Rovers on fire in the ice
By Gary Brigden
Sutton Common Rovers turned in a devastating display of attacking football as they hit relegation threatened Farnham Town for eleven on Saturday.
Rovers got off to the perfect start and found themselves two goals to the good inside the opening ten minutes. First up, Michael Campbell latched onto an unfortunate ricochet off Farnham's Sean Evans after the clearance by keeper Adrian Giles had cannoned off of him, and was able to roll the ball into an empty net to put Rovers ahead, and within four minutes it was 2-0 when a threaded through ball by Asa Rixon-Nicholls released Daryl Cooper-Smith and he fired low beyond Giles to increase the lead.
It was almost 3-0 on eleven minutes, when Campbell latched onto a great crossfield ball by Malachi Thomas, but after cutting inside James Flynn, he could only drill his effort into the sidenetting.
There was no let up in Rovers attacking intent, and just shy of the 15 minute mark, Thomas forced a corner, the delivery was only half cleared and Matt Farrell fired the ball wide of the right hand post.
Thomas found Campbell on 21 minutes and he was well defended by Evans, leading to a Rovers corner, from the delivery an unmarked Rixon-Nicholls could only poke the ball wide of the left hand post.
Matt Auletta made it 3-0 on 23 minutes, when he controlled a great Cooper-Smith crossfield pass, and fired home, via a deflection to give Rovers breathing space.
A minute later and Auletta really should have increased the lead after being set up by a combination of Cooper-Smith and Campbell, but he fired over when well placed.
Farnham should have pulled one back on 31 minutes when a tremendous run down the right by Nick Medcaft ended with a deep cross and Tom Smith could only put his effort wide of the post.
Cooper-Smith bought an excellent save out of Giles after latching onto a Matt Tanton cross, and at the other end the recalled Craig Hastings did well to prevent Medcraft from getting in a shot.
Farnham snatched what could have been a lifeline on 38 minutes, when Medcraft was hauled down in the area by Rovers keeper Michael Eacott, and a penalty awarded. Eacott picked himself up, dived right and saved the spot kick, but Medcraft reacted quickest to poke home the loose ball for 3-1.
Farnham were now enjoying their best spell of the game, a dangerous free kick by Stan Staines was cleared by Aaron Bogle, to Farnham's Jordan Stepney, but Rovers got bodies around the ball and cleared the danger.
Campbell restored the three goal advantage on 41 minutes, latching onto a Cooper-Smith flick he still had plenty to do but cut inside Flynn, and fired an unstoppable shot beyond Giles to send Rovers in at the break 4-1 to the good.
Auletta made it 5-1 early in the second half cashing on a defence splitting Cooper-Smith through ball, as the onslaught on the Farnham goal continued.
Campbell should have secured a hat-trick just short of the hour but his weak effort was gathered by Giles, but almost immediately he was released by Cooper-Smith, rounded Giles to score. It was to be his last action as Darren Salmon made a double change replacing Campbell and Auletta with Danny Fernandez and Tom Neale.
Neale's first impact on the game was to latch on a long Tanton ball on 64 minutes, outpace the Farnham backline and fire low beyond Giles for 7-1.
A minute later Giles then well to save a stinging Rixon-Nicholls effort, after the dynamic Rovers midfielder had been set up by Fernandez.
With 20 minutes remaining Rixon-Nicholls was replaced by Joe Mead. Rovers continued to push and a deep Thomas cross was volleyed just wide by Fernandez on 72 minutes.
Cooper-Smith was given the freedom of the penalty area to fire home number eight, and still there was no let up, Rovers forced a corner on 75 minutes, Tanton's shot was blocked by Farnham substitute Dean Sumbler but fell kindly to Matt Farrell who fired home number nine, a rare goal for the influential midfielder.
Sharif Yacoob did well on 81 minutes as Farnham looked for another consolation goal, but his effort was curled just over the crossbar, and four minutes from time Staines fired straight at Eacott.
Cooper-Smith fired just over on 85 minutes, and a minute later a move involving Eacott, Tanton and Cooper-Smith ended with Neale adding number ten, just getting ahead of Fernandez in the race to a delicate Cooper-Smith pass, and in stoppage time scoring was complete when Fernandez took a quick free kick and Farrell fired home from 30 yards.
Bigger and tougher tests await Rovers, but this was a good performance and for once they capitalised on a multitude of chances.