Sunday 8th December 2013
By Gary Rosslee
On a bright and crisp December 8th morning we faced Toby Vets at Farrow Fields. Today’s opposition were a team we had valiantly triumphed over 6-3 on the first game of our magical mystery tour of 4 consecutive away games. During this period we had taken in the sights of the grandeur surroundings of the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, the suburban district of Chislehurst, its name derived from the Saxon words cisel \'gravel\', and hyrst \'wooded hill\', Dulwich Village, a place so affluent that you have to pay just for the privilege to drive up and down the road………and then of course there was Kidbrooke!
In fact it is the latter where we actually started our tour of duty of south east London back on the 10th of November, a tour that would see the Farnborough Young Vets amass a total of over 71 miles for the 4 respective fixtures, this was obviously at least 70.5 miles more than a certain OBG stalwart Paul Tanton was happy with as he had to let his insurance company know he would be using his car outside of Farnborough Village!
Our numbers going into the match weren\'t great, ok they were far better than the England cricket team’s down under but they were still far from ideal, in fact we had to call upon the services of 2 of the Saturday Reserve team’s players in the shape of Luke Johnson and Matt Ellis, both of whom still had all of their own teeth and don’t own a Black and Decker Workbench so we thought it was only fair to play them in defence!
Given the lack of numbers (especially in defence) Farnborough decided to adopt a 4-5-1 formation and lined up as follows:
G. Rosslee ©
M. Ellis* L. Johnson* N. Connelly C. Rawley
B. Clunn D. Wyatt St. John P. Tanton G. Napier
* Under 35
The opening exchanges were pretty cagey given the uneven playing surface and with the added hindrance of the sun glaring into the eyes of the Farnborough rearguard they did very well to cope with the spasms of attacks that Toby threw at them.
Farnborough tried to bring their wingers into the game as often as possible, well when I say wingers I mean winger as in Gary Napier but the narrowness of the smaller top pitch did not suit him as well as he would have liked however his pace was always an outlet as he linked up well with the midfield and Barry Grainger in attack and even a wayward pass was made to look good thanks to his pace!
Toby had the best chance to break the deadlock on 20 minutes or so, as the Farnborough defence were dissected by a well weighted pass into the feet of the unmarked Toby forward but Rosslee was quick off his line to close him down and block from close range. Seconds later it was the home side who took the lead, St John netting his 11th goal of the season. Luke Johnson dribbled the ball out from defence and played the through ball into his stride and as the Toby Vets screamed for offside their linesman would not be drawn into it and kept his flag down as Jim kept his composure to score at the second attempt after the keeper made the save but he ricochet fell nicely to him to score into the open net, 1-0 OBG’s.
Barry Grainger soon doubled Farnborough’s lead with an excellent piece of individual skill as he brought the ball down on his chest and volleyed past the hapless Toby keeper and the ref brought an end to the first half, Farnborough 2 goals to the good. Neil Connelly (Santa duty) was replaced in the centre of defence by Matt Wright who wasn’t feeling 100% himself (maybe one too many bush tucker trials?) Ben Clunn was replaced by Mark Friend in a like for like swap with Matt Ellis pushing up into right midfield and Mark taking up the right back slot and Si Davies replaced Paul Tanton and went up front which meant Farnborough were now adopting a 4-4-2 formation.
As has been the case so many times this season we were second out of the traps as Toby had us on the back foot for the first opening exchanges and Luke and Matt at the centre of defence did well to cope with the territorial pressure however Toby’s constant pressure eventually paid off, however Farnborough will feel like they could have done much better. As was the case against Peckham Rye last Sunday where we were our worst enemies we gifted Toby a lifeline back into the match. The ball was allowed to roll across the edge of the Farnborough penalty area where the defence failed to clear the ball as it sat up nicely for the Toby attacker to latch on to and although Rosslee was off his line as quick as his legs could physically carry him the Toby player had a split second advantage and managed to nick the ball just past him although Rosslee’s momentum took the attacker completely out for his troubles, thankfully the Toby player got to his feet unscathed, 2-1 OBG’s.
Toby pressed Farnborough high up the pitch as they went in search of an equaliser but some resolute defending and smart goalkeeping kept the scoreline at 2-1. Grainger had a half decent chance to add a third but his effort was saved well by the Toby keeper after getting his angle right and Si Davies was guilty of some rash finishing when played in on goal and again the Toby Vets were screaming for offside but their honest linesman’s flag stayed down unlike Simon’s shot that went high and wide when he could have carried the ball in on goal unchallenged with more time than he expected.
With the clock ticking down and Toby Vets looking the most likely team to score the next goal St John gave Farnborough their 2 goal cushion back, this time it was the opposition guilty of some slack defending allowing St John to stoop low and head home for his 12th of the season completely unmarked from a Grainger corner out on the right hand side, 3-1 OBG’s. With no more than 3 minutes left on referee Andy Gable\'s watch Toby were presented with another gilt-edged chance to get something out of this game. A deep cross into the box was played to the Toby forward who was completely alone leaving Rosslee no option but to come out and try to punch the ball to safety, his effort was punched away but only as far as another unmarked Toby player who put the ball back into the danger area and with Rosslee grounded and the goal unattended they bundled the ball home unconvincingly, 3-2 OBG’s.
Farnborough held on to run out eventual 3-2 winners in a hard fought contest that was no way as one-sided as the 6-3 win a mere 4 weeks ago.
Next week we are back on the road again to the familiar surroundings of Chislehurst (to be honest where isn’t familiar to us these days?) to face Santos Vets and already it looks like we have another depleted team to choose from.
MOM was Jim St John for a second week running.
Man of the match: Jim St John