Sunday 1st April 2012
By Patrice Mongelard
Colin Brazier lays early claim to FOBG April Manager of the Month with 1-0 win over a depleted Catford Wanderers
The April sunshine made the cool breeze bearable and playing conditions were excellent even though the firm pitch was a reminder of things to come if April showers do not arrive.
The Farnborough XI were: Gary Fentiman in goal; Colin Brazier, Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard and Mick O’Flynn in defence; Ian Shoebridge, Chris Webb, Nick Waller and Rob Lipscomb in midfield; Jerry Cogotti and George Kleanthous in attack.
There were in fact a further three FOBG players in the whole match – Patrice Mongelard, Sinisa Gracanin and Danny Winter - who had opted to play for Catford Wanderers as they could only muster 8 players. Danny Winter was initially to be the FOBG 12th man but responded to Patrice Mongelard’s call to switch sides with some alacrity, it is rumoured, after brief exposure to Colin Brazier’s tactical thinking. Still by sharing our resources in this way we did not need to have recourse to Roger French’s substitution scenarios. Roger’s continued absence in the line of family duty has not quite reached Lord Lucan proportions but it provided another opportunity for the team to thrive. I’ll leave you to judge if it did today.
Anyway reporting on this match from the other side of the fence so to speak – feels odd but not entirely out of place on a date like today, and I promised myself I would not be more critical than usual. After all, if Farnborough were to make fools of themselves there would be added piquancy if that happened against three of their team mates.
It was not surprising that Farnborough enjoyed more possession and strung more passes together but from I was in my position as one of the Catford Wanderers centre halves it was not really hurting us where it mattered, in our penalty area. Obviously Jerry and George had a mobility that we could only envy but our defence was coping and our midfield, where the three best Catford Wanderers players were operating, held its own – and even engineered one or two moments of promise around the FOBG box, but the cutting edge and the pace was not really there.
And so it came to pass twenty minutes into the game that Chris Webb swept the ball into the Catford Wanderers net with a well-placed low shot from the edge of the area after Ian Shoebridge had done some good work down the right and rolled the ball invitingly to Chris. That goal could have been the platform for Farnborough to build a lead but that did not happen. Yes they did get behind the Catford defence once or twice but the final ball from the wings was never good enough. I do not think that Gary Fentiman had one difficult save to make in the first half but then again apart from the goal – Farnborough did not really force the Catford keeper into difficult saves for the rest of that half as not much was on target.
At half time I was not really sure where to go but gravitated towards the Farnborough oranges. There was not much to overhear by way of tactical talk but I sensed Farnborough were disappointed not to have more on the board. Catford Wanderers would have been a little surprised, in view of how previous games between the two teams had gone, that Farnborough had not forged a bigger lead.
The second half was if anything more encouraging for Catford as their midfield posed many problems with short triangular passing and clever running with and without the ball. Clear chances were as rare as hens’ teeth for either side. Farnborough had more attempts at goal but arguably the best chance of the half fell to Catford as their forward made the most of a dodgy Rob Lipscomb pass to get to the ball before Gary did and put the ball over the bar. The same forward limped off (unable to be replaced) with about twenty minutes left and the Catford attack was led by perhaps the most sprightly 70-year old I have played with or against. Yes there were some Farnborough attempts on goal that looked easy on the eye, from Ian Shoebridge, George Kleanthous, Chris Webb and Mick O’Flynn but these were shots from distance mainly and it seemed to me Farnborough was overdoing the passing at times.
There was as much of the play in the Farnborough half as in the Catford half as the inter-passing of Catford gave them an edge in midfield and the Farnborough defence had to work hard to keep their clean sheet. The most difficult save Gary had to make came from a Danny Winter cross-cum-shot that may well have beaten a shorter man. And arguably the best chance for Catford to get something out of the game came in the last couple of minutes. The referee, excellent throughout, adjudged that a Farnborough back pass had been intended and had been picked up by Gary Fentiman. There followed a very nervy moment as twenty odd players were massed in the Farnborough box and the free kick almost led to an equaliser that would not have been entirely undeserved.
And that was it – my biased verdict is that Farnborough underachieved today and I am fairly sure that Catford Wanderers would agree Farnborough had something to do with it (if that is not too cryptic – but a clue is that myself, Sinisa Gracanin and Danny Winter would not mind playing against the same sort of opposition every week).
Talking of April fools there was a text from the chronologically challenged Andy Faulks at 11:31am (in Newcastle) asking about the result of the game. I still do not think he has quite got the hang of the clocks changing. I’ll have to make a mental note to see how he copes in the autumn.
The showers were excellent, our hosts good company and the quality and abundance of the nosh on offer, as good as anything we have experienced on our travels, if not better.
Man of the match: Mick O’Flynn
NB: See if you can spot the April fool in the above strap line! (Editor\'s note - April Fool\'s Day ends at noon! Col)
Man of the match: Mick O