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First Team, Match Report

28 Jan 2024

Match Report: Farnham Town 4-0 Horley Town

Farnham Town had recovered well from being dumped out of the FA Vase earlier in the month to Bridgwater United, bouncing back with a 3-2 win over Spelthorne Sports on Tuesday night, extending their unbeaten start to the league campaign in the process.

Next up was the visit of Horley Town who Paul Johnson’s side had already faced twice this season. First, they met in a Premier Challenge Cup tie at the start of October, with Farnham running out 4-1 winners with a much rotated side before less than two weeks later travelling to The New Defence and coming away with all three points after a 5-1 win on the road.

Despite sitting in the bottom half, Horley Town had proven themselves to be a tricky opponent this season, with some impressive results in amongst their up and down form in the league.

Johnson made three changes to the side that beat Spelthorne earlier in the week. The most significant was the return of Adam Liddle in attack after his three-match suspension came to an end, he lead the attack with Charlie Postance dropping to the bench. Tom Smith replaced Max Meaton in defence as part of a reshuffle in the back four which saw Joe Jackson move from left to right-back and Jack Dean shifting inside to centre-back. Dean Rule was given the nod over Kai Tanner in attacking midfield.

As has often been the case this season, the away side started strong, looking to steal the lead and take the game to Farnham. Horley had the best of the opening exchanges, with the first real sight of goal coming just after the 10-minute mark when a punched clearance from Pat Nash was picked up on the edge of the box but the finish was skied over the bar.

Five minutes later and Horley were left scratching their heads as to how they weren’t ahead. Jack Dean dithered on the ball at the back and played a poor pass into midfield which was intercepted. The ball was progressed forward and eventually played into former Farnham striker Will May on the right side of the box. He struck it well towards the near post but Nash was just about able to get a toe on the shot and divert it around the outside of the post.

That was perhaps the wakeup call that Farnham needed as on 25 minutes the deadlock was broken. Harry Cooksley clipped a pass into the right-hand channel for Dean Rule to chase. He jinked inside and moved the ball towards the byline and delivered a pinpoint cross to the back post for Shamal Edwards to tap home, his 18th goal of the season.

Just two minutes later and the same paid nearly combined again for Farnham’s second. Rule, who was a threat all day, again found himself in possession down the right. This time his cross is partially blocked and deflects into the path of Edwards who tries to turn it home. The ‘keeper was rooted to his spot as the ball trickled inches wide of the far post.

Farnham huffed and puffed for the remainder of the half without really creating another clear cut opening. Lamar Koroma tried his luck from 30 yards with an effort that sailed narrowly over the bar shortly before half time.

Another common theme this season have been fast starts after the half-time break by Farnham, and that was the same again. Jack Dean going close with a header from a second phase play at a corner, but immediately after the goalkeeper restart, Farnham netted again.

The ‘keeper played the ball into the deep lying midfielder who turned straight into Dean Rule who stole the ball off him, burst into the box and slotted home, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way in the process. That made it a goal and an assist for Rule on the afternoon who was rightfully named Player of the Match as well on the afternoon.

Now with the two-goal cushion, Farnham began to express themselves with more creativity, Darryl Sanders going close after being played in behind by Rule, but his right-footed effort was spooned over.

On 65 minutes, Horley forced Nash into another excellent save with a 20-yard effort fizzing across the deck towards the bottom corner, but the Farnham stopper was able to get his left hand to it and turn it behind, and that would be as close as Horley would come to scoring.

Brought on as a second half substitute, Kai Tanner looked lively in the attacking third and nearly made an instant impact when he slid in Rule who was looking for his second of the game, but his left footed shot angled over the goal.

Tanner though did stamp his mark on the game by way of scoring Farnham’s third. Harry Cooksley broke down the right and whipped the ball across the face of goal. A Horley defender gets a desperate foot on the cross which diverts it into the chest of the ‘keeper and back out into the path of Tanner who tapped home from six yards to all but seal the victory with 15 minutes to play.

Farnham continued to pile the pressure on in search of a fourth, and it was another substitute who would end up making that pressure pay dividends. Cooksley delivered a corner deep towards the back of the box, Ryan Kinnane headed it goalwards, Tanner flicked it on for Charlie Postance who was able to nod it on again and into the net to make it 4-0 which would be how the game ended.

The victory marked the mid-point of the league season – 19 games played, and 19 wins, helping The Town move eight points clear at the top of the Combined Counties Premier Division South with three games in hand over Knaphill, the closest challengers.

Next up for Farnham, third placed Abbey Rangers come to The Memorial Ground on Tuesday evening.

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