poore; 15. Ryan; 16. Martin