Sunday 16th September 2012
By Patrice Mongelard
Roger & Co KO CUACO in Handsome 5-1 Win
Apparently I am not allowed to say we came from behind – gives ideas to some of the unwholesome minds on the team – so I will say we overcame an early 1-0 deficit to storm to a well-deserved 5-1 win to cap a good team performance.
Kick-off was delayed as our opponents’ kit was in the environs of Ashford when it should have been at Farrow Fields – a wrong turning on the motorway it seems, or the wrong Farnborough entered in the sat nav. Anyway we passed the time in the dressing room looking through the contents of Andy “Compo” Faulks’ kit bag – entirely bereft of shower materials and personal care products; and marvelling at how well Steve Blanchard moved in spite of a broken ankle. Further light relief was provided by Toby Manchip’s analysis of Roger French’s team selection for today. Toby considers Roger to be one of only two managers to have lost the dressing room after only two games. The other is AVB, I think.
When referee Mick Gearing eventually blew the whistle the team selected by Roger French lined up like this: Gary Fentiman in goal; Ian Coles, Chris Webb, Nick Waller and Patrice Mongelard in defence; Mehmet Bozyigit, John Tallis, Ian Shoebridge and Rob Lipscomb in midfield; Andy Faulks and Andy Smith in attack. Toby Manchip, Leo Maccioni and Roger French completed the selection.
Graeme Evans was found loitering in the undergrowth once again and ended up running the line. Our fans (for all or part of the game) included Thomas and Isabelle French, Jane (Ian Coles’ partner), Steve Blanchard, Vicky Parsons, Steve “Docker” Durbridge and his dog, and Compo’s girl friend.
There was not much between the two teams in the first fifteen minutes. Defences were generally on top and the two keepers were not really tested. We had some early pressure with corners but it was CUACO who took the lead after about twenty minutes with a determined run from one of their midfielders who came through a couple of tackles and set himself up for a powerful shot from the edge of the box which came off the underside of the bar, in the top corner, and over the line. This was a very good individual goal in the midst of greater collective play from Farnborough.
We just about kept our composure, most of us, almost. At that point things were not going too well for us. Robin Lipscomb and John Tallis made way for Leo Maccioni and Toby Manchip after about twenty-five minutes. Toby later confided that he thought his arrival shored up the play and shortened our game. Something changed anyway.
Until then we had visions of déjà vu – plenty of possession, buzzing round our opponents’ box, and a midfield quartet neglecting its defensive duties. Mehmet Bozyigit got a frothy and foamy reminder of said duties from Patrice Mongelard which did him a lot of good. So much so that moments later he broke through on the right, chasing a pass from Ian Shoebridge, got the better of the covering defender, and produced a very crisp finish from twelve yards out that left the CUACO keeper grasping at thin air. Five minutes later he produced a peach of a corner from which Chris Webb narrowly failed to score with a powerful header at the far post. Mehmet repeated the dose not long after, this time with a plum of a cross, again to the far post, which was met with a meaty forehead from Andy Smith to give us a 2-1 lead. CUACO would have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle. We were glad to be tucking into the half-time oranges in the lead.
The CUACO relief was short-lived though because from the restart the first ball played sliced through their defence and Mehmet was almost through to score again. That sort of set the tone for the rest of the game. The second half was barely five minutes old when a suicidal back heel in a dangerous area left Andy Smith with still a bit to do but he showed all his craft and experience by scooping the ball into the net over the CUACO keeper, lured off his line and left very exposed by the defensive error. That goal really settled us and we applied more pressure and won several corners. CUACO made the occasional break but on the whole our defence, well marshalled by Chris Webb, was on top. We contained CUACO in their half without really creating any more clear chances for the next quarter of an hour or so, but it was not until Andy Faulks scored our fourth goal, and his fifth in three consecutive games in which he has scored, that we felt the game was won. Andy had nipped in to steer the ball home so quickly and from short range that not everyone, including probably his girlfriend realised he had scored. Roger French, John Tallis and Rob Lipscomb came on for Nick Waller, Toby Manchip and Andy Smith without affecting our game such was our dominance. It was no surprise to see John Tallis get our fifth late in the game as he pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the box from a poor CUACO clearance to stroke the ball, with finesse rather than power, into the bottom corner; and that was it. A job well done and a game played in very good spirit by our opponents (apart from a spicy exchange between Ian Coles and one of their players).
We had three or four players missing from last week but others stepped up and in the end we gave quite a cohesive performance full of character, and with goals that came at the right time for us after our opponents gave us a difficult examination in the first twenty minutes or so. It was good to see Nick Waller back, with an assured performance at left back. Entre nous I am always glad to see Nick in the team as he makes the size of my plate of sandwiches look normal. Talking of sandwiches Pam Shoebridge delivered once again and excellent fare was enjoyed by all, especially Nick.
Man of the match – by several furlongs, Mehmet Bozyigit, who sliced through the CUACO defence like a kebab knife, and in spite of a vote for Toby Manchip from Docker’s dog.
Man of the match: Mehmet Bozyigit