Match report by Martin Drake
In the 83 years since Frimley Green Football Club was founded in 1919, rarely can they have been so comprehensively beaten at home (although the match was actually played at Farnborough Town’s ground for safety reasons). If truth be told, Frimley Green were second best all over the pitch. They simply could not deal with the pace, movement, control and understanding shown by our dynamic strike partnership of Kevin Cooper and Joe Sheerin. They rarely troubled a defence well marshalled by Glyn Shimell and Keith Ward, who put in an almost faultless display at right-back. If it were not for numerous goal-line clearances and several very near misses, the score-line would have been even more conclusive, possibly beating our record league win of 6-0 over Newport County in 1983.
The Dons created the first chance virtually from the kick-off. Some neat inter-play down the left got the ball to Sheerin’s feet in the box, but he couldn’t turn and get his shot in. A couple of minutes later it was Cooper’s turn to cause havoc in the Frimley box, although a seriously rattled defence did well to eventually clear the danger.
On 8 minutes a great diagonal ball found Sheerin charging into the area, only for his inexorable progress towards goal to be thwarted by a blatant pull of his shirt. It was a certain penalty, but the ref waved play on. However, we didn’t have to wait very long for the goal our constant pressure and succession of corners made almost inevitable.
After 23 minutes, another intelligent Cooper through-ball fell perfectly into Sheerin’s path in the right-hand side of the box. He hit a stinging shot, which was well parried by the “veteran” Peter Lang in the Frimley goal. Unfortunately for Lang, it rebounded straight back to Sheerin, who hit a sweet first-time shot over him into the gaping goal. It certainly wasn’t the finish of a player lacking confidence. The whole team rushed to congratulate Joe and the crowd heaved a collective sigh of relief that he had finally got the goal his overall play deserved.
For now on the match was almost entirely played in the Frimley half and penalty area. There were countless corners and it was a matter of time before we got the decisive second goal. It came from Neil Robson on 29 minutes. He latched on to a slightly miss-hit shot by Oakins after the centre-back had made a powerful run to the edge of the area. Robbo dispatched the ball under the despairing dive of the keeper to the delight of the vociferous Dons fans behind the goal.
An isolated Frimley attack gave Shimell a bit of catching practice, but served to warn the Dons that we could not take our foot of the gas just yet. On 37 minutes, Cooper had only the last defender to beat with Sheerin in acres of space to his left. Unfortunately, Coops tried a long-range shot which the keeper easily smothered instead of the easy ball across to his strike partner.
Just before the half-time whistle a storming run by big Sean Marshall, who was giving their winger a terrible time down the left, freed Cooper for another run into the box. His shirt was continually tugged back by a desperate defender until he won a deserved free-kick for the offence just outside the box. Robson put in a marvellous low and hard free-kick that totally caught out the defence, who were waiting for the predictable chipped ball. It fell beautifully for Danny Oakins poaching at the far post who slotted it in for the third. Game, set and match Dons.
The second half started with Frimley having their only spell of decent possession and they created a few chances; their manager’s frustrated rantings still ringing in their ears no doubt. Firstly, their substitute blazed a shot over and a few minutes later Shimell lost his cool for a few seconds. He misjudged a ball in the air and, as he tried to recover, he took out a Frimley forward with a rash challenge in his own area. Fortunately, the ref only booked him when it could have been much worse.
After that scare, the Dons soon regained their composure and added to their lead. On about 53 minutes, Wardy powered a headed in from a corner, which Oakins followed in just to make sure. 4-0 and our defence were proving the best form of attack.
It was 5-0 ten minutes later. Sheerin crowned an fantastic display of forward play with a tap-in at the far post after a deflected shot landed perfectly for him. Shortly afterwards, he and Robson were replaced by Simon Bassey and Ali Russell to much appreciative applause.
With the match over as a contest, the crowd got restless and greedy. Cries of “we want six!” and even a “I want ten!” went up. But the score-line stubbornly refused to change from the WISA chair’s prediction of 5-0 (just how does she do it?) despite numerous headed near misses from the hard-working Ali Russell.
It was an excellent professional display against another of the new-boys to the CCL. It was the sort of consistent performance from every member of the team that we require if we intend to challenge the established top teams in this division.
MAN OF THE MATCH: JOE SHEERIN
...for his well-taken first league goal and excellent captain’s performance.