Saturday 29th March 2008
By Shaun Keddle
A scintillating and complete performance to maintain our 11 point advantage at the top of the pile.
Saturday saw us entertain an Erith side that caused us a few problems as little as four weeks earlier. They were also the last side to score against us in a 3-1 victory. This time Erith were a few players short of their familiar line up but still a dangerous side that included the free scoring Kirkland with his goal-a-game record.
The pitch looked fantastic even considering what Mother Nature had thrown at it all week. As we kicked off, the heavens opened up and the wind blew across it like a gale. The Guild chose to ride out the conditions by playing against the wind and the rain in the hope that we kept a clean sheet and look to kick on in the second half.
Erith new they had to start well and started slightly the livelier side with the tactic to shoot on sight to take advantage of the conditions. However, a blistering spell of total football between the 10th and 26th minute of the first half saw us net 4 goals and really wrap things up.
The first was netted from the spot after xxxx in the Erith goal bought down Williams, L in the box. A sensible decision by the ref was taken and the keeper received just a booking. Cooke, J stepped up and converted the kick to give us an important lead.
Minutes later the lead was doubled when Williams once again rounded the keeper and this time found the net.
A sublime back-heeled lob from Williams, L which found the net, was disallowed for offside. Shame it did not count as it was one of the most outrageous pieces of finishing I have seen this season.
The third goal was added which was one of the best team goals I have seen in years. Warren picked up the ball in the right back position and fed the ever hungry Williams, J down the by the right hand touchline. Williams, J fed Cooke, J further down the line who held off two markers superbly to give the ball back to Williams, J with an exquisite one-touch pass. Williams, J then burst past two defenders before delivering a low hard ball across the face of the box between keeper and defenders. Williams, L broke into the box at pace to guide the ball with accuracy and venom past the keeper and into the net. A brilliant goal that even the opposition applauded.
The fourth goal was added when Cleaver, B broke down the left hand side and fed Perkins who bust a gut through the midfield to finish with ease.
Further efforts were denied as Cooke, J hit both posts with a superb effort and Perkins hit the bar.
At the half there was not a great deal to discuss. We just needed to keep doing what we were doing and remain focused and not allow ourselves to get complacent.
The second half started as we left off and Erith looked a tired and dejected side. Time and time again Farnborough broke through and really should have added to their tally. In a short space of time the Guild had two further goals disallowed for offside. One was certainly offside, the other was debatable with the linesman flagging for neither. On 65 minutes Cooke, R replaced McKeown which pushed Judge back to his more familiar centre half role and prevent him from doing something really silly - like scoring. Further chances were missed when Judge failed to get on the end of a perfect through ball by Cooke, R and embarrassed himself in front of a decent home crowd!
A fifth goal was added on 70 minutes when Williams, L finished from close range giving him his second hat-trick in 5 games and 10 goals in the last 5 games. Pragnell replaced Cooke, J pushing Cleaver, B upfront and Cleaver, L to left midfield with Pragnell sitting behind him at left back.
Further efforts were close as Cleaver, B smashed an effort against the post and Cooke, R hit the bar from a header that he should have converted.
Small replaced Williams, L pushing Williams, J upfront and Small on the right hand side.
A sixth goal was added with 10 minutes to go. A fantastic solo effort by Williams, J who cut inside from the right after beating two players and smashed the ball home with his left peg into the top corner, leaving the keeper absolutely helpless. 6-0 it finished at the final whistle.
In total this was a completely dominant performance. We scored six goals, had three goals disallowed, hit the post and crossbar on a number of occasions and also missed a few sitters. It could have so easily been double figures. At the back we restricted them to very little and dealt comfortably with any danger.
The officiating for this game was excellent. Dan Dawson was the referee for the day and he was thorough and professional and always considered the conditions with his decisions. I can see him being promoted through the ranks quite quickly. His fitness levels were excellent and his decisions were made easier as both were sides were honest and fair.
Some of the performances today were excellent and that was showed in the varied amount of nominees for MOM. St John in goal had little to do but keeps on improving in his communication and distribution, 17 year old Warren again impressed at right back, Davis at centre half once again made a difficult job look easy, McKeown won everything and was solid as a rock, Cleaver, L was always comfortable, Judge was box to box and protected the back four so well, Williams, L netted a hat-trick and could have had more, Cooke, J got the ball rolling from the spot and his general play to bring in the midfield is first class and Williams, J was rampant on the right hand side and caused havoc for all of Erith’s defence. However, Cleaver, B and Perkins tied in the votes for MOM with Warren just a vote behind. Perkins ran the show from the midfield and once again continued his fantastic goal scoring from with 7 goals in his last 7 league games. Cleaver, B turned in his best performance of the season so far and was clever and inventive down the right hand side (never thought I would use Cleaver and clever in the same sentence!). All the subs played a decent part and were eager to impress and competition for starting places is excellent. Only the club can benefit as a result.
A special mention to the defence who have only conceded 1 goal in the last 5 games and only 2 league goals since the beginning of the year – a fantastic achievement. Additionally, St John in goal has only conceded 9 goals in the 16 matches that he has been between the sticks including 10 clean sheets a truly remarkable feat worthy of a mention. Well done to St John and the defence as a unit.
This week we have Wickham Park. This weekend we have the opportunity within our own hands to get ourselves promoted without relying on anyone else’s results. Play like we did this week and the result will be a foregone conclusion. The performance was based on will, hard work, team spirit and the ability to move the ball quickly and sharply with minimal dwelling. Additionally, Wickham Park beat us at our place in the early part of the season and we must not let any side do the double over us this season. Despite their lowly position Wickham are a decent side that have recently had some decent results so we need to switch on and not get complacent.
Promotion is in our hands boys…
Farnborough: 1. St John; 2. Warren; 3. Cleaver, L; 4. Davis; 5. McKeown; 6. Judge; 7. Williams, J; 8. Perkins; 9. Williams, L; 10. Cooke, J; 11. Cleaver, B
Subs: 13. Cooke, R for 5. McKeown; 12. Pragnell for 10. Cooke, J; 14. Small for 9. Williams, L
Subs not used: 15. Mace and 16. Keddlinihio