Sunday 29th November 2015
By Patrice Mongelard
Old Tamponians stem Farnborough flow
This was a bloody good game despite the conditions and if last week was about winning with style, today was about losing with grace. The game was switched by our opponents to a local artificial surface, at the Samuel Montagu Youth Centre in SE3, a 4G surface, to ensure the match would take place given the precipitation that was forecast. The 4G surface was wireless – by this I mean there were no high wires strung across the pitch, but immense, and this affected our reception in a number of areas. No such problem for Old Tamps who were sharper for most of the match but for an interlude in the second period. The wind and rain was the same for both teams but the better passing, gauge of the bounce, incision, connectivity and feel for the surface belonged to our hosts.
Our numbers dwindled down to twelve overnight from injuries and other impediments.
Colin Mant, Patrice Mongelard, Steve Blanchard, Obi Ugwumba;
Simon Thomas, Des Lindsay, Sinisa Gracanin, George Kleanthous;
Waine Hetherington, Andy Faulks.
Substitute: Rob Lipscomb
Supporters: Obi Ugwumba Jr, Jack Kleanthous (another West Ham fan, but thankfully with a Liverpool supporter for a mum).
It took us a good while to cross the halfway line when the game got started. Old Tamps moved the ball better than we did, with shorter accurate passes and players who seemed half a yard quicker, and more switched on. We conceded two goals even before we had forced a save from their keeper. Both goals were well taken but we played a part in the build up. The first came about ten minutes into the game after we failed to clear the ball on the edge of the box and it fell to a bustling forward with quick feet who peeled off, and finished high into our net from three yards out. The second Old Tamps goal ten minutes later was even better, a very good finish after a one-touch lay-off took an isolated Colin Mant out of the equation, and the incoming Old Tamps midfielder, free as a bird, picked his spot and finished crisply.
Rob Lipscomb replaced Simon Thomas on the half hour – our game improved a bit and we strung some shorter passes together but could never really penetrate their solid defence which had some big units in there, and a player who could shift the ball sixty or seventy yards with a wand of a left foot.
We thought the wind would help us more in the second period but barely five minutes had elapsed when Old Tamps got a third which was wind-assisted as a through ball over the top held up in the wind to delay Gary’s intervention from his line, allowing just enough time for an Old Tamps forward to nip in and finish from a tight angle. It started raining at that point and that woke us up a bit though the sight of George Kleanthous leaving on the hour to go to the West Ham game left me wondering where a goal would come from. Simon Thomas was back on to give us more thrust down the right.
However, between the 60th and 80th minutes we had a purple patch. Waine Hetherington and Andy Faulks started linking up better and we began to get behind the Old Tamps defence, and earn free kicks on the edge of their box. With about seventy minutes on the clock Obi Ugwumba stepped up to take a direct free kick from twenty-five yards out. The connection was sweet, powerful and unerring and the ball arrowed into the top corner via a limp wrist from the Old Tamps keeper who did well to get a hand to it. Better was to follow, ten minutes later, if such a thing was possible, with another free kick from Michael from the same place – and this time there was no interference with the flight of the ball and the power of the shot was therefore amplified in our minds. I challenge anyone to name a sweeter sound in football than that of a net groaning and bulging to absorb the impact of a spherical rocket.
There were about ten minutes left. We had a good opportunity from a corner which Rob Lipscomb almost got the right connection with. That was to be our last scoring opportunity. Old Tamps had too much quality not to make us pay from lapses, and they scored twice in the last five minutes to extinguish any hopes we had of getting anything out of that game. In truth, the match ended with the right result. We never did enough to win this game and we’ll have to see if we can do it on grass when they visit Farnborough in half of twenty-eight days.
Six of us made it back to the Old Tamps clubhouse in Kidbrooke Park Road, a short drive away along the south circular. We were treated to a feast: breaded chicken wings, quiche, prawn and tuna vol-au-vents, mini scotch eggs, pork pie, egg mayonnaise wraps, tuna wraps, bijou pastry cases with egg and tuna, and cherry tomatoes on a bed of crisp lettuce. We needed Buffet Reducer Nick Waller on a day like this. I hate to see food wasted.
There was plenty of room in the bar for Des Lindsay to tell us about the day Pele played football against his brother Mark (ex-Crystal Palace, and the footballer in the family), and the day Mohammad Ali met Des Lindsay. He had the photos to prove it, on his phone. Moreover, the Old Tamps manager confirmed Des’ assertion that the artificial surface we played on today did indeed have a slope, as he was the groundsman there, if I heard him correctly. I am not sure what a 4G artificial pitch groundsman does, but we were grateful for his efforts to get us a game today.
Man of the match today – birthday boy Obi Ugwumba, 48 today, with two belters. You wait ages for a blockbuster of a free kick and then two come along. I reckon the air displaced by either of these shots would blow out 48 candles on a cake. Michael was so delighted with his goals he took the kit home, probably gambling that Mrs U would wash it for him, as it was a special occasion.
PS. News came through later in the day that Pam Shoebridge has fallen and broken her arm. A speedy recovery to her from the Senior Vets and indeed all at FOBG.
Man of the match: Michael Ugwumba