Sunday 20th March 2016
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough have a twelve-hour day to forget as Glendale get all the goals
The prospect of a fourth consecutive win, a first for the season, was not sufficient to rouse a hibernating Farnborough on the day of the vernal equinox – the first day of spring, not that you would guess from a chilly overcast day. The spring was in the Glendale step whilst there was more darkness than daylight in our performance. From the beginning, and in the end, our visitors thoroughly deserved their win and they administered just retribution for our 3-2 win at their place eight weeks ago. The bright light of our performance against Reigate last week was totally eclipsed by today’s negative display even though we could claim that we drew the second half but that would be clutching at straws.
Mick O’Flynn, Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard, Obi Ugwumba
Sinisa Gracanin, Colin Mant, Ian Shoebridge, George Kleanthous, Rob Lipscomb
Substitutes: Roger French, Kypros Michael, Patrice Mongelard, Simon Thomas
Supporters: Thomas and Isabelle French, Sinisa Gracanin’s daughter Jodie, Danny and Ikechukwu Obi, Pam Shoebridge, Vicky Tanner, Obi Ugwumba Jr.
We did not start well. It was a full five minutes before the Glendale keeper got the feel of the ball. We had great trouble establishing ourselves in the Glendale half. Our lone forward Waine Hetherington was isolated, starved of service and support. Rob Lipscomb and Ian Shoebridge made vain occasional forays down the flanks while Sinisa Gracanin and Colin Mant had their work cut out protecting our defence, as did George Kleanthous who could not really venture beyond the halfway line. The writing was on the wall after only forty-two seconds when Glendale drew a sharp save from Gary Fentiman. The early pattern of the game was clear to see. Glendale had better organisation, balance, more movement, possession and penetration to keep us in our half. Our defending got more frantic and a Glendale goal seemed only a matter of time. After twenty minutes – their most skilful forward made room to turn on the edge of the box and his left foot was too good as an accurate shot arrowed into the top corner. Gary got a hand to it but that was too late and too little.
The second Glendale goal was deserved too, by both sides, as a powerful midfield run with ball to feet was allowed to progress unimpeded to the edge of our box and the shot was fired. The ball swerved significantly, some said it was a mishit, making Gary look limp-wristed and we had a mountain to climb. That was almost on the half hour and we made four changes immediately as Roger French, Simon Thomas, Patrice Mongelard and Kypros Michael came on for Colin Mant, Steve Blanchard, Ian Shoebridge and Sinisa Gracanin. The plan was to attack more while not conceding. We managed the first, particularly through Kypros Michael on the left, but not the second.
The third Glendale goal, five minutes from half time was symptomatic of the game – possession was conceded in midfield, Glendale showed more incision down the wing, Gary Fentiman thought that he could come off his line to clear the ball but by the time he realised he would not get there it was too late and the ball had been chipped above his stranded reach into an empty net. I would like to tell you of any scoring opportunities we created in the first half but I cannot remember any. I recall Rob Lipscomb putting the ball in the net but he was ruled offside by the Glendale linesman and that was it. Kypros Michael gave his marker a lot to think about when he came on but there was no end product to his crosses and cut backs.
Mick O’Flynn did not last his usual fifty-five minutes, and was replaced at half time by Ian Shoebridge. Our fortunes improved almost immediately as Glendale kindly made a contest of it by scoring one for us (with Waine Hetherington claiming the assist). For a while we dared hope and put the Glendale goal under pressure and began to force corners. In fact I do not recall a single Glendale corner in the second half, whilst we had between four or five. We created many half chances, drew some good saves from the keeper – Ian Shoebridge and Kypros Michael came closest to narrowing the gap but it was not to be. Not even our South American could smoke out the opposition.
Glendale got a fourth on the break. In the predominantly friendly matches of Vets football the convention is that both teams each provide a linesman. On the whole this seems to work but occasionally there will be one player who will complain, casting loud and repeated aspersions on the neutrality, eyesight, paternity and onanistic proclivities of a linesman. We had quite a bit of that today from a Glendale forward even though he scored two great goals and his team was winning the match comfortably. As a result we had three different linesmen today, and our young supporters, and Glendale’s, were treated to the sight of a celebration, for this fourth Glendale goal, with the artistic inclusion of a double wrist-shuffling action in the direction of the then Farnborough linesman Colin Mant. It was uncalled for, and the referee had to have words. Apart from that there was no ill feeling at all between the two sides.
We huffed and puffed for the rest of the half – enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession without really looking like we could get back in the game. On the hour Steve Blanchard, Sinisa Gracanin and Colin Mant came back on for Ian Coles, Obi Ugwumba and Waine Hetherington. The pattern of the half remained. Glendale sat back, soaked the pressure, looking for the occasional break, watched our crosses go to waste, and will have had the sense of a job well done. We did not even deserve a draw so the best team won on the day.
After “lookwarm” showers, it was a draw in the bar as both teams stayed in good numbers to enjoy the hospitality – and there was enough goodwill to arrange a mid-week game in May. It was noted the opposition got two large jugs from Vicky Tanner even when their numbers had started to thin.
Our mood improved greatly with the scientific impossibility that Roger French’s fitbit wrist thingy had sent data to his phone to say he had travelled 8.2 kms. Roger left it hanging in the air that the figure could relate to the distance he travelled on the pitch during the game, in one hour. However, the consensus was that this was the cumulative distance for the previous two games and today’s as well, his daily walk to Orpington station for the 7:11 train to Cannon Street, the travel by car to the ground today, and most certainly wrist action.
Buffet Hunger Games Invincible, Nick Waller, was not present to enjoy the delights served by the double FFC of Farrow Fields Catering and Farnborough Football Club: slow-roast sausages, bread rolls, potato croquettes, cheddar chunks, samosas and crisps. Roger French aspirated the last 8.2 grammes of crisps.
Man of the match: Ian Shoebridge – more toil than dazzle but a welcome sign of spring after a winter of injury.
Man of the match: Ian Shoebridge