Saturday 27th September 2008
By Sam Evans
Farnborough Old Boys Guild Reserves 3, (Lenton 21, Evans (2) 30 and 34) Knights Old Boys 4 (38, 49, 88, 90)
To capitulate: ‘to agree or surrender according to arranged or proposed terms; to accept defeat’.
Part One – The first half
Best 45 minutes of the season. We passed the ball well and all did our jobs effectively. Stuart Lenton put us 1-0 up with a great bit of quick thinking. We had a free kick just inside their half and all of our players lined up on the far side of the penalty area expecting a deep cross from Stu. Instead he spotted their keeper off his line and shot for goal. He executed it perfectly and as the keeper rushed back to his line the ball sailed over his head. Great goal. We went 2-0 when Pete Morton knocked a great ball over the top for me and I beat the keeper. 4 minutes later we won a corner on the left wing and Spencer Havers floated in a great cross which Adam Benningfield met with his head. Adam’s header bounced on the 6 yard box and as it came up I redirected it into the goal.
Until this stage we hadn’t given them a sniff, with Ricky Simmons and Giorgio Fullone at centre back again turning in solid performances. So it was disappointing to concede a goal on 38 minutes. They broke down the right and the guy seemed to skip round one or two of us a bit too easily before beating Leigh at the near post. However at 3-1 we were still in complete control and playing some great football. Spencer and Richard Tapsfield linked up well on the right wing, Taps overlapped on a couple of occasions and delivered great crosses into the box. On the other side Pete Morton linked play up well and won the physical battle against his man. And in centre midfield Stuart Lenton an Johnny Piper showed what good players they both are by using the ball effectively, going forward where possible but not afraid to play it square or backwards and keep possession if necessary.
Part Two – The second half
It’s tempting just to forget about the second half, but I don’t think that denial is an effective way to deal with traumatic events – you have to face up to them. So here goes. We just didn’t turn up basically. We sauntered back onto the pitch expecting to score another few goals in the afternoon sun and go for a few beers afterwards. So when Knights flew out of the blocks we were completely unprepared. They scored 4 minutes into the second half and that really put the wind in their sails. This set the tone for the second half and they peppered us with wave after wave of attacks. It is credit to our back four that we held it at 3-2 for so long as the opposition had all of the possession. With a couple of exceptions I think the other 6 outfield players need to have a long hard look at ourselves because we gave our defenders no help whatsoever. We didn’t defend from the front, nor did we relieve the pressure by attacking well - our passing and communication going forward was awful.
Paul Tanton and Daragh Nott made a couple of changes to try and stop the rot, Matt Pragnell replaced Adam Benningfield at left back on 65 minutes, and Tant replaced Pete Morton on 75 minutes. Tant came on up front and Dan Head dropped back into left midfield. Knights remained on top though and Leigh Hawkes made a couple of impressive saves to keep the score at 3-2.
The last 5 minutes of the game was like watching a horror film where you know something gruesome and horrible is going to happen. On 88 minutes they equalised. They had the ball in the box and initially we did well to snuff out the danger. Then Ricky was unlucky to see his clearance ricochet off one of their players and fall to their striker who beat Leigh from close range. Then they scored a winner in injury time. We lost possession on the left wing and their right midfielder crossed the ball into the box. Inevitably it fell to one of their players who scuffed his shot a bit but it snuck into the bottom corner. Their subs charged onto the pitch like they’d won the cup final but fair play to them, we’d do the same if we’d just turned 0-3 into 4-3.
In the changing rooms afterwards we were all silent and gutted. Looking back on it now there’s no point dwelling on it so let’s focus on the positives. The first half was quality. Also we should focus on how good it felt to be 3-0 up and playing the opposition off the park. I’m sure we all want to feel like that again soon so let’s make sure we do, we know we are well capable of it.
To end on a lighter note I was pleased to see the debut of a Giorgio Fullone fan club at the game today. They whooped and cheered Giorgio’s every touch and I’m sure their numbers will swell as he continues his excellent start to the season. Maybe there will be banners next week and Giorgio will have to stop and sign autographs on his way into the club?
Man of the match: Sam Evans
Evans (CF) (Captain)