Farnborough Old Boys Guild 0-5 Greenways - We've had a good season, finished runners-up and got a Cup under our belts, says Greenways player-manager Robert Jeffery

Tuesday 09th May 2017
Farnborough Old Boys Guild 0 – 5 Greenways
Location Farrow Field, off High Street, Farnborough, Kent BR6 7BA
Kickoff 09/05/2017 19:00

Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Premier Division
Tuesday 9th May 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Farrow Field

GREENWAYS player-manager Robert Jeffery says he’s pleased that his side have secured second-place in the Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Premier Division.

The Gravesend-based outfit defeated Punjab United 1-0 to win the NRG Gym Bill Manklow Inter-Regional Challenge Cup seven days ago but their next-door neighbours gained revenge at the weekend by thrashing them 5-0 to claim the league title in their first season in the Kent County League.

Central defender Jeffery, 31, lead by example by scoring a hat-trick inside the opening 28 minutes as Greenways humiliated a poor Farnborough Old Boys Guild side at Farrow Field.

Greenways attacker Brad Cross scored his 22nd goal of the season as the away side led 4-0 at the break.  Striker Jonathan Rogers kept composed to slot home his sixth goal of the season in the second half.

“I thought it was a good performance,” said Jeffery, who's side have collected 66 points from their 29 games, seven points adrift of Punjab United.

“In the first half we dominated from the first whistle really. We could’ve gone in more than 4-0 up, I think.

“Second half we changed formation and let them back into the game a bit really, to give some guys some minutes.  I think that’s secured us second place as well, which is a good season.

“What pleased me most was the way we started, I think, more than anything.  We needed a reaction after Saturday’s performance and I think we got that in abundance in the first half.

“I thought the guys were superb. I thought we moved the ball but more importantly than that we communicated with each other and we worked hard and when you do the basics, the rest become natural so I’m happy with that.”

Farnborough Old Boys Guild’s manager Byron Beard declined to comment after his side extended their run to nine games without a win. The club are fourth-from-bottom in the table with 24 points from their 28 league games, four points above second-from-bottom finishers Hildenborough Athletic.  Guru Nanak finished bottom having lost all of their 28 league games.

With the game kicking off at 19:00, referee Leo Mansell decided to play 40 minutes each way this evening.  The game was watched by a crowd of 44.

“I wasn’t aware of that until we got out there,” said Jeffery.

“I always want to play 45 minutes (each half) but I wasn’t aware of that.   You just get on with it.  The referee said what it is and you do as you’re told when you’re out on the pitch.”

Greenways tore apart a poor Farnborough Old Boys Guild side and had 29-year-old goalkeeper Lee Gibbs to thank for keeping the half-time scoreline respectable by making a string of fine saves as his defenders went missing.

Jeffery fed the ball into James Austin, but the central midfielder scuffed his shot towards the bottom right-hand corner, which Gibb easily gathered beside his post after only 144 seconds, which set the tone for Greenways dominance, pleasing Jeffery.

He said: “I said in the changing room that we needed a reaction tonight. I didn’t want the season to fizzle out. We’ve won a Cup.  I wanted to make sure we secured second place so very happy with the performance today.”

Ryan Perkin played a sublime diagonal pass from his holding midfield position to pick out Harry Gann, the left-winger who ghosted in behind Malachi Robinson and Adam Pharo to be denied by Gibbs, who beat the powerful drive away at his near post.

Greenways left-back James Trueman got in behind Robinson to whip in a low cross for Gann to take a touch before his driven shot was blocked by the busy keeper before Gann lashed his drive over the bar from the rebound.

It was therefore no surprise when Greenways opened the floodgates with 12 minutes and 14 seconds on the clock.

Gann floated in a corner from the right and no one in a white shirt marked Jeffery, who had the easy task to guide his free downward header into the bottom right-hand corner from six-yards at the near post.

Jeffery said: “We started very quickly, we said we wanted to. It’s always difficult evening kick-offs, people are rushing from work. It’s always a bit tough to get people motivated but the boys turned up on time.  We had a good warm-up. We noticed a few of their boys were struggling to get here so we knew if we started quick we could probably nick a couple of goals and that would dictate the game and luckily it did.

“I just watched the ball, I got up there early, I wasn’t really marked to be fair. Yes, I’m happy with that, always take a goal.”

Greenways winger Simon Walton released Rogers down the right channel and his cross was sliced by Farnborough defender Pharo but he was thankful to Gibbs for palming over Cross’ left-footed drive from eight-yards.

Greenways swiftly doubled their lead, the goal coming with only 16 minutes and 18 seconds on the clock.

Trueman floated in a free-kick from the left, keeper Gibbs dropped the ball and Jeffery pounced on the mistake by controlling the ball before placing the ball into the empty goal from inside the six-yard box.

Describing his second goal, Jeffery added: “I pretty much (walked it in).  The keeper misjudged it and I just followed the path of the ball really, ended up on my lap and I just poked it in.”

Farnborough holding midfielder George Perfitt slid in to attempt to bring down Walton, who easily skipped over his legs to play the ball inside to Perkin, whose right-footed drive from 25-yards was comfortably caught by Gibbs.

Farnborough Old Boys Guild created one goalscoring chance during the first half and they should have taken it after 20 minutes.

Winger Daniel Akpoveta delivered a quality free-kick into the Greenways box, Joshua Witter, their left-back, flicked the ball on at the near post and Dave Martin (NOT the former Bromley winger) headed over at the far post.

“I think the lino, I spoke to the lino and he had flagged offside but at the same time that was pretty much their only chance of the first half.   We let a man go. If we can limit someone to one chance, I’ll take that,” said Jeffery.

But rampant Greenways were 3-0 up with 22 minutes and 48 seconds on the clock.

Penrose played yet another sublime ball out of defence which split open John Hawley and Pharo and put Cross through on goal. He managed to keep the bouncing ball under control to poke his right-footed shot past the stranded keeper into the bottom right-hand corner from 12-yards.

Jeffery said: “Great finish! He’s scored a lot of goals this season, I think that’s his 22nd of the season, so you know when he’s going through one-on-one, nine times out of 10 he’s going to get a goal.  I thought it was a very, very good finish, kept it under control well considering.”

After Penrose lashed a left-footed drive over the Farnborough crossbar from 30-yards, Jeffery notched his hat-trick – taking his goalscoring tally to 10 for the season – with 27 minutes and 36 seconds on the clock.

Trueman split open Robinson to release Rogers down the left channel and he was given acres of space inside the box before he was brought down by Hawley’s sliding tackle.

Jeffery stepped up to send Gibbs the wrong way with the resulting left-footed penalty into the right-hand corner of the net.

“I got dragged up to take the pen, I’m definitely not a penalty taker but I got called up,” admitted Jeffery.

“I did want Jim Jam (James Ellis) to take it because he’s never scored an adult goal but he wanted me to take it to get the hat-trick so I’ll take that all day long.”

Reflecting on his hat-trick, Jeffery said: “I haven’t done one of them for a while so I’ll take that.  A long time ago I used to play a bit further up the pitch but as I’ve got a little bit older I’ve drifted further back so I think we’re talking six or seven years the last time I scored a hat-trick.”

Farnborough Old Boys Guild’s left-back Joshua Witter went missing when Perkin hit a diagonal pass to put Walton through on goal but his right-footed dink sailed over the crossbar from 18-yards when he only had Gibbs to beat

“We had a lot of time.  We moved the ball well. Everyone wanted the ball today, which made it a lot easier for the guys,” said Jeffery.

“The defenders were pulling back and splitting. There was a lot of people that wanted the ball and when you do that you create space so we were creating a hell of a lot of chances but we were working hard as well, so I thought it was thoroughly deserved.”

Reflecting on Walton’s missed chance, Jeffery said: “Fantastic ball, really, really good ball.  I think Si tried to be a little too cute with his effort.  Rather than bury it he went for the little dink and unfortunately it just went over the bar but it was a cracking ball from Ryan.”

Goalkeeper Gibbs was the only Farnborough Old Boys Guild player to turn up for the first half and he collected rolling shots from Rogers and Cross before the referee blew for half-time with 40 minutes and 11 seconds on the clock.

When asked his thoughts at the break, Jeffery said: “Much of the same really, keep it going. I thought we could’ve, honestly, I thought we could’ve come in a few more up at half-time. We had that many chances but I was happy with the performances so it was just about keeping the energy and taking the chances when we did.

“I didn’t want us to concede. As a defender when you’re playing comfortable and you’re winning games the last thing you want is to concede a goal so that was vital as well.”

Farnborough Old Boys Guild came out with a lot more desire for the second half and Greenways winger Walton missed a chance of scoring an early goal, cutting into the six-yard box before dragging his low shot across Gibbs and past the far post from a tight angle.

Farnborough Old Boys Guild squandered an excellent chance inside the opening four minutes.

Robinson was by far a better striker than he was right-back and his performance vastly improved when he partnered Martin up front.

Robinson was released down the right channel and he cut the ball back and after Greenways failed to clear their lines the ball landed at Shaw’s feet, who from three-yards out somehow steered his shot across the goal and past the left-hand post.

“We switched off,” admitted Jeffery.

“It came from a throw-in over James Trueman’s head and he (Robinson) got it down the line and he crossed it in so I was disappointed with that because that was from our own doing.  If we were switched on there that ball wouldn’t have got to his (Shaw) feet so I’m glad that he put it wide but that was a bit of a wake-up call for us.”

Farnborough’s number four chipped the ball over the crossbar from 25-yards, while Greenways goalkeeper-turned-striker Josh Kleman brought the ball under control before hitting his left-footed drive over the crossbar from 16-yards.

Greenways missed a glorious chance to increase their lead when Josh Kleman was put through on goal, cutting into the box. His shot was blocked by Gibbs’ legs and Gann’s lay-off inside set-up Aaron Kleman, who lashed his shot over the bar from 18-yards.

Greenways’ 89th league goal of the season arrived in the 64th minute of the game.

James Ellis, who slotted in at right-back for the second half after being a part of a five-man midfield before the interval, clipped the ball over the top to put Rogers through on goal. Keeper Gibbs sprinted outside his box but Rogers kept his composure to skip past him to cut into the box before keeping his cool to slot the ball into the bottom near corner of an open goal from 10-yards.

Jeffery said: “Cracking ball. I was really happy for Jonny to get the goal.  He worked his absolute socks off and sometimes he doesn’t get the reward as a striker. A lot of time they’re judged on goals, most of the time they’re judged on goals so I was delighted with that. He ran his socks off today and he thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was a great ball from Jim, he skipped past the goalkeeper and good composure.”

Josh Kleman’s over-hit angled pass was retrieved by Rogers on the right by-line and he cut into the box before setting up Austin, whose right-footed shot was saved comfortably by the busy Gibbs.

Gibbs pulled off a great save with 11 minutes left when he used his right hand to push over substitute Aaron Kleman’s 30-yard right-footed free-kick.

Jeffery said: “He’s a bit of a free-kick specialist Aaron, so whenever he gets the ball in and around the box you know he’s going to be trouble. The keeper made a good save in the end. Aaron will be disappointed. He wants to score goals.”

Perkin released Walton down the right and the winger’s cross was flicked on at the near post by Perkin, who had continued his run without being tracked, the ball flashed across the face of goal towards the far post and all Gann could do was steer his shot past the foot of the near post from a tight angle.

Farnborough’s man-of-the-match Gibbs spilt Josh Kleman’s left-footed drive from outside the box before pouncing on the loose ball as referee Mr Mansell ended the home side’s misery just two seconds into time added on.  There was, however, enough light to get through the entire 90 minutes.

Greenways complete their campaign with a trip to fifth-placed Fleetdown United on Saturday.

“Looking forward to it.  It’s relatively local to us, just up the road in Dartford. We always have a good game with them. They’re on a fantastic run as well, on a really good run so it will be a tough game.

“I’m pleased that we’ve now second so we can go into that game with no pressure.  We’ve had a good season, finished runners-up and got a Cup under our belts so we’ll just go out there and enjoy the last game of the season and celebrate with a couple of beers afterwards.”

Farnborough Old Boys Guild: Lee Gibbs, Malachi Robinson, Josh Witter, George Perfitt, John Hawley, Adam Pharo, Daniel Akpoveta, Adam Law, Joe Shaw (Michael Forbes 57), Dave Martin, Harry Tanner.
Subs: Jourdan Howard, Byron Beard

Booked: Harry Tanner 40

Greenways: Aires Ferreria, Ross Penrose (Aaron Kleman 51), James Trueman, James Austin, Robert Jeffery, Ryan Perkin, Simon Walton, James Ellis, Jonathan Rogers, Brad Cross (Josh Kleman 51) Harry Gann.
Sub: Luke Tanner

Goals: Robert Jeffery 13, 17, 28 (penalty), Brad Cross 23, Jonathan Rogers 64

Attendance: 44
Referee: Mr Leo Mansell (Hayes)
Assistants: Mr Patrick Murray (Strood) & Mr Mike Sullivan (West Wickham)

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