Sunday 22nd April 2018
By Patrice Mongelard
Wasteful Farnborough made to rue missed copper-bottomed chances by Wellcome
The sun was shining, the grass was very green despite having been cut only on Tuesday; both teams were on time, as was the referee. We have five more games before our European adventure at the end of May. The good news is that four of these games are at our home ground in Farnborough Village. As far as I could tell only Jay Hardy had used the wrong entrance to Norman Park today, the back entrance if you like. We were using Norman Park for the sixth and last time this season. I will resist the jest about renaming ourselves Meryl’s Boys or the Norman Park Vets. We were more like the Norman Wisdom Vets today – more on that later. Patrice Mongelard and Sinisa Gracanin put one goal net up, supervised by a coffee-drinking Mick O’Flynn, whilst Waine Hetherington and Ian Shoebridge did the other net.
Chris Jablonski was a late addition to the squad thanks to Phil Anthony, to play in goal, our 8th keeper, and 48th player, to be used this season. I think all would agree that Chris had a fine game and made some particular eye-catching double saves. Our opponents seemed to have a makeshift keeper but in the end because of the ineptitude of our finishing he went home with a smile.
Our opponents today had been reinforced by a transfusion of players from another team, in particular by a Catford Wanderers striker who reminded me that he scored four goals against us four weeks ago on 25 March. That of course was a dark day for many reasons but at least the sun did not shine on said striker today. For our part, we were welcoming back Kypros Michael, playing his first game since 18 February. Since then he has become a manager himself, and although he will not say so I fear he is a changed man, the experience has put weight on him, on his shoulders.
Phil Anthony, Ian Coles, Colin Mant, Patrice Mongelard;
Sinisa Gracanin, Jay Hardy, Michael Hills, Simon Thomas;
Waine Hetherington, Kypros Michael.
Substitutes: Peter Harvey, Mick O’Flynn, Ian Shoebridge.
Supporter: Tony Harvey
Referee: Jim St John (who donated his fee to the club for the second time this season)
Director of Football: Mick O’Flynn
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard
We had the better of the early exchanges. The game was barely ten minutes old when Waine Hetherington found himself unmarked at the far post at the end of a teasing cross from Michael Hills but Waine’s aim would have been a disappointment to him. Five minutes later Kypros Michael hit the angle of crossbar and post with a twenty-yard fee kick.
At the other end as the half progressed Wellcome started to make more of a fist of it. In fact Chris Jablonski was like Jan Tomaszewski for a couple of moments pulling off a double save. We were put under pressure from a succession of corners where we had to be wary of a tall rangy handful of a striker that Wellcome introduced into the game midway through the half. Not long after we took the lead from a free kick by Michael Hills. We debated long and hard about this one and the conclusion was that without the intervention of the Wellcome keeper the ball would not have ended in the net. Colin Mant made the fanciful suggestion that his presence in the box had somehow distracted the keeper and that therefore he had a valid though tenuous association with the goal. Perhaps the Wellcome keeper had been distracted by a middle-aged woman in a bright yellow dress and a vivid green hat admiring the Norman Park shrubbery in the distance. We’ll never know.
On the half-hour Patrice Mongelard, Simon Thomas and Kypros Michael came off for Mick O’Flynn, Ian Shoebridge and Peter Harvey. The score was unchanged to half-time.
The second half was packed with goalmouth incidents – three goals, another OG for us and two unwelcome equalisers including a thunderous header ten minutes in. There were also at least ten gilt-edged misses (most of them ours). I counted several one-on-ones involving Kypros Michael and Peter Harvey. Kypros had returned for the last half-hour along with Patrice Mongelard and Simon Thomas, to replace Phil Anthony, Michael Hills and Waine Hetherington. Kypros certainly adds to the menace we pose upfront, albeit unfulfilled. Our 2017 European Golden Boot will have to sharpen up for Lille at the end of May.
We just could not finish. When we did, the goal we scored was ruled offside. The Wellcome linesman with a particular form of semaphore Tourette’s saw the forward pass from Peter Harvey but not that Kypros had come from behind his marker to climax the move. We had other moments of regret. Kypros Michael failed to square the ball for Peter in an unmarked position with a clear sight of goal from six yards out. I am almost sure that if roles were reversed Peter would have done exactly the same. Jay Hardy lashed the ball over the bar from thirty yards out with the Wellcome keeper behind him and a gaping goal in front. Peter Harvey was clattered from behind by the last defender as he advanced on goal.
With ten minutes left we edged ahead again. A corner swung in by Peter Harvey was headed powerfully past his own keeper by a Wellcome player. Peter entertained the idea, Harry Kane-like, that his corner was swinging in and the parallel course to the goal line was an optical illusion but eventually he had to accept the verdict of the dubious goals committee. Arguably Michael Hills had more of a claim but I do not recall him making a fuss. Perhaps Michael is less intense about these things but still two OGs in the same game for us tell their own story. Even after that we had chances to put the result of the game well beyond doubt. Yes, you have guessed it, Kypros again, twice. In a cruel twist of fate, the football gods decided that we did not deserve to win this game. In the dying minute we failed to hold on to the ball in midfield – it was recycled quickly to the edge of our box where a Wellcome player advanced, twisted and turned to make room for a shot. With Farnborough bodies strewn over the place the self-styled ‘toe punt king’ earned a point, snatching a draw from the jaws of defeat, with virtually the last kick of the game.
This was a physical though not dirty game. There seemed to be a lot of injuries, or maybe it was just players taking a breather in the heat. We had a water break in the first half and ran out of water early in the second half.
OG now has 6 goals for us – this is as many as Kypros Michael has scored in 8 games, though it would be understandable if, after today’s showing, you were to ask, with great vehemence, how on earth Kypros has managed to score six goals for us this season. They say class is permanent, form temporary.
Six of us made it back to the Farnborough clubhouse where Coles Catering Solutions produced some sustenance for the famished, which not even Jay Hardy’s mincing in ‘Village People’ micro-shorts could put us off. Jay declared a life’s ambition to “get a tan like Pat’s” though, of course, I have the advantage of having been born with one, a tan that is.
Simon Thomas made a great suggestion for a Mick Gearing Trophy for the Senior Vets. Watch this space.
Man of the match – Ian Coles, who had a particularly difficult opponent to mark today, just like every week really.
Man of the match: Ian Coles