Sunday 27th October 2013
By Patrice Mongelard
New boy makes quite an impression as Farnborough put the clock back six weeks
After last week’s debacle we were back in numbers today, and hoping to repeat the 4-1 score line of six weeks ago at our place. This we did, on what turned out to be quite a good morning for us in the breezy, dry and sun-dappled air of leafy Park Langley at the Old Dunstonians Sports Ground. This was our third visit to that ground and we took in the familiar landmarks of the narrow access lane, three car parks, tennis courts and archery practice within bow shot of the vast pitch, the white and red lines on the pitch, and what we now know as Mehmet’s ditch.
The starting XI were Gary Fentiman in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Chris Webb, Colin Brazier and Steve Blanchard in defence; Waine Hetherington, Martin Warwick, Sinisa Gracanin and Ian Shoebridge in midfield; Colin Mant and Andy Faulks in attack. Roger French, new boy Andrew “Denzil” Washington, Mick O’Flynn and Obinna (Michael) Ugwumba made up the XV.
We would have had sixteen players but for Ian Coles who was carrying a knock. Ian was there though with Jane Martin to give us a running commentary on the touchline. They were not our only fans as the return of Michael, sporting a pair of (fake?) leopard skin pumps, a purchase from Dubai I understand, brought back his three number one fans. We were missing our two regular fans and tent dwellers, Isabelle and Thomas French, and here I must quash the rumour that they had been sold to some Roma family. It was more a case, I surmise, of the family not finding a buyer for Roger.
The start to the game from both teams was slow, as we got used to the size of the pitch and to each other. We had more possession (60:40 I would say) but did not do much with it. Both teams sought to move the ball around but had to rely initially on set pieces to create any danger in the opposite box. Two Farnborough corners in quick succession, by Ian Shoebridge and Patrice Mongelard, were met with clean Farnborough headers without breaking the deadlock. Both teams struggled to come up with a telling final ball but we had more attempts at it. The first of many changes was made after twenty-minutes when right back Patrice Mongelard was replaced by Mick O’Flynn. Ten minutes later Ian Shoebridge managed to thread a ball behind the CUACO defence which could not be cut out entirely and a lurking Andy Faulks did what he does best by rounding the keeper and finding the gap between two retreating defenders to give us a 1-0 lead which was, on the balance of play, deserved. Five minutes later though the CUACO equaliser was struck, equally deservedly, because we had lapsed into the old habit of not tightening things up in midfield and leaving space in front of the back four for opponents to colonise. The twenty-five yarder was a beauty, true, powerful, straight and unstoppable as Gary grasped thin air at the very moment the net bulged behind him.
We rang the changes at half time, a luxury denied to our opponents who had the bare eleven. Michael and Denzil came on for Ian Shoebridge and Colin Brazier. The re-shaped Farnborough team now had the wind behind them and we penned CUACO back as we launched wave after wave of attack. From one such incursion on the right of the CUACO defence, ten minutes in, Denzil had the composure and vision to measure a cross to the far post where Waine’s cultured left foot produced a first time volley of no little beauty that flew past the keeper and into the far corner of the net. Five minutes later Andy Faulks had a golden opportunity to make it 3-1 in a one on one but was countered by the CUACO keeper who had a good game today despite the result. He could do nothing though about our third goal, and Andy’s second, as he was played in by Martin Warwick and calmly lobbed the ball into the bottom corner after the CUACO keeper had committed himself.
Our confidence was high at that point and with twenty minutes left the four players on the touchline - Roger French, Ian Shoebridge, Patrice Mongelard and Colin Brazier joined the fun as Colin Mant, Waine Hetherington, Martin Warwick and Steve Blanchard left the pitch with the satisfaction of a job well done. The team’s satisfaction was, we felt, sure to increase but we made heavy weather of it – a free kick from Patrice Mongelard left three Farnborough players well placed to add to our tally but this was not capitalised upon. With about ten minutes left Denzil found himself in the right place in crowd scene in the CUACO box to turn and shot low into the bottom corner. The beginner’s luck was well deserved.
There was time for a Roger French moment as he stretched, groaned and grunted to get to a sitter laid on unselfishly by Michael two yards out. Roger’s flick was not good and even managed to put the predatory Andy Faulks off. My unbiased advice to Michael is that next time, at all times really, he should forget Roger French and take a shot himself - this was likely to be far more productive. When the final whistle came after 80 minutes CUACO would have welcomed it whereas we would have liked the extra ten minutes.
New boy Andrew “Denzil” Washington ran the line in the first half all the while analysing and dissecting our performance as he revealed perceptively during the half time team talk. Ian Coles thought that Andrew had made more sense after only forty minutes in the club than Roger had after more than a decade. He was joking, I think. Anyway Denzil was on fire today – registering an assist for the second goal with an exquisite cross to the far post and getting on the score sheet with our fourth goal. Unfortunately we could not get to hear more from Denzil as he was called away on business. He did enough I think to be the first name on the team sheet next week for what will be a much tougher assignment against our conquerors of last week, Wickham Park, as we return to the Pickhurst Lane environs.
Until we took control of the game in the last half hour it was an even contest. There was a not a single bad tackle in the game, and the good-humoured referee had a trouble-free morning, helped by what he assured us was his 20:20 vision after we had naively queried a decision.
With the clocks going back, there was just enough time for me to get back to the Farnborough clubhouse to return the first aid kit, balls and water bottles to their home before the place was locked by Paul Tanton (basking in the glow of a 3-2 win for the Young Vets against Ditton Vets). Paul kindly offered me a spare cheese roll which kept me going until I could get myself some egg and chips at home (and I did not have to share my chips with my team mates).
Man of the match today – Waine Hetherington, a relatively new boy playing only his 4th game for us, for a gem of a volley, and more.
Man of the match: Waine Hetherington