Sunday 11th December 2011
By Patrice Moneglard (1st half) and Colin Brazier (2nd)
Senior Vets fail to carve up Toby in 1-1 draw
Toby or not Toby - we wondered as our opponents failed to show early but all was well as they arrived en masse – even as we were preparing ourselves mentally to play our Youth Team whose opponents had failed to show.
Toby or not Toby in goal – we wondered as we prepared mentally to break the news to Toby Manchip that he was going to have to play in goal as our regular keeper Gary Fentiman had picked up an injury playing yesterday. Toby could smell a rat as he walked into the clubhouse to be greeted by a smiling Roger French. The look on Toby’s face for a fleeting moment was not unlike the one that crosses my cat’s face when she realises that the show of affection was only so we could bundle her in the cat basket for the annual trip to the vets. But – ever the club man – credit where it is due, after a small amount of amusing grumbling Toby put on the keeper’s jersey even though he remembered that the last time he played Toby Vets he was chipped five times in a 5-0 defeat.
To play or not to play – that had been my conundrum – as it was she-who-must-be-obeyed’s birthday lunch – and in the end perfect balance was struck with me playing only the first half – which is why Colin Brazier is reporting on the second half.
The festive season was upon the clubhouse with the Christmas tree all lit up, and there was a flashing bauble at the end of the Santa hat that Vic Farrow was persuaded to pose in. He joined the pre-match banter in the dressing room to ask Nick Waller about his diet and was told that a venison pudding had passed that way the night before.
The game was started fairly promptly by referee Mick Gearing in a light drizzle, on a very overcast Sunday morning, but not as cold we might have feared. The Farnborough line-up was: Toby Manchip in goal; Steve Blanchard, Danny Winter, Ian Coles, and Colin Brazier in defence; John Tallis, Patrice Mongelard, Paul Smith and Robin Lipscomb in midfield; Ian Shoebridge and Nick Waller in attack. Roger French, Chris Bourlet and Chris Webb would join the game later. It was particularly pleasing to see Chris Webb back after his injuries. We provided both linesmen as Toby had the bare eleven.
We also mustered a few good supporters in the stand: Thomas French and Sam Tallis (in the tent really); Darren Burkett (FOBG first team manager), Jane (Ian Coles’ partner), Colin Brazier’s brothers (Dave and Alan) and sister-in-law (Joy), and Gary Fentiman.
The pattern of play was set quite early on. We had more possession and inter-passing. Toby defended fairly deep and in numbers. They played a good few long balls that our defence mopped up well. We played a good line too that caught Toby offside many times. We had several shots from distance, too far out really, from Patrice Mongelard in particular. Most of these were off target or too tame to trouble the keeper. A pair of shooting boots from Santa (if he still lives) would be nice I thought. The Toby keeper was very good. At the other end keeper Toby for us, was not unduly troubled and had I think one save to make. He was more troubled about his goal kicks than anything else.
The clearest scoring opportunity in the first half fell to us - as Ian Shoebridge, full of running as ever, sprung the Toby offside trap and advanced on goal and unselfishly squared the ball to Paul Smith. It looked a certainty for a moment that Paul would finally break his duck but the Toby keeper pulled off a remarkable point blank save. Paul had a second bite of the cherry but hit a defender on the line. Another miss soon followed this time from John Tallis who failed to convert from three yards out, from an excellent Ian Shoebridge free kick, as the ball seemed to get stuck under his feet. Robin Lipscomb attempted a shot from inside the box which defied description (so I am not going to tell you about it).
Before the end of the first half Chris Webb and Chris Bourlet had come on for Ian Coles and Rob Lipscomb without affecting the pattern of play. I was not the only one wondering, as the half-time whistle blew at 0-0, if we would ever score. We were creating the opportunities, and restricting our opponents, but there is a cutting edge missing from our game.
You see Pat, that’s where you lack dedication. You race off at half time for a family function, and I bring mine to have the Brazier Christmas party at Farrow Fields. And they accept the invitation in cold, if not freezing, conditions. Well except my sister and brother-in-law, which was a shame really cos they were meant to be bringing the crackers and paper hats.
FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE NOBODY – NOT EVEN SANTA – GIVE PAT ANY SHOOTING BOOTS. He’ll only want to try them out at every opportunity like a ten year old with a new train set, er, X-Box (get with the times Col). Hard cash was passing between our back four every time Pat prepared, ever more Wilkinson-esque, for his next free kick attempt. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for our hopeful midfield team mates who not unreasonably had sauntered upfield hoping for some kind of floated pass only to see another Mongelard (for that is the noun) trickle wide or soar over the bar.
Anyone witnessing my own second half solitary shooting effort (for example the crew of the International Space Station) will appreciate the irony of the preceding paragraph, but in my defence no-one was closing me down and I was encouraged to shoot with my favoured foot. Another two sets of netting wouldn’t have stopped it, I happily admit, but the upside was that everyone on the opposition assumed I was right-footed for the rest of the match.
At half time Nick (calf) was replaced by the returning Colesy, who went white when asked to play in centre midfield but again common sense prevailed when Chris W. slotted in there leaving Ian to resume his partnership with Steve Blanchard (bet that’s news to Jane!). Within 15 minutes Chris B.’s hamstring went and Roger had his longest stint since coming back from injury himself.
The pattern of the first half was followed with our boys in yellow having an increasing amount of possession but failing to find the breakthrough; with about twenty minutes left we were committing both full backs to the attack and this caught us out as Toby hit us on the break and one of their forwards was left with a tap in. The goal energised the visitors who were beginning to settle for the draw and now saw the chance to finish the game off as we frantically sought an equaliser.
Just when I was contemplating the implications of changing the name of the team to Senior Vets Nil on the website, we won a series of corners on the right. Paul Smith took each one, they all went in low to the near post and each one was met with a Farnborough boot to be well saved or graze the crossbar. Into the ten minutes of injury time (it’s a Vets game remember) Smithy tried the same thing yet again and this time Danny Winter flicked it on for Rob to lose his marker and meet the ball with a crisp volley into the net. So 1-1 it finished and no more than we deserved.
Back into the clubhouse then and to take advantage of Patrice’s absence and hit the excellent buffet table. We also had the chance to revisit 1992 in the form of a DVD with two contrasting Guild matches of the period. Unfortunately the one featuring Nick Waller must have been distorted in the recording process as he couldn’t possibly have put that amount of weight on in a mere twenty years.
(end of Col’s contribution).
Next week we play our last game before the Christmas break – our 17th match this season, and for once in several years, without losing a game to water, snow or frost before the winter solstice.
Many thanks to Mick Gearing for once again doing a great job with the whistle - at least I think he had a whistle - it was that kind of game.
Man of the match – by an overwhelming margin, Colin Brazier, who did the family proud.
Man of the match: Colin Brazier