Sunday 3rd March 2013
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets go marching on and leave Santos behind
It was a while since we had played Santos Vets although they have been playing our Young Vets in rather one-sided affairs. So today they would have been expecting to give a better account of themselves against the more experienced Farnborough side. And so it was.
Last Sunday’s tundra was more prairie today and the conditions much more conducive to a morning out in the fresh and still spring-like air. Despite this we were fewer in number compared to previous weeks. In fact as we left the dressing room there were only nine of us. Andy Faulks and Paul Bell were late for reasons best left unexplained in a family publication. We were able to call on the services of Danny Saines from the Young Vets (a case of Saines versus Saints you could say). I had a feeling that Andy Faulks has trouble with time on 3 March and lo and behold a year ago exactly I wrote this in the match report of our 4-1 defeat to Staplehurst & Monarchs: “We were later to discover from a bedraggled Andy who trudged into view towards the end of the first half that even by his standards Andy’s pre-match routine had been most unhelpful to our endeavours.”
Still by the time we had put the nets up, and kicked the ball about a bit, and with seconds to spare before the referee Mick Gearing’s whistle blew we numbered twelve. The twelve Farnborough disciples today were Gary Fentiman in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Paul Bell, Danny Saines, and Ian Coles in defence; Ian Shoebridge, Mehmet Bozyigit, Nick Waller and Sinisa Gracanin in midfield; Andy Faulks and Rob Lipscomb in attack. Roger French did penitence running the line.
Our worshippers Thomas and Isabelle French, and Jane (Ian’s partner) were present. Jane also helped turn water into tea at the end of the game. Mick O’Flynn (absent because of a head cold brought on by an unwise haircut) appeared among the faithful after a spot of vegetable peeling. I was able to show him what a stylish haircut without much hair looks like.
I think we were a tad complacent and underestimated our opponents, and grew frustrated as we failed to convert the early chances we created. Andy Faulks and Mehmet Bozyigit had gilt-edged chances in one-to-ones, following defence-splitting pinpoint passes from Sinisa Gracanin, to give us a deserved early lead which went begging. The Santos keeper was proving a tough nut to crack. It would not surprise me if he was their man of the match today. We all quickly realised that to beat him we’d have to get pretty close or produce something rather special. In fact it was the keeper who produced something rather special as he somehow kept out a point blank header from Andy Faulks at the far post where Mehmet’s Bozyigit dream of a cross had found him unmarked.
We had the greater possession and more fluent passing with the craft of Sinisa Gracanin and Ian Shoebridge’s energy giving us the edge in midfield but Santos had their own cutting edge which we could not ignore. It was against the run of play after twenty minutes that they took the lead with a bit of a scrappy goal with two deflections taking a tame shot past Gary Fentiman. We were at our most tetchy then but five minutes later Andy Faulks guided a ball into Mehmet’s path and he advanced into the box to slot the ball home. Soon after Rob Lipscomb departed with a tweaked hamstring and took his team mates’ advice not to rush back and pinball wizard Roger French took up position upfront. We continued to dominate especially with the outlet provided by Mehmet on the right at the end of raking and perceptive passes from Sinisa but we could not find a breakthrough by the time the half time whistle went. For once there were no half time changes to make. Santos must have felt they were in with a chance as they produced their best spell of the game in the first quarter of an hour of the second half.
Yet again a now wider-awake Andy Faulks came to our rescue. The trickery and finesse shown by Sinisa Gracanin to sell a dummy to his marker at the edge of the Santos box to create space for the cross deserved a goal and the finish from Andy was equal to it – a powerful and accurate first time volley from the corridor of uncertainty that was too good for a very good keeper. Five minutes later we were 3-1 up as Paul Bell crossed for Andy Faulks, in an identical position as for the first half header mentioned above, but this time the keeper was beaten. Santos would have felt this was particularly tough on them and to their credit their heads did not go down. In fact they had come close to forcing an equaliser with a ball that tricked agonisingly towards our goal with Gary Fentiman beaten only to come back off the base of the post. But they got their just reward when their small, nippy and resilient forward earned a penalty from a tackle made by Patrice Mongelard. There was more than a moment of confusion when the referee awarded a free kick but the linesman, our own fair-minded and possibly myopic Rob Lipscomb, persuaded him that a penalty was the right decision. The player who had earned the penalty put it away and the last fifteen minutes were exciting for the neutral as both sides chased a game-changing next goal.
Andy Faulks came close with a shot that crashed against the Santos post but we managed to hold on for our fourth consecutive win. The statistically minded among you will want to know that this was the fourth consecutive game that Mehmet had scored but this was still well behind Andy Faulks\'s ninth consecutive scoring game. Another statistic for the history books is our Young Vet Paul Tanton notching his 373rd goal for the club in their 5-1 win over Inter Vyagra Vets on the adjacent pitch. Inter Vyagra had trouble getting up to Farrow Fields this morning for their delayed kick-off. Both Vets teams won today to redeem a dismal weekend for the club with five other Farnborough teams all defeated.
Pam Shoebridge’s post match grub was a delight as usual and it was a tad ironic that Paul Bell delayed Andy Faulks’ departure to get at the roast potatoes. Andy had delayed Paul’s arrival when he went for seconds earlier in the day. There was more clubhouse comedy when Gary Fentiman left his phone behind (and Roger rang Gary to tell him – think about it). Gary came back just in time before the phone left with someone else. Rob Lipscomb too sneaked back for his kit bag long after he left it behind.
Gary’s predicament reminded me of a new word I saw in the paper last week: nomophobia which means fear of being without a mobile phone. Gary clearly suffers from the condition. A condition we all suffer from I suspect is rogophobia (the g is hard as in aggro) which means fear of how Roger French will behave but today there were no symptoms. Master French may suffer a touch of it later though as he left his shoulder bag behind in the clubhouse.
Man of the match – Patrice Mongelard despite the agricultural tackle that gave away a penalty.
Man of the match: Patrice Mongelard