Sunday 13th December 2015
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough come from behind three times to share satisfaction
We were well beaten by today’s opponents on an artificial pitch two weeks ago and were looking to avoid a repeat of that. The first thing we did was to switch this game to Beckenham Cricket Club in Foxgrove Road to ensure (a) we would get a game, and (b) one on real grass at that. There was a fair amount of moisture about, the pitch was well lubricated, and the air was still and mild for the time of year. Our fifteen dwindled to thirteen as Mick O’Flynn was still out with his calf (no more jokes about dating a baby cow, please) and Phil Anthony, probably the best full back we have as I said to the opposition, was loaned to the other side as they were short.
Colin Mant, Patrice Mongelard, Ian Coles, Nick Waller;
Rob Lipscomb, Kypros Michael, Sinisa Gracanin, George Kleanthous;
Waine Hetherington, Des Lindsay.
Substitutes: Steve Blanchard, Andy Faulks.
Supporters: Hannah Kleanthous, Freya, Kathleen and Thea Anthony and mascot Caesar.
Our generosity continued into the first ten minutes as we brought gifts for the opposition. That was not very wise of us you might think. Sloppy play from us and good finishing by our opponents saw us go 2-0 down before the ten minutes were up. It could have been worse but for a great one-handed save by debutant Paul Kelliher who did his best to fill Gary Fentiman’s massive shirt. Once again there was torpor and a lack of composure in our play and we had trouble establishing a footing in the game, in the case of Nick Waller, literally as he gave a good impression of wearing Colin Brazier’s “pantoufles”, on ice. It took us a while to emerge.
Des Lindsay lifted the mood with a powerful shot that the Old Tamponians keeper saved well, and he was also on hand to tip a couple of Kypros Michael’s low shots past the post. Kypros had at least two attempts at producing a spectacular volley. The momentum we were building was rewarded when George Kleanthous put the ball back in the mix for Waine Hetherington to poke home through a forest of legs from three yards out. Soon after, on the half hour Andy Faulks came on for Waine Hetherington and we also brought Steve Blanchard on for Ian Coles at the back. It did not take Andy Faulks long to make his presence felt. First he flashed a shot across the goal after bringing the ball down neatly wide in the Old Tamps box and he was there to play Kypros Michael through on goal, and Kypros’ left peg did the rest. Old Tamps had to re-adjust their formation midway through the half when one of their players went off injured and they brought on a 72-year old who had only come to watch, and hats off to the old boy who played his part in checking our flow.
We had clawed our way back into the game and finished the half with plenty of hope for the second period. But that is not the Farnborough Senior Vets way. We seem to attract adversity and early in the second half Old Tamps crafted a well-taken third goal after we made a hash of retaining the ball from a throw-in. Generally throw-ins were difficult for both teams and referee Mick Gearing’s whistle was not in tantric mode as, like some excited teenager, he kept blowing for foul throws, re-taken corners and free kicks.
We huffed and puffed, forced corners and rained crosses into the Old Tamps box all to no avail. Experience and nous abounded in their defence, and it was not clear where a second Farnborough equaliser would come from. Waine Hetherington and Ian Coles had come back on after sixty minutes for Colin Mant and Des Lindsay for the final push and that proved to be an inspired move by our Irish Druid Mick O’Flynn. Waine was to be rewarded for getting behind the defence and crossing low into the box towards the far post. An Old Tamps player was unfortunate to divert the ball past his keeper with a deft touch. The football gods would make up for this shortly.
With barely ten minutes left the same player produced a moment of sublime skill as he lifted the ball over and behind him, thirty yards or so from our goal in a central area, turned, left three of our players gazing at a star, as if Bethlehem-bound, and applied an exquisite finish to curl the ball into our top corner. It was a goal that deserved to win the game except that we had other ideas. In the last five minutes we created probably as many chances as we had in the previous forty. Andy Faulks had a long range shot and a close range volley that went close. With only a few minutes left Ian Coles lofted a ball deep behind the Old Tamps defence and Andy Faulks slid in to steer the ball home. Old Tamps appealed for offside even though the ball was in the air a long time. For a fleeting moment I was worried, as linesman Des Lindsay was waving his flag furiously, until I realised he was in fact joining in the celebrations.
There was still time for us to win this game, unbelievably. In the dying minutes Waine Hetherington and Kypros Michael both broke through, the Old Tamps keeper was in the wrong position and all it would have taken, seemingly, was for either of them to roll the ball into the net but they got in each other’s way. Waine poked the ball towards the goal as he was off balance rather than stroking it confidently, or leaving it to the upright and goal-facing Kypros and the ball trickled harmlessly into touch as the final whistle went. In the end a draw was a fair result, for an enjoyable game played in excellent spirit.
I tarried in the changing room and showers and when I appeared in the bar area the two buffet trays of chips, sausages and buttered bread slices, were almost empty, much to the amusement of my team mates, including Buffet Barracuda Nick Waller, who will all swear as one that a look of panic crossed my face, allegedly. Playing the perfect host, I was driven to make conversation with our visitors, so I could find sustenance. The Anthony sisters also allowed me to have some of their chips, in return for a memorable joke about a dog I told them several weeks ago.
The bar area was initially packed as Wellcome Super Vets, our opponents next week, who are based at the same place, returned from their away fixture. They had played Catford Wanderers Vets and brought news of a new signing for that team. In the end there were five of us left – apparently in no great hurry to go home. Nick Waller challenged the whole bar to a bacon flavour fries eating competition. Colin Mant kept talking about being expected to produce an erection at home, with Rob Lipscomb and Steve Blanchard’s assistance – something about a doll’s house. I thought of Ibsen’s play briefly – a work of social realism that explores domestic pressures.
Man of the match - Rob Lipscomb – after the votes were swiftly gathered in by Hannah Kleanthous, for a muscular performance in midfield, which got the Old Tamponians injured player on the touchline in a bit of an unnecessary lather, so his team mates thought. He had calmed down when we shared some bread later in the bar, as I have explained above.
Next week we are back at the same ground to play Wellcome Super Vets – we served up a 9-goal Christmas cracker in the corresponding game last season. And it was Christmas jumper day – as it will be again next Sunday. Mick O’Flynn mentioned something about a female elf stroking Ian Coles’ carrot - another Christmas myth shattered I thought.
Man of the match: Rob Lipscomb