Sunday 28th April 2013
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets leave it late to register welcome win
This was another bright sunny April Sunday morning with Farnborough playing away except that this was a “home” game, and on a pitch as bobbly and tufty as last week, but with longer grass and in breezier and cooler conditions.
Our Young Vets and the Sunday side had claimed the two pitches at Farrow Fields (the latter for an unplanned double header to clear their backlog of fixtures) and so we gave up our home pitch to welcome our opponents at Norman Park, only ten minutes away, in the environs of Bromley. The customer experience meant that we had to put the nets up, peg them and tape the nets to the goal posts and bar. There was so much tape on the metal that we could have passed for an art installation for the Turner Prize. There was not much art in what followed though.
Unlike last Sunday we had twelve players from the start this time: Toby Manchip in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Danny Winter, Chris Bourlet and Ian Coles in defence; Ian Shoebridge, Paul Bell, Mehmet Bozyigit and Sinisa Gracanin in midfield; Andy Faulks and Rob Lipscomb in attack. Roger French ran the line. Commander Gearing was having a rare Sunday off and Nick Kinnear bit the whistle. Jane (Ian Coles’ partner), Isabelle and Thomas French and Ronda, Andy Faulks’ special friend, and Chris Bourlet’s assorted family provided the crowd scenes.
As the game got under way Manchip assured us that he would not be chipped by any man today as he could touch the bar from a standing position. He should have kept that thought to himself. We had the better of the first twenty minutes or so. We had more of the ball and constructed more attacking moves even if they were a little predictable and lacked bite. Early chances fell to Mehmet Bozyigit (still feeling the effects of that dodgy kebab I thought), Andy Faulks, who seems to peak late, and Chris Bourlet, who could not quite get the right connection from a yard out in a goal-mouth scramble. Wellcome had two good bustling and muscular old-fashioned centre forwards who could hurt us with the right service, and if we made mistakes.
We scored first and with the run of play after about twenty minutes, when Rob Lipscomb timed his run well to head the ball home from a rather good deep cross from Danny Winter. That was to be our brightest moment of the half as Wellcome got back in the game. They had been forced to bring on a 21-year old after Mehmet had run the hamstring off his marker and the youngster’s pace helped them recover their momentum. We were vulnerable down the left of our defence and from that direction a cross was arrowed in that was better than the one Danny had delivered because it chipped Manchip. The striker of the ball claimed he meant it – they always do. Things got worse ten minutes later when Ian Coles could not get quite enough on a headed back pass and the rangy muscular Wellcome forward did the rest. This was no more than they deserved at that point.
Roger French came on at half time to give us more teeth upfront after snarling up and down the line in the first half. Chris Bourlet made way as Paul Bell went to impersonate a left back. I do not think we played particularly well in the first twenty minutes of that second half. Wellcome were proving surprisingly tough to crack and they could be physical when necessary. They must have felt they were doing well because at one point one of their players said “We’re murdering them” even though the score was the same – so in a sense we were still quite alive. It is the sort of remark that is calculated to irk. I have done it myself usually with the words “It’s like watching Brazil”.
The last twenty-five minutes belonged to us and in a way they were the minutes that counted. I should point out that for that period Patrice Mongelard went into goal after Toby Manchip left early to get home to look after young Oliver and tell him about that chip that did his old man. I counted three one-to-ones, two for Andy Faulks, and one for Mehmet which drew very good saves from the Wellcome keeper. In the midst of this he could not do much about the shot from Sinisa Gracanin who had waltzed into the Wellcome box in a neat passing move, but that came off the post. Also in that phase of play Andy rounded the keeper but his shot was cleared off the line.
Wellcome were not toothless at the other end but their long balls were mopped up by Patrice Mongelard, now playing in his favoured sweeper position, but not playing anyone onside, even if that meant wearing goal-keeping gloves. With ten minutes left Andy finally achieved the outcome he was after as he was played through yet again on goal and placed a low shot beyond the keeper. You could say we were now as hungry as ever and Andy was to bite into the cherry as he produced a ferocious half volley from twelve yards out that kept low and went through a forest of legs to give us the edge over Wellcome. This was no more than we deserved in the end. Wellcome mounted one final assault with a dangerous free kick that Patrice Mongelard got his hands to, diverting the ball over the bar. No man chip for me.
After we unpegged, untaped and packed the nets - and shared the two functioning showers there was time to go back to Farrow Fields to get our teeth into Pam Shoebridge’s excellent cheese and pickle rolls. Roger “Nosher” French had three of them, more than the number of meaningful touches he had in the game, but matching Isabelle’s tally of crisp packets. There was one roll for the solitary Wellcome player who found his way back to the club, but that may have been because he was visiting his brother who lives in Farnborough. Still he was good company if only a bit morose from having missed a very good chance in the second half to put the game beyond Farnborough, and partly because of what the team I support did to the team he supports yesterday at St James’ Park. Still unlike Geordie Paul Bell he could not bring himself to place a bet at 13/10 on his team losing.
Man of the match – Andy Faulks for scoring twice late on, something Ronda had seen him do before, only last Sunday.
Man of the match: Andy Faulks