Aldershot and Farnham’s proud unbeaten run in the South East Premier League was ended by powerful Sevenoaks.
But coach Ian Jennings wasn’t over-concerned after seeing the record end in a narrow 1-0 defeat against one of the clubs tipped to be challenging at the top of the table.
He said: “Unlike previous seasons where the result was paramount, this was more about the performance – and I was generally very pleased with that.
“The chances we created against what is meant to be a very good side in this league was very encouraging – especially as we weren’t at full strength. And that bodes well for the future.
“The next two games will give us a much better idea of where we are at.
“My concerns are our lack of depth if we have injuries or unavailability – and I’m not sure how we are going to be able to address those with the lack of facilities we have to offer should anybody be interested in changing clubs or moving into the area compared to other clubs in the area.
“But I’ll look at the positive elements in our game and the areas we need to improve on, and address them at training.
“One frustration I have is that despite numerous ways of trying to get the players to realise they might get only one chance in a game, not many are getting into the psych that it really does matter!
“That became apparent last Saturday so hopefully that’ll help.”
A&F began the game at Sevenoaks in their usual fast-paced fashion.
It didn’t take long for a drive into the opposition D to bring the first short corner of the game. Scott Perry tested the goalkeeper and the rebound fell to Jamie Weston, who was unable to find the early breakthrough.
The Sevenoaks short-corner defensive unit was only just managing to keep the powerful Perry flicks at bay; a near carbon copy followed where Tom Herring was just unable to divert the Weston rebound home.
A third corner not long after was tipped on to the post by the Sevenoaks goalkeeper’s stick.
Sevenoaks were considered to be A&F’s toughest opponents so far this season, but the Shots were already rising to the challenge and not only competing, but dictating the play and creating more and more chances from open play and set pieces.
Perry and Weston were making inroads down the flanks and the tireless running of the forward contingent of Jonny Groves, Jake Combes, Josh Frost, Zac Chinn and Paddy Craddon were giving Sevenoaks problems at the back.
Out of possession, the defensive press, marshalled by Phil Rushmere, was effective.
Sevenoaks were reduced to throwing aerials, and forays forwards into A&F territory were rare, as tight marking in the defensive D restricted their opponents to a few hopeful deflections.
Chances continued to be carved out by A&F, who were moving the ball fluently.
Chris Boot and Daan Barron were playing their way through the Sevenoaks press at will and linking well with the wide players, who were feeding excellent crosses into the danger area.
In one move Perry crossed for Craddon, who was unable to apply the finishing touch, before a last-ditch clearance denied Chinn.
After the interval, another drag flick from a short corner cannoned off the Sevenoaks crossbar and as A&F continued to pour forward, Groves’ touch from a cross floated agonisingly wide and a sliding Craddon couldn’t reach another dangerous ball across the face of the Sevenoaks goal.
A&F were given a warning shot soon after when an aerial into their D from deep was falling into the path of an onrushing striker, but Hamish Hall in goal was alert to the danger, smothering the attempt.
Despite all the chances and pressure, Sevenoaks then went ahead against the run of play.
A hopeful long ball forward took an unfortunate deflection, wrong footing the A&F defence but falling to an opposing striker, who took his chance.
A frantic last ten minutes followed where Sevenoaks were pinned back, determined to sneak away with three points.
However, as had been the story of the day, A&F were unable to convert their chances and the match finished 1-0.
It was a result that didn’t reflect the flow of the game and on another day the scoreline could have been very different.
Report: Kevin McCafferty
Pictures: Steve Tarsey