Sunday 1st December 2013
By Gary Rosslee
Farnborough made to look ‘Plonkers’ by the (Del) boys from Peckham
The first day of December 2014 signalled our journey to the leafy suburbs of Dulwich Village, a place close enough to London to warrant property prices resembling telephone numbers yet startlingly still just a stone\'s throw from the likes of Sydenham and Forest Hill (hence the recent spate of burglaries at Griffin Sport Ground). Speaking of theft as we were driving down College Road we were greeted by a tollgate that charges motorists £1 a time for the privilege to drive down this immaculately kept private road, maybe we should have seen this as an omen as this was not going to be first time today that we were going to be fleeced in broad daylight!
With several absentees Farnborough managed to muster a paltry 12 players for today’s match against Peckham Rye Vets, a team we had only played once before and were beaten 2-1 down at the Kent County Cricket ground in Beckenham. I remember it vividly as the ground had frozen over and the referee therefore banned any sliding tackles so you could imagine how that would have affected a certain Jim St John’s game!
Farnborough lined up as follows.
G. Rosslee ©
R. Davies A. Cobham P. Bailey C. Rawley
B. Clunn St. John D. Nott M. Wright
B. Grainger P. Tanton
From the outset you could see who was going to be Peckham’s talisman today; their centre forward who maybe had been too liberal with the skin moisturiser as he looked “slightly” younger than 35! However it was the visitors who had the first decent opportunity of the match as Barry Grainger saw his low effort saved by the Peckham goalkeeper as he got down well to parry his driven effort. Ben Clunn also snatched at a shot from 15 yards out that went straight down the goalkeeper’s throat to let Peckham off the hook. By now Farnborough were enjoying the better spells of possession and passing the ball around with confidence (a far cry from last week) and with Barry Grainger playing very high up the pitch this was forcing the Peckham Rye defence on to the back foot and they lost possession time after time or were closed down by the Farnborough midfielders and forced into errors.
Peckham’s first attempt on goal was an audacious overhead kick on the edge of the box from their star man which had Rosslee scrambling across goal to turn it away for a corner, whether the effort was goalbound remains to be seen but he didn’t want to take any chances. For all of Farnborough’s possession and neat play Peckham nearly caught them out on the counter attack but Rosslee was able to stick his left foot out and toe the ball around the post after their more burly centre forward was played in on goal one on one. Farnborough cleared the resulting corner which resulted in Rosslee getting a dead leg for his troubles and went up the other end and took a deserved lead. Ben Clunn playing a well weighted cross into the box for St John to head unchallenged in off the left hand upright and into the top corner, 0-1 OBG’s.
Moments after the restart Ben Clunn added a second to double Farnborough’s lead after his effort was spilled by the Peckham goalkeeper and the ball squirmed out of his grasp and into the net, 0-2 OBG’s and this was becoming a very one sided affair as the defence marshalled the Peckham Rye forwards expertly and the midfield worked the hardest had seen them work this season. And for the fruits of their labour Farnborough scored a third goal with easily the goal of the game and one of their best goals of the season to date. Several passes were played from the back to the midfield which allowed St John to go on a marauding run as he laid the ball off out wide to Ben Clunn who again found St John, this time at the far post as he rose the highest to head home and send the Guild into scenes of jubilation, 0-3 OBG’s.
Unfortunately the game was marred with about 15 minutes to go in the first half. St John was guilty of an over zealous and slightly reckless tackle although there was never an intention to hurt or any maliciousness involved, however this made the Peckham team see red and heated words were exchanged and chests were puffed out but what ensued in the aftermath was plain and simple very unsporting behaviour. The Peckham midfielder who St John had just fouled saw fit to take out his frustration on the nearest Farnborough player who just happened to be Paul Tanton and he brutally went in with a potential leg breaker, thankfully Paul’s Kevlar shin pads stood up to the velocity of the challenge and he wasn’t seriously hurt. The referee had no choice but to give the midfielder his marching orders which was a shame as this now meant Peckham were down to 10 men as they did not have any substitutes in attendance and as history has shown Farnborough are a very sporting team and would normally allow the opposition to at least replace a dismissed man but in this case there was little they could do.
The restart of the match saw Peckham nearly snatch a lifeline back into the game just before half time as the Farnborough defence were hesitant in picking up an unmarked player who was greeted with the goal at his mercy. Unchallenged however his effort with tipped over the bar by Rosslee to keep their 3 goal cushion in place going into the interval as the referee blew for half time.
Half time saw Mark Friend enter the fray at left back which meant Chris Rawley was pushed up to left midfield with Matt Wright replacing the injured Daragh in the centre of midfield. This was a real blow as Daragh had a very solid and tireless first half, hopefully the changes would not affect the make up of our play? I should point out that Farnborough also very sportingly allowed the dismissed midfielder back on to the pitch to play the second half after he apologised to Paul Tanton.
Farnborough were a shadow of themselves for the entire second half and although they kept the scores at 0-3 in the first opening 20 minutes of the second half they never looked comfortable as the players started getting on each other\'s back, and moaning and abusing each other and basically too many players did not do their job in the second half. With that said Barry Grainger should have put the game to bed but his air shot failed to trouble the Peckham goal after Chris Rawley had spotted him unmarked in the box. Mark Friend was guilty of under hitting a ball across the 18 yard box that was intercepted by the Peckham winger so Rosslee had to sprint off of his line to block the ball and save his blushes. Mark Friend was soon involved again but his time the referee had the final say as he adjudged Mark of fouling the player whom we had allowed back on to play but I have to say that the referee got this completely wrong as Mark won the ball fair and square. The referee waved away the protests as Farnborough conceded their sixth penalty in 11 games! The midfielder coolly despatched the penalty to give Peckham the impetus to get something from this game. 1-3 OBG’s.
By now Farnborough were rattled even though they still had a 2 goal advantage, in fact you would have been forgiven if you’d have thought that they were trailing the match 3-1 as their whole demeanour and attitude were called into question on several occasions. Peckham managed to score a second in fortuitous fashion as Andy Cobham looked to have dealt with a routine header only for the ball to somehow bounce off his shoulder and into the path of the prodigal son who then looped his header over the onrushing Rosslee. What was even more disappointing than the nature of the goal we conceded was the screams of abuse and the pointing fingers of blame that ensued from several senior Farnborough players, absolutely appalling, 2-3 OBG’s.
Chris Rawley was a foot away from restoring the two goal lead for Farnborough but his outstretched foot could only guide the ball into the side netting and from there on Farnborough completely looked dead on their feet and ran out of ideas as they simply couldn’t cope with the wave after wave of Peckham pressure, I lost count how many times Richard Davies was left isolated on the right hand side as he had two men doubling up on him with every attack as Ben Clunn was guilty of not tracking back. Paul Bailey who to be fair had done an excellent job against the rapid & skilful centre forward all match allowed himself to be turned for the first time and the forward let fly with a rasping shot that Rosslee couldn’t keep out to put bring the scores level and sink the Farnborough heads even lower, 3-3.
Farnborough should have been awarded a penalty after St John was bundled in the box but the referee had none of it and waved away the protests and with four minutes left on the clock Farnborough conceded a fourth. Matt Wright had moved to centre back as Andy Cobham picked up a hamstring injury and as a high ball was played to the edge of the box there was a split second of hesitancy. The shout of ‘free header’ saw Matt uncharacteristically completely miss the ball which allowed the Peckham winger to nip in behind him and score a carbon copy of Peckham’s second goal again heading the ball over Rosslee who had come out to try and thwart the player but was left grasping at thin air, 4-3 Peckham Rye.
The ref blew for full time as Farnborough tried to come to terms with how they had allowed a 3 goal lead to slip through their fingers in the worst possible way. The dressing room was a sombre and melancholy place after the match and had it not been for the piercing sound of the emergency exit fire alarm that was accidently set off by Ben Clunn I’m pretty sure some heated words would have been exchanged by several players there and then, possibly with words they would have gone onto regret so with that said several of us decided to make the long and depressing journey back to the BR postcode vicinity without staying for après match refreshment.
Several texts and messages were exchanged that afternoon and evening with players offering their opinions on the match and performance but ultimately I think it came down to us losing our bottle in the second half. The first half was as good as I have seen us play this season and against very good opposition but we just folded in he second half. As the old saying goes ‘We started off like Juventus and ended up like Fray Bentos!’.
Still onwards and upwards we can’t dwell on today so set your sat-navs as we are at home next week against Toby Vets, for those without sat nav this should come in handy http://www.fobgfc.org/contact.php
MOM today was Jim St John for his 2 goal brace and commanding midfield performance (well in the first half at least).
Man of the match: Jim St John