Sunday 29th April 2018
By Patrice Mongelard
Riverside win cold tandoori derby
This game was a battle between two teams sponsored by curry houses. The Palace of India in Farningham was up against the Village Cuisine in Farnborough. On a day fully devoid of heat this irony was not lost on curry lovers. A week is a long time anywhere but in Farnborough today it felt like there was a whole one and a half season’s difference between two Sundays. Last week it was 27 degrees C today it was 7 degrees. The cold overcast day was not the greatest difficulty we had to face today, our opponents were. There was also some mild disappointment that the dance group using the clubhouse this morning was no Hot Gossip. Not even Phil Anthony could wring another joke out of using the back entrance into the club house. I hope he is not saving them for the tour. Even greater disappointment was to follow on the pitch.
Phil Anthony, Ian Coles, Colin Mant, Patrice Mongelard;
Sinisa Gracanin, Jay Hardy, Michael Hills, Simon Thomas;
Waine Hetherington, George Kleanthous.
Substitutes: Peter Harvey, Mick O’Flynn, Ian Shoebridge, Obi Ugwumba.
Supporters: Tony Harvey, two of Obi’s fans including nephew Orji.
Referee: Paul Parsons.
Director of Football: Mick O’Flynn.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard.
We started well enough. Both teams moved the ball competently without creating any scoring opportunities. It was a bit of a shock when Riverside scored two quick goals after ten and fifteen minutes approximately. Their first was a well-struck shot that kept low and went in off the base of the post after a clearance by Colin Mant was sliced to an unmarked Riverside midfielder loitering with intent outside our box. The second saw Matt Angelo chipped from twenty yards out.
We weathered the storm and just before the half-hour George Kleanthous pulled a goal back with a smart finish after latching on to a through ball from Sinisa Gracanin which drew the Riverside keeper off his line. We maintained momentum even with the changes we made on the half-hour with the introduction of Mick O’Flynn, Peter Harvey, Ian Shoebridge and Obi Ugwumba – in lieu of Phil Anthony, Waine Hetherington, Simon Thomas and Sinisa Gracanin. Despite the tonic of our goal we fell further behind minutes before half-time after we failed to clear convincingly from a Riverside corner. We streamed out of our box like headless chickens neglecting to go out to a Riverside player wide on the right who lifted the ball to the far post where two Riverside players lurked. One of them – a new bearded face, and scorer of a perfect hat-trick today (with left foot, head and right foot) looped a header from an impossible angle over Matt Angelo who for once seemed to have lost his angel wings.
The feeling at half-time was that we were back in the game with a new three-at-the-back formation which gave us more of a presence in midfield. It was our turn to surprise Riverside with two goals in the early stages of the second half. First Peter Harvey put Jay Hardy through after a move involving five or six successive passes and Jay lashed a half-volley into the top corner. Five minutes later a vicious inswinging low corner from Peter Harvey arrowed into the centre of the six-yard box before being diverted into the net off a Riverside player. It was a crowd scene. Colin Mant claimed to have been actively involved in some capacity but I am finding it hard to give credence to his delusion. Nobody has a better claim to this assist than Peter Harvey. All the players on the pitch will have felt that the game had reached a tipping point and as they say the next goal was going to be all important. Before then though we made final changes with four players – Patrice Mongelard, Jay Hardy, George Kleanthous and Michael Hills making way for the return of Phil Anthony, Sinisa Gracanin, Simon Thomas and Waine Hetherington. There is no point debating whether that added to or subtracted from the team, out of respect to all our players. We pressed forward looking for a winning goal – had some half chances but in the end paid the price for defensive lapses. With ten minutes left Riverside restored their lead when the bearded wonder picked his way through lame tackles on the edge of, and inside, our box before planting the ball inside the far post.
Worse followed – with five minutes left Mick O’Flynn was entrusted with the responsibility of chasing a ball out of our box in a pseudo right back position. The medication he must be taking induced the euphoric but delusional feeling that he was on Copacabana beach, surrounded by several ladies’ beach volley-ball teams and that this was the time and place to attempt some Samba soccer stepover, with a Ronaldinho impression. Instead we had sombre football as Mick was robbed and in a flash Matt Angelo was lobbed for a third time. And that was it, for the second week running, Mick finished the game with a very rueful shake of the head after giving late comfort to the opposition following an infelicitous moment in a dangerous area.
There was a lot of analysis to go through in the bar, and not a few grumbles about formations, substitutions etc, the usual stuff from the usual suspects. The fact is we were beaten by a better team that worked harder and had more tactical nous. Next week’s game, against our younger Vets, will not be a barrel of laughs either. The management have already had suggestions – Jay Hardy wants to play in the hole next week. Colin Mant has a dead leg but I am not sure that has been a problem in the past.
There was even more food to go through – our new caterer, barmaid Leanne, spoilt us, and we could not finish it all despite solid support from a group of Riverside players, and the presence of new buffet black hole Michael Hills. Cheese and pickle, chicken and lettuce, tuna and cucumber sandwiches; pizzas, garlic bread, cocktail sausages, sausage rolls, hot dogs, chicken wings, chicken nuggets, potato wedges kept tumbling out of the kitchen. I am not sure I have remembered it all – I must be getting old.
Man of the match – the voting threw up some unexpected results today, so much so that one player refused to take part in a farce. Nine players somehow got votes with Sinisa Gracanin and Michael Hills leading the pack in equal measure with three votes each.
Man of the match: Sinisa Gracanin and Michael Hills