Hereford United (away), FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
Saturday 29th November, KO 3.00
 

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 - MANAGER'S COLUMN -

Previous columns can be found under the match report of the game to which they refer, while video interviews can be found here 

We'd spoken all week about the importance of keeping a clean sheet at Farnborough, because unless you can do that you're not going to win any championships or trophies, and even if we'd taken a goalless draw we'd have been happy in that respect. I thought Shaun Cooper was immense on his debut, he was good on the ball and didn't give it away, and I think it was significant that Charlie Clough was back somewhere near his best, which probably had a lot to do with having Shaun alongside him. I also need to give credit to Callum Hart, who had gone down with the sickness bug that had affected some people this week but still played a good 90 minutes. 

The other group who I thought was immense on Saturday was the supporters. I think I counted over 100 of our fans there, and although they're there every game and we all know who they are their support was amazing and I know the players appreciated it. 

We had seen a few goals flying in recently so I decided earlier in the week to make a change in goal. Tom didn't really deserve to be left out in August, and it was done mainly on the back of his being sent off at Chelmsford, but he's trained brilliantly since then. I told Alan on Thursday, and got an excellent reaction from him as he said he'd just work as hard as he could to get his place back, which is exactly the spirit that you want, and it's good that we've got two such good goalkeepers fighting for the spot. 

There was a lot else to be pleased about at Farnborough with Dale Binns getting another 90 minutes under his belt as he tries to get back to the form of last season, and I thought Kane Haysman came back to form as well. It was also pleasing that Jessy Reindorf passed a fitness test before the game, which made a big difference with Jo Kuffour having been injured in training on Thursday, and Shaquille Hipployte-Patrick did very well when he came on. Generally our shape was better and our work-rate was good, and we've got a result that we can build on. 

I know they were unhappy with the free kick award that led to our goal, and I have to agree that I thought it was a poor decision, but I'm not going to feel too guilty about it, bearing in mind what happened to us against Bath, and looking at the table now if we'd held on to win that game, which I think we would have done with eleven players, we'd be very close to the play-off places. We'd also been on the end of two equally poor decisions earlier on, firstly when Jessy was through in the first half and was brought down, which would have been a definite red card had it been given, and then when Glen Southam was fouled in the penalty area and then booked for diving. That was just after their keeper had made two saves to keep Craig Dundas out, and when the Glen incident happened I thought it just wasn't going to be our day, but from the free kick it was a great piece of thinking from Glen, who asked the referee if he could take a quick one and set up Nick Bignall for the goal. I was pleased for Nick as well, as he'd come in for some stick the previous week but is really only just training with us to help us out. 

The pitch was the worst we've played on this season, and I know Spencer's not happy with it. It was moving underfoot, and had holes in it, and while it might have looked good from a distance it was very difficult. Some of our supporters may have seen Micky Spillane put his foot down a hole in the warm-up and injure his knee, and we were a bit worried for a while but he was OK to play in the end.

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