Sunday 6th September 2015
By Patrice Mongelard
Things brighten up for Senior Vets
After the gloom and despondency of last Sunday what a dazzling and luminous day the football gods bestowed upon us today. It was as if a light had been switched on by the miraculous intervention of a long-awaited electrician. We had to work hard for our win, and in the end deserved to win a fixture which, on many previous occasions, has cast a dark shadow on our day.
This was the first outing for our away kit (even though we were playing at home as the yellow in our opponents’ kit would have clashed with the egg in our bacon and egg livery). Roger French had done a great job currying favour to secure sponsorship for the kit from Village Cuisine (again) and the all blue kit was very easy on the eye, not unlike the blue of the Azzurri I thought. It was important in our superstitious footballer minds to avoid defeat on this christening.
Referee Mick Gearing was back in harness, and we welcomed back Gary Fentiman, Waine Hetherington and Des Lindsay – all of whom played a not insignificant part in the positive outcome.
Patrice Mongelard, Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard, Mick O’Flynn;
Stephane Anelli, Ian Lyons, Obi Ugwumba, Simon Thomas;
Colin Mant, Andy Faulks.
Substitutes: Roger French, Waine Hetherington and eventually Des Lindsay.
Supporters: Bunny Beston, Isabelle and Thomas French, Vicky Tanner, Obi Ugwumba Jr.
The opening exchanges were even, as Farnborough, mindful of last week’s mauling, operated a safety first policy with a compact formation in the middle of the park, and with our two wingers Simon Thomas and Stephane Anelli with strict instructions to track back, and help out their defence, and I have to say that both mastered their script today. Stephane even found time to get on the end of a Colin Mant lofted through ball to give us the lead after about fifteen minutes by cutting in and lashing a left foot drive into the far corner of the net from five yards out.
Erith responded of course as we knew they could and would. They hit the bar and went looking for an equaliser. Mick O’Flynn cleared off the line with his head. Ten minutes later all our good work was nearly undone. Referee Mick Gearing, with whom I often discuss the social and cultural importance of Specsavers, was left with little choice but to award a penalty after Patrice Mongelard was a tad tardy with a sliding tackle in the box. Ian Lyons pointed out, sagely but unnecessarily, to Patrice that he had undone the good work which the team had put in over first twenty-five minutes. I cannot say that I got up today with the intention of doing that, but looking at it another way I gave Gary Fentiman an opportunity to show how good he is at stopping penalty kicks. The shot was low to his right but he got down and got a strong wrist (like a masseuse) to the shot and Steve Blanchard cleared the rebound.
We were still having the greater share of the play when, on the half hour, Colin Mant, Patrice Mongelard and Obi Ugwumba made way for Waine Hetherington, Des Lindsay and Roger French. Colin allowed himself a brief moment of petulant indignation at our substitutions policy before reverting to his legendary team ethic. What was more concerning was the petulance on the pitch as Roger French (yes – him again) tackled and tangled with an Erith forward (the only awkward episode of a game played in excellent spirit). The free kick was probably as much for the afters as for the initial incident. Ian Coles got his head to the ball but it fell to an unmarked Erith player on the edge of the box and his volley was very good and true and the ball travelled through a forest of legs to nestle into the corner of the net with Gary transfixed on his line. At that point it is fair to say Erith deserved to be level.
The half-time oranges found us in an optimistic mood. Des will have welcomed the hydration – it was noticeable that his kit was a much darker blue than ours – either he has overactive sweat glands, or back heeling the ball to himself, as he was to do several times in the game, you could say he was playing with himself, was too much on a hot day.
We had shaded the first half. The second half put a bit more light between the two teams but not until later when Erith tired and Waine Hetherington weaved his magic. Stephane Anelli once again made the difference by notching his second goal of the game after a neat exchange with Waine Hetherington on the edge of the Erith box ten minutes or so into the second half. We had the lead but the game was not won, as Erith were capable of getting back in the game. They had two good chances with players clean through but could not capitalise. On the hour Colin Mant, Obi Ugwumba and Patrice Mongelard were back on for Ian Lyons, Mick O’Flynn and Simon Thomas. We had arguably our best spell of the game then, forcing several corners and it was Waine Hetherington again who unlocked the Erith defence with a lofted cross that Andy Faulks nodded in from close range. The cushion of another goal was reassuring, and we were to extend our lead further with ten minutes or so left as Simon Thomas (who had returned after the dripping Des Lindsay had slid off) came from behind at pace to score at the end of yet another assist from Waine Hetherington low at the far post.
And that was it. There was time for Gary, on a roll today, to retrieve the ball from the trees (it just fell in his arms) behind the goal before showers, and the customary wait for fast food ordered by Roger French. Ten XXL pizzas, portions of garlic bread and dough balls appeared and disappeared like a mirage on a hot day, despite the absence of Buffet Immensity Nick Waller. It was good to see Thomas French cheer up with a pizza slice and he did a great job clearing empty glasses (after a mishap earlier in the day with another kind of glass which had threatened Roger’s equilibrium – as if he needs it on a Sunday). It was good to see Erith enjoy the food and what our bar had to offer. Vicky Tanner thought they won the bar stakes, and that I think, was because of Nick’s absence.
Lastly a special mention for Amanda Sim – Simon Thomas’ partner, who had the kit washed (extra detergent for Des’ shirt I expect) and out on the line in the sunshine by the time he got home at half past two. He sent her and daughter Daisy home with the kit, while he drank beer and ate pizza with his mates.
Man of the match: Stephane Anelli again, though Gary Fentiman with a penalty save, and Waine Hetherington with a hat-trick of assists, made a tight contest of it.
Man of the match: Stephane Anelli