Sunday 1st December 2013
By Patrice Mongelard
A game of two periods as Old Tamponians check Farnborough flow
In the end a draw was a fair result but we were left wondering what might have been.
The Old Roan pitch in Kidbrooke Park Road is larger than it appears to the motorist’s eye. It had been some time since we played on that particular turf. It remained an excellent surface to play on, conducive to a passing game, and the occasional opportunity to hit a passing car. The air was mild for the time of year, there was no wind and the atmosphere between the two teams before the game was very cordial not least as several players on either side knew each other. Our former striker Andy Smith was now plying his trade for Old Tamps, and he was not the only big unit in their side – noted Colin Brazier, and he was not looking at furniture at MFI.
We mustered fourteen players for this away fixture – good thing we did, but no fans. Our starting XI were Gary Fentiman in goal; Mick O’Flynn, Colin Brazier, Patrice Mongelard and Steve Blanchard in defence; Sinisa Gracanin, Chris Webb, Waine Hetherington and Ian Shoebridge in midfield; Andy Faulks and Colin Mant in attack. Roger French, Nick Waller and Mehmet Bozyigit temporised in the dugout. Mehmet was a living testament to the healing properties of curry, or possibly kebabs, after we thought injury had ended his playing days for us (and after we gave him a decent send-off on our website!).
The policemen looking into a vehicle of interest in the road parallel to the ground will have seen a game of no little quality unfold in the first half. Both sides played an unhurried cohesive brand of football mostly to feet and were evenly matched in the opening quarter of an hour though Farnborough had the greater forward momentum and there was more action in the Old Tamps box than in ours. Still they were soaking our pressure and looked to build dangerous breaks via their crafty midfield players, all comfortable on the ball. We were forced to make two changes before the half hour was up as Mick O’Flynn and Ian Shoebridge were forced off with injuries, after giving us quite a bit of joy down our right. Mehmet Bozyigit and Nick Waller gave us a new reconstructed right side.
Old Tamps had a touch of good fortune when their last defender brought Andy Faulks down from behind, with Andy clear and his sights on goal (until a large wardrobe fell on him from behind!). Still we were pressing hard and from a free kick on the half hour swung in by Chris Webb ten yards from the goal, almost like a faux corner, Mehmet Bozyigit got his head to the ball and directed it downwards towards goal where it was redirected into the goal by Steve Blanchard diving like a salmon at the far post, putting his head in a dangerous place. Ten minutes later the two Colins combined as Brazier harried the Old Tamps keeper into making a mistake away from his goal line and Mant collected the ball, and finished as cool as a mint to give us a 2-0 lead. I’d like to say we deserved it, but our opponents had great quality of their own which had not borne fruit, yet.
We had had an excellent first half playing collectively, with lots of yardage and effort put in by everyone. We cannot recall Gary Fentiman having to make a serious save in the first half. The second half was a different affair. Waine Hetherington feeling a back injury made way for Roger French at half time and Roger was sent to toil up front, with Colin Mant dropping to left midfield (though many of his team mates did not appear to register his presence given the number of times passes did not go to him). We struggled to apply the same pressure on Old Tamps. Their mobile midfielders gave them the upper edge and we were pegged back. We had lost a cutting edge up front and where we had strung four or five passes before our moves were now breaking down after two or three passes.
Inevitably, Old Tamps got a goal back after fifteen minutes when the ball was fired in through a crowd of players from the edge of our box after we had blocked the initial danger. Gary was possibly unsighted but the Old Tamps goal was with the run of play. We had to withstand quite a bit of pressure for the next quarter of an hour. On the half hour Patrice Mongelard was in the right place (for a change! - Ed.) to steer an Old Tamps shot over the bar after Gary Fentiman had ventured to the edge of the box and had not managed to clear the ball, leaving an Old Tamps forward with an unoccupied empty goal to loft the ball into, and a certain goal but for the 56-year old springs in my hamstrings. Sadly this clearing header turned out to be worth one point not three. Old Tamps equalised with ten minutes left with a very good header into the top corner from a cross on the left of our defence after we had failed to clear the danger. Roger French and Andy Faulks had shots that came to nothing in the final moments and in the end both teams had to settle for an honourable draw.
The bar hosted four teams – us and three other teams that we play against – Erith, Old Tamps and Avery Hill, and so had a familiar feel. It also provided us with refreshments, an update on the Spurs - Man U game, and more importantly sausages in rolls with assorted condiments, and potato products. Our thoughts turned to next week’s derby against Orpington Vets and memories of the wacky races that preceded that fixture last year on the Beckenham circuit – and to whether we would be able to replace the four or five players from today who would be unavailable next week.
Man of the match today – Steve Blanchard for the second week running, and despite having played for the 4ths yesterday.
Man of the match: Steve Blanchard