Farnborough OB Guild Reserves Vs Parkwood Rangers FC
By Harry Scott
Parkwood went into their final league game of the season, away to Farnborough, knowing that a win would guarantee them a top 2 finish, and promotion for the first time…
Don’t let it ever be said that Doug Scott won’t give youth a chance. Unlike his beloved Chelsea, Doug is always keen to bring player’s through from the U21 team and give them a chance in the senior side. Harry O’Brien made his first appearance of the season, having played a handful of times over previous years, and went straight into the starting line-up, as Nathan Parke was still putting on 4 stone on his all-inclusive holiday. The perfect way to get ready for Parkwood’s first ever cup final.
With the wind behind them, as well as the countless travelling fans (brought mainly to back up Tom Goodyear, for when the Farnborough Ultras started their yearly ritual of getting into the centre back’s head), Parkwood started sharply, with their trusty 4-2-3-1 formation working wonders at getting in behind the Farnborough side. The pressure was constant, and it didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken. With his persistent threatening in behind, it seemed only a matter of when and not if, Harry O’Brien would find the back of the opposition’s net. The scouts lined up on the touchline from Premier division sides, would have been pleased with what they saw, as he latched on to a through ball, shrugged off the defender and rifled the ball home, past the Farnborough keeper. A really well taken goal, and no more than this Parkwood side had deserved.
Parkwood continued to threaten the Farnborough goal, creating a few half chances, as well as coming close from the number of corners they won. The second goal was vital, especially with the wind in their favour, not knowing how much this would help Farnborough in the second half. Again, another attack down the right, and some nice play between Alex Faulks and Henry Pickering led to the latter, whipping a ball into the box. The bounce caught the keeper out as it cannoned off the front post and trickled across the box, where Jordan Davids won the race to poke the ball over the line from less than a yard out. Parkwood were 2-0 up now with just under 10 minutes of the first half remaining, but the pressure continued. Jacob Queiros in the Parkwood goal seemingly bored with his 1 touch so far in the game. Despite the Parkwood onslaught, the whistle sounded, and Parkwood went into the break 2 up.
After complaining about Sarri, and his inability to play players such as Kante in their preferred positions, Doug Scott brought on central midfielder Tom Malyon at half time. A central midfielder who Doug has been playing on the left side of midfield since mid-February. On a completely separate and unrelated note, irony is a wonderful thing…Harry Scott was the player to make way for Tom’s arrival.
Despite the windy conditions helping Farnborough this half, Parkwood maintained the ascendency, and picked up where they had left off in the first half. The closest Farnborough came to threatening to score, was when Jacob quieros decided to impersonate the Monk from Mean Machine, not once, but twice. Taking on their striker, and Cruyff turning him, increasing everyone’s blood pressure. Parkwood didn’t let that faze them, and Harry O’Brien continued to get joy in behind the opposition’s backline. Farnborough not able to deal with his strong and determined running, he picked the ball up with his back to goal, turned and ran into the box from the right-hand side, before again unleashing a fierce drive that beat the keeper and put Parkwood 3-0 up. Harry’s second of the day, meant that he was already joint 9th top scorer for Parkwood this season, and only 2 goals behind 4th top scorers Chris, Harry and Dom. That right there, was the goal to seal promotion for the team from Bexley.
Parkwood, however, did not stop there. Pressure came down both flanks, as well as centrally. They were no longer knocking at the door, they had entered, turned around and bolted shut the door in which they’d come through. Another throw in from the left-hand side, and a scramble in the box led to the ball being cleared out to Jim Hirsch. The left back ran onto the ball and struck it ever so sweetly with his weaker right foot. The ball stayed low and just above ground height, before almost bursting the net as it made contact with it. The players all celebrated Jim’s 3rd of the season, and they knew that goal had put the game out of sight.
Parkwood could now start to think about the cup final to come, on 7th May. Changes were made to freshen the side up, giving players a decent amount of time to show they’re worthy of a space in the cup final squad of 16. Despite a few more half chances, Parkwood were unable to add to their 4-goal advantage, but it wasn’t to matter. Results elsewhere meant Parkwood were guaranteed to finish in the top 2, and if Peckham could beat Tudor in the final game of the season on May 11th, Parkwood would be champions. All eyes now on the Barry Bundock Cup Final against Johnson & Phillips on May 7th at Sevenoaks Town FC, as Parkwood look to win their first piece of silverware. Up the Wood.
by Ben Malyon