Sunday 18th November 2012
By Patrice Mongelard with a post script from Roger French
Superb Senior Vets hit Met SuperVets for Seven
After last week’s incidents on Armistice Day all was quiet on the western front today. The only disturbance came midway through the first half when Roger French who had been running the line had to intervene to get young Thomas and Isabelle to toe it in the tent.
It is true to say that we have not had much success down the years against today’s opponents and the result was a pleasant surprise. Facing the blue line today Farnborough had: Tom Mihalea in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Chris Bourlet, Ian Coles and Steve Blanchard in defence; Sinisa Gracanin, Ian Shoebridge, Nick Waller and Rob Lipscomb in midfield; Andy Faulks and Andy Smith in attack. Waiting in the back of the van round the corner were Roger French, Paul Bell, Paul Smith (his first game this season), and Colin Brazier.
The glorious November sunshine, clear sky and warmth of a still and dry autumnal morning brought out some of our fans: Sharon (Andy Faulks’ girlfriend); Jane (Ian Coles\' partner); Isabelle and Thomas French encamped on the grassy slopes of Farrow Fields. Also present was Vicky Parsons whose perceptive comments on some of our play in the second half made more sense than what I have heard from most of our own players, and confounded my belief that women do not understand football. We also had a visit from Chris Webb midway through the second half – sadly fearing the worst about his knee injury.
We were quickly into our stride, playing for the first time this season on our big pitch, when the game started and did not allow our opponents to settle as we kettled them in their half. They had arguably the quickest player on the pitch – the youngest looking Vet, let alone Super Vet, I have come across but collectively, and with Ian Coles’ pace, we had a fair degree of control on the game. The score was 0-0 when Tom Mihalea had to produce a superb save diving low to his left to keep out a very good long range shot. This was a reminder that our opponents were not without a sting of their own. Gradually we began to learn how to spring the offside trap. Paul Bell was running the line with scrupulous fairness – if his loyalties were torn between his employer and his team mates it did not show. And I think the indiscipline of one of our players in running offside repeatedly made his job easier.
About fifteen minutes into the game Andy Faulks was released down the left by Andy Smith, he cut in, beat his marker and placed a low shot beyond the keeper. From then on we scored every five minutes for the next quarter of an hour. Andy Smith got two quick goals from close range after seeming to take an eternity to shoot and appearing to want to walk the ball into the net and beating several players with feints and dummies (even he felt he had had a bit of a senior moment for our third goal – the painkillers had worn off he thought). Not to be outdone Andy Faulks rattled in our fourth after a splendid solo effort, running with the ball from outside the box, beating two opponents and placing a low left foot shot into the bottom corner that went in off the base of the post.
In between these goals Sinisa Gracanin had put a great unmarked header wide, three yards out, from an Ian Shoebridge cross. This does not mean we had things entirely our way though incursions into our box were rare. The Met forced a number of corners mainly from long range shots that Tom kept palmed wide. It was from a corner of our own that we got our fifth – a goalbound effort rebounded off the bar – there was a bit of a crowd scene on the line and Chris Bourlet was on hand to force the ball over from very close range.
At half time Patrice Mongelard, Ian Shoebridge and Robin Lipscomb made way for Paul Bell, Colin Brazier and Roger French. Perhaps we thought we’d carry on scoring with regularity but the Met rallied and our opportunities became limited. The changes had unsettled us a little and maybe the Met sensed this as they pressed to get back into the game. In their eagerness to compete one of their players brought down Chief Superintendent Bourlet from behind and said things that would normally attract a caution and he was invited to go and cool off on the naughty bench by referee Mick Gearing. That was not the last word from the Met player.
Even after Andy Faulks had brought us the joy of six after latching on to an astute through pass from Andy Smith to steer the ball low into the net – we were not entirely convincing. The Met got a very good goal when one of our attacks broke down with a ball over the top through the middle. The nippy forward was driven wide as Steve B chased him down but struck a powerful low shot that rebounded off Tom’s outstretched leg to nestle in the top corner. Paul Smith came on for Andy Smith; Robin Lipscomb and Ian Shoebridge rejoined the game as Chris Bourlet and Nick Waller departed – with about half an hour left. We lost our cutting edge five minutes later when Andy Faulks came off with a nosebleed and Roger French went to play up front as Patrice Mongelard shored up the left side of our defence.
The last fifteen minutes did not yield any more goals as several players (French, Bell, Lipscomb) missed opportunities, scuffed shots, or drew good saves from the Met keeper. Colin Brazier had a good header that was saved but in another month without the Movember tache getting in the way, could have hit the back of the net. There was time for the Met player who had been sin-binned to get back on the pitch and get involved in an unsavoury exchange with Rob Lipscomb. It must be hard for a team used to laying down the law and not taking prisoners to take defeat well; however, this was one exception – the rest of the team were fine and there was no ill feeling after the game.
Our fans will have heard Rob Lipscomb “Keep our Shape” many times through the game – surely some sort of mantra from a personal trainer I thought, as he could not possibly be referring to our team formation as he is the least fixed point in it. It was left to Ian Shoebridge, in the final minutes, to show our pseudo strikers how to do it as he lashed a left foot shot into the net from the edge of the box as he made the most of a poor clearance from the Met keeper.
The après match atmosphere was a bit muted I felt because we had only two teams playing at Farrow Fields today and many of the Met Police players had left when I emerged from the two changing rooms I swept with the help of Isabelle and Thomas French – both of whom earned a free drink for their contribution. Still it meant plenty of food was available – I decided to celebrate today’s win by having one chicken leg for every goal we scored to accompany my specially prepared cheese and pickle roll. Pity Roger French did not manage to score on what was his 200th game (even games when one is sent off count). On today’s evidence I sincerely hope he does not have to wait another two hundred games before he scores again.
Pam Shoebridge’s copious fare was a welcome sight to some of our Young Vets - returning to the club after experiencing Sunday morning glory too with a 5-1 away win against Inter Vyagra.
Man of the match – we had a brace in fact, in Andy Faulks and Andy Smith who will never again have such an agreeable brush with the law.
PS Congratulations to Roger on his 200th appearance for the Guild.
200 appearances – a brief review.
So in just over 11 years I have finally reached a double century of appearances for Farnborough with the vast majority of those or 198 as a FOBG Vet and two at the tail end of the season in May 2001 for the Fourth XI with a return of 23 goals.
Rather aptly (some people will no doubt think) I finally made my Vets debut on April Fools Day in 2001 – the previous two games where I had been down on paper had been washed out. Looking at the squad from the relevant newsletter it would appear that the Vets were rather short of options as two players named had been playing for me in my Black Horse Old Boys days – Vic Charlesworth and Vas Ali.
On Sunday 1st April 2001 we have the following fixture:
VETS ELEVEN v ORPINGTON VETS
Home at Farnborough Sports Club Kick Off 10.30 a.m.
Referee : Laurie Parsfield
Vic Charlesworth, Mick Gearing, John Tallis, Patrice Mongelard, Chris Alston, Chris Bourlet, Adam Fellows, Pete Harvey, Roger French, Mark Ovett, Nigel Hanington, Vas Ali.
Team Manager: Mick Gearing
There are also some familiar names on the team sheet in co-manager Patrice Mongelard, John Tallis, Chris Bourlet and Pete Harvey together with Mick Gearing who is still going strong as our regular referee.
The game finished in a draw against our old adversaries but trying to get match reports out of players in those days was extremely difficult.
VETERANS ELEVEN 2 – 2 ORPINGTON VETS
Adam Fellows, Steve Dalsan,
Moving forward some 11 years it was most gratifying to take part in a resounding victory over the Met Police for the first time in a long time and also not to be the one involved in a bit of bobbery for a change. An excellent victory not only for the seven goals scored but for the overall team performance as demonstrated by the shared MOM award and votes being cast right across the team.
So my next target is to get to 300 games which by my reckoning is going to take a minimum of 5 years – a challenge if ever there was one.
Man of the match: Andy Faulks and Andy Smith