Farrell strikes to see off Farnham
The first team picked up a vital three points on Saturday when a lone Matt Farrell strike saw them beat hosts Farnham Town 1-0.
Darren Salmon made restored much of his regular first team, after the fringe and kids had taken on Epsom & Ewell in the county cup. However there were no places in the squad for the ill Owen Davies and the unavailable Asa Rixon-Nicholls, the experienced Craig Nelson and Craig Hastings were given starts.
We started brightly with widemen Andrew White and Matt Auletta both getting the better of their markers and delivering dangerous crosses, which were well defended, in the opening minutes.
We were almost caught out on five minutes though, when a misdirected backpass by Hastings put Michael Eacott in a spot of bother and we were fortunate to see the keepers clearance richochet off Ashley Peck and out for a goal kick.
Auletta looped an effort over the bar on eight minutes after good work by Jeff Addo-Dankwa, and a minute later Daryl Cooper-Smith saw an effort chalked off for offside.
We took the lead on 12 minutes when Cooper-Smith linked up with Addo-Dankwa, he in turn found Auletta and his pull back was crashed home by Farrell for 1-0. A minute later and White went down in the area, but to be fair their was little protest from us, and it looked like a great tackle by George Spiers.
We continued to dominate, and a long Eacott free kick was flicked on by Cooper-Smith to Auletta, and he bought a good save out of the keeper at the near post, and from the corner Farrell's spectacular overhead kick was again well saved.
Jack Dillon did well for Farnham on 23 minutes, but having got the better of both Hastings and Aaron Bogle, he was well marshalled by Farrell and the ball trickled out for a goalkick.
After the frenetic opening, the game settled down as both sides struggled on a sticky bobbly pitch. We went close on 33 minutes when a dangerous corner was just beyond the on-rushing Hastings. Our hosts were then forced into their first change with Spiers being replaced by Jack Cox.
Matt Tanton and Hastings then combined from a throw to set up Cooper-Smith, but he planted his header well wide of the right hand post. Five minutes from the break and Matt Ferdinando was booked for a foul on Jordan Stepney.
Three minutes from the break and we almost gifted Farnham an equaliser. A long ball was cleared by Addo-Dankwa, Auletta tried to find Bogle with his pass but Elliott Cardona intercepted and set up Max Meaton but his shot went wide of the right hand post.
On the stroke of half time we went close to making it 2-0 but Auletta was just unable to direct his effort on target, and we went in at the break with a slender 1-0 lead.
Farnham started brightly in the second half and we were grateful for a timely interception from Addo-Dankwa, to prevent Cardona from breaking free on the left. Three minutes later and we had another let off, when a long ball by Cox found Cardona who went one-on-one with Eacott, but found the big keeper in top form and able to make the save.
It should have been 2-0 on 52 minutes, White capitalised on a mistake in the heart of the Farnham defence and squared to Farrell, he beat one but saw his shot blocked behind for a corner.
The final ball for us was misfiring, and good chances were going begging, Farrell almost found Auletta on 55 minutes but Stepney was able to intercept and half clear, to Tanton who saw his effort go wide of the left hand post.
Auletta then went close on 57 minutes as we went route on, with Eacott launching a clearance to Cooper-Smith, who in turn flicked onto Auletta. Farnham's Stepney was booked for protesting about something during the flick on.
We removed White on 58 minutes and introduced the lively Matt Fairbrother. Farnham started to exert some pressure and just after the hour neat play between Meaton and Cardona ended with Dillon being fouled by Fairbrother and the hosts having a free kick in a dangerous area, which fortunately came to nothing.
Farnham made a change on 65 minutes with Sharif Yacoob replacing Cardona and Yacoob was to give Tanton a stiff test of his defensive capabilities. Stan Staines found Sam Slater from a free kick but somehow the header was planted wide.
With just under 20 minutes remaining Slater volleyed well wide after a half clearance by Addo-Dankwa. We replaced Ferdinando on 78 minutes and introduced the more defensive minded Joe Mead as we looked to shut up shop.
Farnham continued to have the better of things, and were putting us under more pressure, but our defence was holding firm. We did have chances though, and Fairbrother headed a Bogle free kick wide on 82 minutes.
Liam Holden replaced Cooper-Smith on 88 minutes as we looked to eat up a little more time. A minute later and Farnham were given a glorious chance to level when Hasting fouled Meaton on the edge of our area, but the free kick by Staines went narrowly over the bar and we saw out the rest of the game without too many hair-raising moments.