MANAGER Tony Reid has promised to address Farnham’s penalty-spot woes as he watched his side exit the Aldershot Senior Cup.
A penalty shoot-out is always a cruel way to lose – and even more so when a side have matched their opponents strike for strike over two hours of gruelling action.
Southern League Premier Division South Hartley Wintney are in Step 3, and are always a side to be reckoned with.
But three times at The Memorial Ground, Town went ahead – and three times Hartley bounced back to equalise.
After 30 minutes of extra time failed to split them, it went to penalties – and Farnham’s record from 12-yard shoot-outs has been dismal in recent years.
And so it proved again as they converted just two of their first four attempts. Hartley netted all of theirs to take their place in the semi-finals.
Reid was delighted with the effort of his players – and they showed plenty of spirit on the night.
Josh Ogunseye, Owen Dean and Karle Andrews scored their goals – and all were neatly worked.
The game was fast and furious and Ogunseye looked as if he could have proved the difference between the sides before Hartley doubled – and sometimes trebled – up on him to halt his piercing runs.
Both teams had chances in extra time to win it, with both keepers and the woodwork getting in the way.
Reid said afterwards: “Before the match I told the players this was the sort of game that they will get one chance and take it, and we’ll get eight chances and probably score one or two – and that was probably the difference.
“We should have been out of sight in the first 25 minutes – we had plenty of opportunities to put them down.
“But I can’t fault the boys. The energy levels need to be worked on, I know that, but we have a good blend of players, with the experience I have brought in since I have been here and the youngsters still learning what I require from them.
“But give them a pre-season with me and they will definitely be fit.
“We need to tweak things here and there and we picked up little injuries which were caused because the mind isn’t working as sharp as the body, and that’s down to fitness.
“The only big downside of the night for me was we created a lot of chances but didn’t take enough of them.
“We weren’t clinical in front of goal.
“Hartley are a streetwise side and we need to learn that cuteness.
“I want us to carry on playing like this so next season we can hit the ground running. But I’ve had this team for only two months – some managers will have had their players for six months and not achieve what we are, so I have to be pleased with how it’s going so far. I push myself hard, and if I’m doing that I’m going to push the players too.”
And those penalties? “Trust me, we will be working on them in training,” said Reid.
“After training we need to practise them. I appreciate taking them in training is not the same as in a shoot-out like this, but the more you practise something, the better you get at it.”
Town and Badshot Lea are both in midweek action next week, too. On Tuesday night, Farnham are in league action when they travel to play Redhill, while on the same night the Baggies entertain Hanworth Villa in the fourth round of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup.
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