Farnham Town hoping to take battling cup spirit into league clash

Friday 22nd October 2021 3:00 pm
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Farnham Town showed the grit and determination demanded by manager Colin Millard as they beat Abbey Rangers in the preliminary round of the Specsavers Surrey Senior Cup.

The match was locked at 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes, but Town went through on penalties.

Town went ahead shortly after the interval but Jack Watts levelled from the penalty spot.

With no further scoring, the game went to sudden death and when Abbey Rangers missed two of their first three spot kicks, the pressure was off and Town progressed.

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Their reward is a first-round tie at either Molesey or Sutton Common Rovers.

Badshot Lea enter the competition at the same stage, and face a trip to play Ashford Town.

It was a fine result for Farnham, as Abbey Rangers are riding high in the Combined Counties Premier Division North table, having won seven of their nine league matches so far.

At the weekend, Millard was desperately unhappy with his side as they had slumped to a 1-0 defeat to AFC Croydon, who had won only one of their previous 12 league matches before their trip to the Memorial Ground.

The only goal came a minute from time when the otherwise-impeccable Ashley Lloyd rashly dived into a challenge, allowing the ball to be played through to striker Luwayne Greenwood who had the easiest of opportunities to secure his side the three points.

The fans’ disappointment was shared by Millard: "That was the first time this season where I can say I have been very disappointed with the team," he said.

"We’ve had halves where we haven’t been at the races but not full games like that.

"There wasn’t anything I liked about the performance.

"Maybe the first 20 minutes of the second half was a bit more like it, but that’s nowhere near good enough.

"During the week I talked about getting above our stations - maybe we had a case of that today.

"You have to compete. You have to win tackles. You have to win headers. You have to win second balls. You have to do all of the tough sides of the game first before you can win it. We forgot that."

As a community initiative, local schools receive free family passes to attend, which helped swell the attendance to 257, a figure bettered by only one match in the division.

As one wag pointed out, the pupils have been told that, unless they behave in class, they will have to go again next week...

Town could argue that the tough midweek fixture against Jersey Bulls had taken its toll on their players, and they were missing a couple of key players through a combination of injuries, suspensions and unavailability.

However, that hardly excused the lack of fight.

There was no creativity in midfield and no game plan other than to hit long balls into the channels.

Farnham keeper Richard Ossai made a couple of sharp saves and George Pilbeam saw a snapshot just off target but the Farnham midfield were misfiring, neither full back was able to push on to provide width and the forwards continually ran into blind alleys.

A half time substitution saw the first change in formation but little real change in the match tempo.

Farnham skipper Lloyd, who had started the game in central defence to replace the suspended Kayode Conteh, was moved back into his more natural role in front of the defence and here, at least, was able to supply some bite to the midfield.

What it couldn’t do was address the issue of creativity, or more accurately, the complete lack of it.

The second half was even worse than the first, and not helped by a further change in formation.

Town might have had a penalty in a passage of play that appeared to see two players brought down in separate incidents. Millard certainly thought so and was booked for making his views on the referee’s decision known to the officials.

At least this provided a talking point in a match that produced so little of note.

And then, just as it seemed that everyone had settled for a 0-0 draw, Croydon launched a winning attack in the 89th minute.

Town are back in action at the Memorial Ground on Saturday when they entertain struggling Balham (3pm).

They entertain one of the Premier Division South pacesetters Horley Town on Tuesday evening in the first round of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup.

On the same night, Badshot hot Lea travel to unbeaten Combined Counties First Division Wallingford Town in the same competition.

The match was locked at 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes, but Town went through on penalties.

Town went ahead shortly after the interval but Jack Watts levelled from the penalty spot.

With no further scoring, the game went to sudden death and when Abbey Rangers missed two of their first three spot kicks, the pressure was off and Town progressed.

Their reward is a first-round tie at either Molesey or Sutton Common Rovers.

Badshot Lea enter the competition at the same stage, and face a trip to play Ashford Town.

It was a fine result for Farnham, as Abbey Rangers are riding high in the Combined Counties Premier Division North table, having won seven of their nine league matches so far.

At the weekend, Millard was desperately unhappy with his side as they had slumped to a 1-0 defeat to AFC Croydon, who had won only one of their previous 12 league matches before their trip to the Memorial Ground.

The only goal came a minute from time when the otherwise-impeccable Ashley Lloyd rashly dived into a challenge, allowing the ball to be played through to striker Luwayne Greenwood who had the easiest of opportunities to secure his side the three points.

The fans’ disappointment was shared by Millard: "That was the first time this season where I can say I have been very disappointed with the team," he said.

"We’ve had halves where we haven’t been at the races but not full games like that.

"There wasn’t anything I liked about the performance.

"Maybe the first 20 minutes of the second half was a bit more like it, but that’s nowhere near good enough.

"During the week I talked about getting above our stations - maybe we had a case of that today.

"You have to compete. You have to win tackles. You have to win headers. You have to win second balls. You have to do all of the tough sides of the game first before you can win it. We forgot that."

As a community initiative, local schools receive free family passes to attend, which helped swell the attendance to 257, a figure bettered by only one match in the division.

As one wag pointed out, the pupils have been told that, unless they behave in class, they will have to go again next week...

Town could argue that the tough midweek fixture against Jersey Bulls had taken its toll on their players, and they were missing a couple of key players through a combination of injuries, suspensions and unavailability.

However, that hardly excused the lack of fight.

There was no creativity in midfield and no game plan other than to hit long balls into the channels.

Farnham keeper Richard Ossai made a couple of sharp saves and George Pilbeam saw a snapshot just off target but the Farnham midfield were misfiring, neither full back was able to push on to provide width and the forwards continually ran into blind alleys.

A half time substitution saw the first change in formation but little real change in the match tempo.

Farnham skipper Lloyd, who had started the game in central defence to replace the suspended Kayode Conteh, was moved back into his more natural role in front of the defence and here, at least, was able to supply some bite to the midfield.

What it couldn’t do was address the issue of creativity, or more accurately, the complete lack of it.

The second half was even worse than the first, and not helped by a further change in formation.

Town might have had a penalty in a passage of play that appeared to see two players brought down in separate incidents. Millard certainly thought so and was booked for making his views on the referee’s decision known to the officials.

At least this provided a talking point in a match that produced so little of note.

And then, just as it seemed that everyone had settled for a 0-0 draw, Croydon launched a winning attack in the 89th minute.

Town are back in action at the Memorial Ground on Saturday when they entertain struggling Balham (3pm).

They entertain one of the Premier Division South pacesetters Horley Town on Tuesday evening in the first round of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup.

On the same night, Badshot hot Lea travel to unbeaten Combined Counties First Division Wallingford Town in the same competition.

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