Sheerwater put up a spirited effort as they slipped to a 5-3 defeat at Combined Counties Premier Division South champions Farnham Town on Saturday.

Sheerwater travelled to The Memorial Ground with hopes of securing precious points in their relegation battle. However, the points went to Farnham in an eight-goal thriller.

An impressive crowd of 513 were in attendance to welcome the champions in their first home game since securing the title.

As expected, the home side started brightly and Adam Liddle had the first opportunity but his effort was turned round by man-of-the-match Alfie Mickley in the Sheerwater goal. From the corner, Mickley confidently punched the ball away. Jack Dean did well on the right for Farnham but his cross-shot went across the six-yard box and away from danger.

Action from Sheerwater's 5-3 defeat at Farnham Town (Photo: Daniel Eicke)
Action from Sheerwater's 5-3 defeat at Farnham Town (Photo: Daniel Eicke) (Daniel Eicke)

Sheerwater tried to get a foothold in the game and started to keep the ball well but on 19 minutes the deadlock was broken. Harry Cooksley, who controlled the tempo throughout, made room for a shot that hit the inside of the post and came out but Mark Waters was on hand to finish from six yards out. Two minutes later it was 2-0 as Sheerwater lost the ball cheaply in midfield and a quick through ball fell to Charlie Postance, who powered an effort past Mickley. Another couple of minutes passed before the third goal of the afternoon and this time it was Sheerwater getting in on the act. Matt Bryant played a ball inside the full back to Michael Milne and he turned on to his left foot and arrowed an effort into the top corner, giving Farnham keeper Pat Nash no chance. Elliot York had a chance to equalise following some casual play at the back from Farnham. George Mackie slipped York through but an excellent recovery tackle denied him.

Cooksley thought he had increased the lead on 35 minutes with a 30-yard free kick but Mickley flew to his left to tip the ball around for a corner. From the corner Mickley tipped a goalbound header over. Mickley then denied Kai Tanner, who saw a 20-yard effort palmed away. Farnham’s dominance was rewarded on the stroke of half-time with a third converted by Liddle.

Farnham made three half-time changes and started on the front foot. Shamal Edwards was put through but shot wildly when more composure was required. It was 4-1 on 51 minutes. Bryant did well to block two attempts but the ball fell invitingly to Dean Rule and he placed the ball past a defender on the line. Two minutes later Mickley made the save of the game when he denied Rule who must have thought he had scored but lightning reflexes denied him. It was all Farnham at this point and Edwards made it five, collecting a long ball in his stride and placing his shot beyond Mickley.

Sheerwater goalkeeper Alfie Mickley makes a spectacular save (Photo: Daniel Eicke)
Sheerwater goalkeeper Alfie Mickley makes a spectacular save (Photo: Daniel Eicke) (Daniel Eicke)

Sheerwater did well to not cave in and started playing some football. Substitute George Onwusonye tried his luck with an overhead kick that went over. Callum Mackie advanced before trying his luck from 25 yards but Nash was well positioned to save. Louis McGrane halted an attack with a foul and was cautioned. From the free kick Lewis Flatman beat the wall but not Mickley, who made another fine save. Sheerwater’s best move of the game ended with Callum Mackie crossing and Onwusonye heading against the bar. A minute later another fine move saw Milne go through and a dipping volley was just too high. Sheerwater were pressing hard and a reverse pass to Liam Avery saw him clip a ball forward to the hard-working York, and as Nash came out he produced a fine finish with a scissor kick that went over Nash and in to make it 5-2. At this point Farnham had totally switched off and a third Sheerwater goal arrived in injury time. Onwusonye robbed Dean and had a shot that beat Nash but came back off the post. Josh Toya-Nero was alert and he got there first to finish well in to the corner to make it 5-3.

This completed the scoring and Farnham Town remain unbeaten and ultimately Sheerwater left with nothing. However, although little consolation, no team has scored three times against Farnham in the league this season.

Next up for Sheerwater is a trip to Tadley Calleva in the Combined Counties Premier Division South on Saturday afternoon (3pm). Sheerwater are three points clear of bottom side Colliers Wood United with three games left this season.

By Mike Clement