Sunday 6th November 2011
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets Fizzle out in 6-3 Defeat to Baltic Exchange
Picture the scene – a crowd gathers for fireworks, faces lit up with expectations of rockets, roman candles, fountains, wheels, sparklers etc. only to get one bang at the start and then a series of whimpers from the Senior Vets – and a bonfire of our ambitions. There were though plenty of goals – in a sequence that went 1-0, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 2-4, 2-5, 3-5 and 3-6. The last six goals come into the final 25 minutes, to provide a bit of a finale for the crowd.
The 13 Farnborough plotters today (same number as that lot in 1605) were Steve Palmer in goal; Ian Coles, John Tallis, Danny Winter and Patrice Mongelard in defence; Rob Lipscomb, Sinisa Gracanin, Colin Brazier and Mehmet Bozyigit in midfield; Ian Shoebridge and Andy Faulks in attack, with Roger French and Chris Bourlet making up the second charge.
This was the first time this year that we felt a chill in the air as we warmed up – a sign that the winter is coming. Anyway we were very glad to see that the drainage work carried out on the pitch had withstood the heavy rains of the past few days. Whether we could withstand the quality of our opponents was more in doubt – judging by our record against them. They certainly impressed quickly with their passing and overall ability. We knew early on that we had a game on our hands. It was a game of few clear chances for the first twenty minutes as both defences were proving resilient and midfielders were busy, and formations compact. Baltic Exchange even paid us the compliment of saying how highly mobile our midfield was, and adapting one of their substitutions accordingly.
The first breakthrough came from the right boot of Patrice Mongelard who picked up Colin Brazier’s astute lay-off on the left and advanced from defence to within 30 yards of the Baltic Exchange goal before letting fly. And what a cracker it was, even if I say so myself, fizzing, low and swerving at the end of its trajectory to squeeze in off the post beyond the keeper’s outstretched hands. My celebrations were over-exuberant, almost climactic, perhaps - but I had not scored since 8 May – and I was on the way to earning a beer from Roger French.
This was not entirely against the run of play but we knew there would be a reaction. We contributed to it more than a little. First we lost a bit of pace, bite and craft when Chris Bourlet came on for Colin Brazier after 25 minutes. We compounded that by taking our eye off the ball for a free kick and not tracking back as a shot was lashed against our bar and the rather good Baltic Exchange forward (looking a bit like a young Eric Cantona) followed up with a close range effort over the line. Our keeper was exposed again immediately as our hitherto highly mobile midfield was flat footed and a shot from outside the box could not be parried to safety. We had conceded two goals in a minute and from then on we were on the back foot.
Patrice Mongelard came off at half time and Colin Brazier replaced him at left back. Once again the first twenty minutes of the half were a bit of a stalemate with not much penalty box action. But like the best firework display the game built up to its crescendo. Danny Winter limped off with a groin strain and Patrice Mongelard returned to the defence. Five minutes later Baltic went 3-1 up, as I failed to clear the ball decisively in our six-yard box. Another Baltic goal followed quickly as Colin Brazier and Mehmet Bozyigit got into each other’s way and the ball fell to the best midfielder on show today, who placed the ball over the diving Steve Palmer, who got his palm to the shot but could not prevent it from finding the net.
It was difficult to see how we could recover although we were given hope briefly when our chief artificer, also called Faulks (different spelling though from 1605), charged down a clearance and advanced to produce a smart finish to add to his tally of goals before his winter migration to the Mediterranean (and our scoring woes intensify). At that point Roger French came on for Robin Lipscomb to give us more of a presence in the Baltic box (as he showed in the dying moments with a good header on goal); but it was in the Farnborough box that the next goal developed as Steve Palmer could not gather a shot in two attempts and once gain the Baltic midfielder mentioned above scored from close range. With ten minutes or so left our hopes were raised briefly as we won a penalty. Mehmet Bozyigit placed the ball but Ian Shoebridge appeared on the spot and scored. But it was too late for us and there was even time for the Baltic midfielder to get this hat-trick with his best goal of the lot as he burst through our midfield, barely mobile by then, to place a shot into the top corner with Steve Palmer unable even to attempt a save. The scoreline was punishing but the best side won.
Despite the high scoring and competitive nature of our match there were no unsporting moments in our game.
We came close to an explosion in our clubhouse as young Thomas French, playing with fire, lit a very short fuse but thankfully as in 1605 in that other house, there was no explosion. But unlike in 1605, for Thomas Bates, Thomas Percy and Thomas Wintour - there was a pardon for Thomas French.
Man of the match was John Tallis – for an assured and towering performance in the centre of our defence, without a sticky moment despite the six goals conceded.
Next week – we look forward to another home game and Pam Shoebridge’s catering, on Remembrance Sunday with an 11:02 kick off, and perhaps a glimpse of today’s referee Mick Gearing’s medals.
Man of the match: John Tallis