Sunday 7th April 2013
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets run out of gas on brightest and saddest day at Farrow Fields
He would have wanted us to play. To win would have been better but we are sure he was there watching us. He did something about the weather too – of that there is no doubt. The poet W H Auden asked that the sun be dismantled in similar circumstances but our much loved Club Secretary Vic Farrow, our North, South, East and West, who passed away yesterday, had other ideas. He dragged the sun out to give us the sunniest and warmest day of the year. The playing surface was excellent and in fact could accommodate both mouldeds and studs, something that we were most anxious to establish before the game.
It was a twist of fate that gave us the comfort of a home game today instead of an away game to Staplehurst & Monarchs who are now defunct. New – and quality, opponents in the form of Metrogas Vets had materialised early in the week to step into Staplehurst’s shoes. Word got round quickly that we were in for a tough game against ex-pros such as Steve Gritt and co-manager Roger French had a sleepless night worrying about our goal difference.
The mood in the club before the game was subdued but busy as several of us did jobs that Vic used to do which we took for granted. There were twelve of us around the centre circle for a minute’s silence, impeccably observed, in Vic’s memory – joined by his friend, referee Mick Gearing, Isabelle and Thomas French, Jane (Ian Coles’ partner) and the eleven Metrogas Vets.
The twelve Farnborough mourners were Gary Fentiman in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Nick Waller, Mick O’Flynn and Ian Coles in defence; Ian Shoebridge, Mehmet Bozyigit, Colin Brazier and Sinisa Gracanin in midfield; Andy Faulks and Rob Lipscomb in attack. Roger French was the single linesman. Keith Beston watched with the Metrogas management which included John Bumstead.
This was to be an occasion to enjoy against a good team playing a passing game that we tried to emulate. Both sides moved the ball around well but chances were rare in the first ten minutes. That was until we took a surprise lead from a rare source. Colin Brazier had followed the ball into the box after it was diverted into his path by a Metrogas header that put the ball behind rather than in front of their defence. Colin appeared to make a meal of the scoring chance but was merely savouring the moment as he had two goes at it before forcing the ball home out of a tangle with the Metrogas keeper. This galvanised our opponents and they began to construct their attacking moves with good positional play, carefully weighted through balls and stretching us down both flanks. We held firm for the next ten minutes but a moment’s lapse in defence as Mick O’Flynn failed to clear a ball he appeared to have under control was punished from close range. It was another ten minutes or so before Metrogas would pull ahead with Farnborough playing an active part in the decisive moment. I cannot say that we had many clear chances at the other end. Andy Faulks was not at his sharpest today but we forced a couple of corners, held our own in most phases of play and 2-1 to Metrogas at half time was a fair score as they had threatened our goal more than we had theirs.
Roger (\"four in two games\") French came on for Ian Shoebridge at half time. In fact it is fair to say that we started the second half better than our opponents and moved the ball around well but without really getting a breakthrough. We were though vulnerable to quick breaks and the sudden untracked arrival of Metrogas midfielders in our box to connect with cutbacks from the flanks or crosses. The score had not changed when we had a very good chance to draw level as Nick Waller got his head to a corner from a central position on the edge of the six-yard box. In a way he headed it too well and too straight and the Metrogas keeper made an excellent save. Not long after that Metrogas extended their lead with a trademark move as they got behind our defence on the left and the ball was cut back to an unmarked player who had drifted to the edge of the 18-yard box and he steered the ball low into the bottom corner. I will be honest and admit our heads dropped at that point and Gary Fentiman – perhaps still a bit irked by the reference, in last week’s match report, to clean sheets achieved in his absence, was right to berate us for our poor attitude and lack of energy. Vic must have been annoyed too and I’d like to think he helped Roger French pull a goal back for us. A through ball from Mehmet sat nicely up for Roger French as he ran on to it and took it early, and surprisingly elegantly in his stride, and stroked the ball home low into the bottom corner, with a following wind from Vic.
There were still another fifteen minutes or so to play and in that time the superior craft and energy was with Metrogas as they stepped on it. Nick Waller was caught in two minds as he went to clear a ball at the far post and teed it up for a Metrogas midfielder who had anticipated the moment – like the pro that he was – to restore their two-goal advantage. Our lamentable offside trap was sprung ten minutes later in a rapid counter-attacking move and the difference between the two sides grew to three goals as the ball was tucked away expertly by the Metrogas left winger who surely too had played at a high level.
Editor\'s note on Andy Faulks...today was the first time ever-present \"Compo\" has failed to score in twelve matches, and only his fifth blank all season.
Metrogas enjoyed the game and our hospitality and there was talk after the match of adding them to our fixtures next season – though this might be a job for our Younger Vets. Pam Shoebridge fed us all royally as usual after the game, including with the best cheese and pickle sandwiches in Farnborough made by Jane. I confided in Pam that Vic Farrow had appeared to me to say that I, and not Roger French, could have his sausages. In our own separate ways – as we sat there as we had done hundreds of times – I am sure we all thought of Vic. I thought he would have enjoyed gazing out of the window onto the sunlit grass outside the clubhouse, where I could see Isabelle and Thomas French indulging in a spot of Greco-Roman wrestling – no longer a sport on Mount Olympus, thought Mick O’Flynn. Vic will know by now.
Man of the match - Colin Brazier - but the man of the day was Vic Farrow.
Man of the match: Colin Brazier