Sunday 11th November 2012
By Patrice Mongelard
Stalemate at Farrow Fields
Games on Remembrance Sunday have a special meaning, or at least they ought to. It is noticeable how often we have crisp, dry and gloriously sunny mornings on such Sundays. The two-minute silence before the game, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, impeccably observed by twenty-eight players and referee Mick Gearing (who had left his medals at home) in the centre circle added to the solemnity of the occasion; but that was before the game – more on that later.
In the trenches today Farnborough had: Gary Fentiman in goal; Mick O’Flynn, Nick Waller, Ian Coles and Steve Blanchard in defence; Sinisa Gracanin, Mehmet Bozyigit, Patrice Mongelard and Rob Lipscomb in midfield; Andy Faulks and Ian Shoebridge in attack. Roger French and John Tallis were the reservists.
Toby Manchip had joined us in the dressing room to air his deeply held concerns about Roger French’s sending-off in the last game we played, recall a previous sending-off involving the same recidivist, offer tactical advice, translate for Sinisa Gracanin, and try to convince us that the growth on his upper lip was in fact a moustache and not a case of Chalara fraxinea.
We knew from the away game a few weeks ago that Belvedere would ask serious questions and that discipline and plenty of effort would be required of Farnborough to avoid defeat. Both sides started well with plenty of passing. We carried the greater threat in the early stages particularly from our right side. It was with the run of play that we scored the first goal as Ian Shoebridge threaded a ball through the middle to play Andy Faulks in behind the Belvedere defence and Andy was able to apply a precise finish to tuck the ball wide of the keeper low into the bottom corner. Our lead did not last long though as Belvedere drew level within five minutes after we failed to clear a high ball which fell to the feet of the well-balanced forward in the six-yard box who turned smartly to finish from close range and a tight angle.
We were galvanised by this, despite having to adjust our formation as Mick O’Flynn went off with a calf injury and John Tallis took up position in the centre of midfield as Patrice Mongelard dropped to right back. It was from the right that we were to fashion an exquisite second goal. Sinisa Gracanin measured a deep cross to perfection which Andy Faulks finished acrobatically to give us a deserved 2-1 lead. If Andy had not scored such a great goal against CUACO Vets a fortnight ago we would have had a contender for goal of the season today. We had come from behind with great vigour. Our potency was nearly rewarded with a third goal not long after as John Tallis rose unchallenged at the far post, three yards out, to glance a delightful pin-point cross from Mehmet Bozyigit against the outside of the post. Mehmet Bozyigit, Robin Lipscomb and Ian Shoebridge had half chances that fizzled out. Belvedere would have been happier than Farnborough to hear the half time whistle.
The game had been played in excellent spirit to half time, despite the effort being put in by both sides. Roger French came on at half time, initially to play on the left of midfield having relieved Rob Lipscomb. Roger dropped to left back later to replace Nick Waller (as Rob rejoined the action). Before I take you through the second half I have to say that a draw was a fair result today and I am glad things did not get out of hand and apologies were offered and accepted later to referee, club President, spectators, team mates, bar staff, ramblers, dogwalkers and the opposition. I think too Mrs Shoebridge’s excellent fare also played a part in smoothing things over later (even after I had my share including five chicken legs/thighs and a specially made cheese and pickle roll).
Like they did when we played them at their place a few weeks ago the substitutions made by Belvedere at half time seemed to give them a fresh lease of life and it is fair to say they had the better of that half (to balance out our slight dominance in the first). Whilst not quite a war of attrition there was on emphasis on defence rather than attack on our part. We were playing on the break and Andy Faulks had two half-chances that did not give us the badly needed cushion of a third goal. He was clattered by the Belvedere keeper after he had lifted the ball past him and had a goal ruled out for offside. At the other end Belvedere had a good shout for a Farnborough handball in the box turned down and two of their players got in each other’s way to spurn a good scoring opportunity two yards out.
Our problem was that we could not hold the ball up long enough for us to move up the field and Belvedere were adept at probing down our flanks.
A certain volatile Guild player was at the centre of two rather heated incidents with Belvedere players within minutes of each other and other players had to intervene to remove this stain on the game and help the referee out. You might think that these unsavoury interruptions unsettled the rest of our players and made the game last longer than it should – and you could well be right.
This mattered because as we repelled wave after wave of Belvedere attacks and defended corner after corner we were only two minutes away from the final whistle when Belvedere got their well-deserved equaliser – and it was a cracker, a powerful shot from the edge of the box out of a very crowded space that rifled into the top corner of our net. And that was it. There was much shaking of heads as we took down and stowed the nets away and it was not all about the score.
Next week we are up against the Met Police Supervets and a repeat of today\'s incidents could have very serious consequences.
Man of the match – Andy Faulks back to his old self again with a brace of goals.
Man of the match: Andy Faulks