Sunday 13th September 2015
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets win by a good head
We lost the corresponding game last season and whilst we hoped to build on last week’s good result we were respectful of our opponents, and we thought it would have to be more of a case of us winning this match than them losing it - if you can see the subtlety of the difference.
It was dry, mostly still, but the sun was shy. We spent some time before the game clearing the pitch of what looked like an exploded keyboard and the remnants of a drone – perhaps unseen from the seat of a motorised mower. It was all noted by Roger French in his new capacity as Pitch Maintenance Coordinator, and he got all technical later explaining the difference between holes and slits, from a drainage point of view. Roger will be organising forking parties in the winter, and I can think of at least one hard of hearing Senior Vet who will be up for this.
Our numbers had dwindled from sixteen to fifteen by the time referee Mick Gearing got us under way. Mick said he’d be watching me closely during the game following my quip about Specsavers in last week’s match report. I advised him that they do hearing tests too, but I am not sure he heard me.
Patrice Mongelard, Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard, Mick O’Flynn;
Stephane Anelli, Obi Ugwumba, Colin Mant, Simon Thomas;
Waine Hetherington, Andy Faulks.
Substitutes: Phil Anthony, Roger French, George Kleanthous, Des Lindsay.
Supporters: Emma, Santino and Sofia Anelli, Bunny Beston, Isabelle and Thomas French, Hanna Kleanthous, Jane Martin, Pam and Ian Shoebridge, Vicky Tanner, Obi Ugwumba Jr
We took the lead with the run of play, about ten minutes into the game. Andy Faulks belted the ball from the edge of the box, the CUACO keeper could not hold the shot, and Simon Thomas was quickest to the loose ball and he drilled it home from five yards out with his fluorescent, lime green, monogrammed espadrilles. Quite how we did not extend our lead is a mystery – well not really, it was poor finishing rather than the lack of chances as Waine Hetherington, Andy Faulks and Stephanne Anelli could not capitalise from good positions, after having, you could argue, done the hard work to escape their markers to get a clear sight of goal. Stephane clipped the base of the post with a flashing drive after breaking through on our right.
It was not all one way though. CUACO responded and found our bar too but mostly they found Gary Fentiman at the top of his game, making the most of his huge frame and good hands. Gary kept us in the game denying CUACO at least twice with reflex saves. The central midfield pairing of Obi Ugwumba and Colin Mant worked hard in the first half hour to preserve our advantage. At that point we made four planned changes with George Kleanthous, Des Lindsay, Roger French and Phil Anthony coming on for Andy Faulks, Obi Ugwumba, Steve Blanchard and Mick O’Flynn. We re-organised our back four and lived dangerously for a while – Phil doggedly cleared off the line, but we restored our defensive platform to build on. George Kleanthous had a scoring opportunity that he would normally snaffle up but could not beat the keeper from close range. George undoubtedly has goals in his locker – he just has to remember to bring them on the pitch with him.
We all knew at half-time that one goal would not be enough. I think it is fair to say that CUACO shaded the early part of the second half but this time without really troubling Gary in our goal. We created good situations again but the final ball or the finish was not quite there and CUACO could see that we had only a slender advantage. We were able to double our lead though, with a sense of relief, when a long clearance by Gary Fentiman found its way to Andy Faulks who raced clear of his marker, steadied himself and placed the ball low against the inside of the post and into the net. Andy had not been back on the field long, after we made another quartet of changes on the hour. Patrice Mongelard, Colin Mant, Stephane Anelli and Waine Hetherington had made way for the return of Andy Faulks, Obi Ugwumba, Steve Blanchard and Mick O’Flynn.
The last half hour was not without incident – it saw three goals scored. I have told you about Andy Faulks’ strike. CUACO were not out of it though and they got a deserved goal back from a well-taken corner with the ball nodded home from close range after some interesting defensive geometry on our part. We could have wobbled there and then, CUACO could sniff a draw and just when their hopes were at their highest we applied the coup de grâce. The value of goals is not only their quality but also their timing and with ten minutes left we had both with what, at least one player, guess who, is already calling the goal of the season. A CUACO goal kick travelled about forty yards to be met by the meaty forehead of Des Lindsay who leapt prodigiously, arched his back and put his full weight behind the propulsion of the ball whence it came. The CUACO keeper, who in fairness had a decent game, was flummoxed. He could not decide whether to come for the ball or wait for it, or compute its trajectory and speed. Crucially he allowed it to bounce in front of him and that was his undoing. The ball sailed into the top corner to everyone’s surprise and to Farnborough’s delight, none more so than Des’, who did a very good impression of having meant the whole thing.
There was time for Stephane Anelli to come back on for the last five minutes after Simon Thomas whose normal style was a bit cramped today, limped off. There was no coming back though for CUACO and all three points were staying at home. We were content as we made our way back to the club house, with little Sofia Anelli doing her bit by carrying a corner flag back, like she was holding the hand of a teddy bear. Pound for pound and size for size she was carrying more than most of us.
The catering firm of Shoebridge and Martin did us all proud again – though I nearly missed it – for a moment I feared Buffet Raptor Nick Waller had swooped, but I was just late on account of having swept three changing rooms, including that used by the opponents of our Sunday Team (to Vince Wray’s delight). I was just able to catch a couple of sausage sandwiches and a cheese and pickle morceau. There was room for a bit of cake – supplied by Jane Martin, perhaps, though I hope not because she deserves better, to remind partner Ian Coles that it is her birthday next week. Des was still there re-telling the story of his goal, increasing the distance from goal every time, and we could not keep him away from the cake – he even had a cup of tea to go with it. He deserved it.
Man of the match: Gary Fentiman who deserved a clean sheet for his performance, and who can treasure the memory of a rare assist.
Man of the match: Gary Fentiman