Sunday 14th May 2017
By Patrice Mongelard
Inter bury Farnborough (with a little help) in five-goal thriller
These are the writings of a conflicted man. I have written hundreds of match reports for the Farnborough Vets, but I do not think I have ever had to do so from the perspective of having played an entire game against Farnborough, and from the winning side. So you might find me a little constrained compared to my usual style. This was our last Sunday game of a long season, our 31st game, compared to Inter’s eighth. This was not our last game because we have an evening match against Old Tamponians next Thursday, but even that will not staunch the flow as we have a ‘cultural’ tour of Belgium at the end of May. You make what you will of the inverted commas.
Back to today - imagine, if you can, a loved one suffering in front of you and there is nothing you can do about it, in fact you are part of the cause of the suffering. The overwhelming sadness, at the end, is the realisation that we cannot play like our opponents did. We do not have the personnel, the skill or the inclination to do this.
Inter the Valley, a team of Charlton fans, could only muster nine players (eight at the start) and had only ten shirts and fewer shorts between them but what a football lesson they administered. We outnumbered our opponents two to one and so after a show of hands, Patrice Mongelard, Danny Mullins and Dave Green volunteered to play for Inter the Valley. This still left Farnborough with thirteen players. The Ajax style shirts of Inter had names on the back – mine fittingly you might say, was ‘Ringer’. They ran rings around us.
Ian Coles, Colin Mant, Steve Blanchard;
Sinisa Gracanin, Ian Shoebridge, Simon Thomas, Obi Ugwumba, Kypros Michael;
Peter Harvey, Waine Hetherington.
Substitutes: Andy Faulks, Rob Petrozzi.
Supporters: Jordan Glen, Nicholas Michael, Michaela Petrozzi, Pam Shoebridge and Obi Ugwumba Jr (also linesman).
Co-Manager, DJ, Strategist: Mick O’Flynn.
Referee: Nick Kinnear.
We did not start well and it did not really get better later. There were two contrasting styles of play very much in evidence from the off. No prizes for guessing who played what. One side took care of the ball, passed and moved, and was collective, patient, measured, calm, composed and purposeful. Another was wasteful, static, individualistic, rushed, tetchy and clueless.
Farnborough went 1-0 down fairly early before the quarter of an hour was up as the defence was carved open and Danny Mullins was almost able to walk the ball in to the net. I cannot really recall the Inter keeper being called upon to make a save before "we" went 2-0 up, the muscular athleticism of Danny Mullins was too much for "our" defence and he was able to bustle his way into the box and round Dave Salako before finishing from a tight angle shortly after the half-hour. By then Farnborough had brought on Andy Faulks and Rob Petrozzi for Peter Harvey and Obi Ugwumba. Rob did not tarry to make an impression on the game, an injury within five minutes meant an Italian cameo role, and also that Peter Harvey did not have long on the rustic bench to ruminate on the Farnborough Senior Vets substitution policy.
The half-time score of 2-0 did not flatter Inter. I managed to grab some orange quarters before the usual Farnborough mid-game inquest got under way. Whatever was said at half-time did not seem to make much difference. Waine Hetherington had had enough and did not return and that meant Obi Ugwumba was back on to add muscle to our midfield. On the hour it was 3-0 as Dave Green was left free at the far post to finish a cross from one of the two outstanding Inter players today, a forward of a certain vintage who played up front on his own and did the job of four players. The other star of the show was a slight Amharic native speaker who bossed the midfield effortlessly, and with great guile and craft.
In years to come it will be a Farnborough Football Club Quiz Night puzzler to ask how Farnborough could lose a game 4-1, despite its players scoring four goals, and none was an own goal (in the strict sense of the word). I have given the ending away but then again do you really want to read more of the game? I cannot bear to write more about it.
Farnborough put on a rally of sorts in the last quarter of an hour after they got one goal back from a Kypros Michael header at the end of a Peter Harvey cross delivered into a space where three Farnborough players went up against one Inter defender. A truer reflection of Inter’s dominance was rightly secured when their star forward bamboozled several defenders before finishing forcefully from close range with ten minutes to play.
The Farnborough dressing room was not a happy place so I avoided it.
I was not going to avoid the buffet though. Numbers for the feast served up by Shoebridge Catering Solutions were lower than usual. So we could have as many samosas, pakoras, spring rolls, sausages, sausage rolls, buttered slices of bread and cheese chunks as we could eat. I do not say this very often but there was more than we could put away. Even the presence of Nick Waller, the Buffet Undertaker, would not have made any difference today.
More worrying though was the talk about how we could change things round, for next Thursday, the Belgian tour and of course next season, without letting half the number of players go. I cannot say that there was a flood of ideas. Having bought a new pair of boots only yesterday, in the supportive presence of Mrs M, I am obviously expecting to play for a while longer but after today I cannot help wondering if my particular brand of football is better suited to a different team. I said I was conflicted.
Man of the match: The thirteen Farnborough votes cast could not separate Ian Coles, Sinisa Gracanin and Simon Thomas. I enforced a strict "no votes for Danny Mullins" rule.
Man of the match: Ian Coles, Sinisa Gracanin and Simo