Wednesday 9th May 2012
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets edge 9-goal thriller
This was our second consecutive midweek fixture, and our 34th match so far this season. Meteorology meant that this game was as much in doubt as any played in the depths of winter and come to think of it the weather and light seemed not that different from when we last played Old Colfeians, on 8 January (a game which they won 3-2). Still the rain held off, at least until the next message to Noah, and the pitch though stressed in places was nonetheless playable in very overcast conditions.
The FOBG team thrown together for this damp affair consisted of Gary Rosslee in goal; Mick O’Flynn, Darren Burkett, Simon Davies and Patrice Mongelard in defence; George Kleanthous, Jim St John, Jack Kamenou and Ben Clunn in midfield; Andy Faulks and Pete Harvey in attack. Rob Lipscomb, John Tallis and Paul Bell added to our recipe.
This eclectic mix of Senior Vets (8), Young Vets (4) and guests (2) were mostly known to each other but clearly lacked the cohesion that comes from playing regularly together. I think that held us back a bit today. In the first half hour or so we had the lion’s share of possession but could not make it count. Old Colfeians were organised and defended well in numbers and probed intelligently but on the whole our defence – marshalled loudly by Darren Burkett, held firm and the Old Colfeians keeper was the busier keeper.
Our first goal had been coming and was well deserved, after about fifteen minutes. It looked quite simple from a distance but in fact had quite a bit of technical merit: Pete Harvey steered an accurate corner to the edge of the six yard box where Jack Kamenou had drifted unmarked and he struck a first time volley through a crowd of players and past the keeper. The goal crowned a cameo performance, with some neat touches, from Jack who left us at half time.
We had the three tallest players on the pitch (6ft 3in+) and two of them combined to get our second goal about ten minutes later. Patrice Mongelard pinpointed a free kick in a dangerous area at the far post where Simon Davies unsettled the hesitant Colfeians keeper and the ball fell to Jim St John to poke home from close range.
In between these two goals Andy Faulks drew a remarkable save from the Colfeians keeper with a first time half volley from the edge of the box. As the first half progressed more Old Colfeians arrived and John Tallis who had played the first twenty minutes for the opposition returned to the FOBG fold. At 2-0 up I think we got a bit complacent and failed to appreciate the resilience of our opponents and their ability to break in numbers and triangulate passes. We were sloppy in dealing with a corner and Old Colfeians got a goal back from close range with a bit of a deflection from one of their own which wrong-footed Gary Rosslee.
John Tallis, Rob Lipscomb and Paul Bell came on at half time for Andy Faulks, Jack Kamenou and Mick O’Flynn. We shuffled the side and lost a bit of momentum as Old Colfeians put up more of a fight. It was a bit against the run of play when Ben Clunn got our third after a scramble in the box that left him with a simple tap-in. Normally Ben scores against Farnborough as one of the road runners who play for The Buff but today he had temporarily flown the nest to take a career development opportunity with (boss) George Kleanthous.
It was good to see John Tallis back thriving in the sticky midfield; and we certainly came under pressure as the goals see-sawed in at both ends in a packed half-hour or so. The moves that led to the three Old Colfeians goals in the second half were partly our mistakes and partly their quality. All were relatively close range affairs after good approach play which left a keeper of Gary Rosslee’s proven pedigree with not much of a chance.
Old Colfeians brought the score back to 3-2 before Ben Clunn got on the end of a superb through ball from George Kleanthous to lash the ball into the net. It should have been Ben setting up boss George really but I did not mind as our two-goal advantage was restored at 4-2. And yet Old Colfeians came again to make it 4-3. A draw was not an improbability I thought from the touchline where I had taken over as linesman from Mick O’Flynn for the last twenty minutes. But I had not factored in Paul Bell’s uncanny ability to find space in the box as he turned and with a deft touch found the bottom corner after creative and selfless play from Pete Harvey, to make it 5-3. There was time for many enquiries with referee Mick Gearing about how long was left as Old Colfeians incredibly got a fourth goal to make it 5-4. I was back on the field after George came off with a knock and was not a little relieved to hear the final whistle.
After a rather uneventful shower, sweeping two dressing rooms, and collecting the kit I was out a bit late for the pizzas and just managed a couple of slices (amidst six already empty pizza boxes). It does not happen often but the home side were outnumbered in the bar by our visitors and it was very good to see so many of them enjoying our hospitality. Things were a bit less hospitable when I got home as I was chastised for yet again bringing the kit home (after early promises I would not). \"They must take you for a mug - who has the kit six times, I bet Roger\'s wife does not stand for this, I am too soft with you, things are going to change around here”. Clearly the prestige of the Dot Cotton Award, now a near mathematical certainty for yours truly, cuts no ice in maison Mongelard.
Once again thanks are due to Vic Farrow and Ian Couchman for their support (not forgetting who rounded up the squad, checked the forecast regularly, grovelled to Vic to let us play, ordered the pizzas at the same deal as last Tuesday even though it was a Wednesday despite not being able to play or partake of the post match hospitality and shall remain nameless - Ed) and for referee Mick Gearing who took no nonsense from anyone (particularly Darren Burkett). This was not a game for the faint-hearted in the heavy conditions and on a slippery pitch but it was played in excellent spirit throughout and the score reflects the intensity of the game between two well-matched teams and the excitement that came from a goal sequence that went like this: 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 4-2, 4-3, 5-3 and 5-4. The small crowd, including some boisterous FOBG Youth Team players come to see experience in play, got their money’s worth and saw some rather good goals.
Man of the match: A joint success with Jim St John and Ben Clunn emerging from the pack.
Man of the match: Jim St John and Ben Clunn