Sunday 1st November 2015
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets answer questions with Faulks fireworks
Technically this was a home game but as both our home pitches were being used by one of Sunday teams and our Young Vets, we made our first visit this season to our second home at Beckenham Cricket Club in Foxgrove Road. The pitch was immaculate as always, the surface had a bit of zip from the heavy morning dew, and the mist was thick, almost fog-like in the still and relatively mild air, with visibility down to no more than fifty yards. Referee Mick Gearing assured me he had been to Specsavers, and had his night vision goggles on. Gary Fentiman was away adding another year to his age and so we had to juggle the side a bit to put Waine Hetherington between the sticks in the first half, with George Kleanthous scheduled to take over from him in the second half while Waine replaced George in our front line.
Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard, Patrice Mongelard, Roger French;
Colin Mant, Simon Thomas, Des Lindsay, Rob Lipscomb;
George Kleanthous, Andy Faulks.
Substitutes: Sinisa Gracanin, Nick Waller, Obi Ugwumba.
Supporters: Jo Colyer, Thomas French, Hannah Kleanthous, Ian Lyons, Mick O’Flynn and Chris Webb + Cockapoo.
As seems to be customary it took us a while to get going. Possession was not a problem, penetration and impact were. Our opponents competed well in the initial phases with a compact, combative and technically able midfield and they defended in numbers. Andy Faulks provided the first breakthrough after ten minutes as he got behind their defence on the left to pick up a lay off from George Kleanthous. He cut in, left his marker trailing, advanced diagonally on goal and arrowed a fifteen yarder into the bottom corner. Lads of the Village reacted – had a good shout for a penalty turned down. On a less foggy day it might have been given. Waine Hetherington had relatively little to do but what came his way he dealt with like a natural. Barely a quarter of an hour had gone when a Lads of the Village midfielder crumpled to the ground with no one around him. Roger French had been watching him but as far as we know Roger has not yet mastered the art of causing injury by the power of thought alone. The injured player told me later that he was wearing mouldeds to protect a metatarsal fracture sustained five weeks ago and had lost his footing on the greasy surface and damaged his knee. Midway through the half Andy Faulks powered a shot which the keeper could not hold and George Kleanthous was in the right place at the right time to snaffle the rebound like the fox in the box that he is, and we had a two-goal cushion.
On the half hour we made three changes as Patrice Mongelard. Andy Faulks and Colin Mant made way for Sinisa Gracanin, Obi Ugwumba and Nick Waller. These changes took place under the watchful eye of Mick O’Flynn who had appeared through the fog, like some Irish Druid, and who this week joined the Senior Vets think tank to assist with tactical analysis and team planning. We remained dominant but could not break through to claim a third goal. The lads of the Village keeper gave everyone a bit of a scare when he went down following an innocuous coming together with Simon Thomas’ coiffure, but he got back on his feet. Lads of the Village came close with a near-post header from a corner which we did not defend well but Roger French’s embonpoint was put to good use on the line.
The only change we made at half-time was to swap Waine Hetherington for George Kleanthous. Waine’s job was done with half a clean sheet and he was now looking to add to his tally of goals whilst George went looking for a clean sheet to justify his assertion that in his younger days he had been a very good keeper. The service to Waine was not great, but he was still able to provide clever assists, and he put Simon Thomas through for a close range shot which the Lads of the Village keeper saved brilliantly with his outstretched leg – but in so doing injured his knee and had to be replaced in goal. There was time before the hour for Roger French to get away with a tackle from behind which may well have been inside the box and again in less foggy conditions might have cost us. The tackle was late – indeed some might say it started in last Sunday’s game.
The tipping point came on the hour when Des Lindsay, Rob Lipscomb and Roger French departed the scene and Colin Mant, Patrice Mongelard and Andy Faulks returned. It was not long before Andy Faulks latched on to a throw-in from Patrice Mongelard, turned and entered the box before beating the replacement keeper with a low shot at the near post. More goals came quickly after that: Andy got his third, fourth and fifth goals in a devastating fifteen-minute spell – two from defensive errors and one from an assist by Obi Ugwumba. In the midst of this frenzy Lads of the Village picked up their third injury and another player had to go off. Des Lindsay sportingly joined their ranks. At 6-0, I already had visions of being able to use the expression “Joy of Six” in my match report headline but Obi Ugwumba took that away by getting our seventh. What a goal it was, and to think that Michael Junior was not there to see it, and he might just not believe what his dad tells him. The young can be like that. Michael had earlier had a powerful twenty-five yarder which might well have burst the net had it not been a foot wide – so he was hungry. Anyway, he intercepted a pass just inside our half, saw the Lads of the Village back four were flat and high and he carried on and on, the keeper came off his line and Michael produced a delicate floater with his wrong foot to crown a great solo effort.
With a few minutes left the question was whether we would register our first clean sheet of the season, as a birthday present to Gary Fentiman. We had a scare when the ball rose high off the crossbar and came back down in the mix with George gazing up the sky with a Lad of the Village loitering with intent. That scare was dealt with but then with three minutes to go we could not clear a ball in the centre of our defence, partly because Des Lindsay was involved, and the ball was scooped into our net via George’s wrist, which was not as strong it seems, as Waine’s wrist. In a way it felt right. Lads of the Village deserved that goal.
The après-match was enjoyable in the lovely wooden clubhouse, with friendly bar staff and the Lads of the Village contingent in good spirits despite the result. Buffet Heavy Roller Nick Waller was on hand to give a master class to his team mates in finishing....chips, sausages and buttered slices. Nick’s man of the match vote went to the chef.
Lads of the Village were hampered by injuries and will no doubt wish they could have posed us harder questions. Talking of questions, modesty prevents me from writing at length about the triumph, by a country mile, of team Coles/Mongelard/O’Flynn + brainy other halves, at the Farnborough Old Boys Guild quiz last night. With typical understatement, I wore my T-shirt of Champions, you know the one that says to not bother with Google because the wife knows everything.
Man of the match – our chief artificer Andy Faulks who scored five times on a Sunday morning with fiancee Jo Colyer watching.
Man of the match: Andy Faulks