Sunday 24th April 2022
By George Kleanthous
Super Seniors sweep past Riverside with great team performance
We headed into this home fixture keen to erase the memory of last week’s performance and we knew we had a tough assignment ahead against a Riverside team that we had lost heavily to last season, losing 0-6 & 0-7 respectively. History is in the past and the present gives the opportunity to put things right and we grasped that today with one of the best team performances of the season.
Last weeks report ended praising the mentality of the team and the expectation that we could respond in a positive manner after such a sub-standard effort last week. The difference in performance was like night and day, we played with more determination, desire and effort than we have seen in the last few months. Everything aligned and I can honestly say that every single player played a significant part in the victory.
FOBG Squad: Tom Girling, Ben McWilliams, Sinisa Gracanin, Simon Thomas, Dave Morgan, Chisa Mkala, Pete Harvey, George Kleanthous, Waine Hetherington, Danny Mullins, Jay Hardy, SUBS: Landy Sakala, Diccon Kaenzig, Andy Ashe
Referee: Paul Parsons. Let the game flow really well and controlled the game with ease. It helped that both sides played the game in a good spirit so not many contentious decisions to have to deal with.
Kit sponsor: The Dog and Duck, Outwood
Manager: George Kleanthous
Interim Chief Football Correspondent: George Kleanthous
There was a clear pregame message which was to get back to passing the ball out from the back and trying to dictate play better than we had in the last month or so simply by controlling the amount of time we had the ball in our possession. Against a very good Riverside we had to be at our best and on the back of today’s performance, mission well and truly accomplished.
There are games where you have a player step up and take on responsibility to do his job well and carry the team, however, this was not the case today. The reason for this was that there were 14 stand out performances today by each and every player in a Farnborough shirt.
On a day that we felt we could be under the cosh for long spells, our back 4 stood up to the task magnificently. Sinisa Gracanin was back in the line-up after 2 weeks away and this instantly makes us better defensively. The pairing of Sinisa and Ben McWilliams is looking better and better as each game passes and the mixture of Ben’s vocal organisation of the back line and Sinisa’s cool, calm demeanour is something that complements our defence extremely well. Add in that Simon Thomas arguably had his most complete defensive performance of the season and Dave Morgans energy and skill was hard to match and we would have been a tough nut to crack against any team we play on our schedule.
The game started well and Farnborough seemed to find a rhythm straight from the kick off and the passing was sharp, the tackling on point and it felt like we were getting the better of most 50/50 challenges. Confidence was high and we were having success attacking down both flanks where Danny Mullins and Chisa Mkala were causing the Riverside midfield to probably back up more than they wanted to. Most of the play was a steady stream of attacking advances and mainly because Waine Hetherington was able to get his foot on the ball and spread passes around to good effect setting us on our way time and time again. I hope I’m not about to jinx it, but it appears that Waine is finally fully recovered from his injury as he played with much more freedom today and he had a very strong game. Pete Harvey and Jay Hardy both gave their usual committed display and this got them into good positions where they were often able to supply teammates with opportunities to get in behind Riverside and create chances. Both of our forwards today showed a selfless display of hard work for the team and without this endeavour we would struggle to break teams down. It is so difficult to keep either of them off the ball as they are always moving and creating space for others, something not lost on their manager.
We got the opening goal our play deserved but there was a hint of good fortune to it when it did finally come, however, it doesn’t matter how they go in as long as they go in. George Kleanthous picked the ball up in centre midfield and searched out a charging Dave Morgan who then unleashed a hard shot towards the Riverside goal and it took enough of a deflection for the ball to loop over the helpless keeper into the net. Whose to say it wouldn’t have gone in anyway, but it would be unfair to classify it an own goal. Talking of fortuitous goals, there was more of that to come later. It probably goes to show that when it’s your day everything goes for you and this game was a good example of that. We went into the break 1-0 up and the team talk was very easy….more of the same please.
We had a very strong squad today and when we made the changes of bringing on our 3 substitutes it didn’t seem to change our tempo one bit and the players that came on slotted straight into the rhythm of the play and picked up directly from the players they had replaced. Diccon Kaenzig was an immediate threat down our left and Andy Ashe had now taken over the role of ball player in midfield and his passing always found its intended target. Landy Sakala came on and did what he always seems to do. Score goals. The sign of a good striker is always putting yourself in the position to score and Landy no doubt has that knack and he added another 2 goals to his tally after coming off the bench to do so. We have been nursing him along after he picked up an injury against Catford, but you do wonder how much more lethal he would be if we were to unleash him unrestricted from his current part time role? I make it 5 goals in 4 appearances. As mentioned in previous reports, his direct running and strong physical presence is hard for most defenders to play against and he has been a great addition to the team in the second half of this season. Thank you Chisa for the introduction.
We doubled our lead when Diccon made a great run down the left and thumped the ball against the bar and as it rebounded out Landy was at the back post to follow up and slide the ball into the net.
The third goal followed soon after and this time Dave Morgan crossed a ball deep into the Riverside box and once again Landy had taken up a position at the back post and as the keeper rushed out towards him, he got there first, caught the ball on the volley and it hit the inside of the post and went in.
We were in control and things were about to take a “fortunate” twist again when Chisa decided to hike a long ball back into the danger area from a fully 40 yards out and to everyone’s amazement (Chisa himself included by the look on his face as he realised what had just happened) the ball seemed to carry and carry and carry…right in over the keepers head and into net. Chisa laughed, Chisa’s teammates laughed, I’m sure I saw the referee laugh but the same couldn’t be said of the Riverside players who must have concluded this pretty much summed up their miserable afternoon.
Paul Parsons brought an end to proceedings with one final blow of the whistle and our 4-0 success was now confirmed. A thoroughly deserved victory.
One final indication on how complete the performance was today is that there is no mention of our most consistent player of the season so far. Our goalkeeper, Tom Girling. Rarely does a week go by that we don’t mention the heroics performed by our top stopper, however, today, such was the sterling performance of his teammates in front of him he may for once be the forgotten man. That’s not a bad thing and everyone deserves a break once in a while. I am certain that there will be occasions soon enough where we will be relying on him and occasions soon enough where he will be saving our bacon.
Next week, we face another tough challenge as we play Bird in Hand who have already beaten us twice this season, inflicting our worst result of the season in a 2-8 reversal back in January. We will have a few players missing this week so we will have to reshuffle the pack and see if we are capable of raising our level of performance again. It will certainly be necessary if we are to match our opponents, but we will be playing on a good surface and will not be short on confidence after our latest outing.
In a game where there were so many good performances, there was still one great performance. Dave Morgan did it all. Defended superbly, probed constantly with lung busting runs upfield, showed great skill with some deft flicks and turns and capped it all with scoring a goal as well. Unquestionable man of the match performance and deservedly got most of the votes today.
Man of the match: Dave Morgan