Saxton Rovers v Faringdon Town – Saturday 14th October 2017
After last weeks tough cup game Town faced another tough cup game against old rivals Saxton Rovers. Having played them a couple of months ago in the Thursday Cup and being beaten 6-0 we were looking to show progression.
Town started a little nervy and within the first 2 mins, we gave possession away which resulted in a good cross from Saky and a shot that went just over the bar. Town then started to get their foot on the ball and put passes together, we were tight to our opposition and tried not to give them too much time on the ball, we were soaking up the pressure from a strong Saxton team.
After 15 mins Town created their first chance, captain Matthew Pill won possession back and played a ball into Liam Humphries, his pinpoint 30 yard diagonal ball landed straight into the path of runner Will Bazen, he took a great touch in the box, shrugged off his marker and slipped the ball into the corner of the net. Town 1-0 up. This rattled Saxton as they hadn’t conceded a goal all season and found themselves in an unusual position.
Town were matching the work rate of the solid Saxton midfield and were working extremely hard. A lot of strong tackles and 50/50’s were coming in with a few afters left on the Town players. The referee was fully on top of these and booked a few Saxton players.
Saxton were good going forwards and kept Town on their toes, some great defending at times from Kane Harding, George Hegg, Daz Sawala and Liam Humphries was keeping Saxton honest. Saxton were keeping possession now which resulted in a few shots, stand in keeper Nathan Draper made a couple of smart saves. One was a good block save and the next was smartly tipped over the bar. The resulting corner was flashed across the 6-yard box but no one touched it luckily enough for us.
Town continued to stand firm under pressure and went in at half time 1-0 up
After the break Town knew they would be under pressure from Saxton but both teams were battling hard and cancelled each other out. 15 mins into the second half The Don gave away a silly free kick 20 yards out. The Saxton player hit it sweetly straight past the helpless Draper and the game was now 1-1. Town were up against it now as Saxton had their tails up, a smart clearance off the line from Kane Harding kept the scoreline as it was.
Town were putting together some good passes at times and were breaking well, one of these breaks found the hard-working James Tranter who was flying down the wing but was fouled, second booking for the Saky player who was given the red. Saky down to ten. From the resulting free kick towns captain, Pilly whipped in a great ball to the box where it was met by Rob Owen to score a well-taken header and his first of the season. Town now 2-1 up.
30 minutes gone in the second-half Town faced another free-kick this time cleared off the line smartly by George Hegg. Couple of minutes later Saxton did get there equaliser. A scrappy goal for Towns defence to concede but Saxton was throwing everything at it. Energy levels were dwindling, with Saky runners everywhere.
James Tranter was continuing to be a thorn in Saxton side and was involved in a confrontation, the Saxton player squared up and went head to head with him, he leant forward and the ref gave the Saxton player a red. Saxton now down to 9 players with 10 mins to go.
To Saxton’s credit at no point did it look or feel like they were down to 9 as they continued to lump balls forward and push for the second ball. On 88 minutes Town sliced a ball out for a corner, the inevitable happened. The corner was met by a great header from the Saky player and they got their 3rd and the winning goal. The ref blew his whistle to end the game, final score 3-2. A real hard one to take as we were 2 mins away from penalties where we had a good chance.
Overall Town were satisfied with their performance, considering 2 months ago it was men against boys and losing 6-0, to turn that around and give a strong Saxton side a competitive tough game and scoring the first goals against them they have conceded all season, full credit to us. We rode our luck at times but definitely showed signs of progression. Every single player gave 110% and worked so hard, we showed some good football at times and were a lot more clinical, which was pleasing. The team spirit we are showing is fantastic, having lost our last few games but the lads are still positive and up beat.
If we continue to put these performances in with the high energy levels it will only be a matter of time before we get the rewards we deserve. Some great individual performances but the team effort was outstanding. Week off next week, gives us a chance for a breather and to sort some of the niggly knocks and injuries.
Next game in two weeks time back in the league with an up-beat squad all fighting for their shirts. Great effort gents!
Final Score: Saxton Rovers 3-2 Faringdon Town
Man of Match: James Tranter- unbelievable work rate, did not stop all game. Got stud marks on his head as a reward! Kept driving us forwards.