3rd March 2024

The Glovers got themselves back to winning ways at the first attempt with a 3-1 victory against Farnborough at Cherrywood Road. After a defeat at Chelmsford City last Saturday, goals from Sonny Blu Lo-Everton, Alex Fisher, and Alex Whittle helped the Glovers collect maximum points in Hampshire.

Mark Cooper made several changes to the side that tasted defeat in Essex last weekend. Alex Whittle and Charlie Cooper made their first starts since returning from short spells on the sideline, while Alex Fisher made his second start of the season to lead the attack.

It was Alex Fisher, 11 minutes into the game, who was first to test Jack Turner in the Farnborough goal. With Jordan Young missing on the right, it was Sam Pearson and Michael Smith who linked up down the wing, with Smith managing to get a cross into Fisher, but his header looped up into the arms of Turner.

Moments later, Smith and Pearson worked again down the right, but this time it ended in the net. Sam Pearson drove in from the left before squeezing the ball between the defence and into the path of Sonny Blu Lo-Everton, who had just Turner to beat, which he did with immense composure as he poked the ball into the bottom right corner.

Lo-Everton was in the mix for the Glovers’ next threatening attack. After linking up with Frank Nouble down the left flank, Lo-Everton drove into the box and squared the ball back to Matt Worthington, who steadied himself before watching his driving effort saved by a sprawling Jack Turner, denying the Glovers of a second.

The first booking of the afternoon came on 31 minutes after Aaron Kuhl put in a heavy challenge in the middle of the park. Less than a minute later, Frank Nouble drove into the Farnborough penalty area, but as he was about to take aim, he lost his balance and was intercepted. Despite subdued appeals from Nouble for a penalty, the official had no interest in pointing to the spot.

Farnborough then had a couple of strong chances as the half drew to a close. On 43 minutes, Reggie Young drove at Alex Whittle before twisting and turning his way into a shooting position, but his eventual effort sailed over the bar. During the two additional minutes, Olly Pendlebury was able to take aim and fire as a cross into the area was cleared to his feet, but his shot flew wide of the goal.

The second half saw the Glovers regain some attacking momentum. Frank Nouble pressed Pruti, which forced him into a mistake, allowing Sam Pearson to drive into the area and shoot at goal. Unfortunately for Pearson, his effort flew over the bar and was no trouble for Jack Turner.

On the hour mark, Jack Turner was troubled. Sam Pearson latched onto a long ball, which was helped on the way by Edon Pruti before driving into a crossing position. Pearson’s low cross was intercepted but squirmed into the path of Alex Fisher, who drilled in his first goal since sustaining a double leg break in April 2023. A visibly emotional Fisher made sure to enjoy his moment alongside the travelling Glovers who had packed themselves in the terrace behind the goal.

Before anyone could even dwell on the Glovers’ second goal of the afternoon, Farnborough halved the deficit through Olly Pendlebury. The Glovers failed to clear a corner, which saw the ball fall to the feet of Pendlebury, who blasted the ball past a hopeless Joe Day, who could only watch it find the net.

Shortly after Farnborough’s goal, Charlie Cooper received a yellow card after exchanging a few words with the official.

Alex Fisher nearly bagged his second of the afternoon but was denied by quick reactions from Jack Turner. Sam Pearson put a delightful ball into Alex Fisher, who was arriving in the six-yard box and placed his header towards the top corner, but somehow Turner was able to get across and claw the ball away from danger.

Mark Cooper made his first change on 70 minutes as Sonny Blu Lo-Everton made way for Jordan Stevens, as he looked to add fresh legs to the attack.

Joe Day was forced into action on a couple of occasions as the Glovers faced some pressure from the Farnborough forwards. The first saw Kasimu try his luck from a narrow angle, on 72 minutes, but Joe Day was able to spread his body and prevent Farnborough from getting an equaliser. On 80 minutes, Olly Pendlebury had an effort from range as he looked for his second of the afternoon. His shot was hit with some power, but it was well saved by Joe Day.

Mark Cooper then made his second change shortly after the game entered the final 10 minutes. Jay Foulston came on to replace Alex Fisher, who had worked extremely hard in his second start of the season.

The substitution enabled Alex Whittle to push further up the pitch, and three minutes later, it couldn’t have worked better. Sam Pearson caught the Farnborough defence napping, as, like the second goal, he was able to find space in behind. Pearson cut the ball back to Jordan Stevens, who had the space to lay the ball off to Alex Whittle, who was initially denied before he poked in the rebound. With 5 minutes of normal time left, there was no better time for Whittle to net his first goal for the Glovers as it relieved the pressure in the final stages.

Immediately after the goal, Mark Cooper made his final change, replacing Sam Pearson with Will Dawes. The slightly more defence-minded Dawes helped shore up the Glovers as they looked to defend their two-goal deficit in the closing stages.

A number of long balls were played into the Glovers’ box as Farnborough looked to find a way back into the game. Inside the additional 6 minutes, Olly Pendlebury found himself having another shot from range, but it was struck well wide.

Once Joe Day had collected the ball and cleared his goal kick up the field, the referee checked his watch and brought an end to proceedings.

With Chelmsford City winning against Monday’s opponents Aveley, the Glovers’ lead at the top of the table remained at 11 points with a game in hand.