Sunday 6th January 2013
By Patrice Mongelard
A very difficult start to the year for under-strength Senior Vets who are hammered 7-1
It cannot get any worse surely. At 5-0 down at half-time we feared a rugby score was in the offing but even if we kept it to single figures this was not a good day in the office. We knew we were struggling to get a side out with several regulars missing and our dressing room felt like the Old Cougheians had turned up. Our opponents seemed healthier than us, and in keeping with the surroundings had at least XV players for the one pitch not given to the oval ball on their home ground.
We could only muster twelve players - Gary Fentiman in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Ian Coles, Nick Waller and Chris Bourlet in defence; John Tallis, Mehmet Bozyigit, Rob Lipscomb and Paul Bell in midfield; Andy Faulks and Jack Kamenou in attack. A coughing and spluttering Roger French ran the line.
Given how the game went it was ironic that the first goal opportunity fell to us (after only five minutes) as Paul Bell saw his shot come back off the post as he latched on to a John Tallis headed flick from a throw-in. That was I think the closest we came to scoring in the first half. The rest of the half we chased shadows as Old Colfeians passed the ball around, injecting a lot of pace particularly down the right side of our defence with the youngest and nippiest “Vet” I’ve come up against, and playing the ball behind our leaden-footed defence for forwards and midfielders to run on to.
It took a few good saves from Gary to keep scores level for the first fifteen minutes or so. Their first goal came from one of the many corners they forced in that half and we gave them a bit of help with it as Rob Lipscomb playing his first game for weeks after his mishap with a jigsaw, made his first telling contribution of the game by bringing down an opponent in the box as we scrambled to clear the ball. Before the game Rob was saying that he had noted how our performances had improved since his accident.
The penalty was scored as if by a pro – and after that the goals were rattled in quite quickly all from close range – several of them fashioned by their unplayable youthful left winger. We did not really threaten their goal at all in that half – except for a shot from distance from Patrice Mongelard after he had intercepted a pass out of the Old Colfeians defence but their giant keeper (this was a rugby club after all) was equal to it.
The mood at half time was sombre indeed. Roger French came on for Chris Bourlet. Old Colfeians made three or four changes which they could afford to make – taking their foot off the pedal a bit I thought. In fact the second half proved more of a contest - even though things did threaten to boil over when Rob Lipscomb and an Old Colfeians player I shall return to forgot this was not a game of rugby. And there was the obligatory tackle from Roger French that resulted in an altercation that thankfully did not fester. On the whole the game was played in good spirit – well as good as it can be given the score line. But even that did not stop the Old Colfeians player mentioned above – skilful midfielder, full head of dark hair, unlined face, cultured left foot – from doing a rather churlish and graceless thing as he refused to fetch the ball after he and it had gone behind our goal. It was only a few yards away. I saw him as I was leaving the ground – a few yards away as his car had got stuck in the copious mud. There was no one around to help him. If only he had picked that ball up I thought.
Back to the football – we had more of the second half. We scored one good goal when Andy Faulks finished a four-man move from close range as we for once outnumbered the Old Colfeians defence in their box. Roger French and Rob Lipscomb had very good chances to narrow the scores but could not finish. Mehmet Bozyigit and Jack Kamenou saw more of the ball and used it better. True we let in two goals more but they did not feel as bad as the five we had let in earlier because we defended better. So pride was restored to some extent even though it hurt to end our run of five consecutive victories in such an emphatically dismal manner. Still at least it did not rain and it was not a cold day.
More grief was to come though. Sadly the game finished prematurely as with about five minutes left Jack Kamenou fell awkwardly from a challenge and dislocated his shoulder in the middle of the park. Ian Coles, and partner Jane, once again came forward to help an injured Farnborough player in distress and took him to hospital. After that there was not much to say really. The mood at full time was even more sombre.
We wish Jack a speedy recovery. It is especially hard to see players who are helping out because we are short - get injured.
It was revealed to Roger French in the bar that Old Colfeians had not only lined up a father and son combination against us today but also had an ex-professional player leading their front line - a bit of a sledgehammer to crack a Christmas nut if you ask me, given the high quality of their play without the extra support. They deserved to win the game no question but there was probably no need to go to such lengths to make sure.
Man of the match: Gary Fentiman – because of, not despite, the seven goals he let in.
Next week we are up against Inter-Vyagra and a limp performance like today will not do. We have amends to make, not only for today, but more importantly because they beat us 4-3 at their ground in October.
Man of the match: Gary Fentiman