A tenacious performance sees Farnham progress in the Cherry Red Premier Cup.
A good cup run is always great news for any club.
And, by coming to the fore in this hard-fought 2-1 victory over Horley Town in the first round of the Cherry Red Premier Challenge Cup, it is youngsters Kai Nash and Will May that should deservedly dominate the matchday headlines.
As with almost every game this season, injuries and suspensions prevented the Town from naming a settled side.
However, despite this setback, Farnham started strongly.
Left back Tom Smith was particularly prominent pushing forward down the left flank, and it was his pin-point cross on 25 minutes that set up Steve Lee, his opposite number on the right flank, to put the Town one nil up with a firm, well placed header.
Although Horley Town worked hard, Farnham seemed in control, only to see their momentum halted by yet another injury.
With Muna Mwatsiya forced to leave the pitch, the Town required a defensive reshuffle and, as the team settled into their new roles, Horley Town came back into the game, finally forcing an undeserved equaliser when their No. 11, by far their best player on the night, drilled a low shot across the goal and in off the far post after 38 minutes.
And the Town were to suffer a second setback at half-time, when a knee injury required striker George Pilbeam to be replaced too.
But this time, Farnham found strength in adversity.
Kai Nash began to impose himself in midfield, working well in tandem with Parish Muirhead to hassle their Horley counterparts and create opportunities for the Farnham forwards to get in behind the defence and put pressure on their ‘keeper.
Chances fell to both Josh Ogunseye, who almost got on the end of a Parish Muirhead free kick, Will May, who beat the offside trap only to be forced wide as he rounded the ‘keeper, meaning his shot could only go across the face of the goal, and Josh Ogunseye again, put through from a long ball by substitute Max Meaton, only to see his shot come back off the ‘keeper’s legs.
By now Horley were clearly playing for penalties and seemed to be making their substitutions with this in mind.
However, Farnham were far from finished and proved the old adage that you must always play up to the final whistle.
Ironically, the Horley captain had already told his teammates that Max Meaton was being given far too much space on the right flank, but, as the match moved into the last minute, their players, possibly distracted by the probability of penalties, continued to stand off, allowing Max to make a surging run to the edge of the area and unleash a fine left foot drive that the ‘keeper did well to parry.
At such moments, fine margins come into play.
The rebound might have fallen to a Horley defender, or it might have gone out for a corner.
Instead, it fell to the feet of Will May and the youngster, who’d already impressed since moving to centre forward, calmly drilled home to send the Town though to the second round and another home tie against either Raynes Park Vale or Rayners Lane.
Although pleased with the win, manager Colin Millard is still looking for greater consistency:
“I’m pleased for the lads.
Their confidence has taken a huge knock in the last couple of weeks, so to react positively after Saturday’s extremely disappointing performance against Balham is credit to them.
But we have been here before.
We reacted positively last Tuesday in the County Cup at Abbey Rangers only to let ourselves down the game after.
Players must be more consistent with their own levels. We aren’t changing tactics or systems every week. Despite our injury issues, we are trying to be as consistent with that as we possibly can be to provide continuity for the players
The players have the ability, they have already shown that this season, but you have to produce that level of desire and commitment every single game and not just to react to a negative performance.
Tonight, they can go home knowing they have earned themselves a victory”.
MOTM : Kai Nash
The Town’s next home match is the Combined Counties league game against Redhill on Saturday 13 November. Kick off 3:00pm