The Town Are Beaten By Both Injuries And An Impressive Leatherhead Youth Side.
For a frankly fantastic 60 seconds, the Farnham Town Under 18s were in the hat for the First Round of The F.A. Youth Cup.
With only half-an-hour to play, substitute Josh Cooper had put the Town two up, slotting home at the back post after Farnham had fashioned a quality move down the left flank, before Frankie Jamieson worked the ball across the area for Josh to score.
It was, however, a goal against the run of play, and, if it was a little unfortunate that Leatherhead were able to produce an immediate response and level inside a minute, it was no real surprise that, as the Town players tired, Leatherhead went on to win comfortably.
But make no mistake, this was a terrific game of football, particularly in the first half.
As a spectator, it was refreshing to watch two extremely skilful sides, both of whom were prepared to play the ball to feet, have the confidence to take on and try to beat their man whenever they could and continue to press forward at every opportunity.
And it all started so well for Farnham!
Within the first minute they found themselves a goal up when Lincoln Mandaza, a bright presence down the left throughout the first half, curled his first time shot around a stunned Leatherhead ‘keeper and straight into the top left hand corner.
For the next few minutes, the game swung back and forth, with both sides having shots cleared off the line, but, albeit gradually, Leatherhead began to assert themselves, aided by two injuries to Farnham forwards that required first half substitutions.
Although Farnham were able to preserve their lead until half-time, and, indeed, extend it in the second half, it was be these injuries, plus a second half injury to the industrious Josh Southwood in central midfield, that would ultimately deliver a double blow to the Town.
Not only did they disrupt Farnham’s formation, they also meant that there was nothing in reserve as the Town players began to tire.
Having halved Farnham’s lead, Leatherhead began to pin the Town back into their half, with the increasingly isolated Jamieson the only outlet for a Farnham defence forced to bypass a midfield that, themselves, were being forced to drop deep.
And, with 20 minutes to go, it was almost inevitable that the extremely impressive Leatherhead No. 10 was able to surge into the Farnham penalty area, leaving three Town defenders in his wake, before rifling his shot past the Farnham ‘keeper to equalise.
What followed was extremely unfortunate, as a tired Town simply couldn’t cope with a more powerful Leatherhead midfield that were able to create wave upon wave of attacks and excellent opportunities for their No 9, two of which was able to convert.
As time ran out, Leatherhead then added a fifth from a corner that give them a 5-2 win which was both highly flattering and extremely unfair on a Farnham side that had more that matched them for three-quarters of the game.
Although understandably disappointed, the Town players, manager Dan Goodall and his management team, and everyone that has supported the side through the four matches that Farnham have played in this competition can be extraordinarily proud of their achievements and, having watched them in action, it’s clear that the team have a bright future ahead of them.