Sunday 5th May 2013
By Patrice Mongelard, plus an opposition view
Farrow Fields frustration for Farnborough
Occasionally sporting metaphors get mixed and football commentators will say or write “If this was a boxing match the referee would have stopped it”. We did everything but score. If there were match stats for this game in tomorrow’s newspapers you’d get a pretty one-sided picture in terms of possession, shots on goal, passes, number of corners etc – the usual metrics, with one significant missing factor.
This was not the only missing factor today. Almost exactly a year ago on 6 May 2012, our Young Vets played AFC Greenwich – a most memorable occasion still fresh in the mind’s eye. They would have played the same opponents today but were frustrated to learn upon arriving at Farrow Fields (with their shower products) that their opponents would not show. Err, I think their disappointment was heightened by it being such a nice day (what I now call Farrow weather, warm, full of sunshine like the man the Farnborough family said goodbye to, in our hundreds on Wednesday). Still it meant there would be plenty of room in the showers; also we were able to welcome Young Vets Paul Bailey and Jim St John to swell our numbers, and we got to play on the big pitch in front of what was our largest home crowd this season.
When referee Nick Kinnear (once again with Commander Gearing’s whistle) started the game we were arranged thus: Gary Fentiman in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Colin Brazier, Mick O’Flynn and Ian Coles in defence; Ian Shoebridge, Nick Waller, Mehmet Bozyigit and Sinisa Gracanin in midfield; Andy Faulks and Rob Lipscomb in attack. Jim St John ran one line whilst Roger French and Paul Bailey studied proceedings. Thomas and Isabelle French played with the water bottles on what was a very hot day – a day for cold showers you could say.
Riverside had travelled in numbers and brought along a big squad to reverse the 6-3 defeat we inflicted on them at their place only a fortnight ago. They also came by paddle steamer which they parked in front of goal (I made this up but you get the idea). The pattern of the game was set quite early and varied little for the duration. Riverside soaked the pressure we applied, defended in numbers, committed only two or three players forward on the break at any one time and waited for us to make errors. We probed down both flanks, using the two fullbacks well, ran offside more than once in our eagerness, could not find the final ball and their keeper (a new face) was sharp and alert. We won several corners which all appeared to end on Nick Waller’s forehead as he gradually got closer with his efforts. Andy Faulks started as he now does, slowly, and Rob Lipscomb twisted this way and that, and again, and we just had to be patient. It would only be a matter of time, so we thought, before we converted one of our many crosses or through balls.
At the other end there was just one scare when a Riverside forward got behind us but nothing came of it, like the two corners they won when they did eventually venture up the pitch. On the half hour Paul Bailey came on for an injured Ian Shoebridge whose game ended at that point and Paul gave us a fresh impetus and muscular presence down the left. In the last quarter of an hour of the half we fashioned three great chances. First Andy Faulks saw a shot come off the crossbar; then Rob Lipscomb (played in by Sinisa Gracanin) attempted to walk the ball into the net instead of shooting from three yards out; and then the best chance of all as Andy Faulks, clean through, drew an excellent point blank save from the Riverside keeper from only a yard out.
Roger French brought himself on at half time to play upfront to give us the cutting edge we missed. Patrice Mongelard and Sinisa Gracanin made way and Jim St John came on to tower over the midfield and to seek to add to his goal tally (for the Young Vets). We got our bearings fairly quickly, after adapting to our new formation, with Paul Bailey and Jim St John anchoring the midfield most effectively. Clear chances at either end were as rare as an Orpington Buff’s teeth. Jim St John had a very good one when he met a Mehmet Bozyigit cross arriving in the box on the half volley with a shot that could well have burst the net. Moments later he nearly scored at the other end when he directed a defensive header back towards where he thought Gary Fentiman was. Gary pulled off the save of the match diving low to his left, going back on himself, and stretching his full 6 ft 3 frame and long arms to keep out what would have been a most undeserved goal for our visitors. Gary deserved his first clean sheet of the season, to join the other two keepers who had achieved this for us this season - Darren Burkett and the versatile Jim St John.
Gary would not have to make another save until the closing stages, and again from one of his own players. For the rest of the half we continued to seek an opening. Roger French took a heavy tackle and crashed to the ground. Riverside were no doubt relieved that he could carry on. It was as usual, a clean but competitive game between our two sides. Patrice Mongelard and Sinisa Gracanin came back on for the last twenty minutes (for Nick Waller and Mick O’Flynn). We forced several corners in succession and from one of those Jim St John drew a point blank save on the line from the (other) Riverside keeper (who had let in six a fortnight ago). Patrice Mongelard produced an inviting cross to the far post that was almost met by Roger French leaping like a halibut. With a few minutes left there was time for a frisson as Patrice Mongelard intercepted a through ball on the run with some force and the ball sped towards Gary Fentiman who was equal to it. Farnborough had created the best two Riverside chances in the game. Andy Faulks had a final tired effort on goal that would have fared better in previous games. Today he was a shadow of the marksman that has netted thirty-eight times for us this season. He’ll need to get his mojo back. We play our Young Vets in two weeks – a family affair with the usual degree of sibling rivalry. There were many Young Vets there today, two played for us, and half a dozen watched idly. I cannot see them losing sleep with anxiety about us – in particular our forward display. And to prepare for this we must first face opponents who beat us 7-1 in January, but who we hope will have the decency and fair play to field players of the same age as us this time.
The louder cheers and congratulations were Riverside’s at the final whistle. They had won a point whilst we had lost two. Talking of frustration I had to leave early after the game and walked out of the door just as Pam Shoebridge was taking the sausages out of the oven. I am sure Nosher French did them justice and I hope so did our visitors.
Man of the match was Colin Brazier – whose fire burned brightest on a very hot day.
It Ended Goalless But Was A Great Game
By Jonathan Campbell | Sunday 5th May 2013
Riverside had a rare goalless draw but the game was anything but boring. Read on for the full story.
Matt’s 9.00am meet raised a few eyebrows but it did mean an extended build up to the game. Tom was a last minute casualty with a strain after Thursday night, but this still left a squad of 13. Some of the big guns were not playing this week but the mood was good as we assembled at Harrow Meadow for the 20 minute journey to Farnborough. It was a a beautiful morning and a sense of anticipation awaited us at the picturesque village. Farnborough are a team rather like a box of chocolates; you are never sure what you are going to get, and Riverside were still licking their wounds from a 6-3 defeat two weeks earlier.
The team started with Ollie in goal with Craig and Lyndon on the bench. The pitch was very dry and firm but nonetheless a lovely pitch that has been looked after. The early part of the game saw both sides struggling to control a high bouncing ball, with the temptation to play a long ball evident in Riverside’s game. Vince playing at left back was an early casualty with a nasty knock to his leg. A straight switch with Craig did not disrupt the play, and both sides had chances, a memorable shot for the wrong reason came from Danny F shooting well wide from just outside the 18-yard box. Farnborough were causing problems down the right and they had a fantastic chance to go ahead close to the end of the first half with their player just having to beat Ollie in goal. Ollie was quick to come out and made a fantastic save to keep the score at 0-0 going in at the break.
Ollie handed over the keeper’s gloves to Lyndon with Dave Borrell once again rested. Farnborough also brought on a giant, and he immediately made his presence felt. The game again seemed evenly balanced in the second half but with the temperature rising, stamina was going to play a big part. I think it would be fair to say that Farnborough were doing more of the pressing with Riverside hitting on the break. Rob had a good scoring opportunity but failed to hit the target. Great defending from Riverside saw Graham and Gav making some crunching tackles and despite many Farnborough attacks, Lyndon was rarely troubled in goal, a testament to the solid Riverside defence. I must single out praise for Danny H who had an indifferent first half but was outstanding on the right in the second period. He battled and contested every ball, and gave everything.
Vince made a cameo appearance late in the second half, replacing Danny F. The final whistle went with both teams having given their all, and in my opinion, the result was fair. It was a great team performance from Riverside, and credit must be given to Farnborough for their fair play. They are a team that exemplifies what Sunday vets football is all about, and are a team that we always look forward to playing.
Man of the match: Colin Brazier