Wednesday 23rd August 2017
By Mark Harrington
In hindsight, starting your Farnborough managerial career off against without doubt the toughest opposition we will face all year and without many of the established stars, was probably not the best thing to do! However, even though our lads had not had the pre-season training of our opponents and the fact that ten out of the eleven were ex semi-professionals there was little between the sides. In fact, the first 45 minutes very much belonged to FOBG and despite the fact we had several newcomers and very little training we were passing like Brazil in the 70’s. I do mean the country and not Alan!
It was however an Alan that deservedly put the hosts 1 zero up in the 30th minute. Quickly following up his header that crashed against the bar to bundle home for his Vets debut goal. It is Alan’s stag do this weekend and if his reactions are as quick as they were in the match then he may well come back with hair and eyebrows from Budapest. Alan, we wish you a safe and enjoyable time visiting all those cathedrals and museums and enjoy the river cruising.
In the absence of a few seasoned pros like Tant, Simon Davies, Neil Pearce and Jon Redman, who were all away training at the local army base in preparation for Metrogas, it was nice to give several new players their Vets debut; alongside Alan were Tom Naughton and Jay Hardy who proved the future is bright for the team. Welcome to all the new boys.
Just when we thought we would take a well-deserved lead into the second half, the last kick went to Defiance who proved their name in bundling in an offside equaliser that the referee could not see from the half-way line. Despite our mild protests the goal stood and we trooped off a little disappointed.
Defiance are a well drilled team whose passing is a pleasure to watch but our defence stood firm with Jon Gasson, Marcus Allen, Damian Preston and Sunil Phandey repelling attack after attack. Our midfield being as combative as ever with Captain Dean Murphy, Matt Ellis and Dean Wyatt building a wall that Donald Trump would be proud of. In attempting to take the game to Defiance we were caught on the break with slick passing and a finish to match, which put our visitors 2-1 up. But for a pesky crossbar, and a great save from the Defiance keeper; Jez Mooney was foiled in his attempts to bring us level. Matt Ellis and Alan Fines both had shots blocked and it proved it was not to be our day when Defiance turned defence into attack and scored a very late third, which was hard on us as the scoreline did not reflect the overall pattern of the game.
It was a brilliant fitness boost for the season and much to applaud in the way we played. Apologies to all those who had to play out of position or be moved around but I am reading Jose Mourinho’s football encyclopaedia and we shall grind out 4-0 wins in the very near future.
A massive thank you to Jordan who opened up, cut the grass, manned the bar, told me what keys to use and painted the lines. Thus he was our man of the match. Thanks also to Matt Ellis and Kev Lott for bringing the average age of our team down. Well done James Clarke for helping out with a last minute loan to our opponents to make 11. Sorry James I think you may well be the one out of the eleven who was not semi-pro! You had a fine game so we shall benefit. Good luck to Matti Wright, Gary Rosslee, Barry Grainger and Justin Blundell on their returns from injury. We look forward to having you back soon.
Finally, we look forward to the 3rd September as our first "real" game of the season versus Metrogas, which will be tough but we are ready! The Defiance manager commented to me that this was one of the hardest games they have had and they really enjoyed it against a good side.
We rounded off the night by enjoying a few beers with our opponents and the Senior Vets in reward for a hard night's workout.
Man of the match: Jordan Glen