Sunday 22nd November 2015
By Patrice Mongelard
All smiles as Senior Vets put past troubles behind them
Rather than play underwater Russian roulette with our Farnborough pitch we switched this home game to Beckenham Cricket Ground in Foxgrove Road, to make sure we’d get a run-out this week. The new management team of O&M – no that is not some kinky practice, it stands for O’Flynn and Mongelard, had their first outing against very tricky opponents we could not recall beating in previous games.
Readers of past match reports might recall references to the Reigate Express, and it may even have been one of those many games where we cannot beat any team that has a Deano playing for them. Anyway, we had to give our opponents maximum respect, but we had also to play without fear. Numbers fluctuated during the week but we ended up with fourteen players, with Colin Brazier a late addition to the squad, after Steve Blanchard declared himself unavailable (more on that later).
After the monsoon of recent times it was a relief to be out on a dry, crisp November morning, playing on a well-drained pitch, dappled in sunlight at times. It was cold but there was a joy and a team spirit in our play that added to the feelgood factor. Our opponents played their full part in the occasion, and even though this was a competitive game, there was not a bad tackle throughout the ninety minutes and tantric referee Mick Gearing had his whistle in his mouth a lot, but no cause to blow. “Ranieri” O’Flynn arranged his chess pieces in this way:
Ian Coles, Colin Mant, Patrice Mongelard, Colin Brazier;
Simon Thomas, Des Lindsay, Rob Lipscomb, George Kleanthous;
Waine Hetherington, Andy Faulks.
Substitutes: Sinisa Gracanin, Nick Waller, Obi Ugwumba.
Supporters: Jo Colyer, Obi Ugwumba Jr.
The surprise package was Colin Mant at centre half - and what a lovely package that was, like opening up a nice surprise on Christmas Day. Whilst Steve Blanchard went shopping Colin Mant put himself in the shop window. And dare I say it, O&M have a selection problem now. It is a nice problem to have though. Colin ventured the thought he had played in more positions for Farnborough Senior Vets than there are in the Kama Sutra. Wishful thinking I thought, and he must have the Ladybird edition.
What about the football I hear you say. This was a 10-goal thriller – make no bones about that and there were some cracking goals scored by both teams. This is how I remember it. Farnborough go 1-0 up about ten minutes in when the keeper found a Des Lindsay twenty-yard kick too hot to handle. It would be very harsh to give this as an OG, so we won’t. Five minutes later we go 2-0 up after Andy Faulks releases Waine Hetherington in the box and Waine does the business. With twenty minutes gone, the one Reigate Express on show today back heeled the ball into our box to set up a team mate who finishes with aplomb.
We made three changes on the half hour as Nick Waller, Sinisa Gracanin and Obi Ugwumba come on for Des Lindsay, Waine Hetherington and Colin Brazier. A hint of hesitancy creeps into our play and Reigate draw level after 35 minutes with another smart finish as we fail to clear the ball decisively on the edge of our box. We then came under the most pressure we experienced today and Gary Fentiman had to pull off a couple of great point blank saves. We restored our lead shortly before half-time as Simon Thomas crossed dangerously for Andy Faulks to make the most of a spillage by the Reigate keeper.
So that was five goals before half time.
With perfect symmetry another five goals followed in the second half – and there were some crackers in there. Our fourth was a thing of beauty, crafted in quick assured movements like a symphony, with a back heel from George releasing Andy Faulks to advance on goal and finish exquisitely. The Reigate third and final goal was a classy job too as their incisive front man latched on to a defence splitting through ball to power the ball home off the base of the far post. Andy Faulks, Simon Thomas and Rob Lipscomb made way for the returning Waine Hetherington, Des Lindsay and Colin Brazier although Colin did not last long in his second coming and Rob Lipscomb was ushered back on.
The last twenty-minutes were a purple patch for us. We were to score a fifth through George Kelanthous, and a sixth again from George - both assisted by Waine Hetherington – the 6th involving a buttock trap by Waine which bamboozled the Reigate defenders. There was a final seventh goal from a Waine Hetherington header from a cross by George, well two headers actually, as the keeper parried the first one back on to Waine’s forehead for him to have a second bite at the juicy cherry. What was remarkable about these three goals was that the same two players were involved. All involved quick passing, movement, in a limpid, fluid movement – a sort of liquefaction if you like, built on the solidity of our midfield and defence, and two quicksilver forwards weaving patterns around defenders.
The handshakes at the end of the game were genuine and both sets of players felt they had been involved in a classic. To the neutral the score line might seem one-sided but it certainly was not, as there was quality on both sides. Until we pulled away in the last twenty minutes it was a close affair. We had decided that today would be funny T-shirt day. There were many worthy efforts – the most abstract being Sinisa Gracanin’s tabula rasa, but the award for sartorial mirth went to Des Lindsay for his total outfit – a Biggles, MC Hammer and Arran combo – almost as rib-tickling as what can only be described as his Cornetto shot. Des had muscled and bustled his way into the Reigate box, with the score at 5-3, and shaped up for a shot at goal, unencumbered by a defender, and decided to be flashy as he inserted his foot under the ball and lifted it in a scooping motion. He hoped the ball would go over and beyond the keeper for a spectacular goal but he had put too much on it – two scoops will not go into a one-scoop cone, and we were left with a vision of what might have been and a fair bit of fun at Des’ expense, which he took very well in the bar afterwards.
Buffet Vulture Nick Waller was on fire – as buttered slices, chips and sausages vanished. He not only polished off our tray but also swooped down on the pickings to be had from our opponents’ buffet tray no sooner had they walked out through the door. Nick had been perched on a bar stool, as if watching the last throes of a tasty morsel, and he even found room for bar snacks after the two huge buffet trays had been picked clean.
Man of the match today – the consensus was that the whole team deserved it and so it was one vote for each and every player. This said, it is fair to record that before the team motion was passed, Colin Mant was starting to get his head in front (no Kama Sutra jokes please) but even he would agree that today was a triumph of the collective over the individual.
Man of the match: Senior Vets squad and manager