Sunday 14th October 2018
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough bury Inter the Valley
Football fans know more than most that life is often not fair, and scorelines can be harsh. Today we felt sympathy for our opponents, partly as we had two of our players in their colours. The leaden skies and intermittent rain did not lift the spirits exactly, but the game was played in excellent spirit, both teams favoured measured football, it was not cold or windy and the lush surface was conducive to a passing game. It felt good to be back on home turf after a run of four away games.
Our numbers reduced overnight, but we still mustered twelve players, even after loaning Phil Anthony and Gordon Thompson to Inter the Valley. Gordon was a sort of revenant as he used to play for them. Phil went on to have what bingo master Peter Harvey later described as one of his best games. We had a new face in the shape of Crystal Palace fan (yes, another one as if we do not have enough of them already) Lee Loizou, who went on to become the second player of Greek origin to get on our score sheet this season, and possibly the last.
Michael Hills, Colin Mant, Patrice Mongelard;
Waine Hetherington, Lee Loizou, Ian Shoebridge, Simon Thomas, Obi Ugwumba;
Jay Hardy, Peter Harvey.
Referee: Paul 'Play On' Parsons.
Substitute: Mick O'Flynn .
Supporters: Tony Harvey, David Orji and Michael Ugwumba Jr
Director of Football: Mick O'Flynn.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard.
For a game that eventually yielded seven goals there was a relatively slow start in terms of chances created. The direction of play was indisputably towards the Inter goal but our opponents would have sorties ably led by Gordon Thompson that would bring the play into our box or its outskirts; so we had to be watchful. Early chances fell to Simon Thomas who will have been the harshest critic of his performance. A flash of the Thomas quiff two yards out at the far post sticks in the mind. We won a steady stream of corners (in fact I do not recall a single Inter corner all game). Midway through the half we got our breakthrough - an Inter clearance was sliced in an unintended direction and Jay Hardy was on to it in a flash, advancing deep into the Inter box before guiding the ball home.
Debutant Lee Loizou made way for Mick O'Flynn on the half-hour. We continued to create chances - in fact, a barely warm Mick O'Flynn found himself running in on goal, clean through but the ball was to his left and he can barely stand on his left foot. The semblance of a left foot shot drifted across the face of the goal and as it could not really masquerade as a pass it eluded a lunging Simon Thomas at the far post. Instead of Brazilian composure we had a 'jigsaw' moment from Mick as he fell apart in the box. We nearly paid the price for it at the other end. Quite how Inter did not bury the opportunity that came their way with Farnborough bodies including Matt Angelo's strewn on the ground, had much to do with presence of Michael Hills on the line, a delicate blend of finesse, physical prowess and positioning. A 1-0 lead for us at half-time was deserved. More goals for us at that point would have been harsh, possibly. Ian Shoebridge made way for Lee Loizou at half-time but was to return later in the game as Obi Ugwumba and Simon Thomas assisted the management of substitutions.
We nearly had a shock at the start of the second half. Barely a minute in, a long ball was floated over from the Inter double wardrobe in the heart of their defence, dropping delicately over a surprised Michael Hills into the path of their dreadlocked forward. He was caught in two minds - or rather which foot to use and the window was shut. Starved of service throughout the game he will have rued that rare missed opportunity. Inter nearly paid for it as we forced a corner in the next phase of play and Michael Hills lashed a powerful volley against the underside of the bar and the ball bounced away from the goal. If that goal had gone in we would have heard about it for months, like some annoying anodyne vapid musical tune from Russian pop; however, we did not have to wait long for the cushion of a second goal. For all our aspirations to play a passing brand of football this was Route One. Matt Angelo hoofed the ball upfield, Peter Harvey won the tussle with the big unit, cushioned the ball into an alert Jay Hardy's path and an almost instant volley followed from twenty-five yards out. I lost sight of the ball but I heard the unmistakable swishing sound it made as it arced into the postage stamp. I could clearly see Jay's thoughts at that precise joyous moment - they screamed out "anything Waine can do, I can do better" - a passing homage to Waine Hetherington's two sweet volleys last week.
After that the goals flowed freely and abundantly. Jay was to notch his first hat-trick of this season with a rapier thrust to convert a knock back from Peter Harvey five minutes later inside the box. A free kick won by Peter Harvey was then powered into the net by Obi Ugwumba, from a position ideal for a right footer with a mule of a kick. Obi indicated he had used only half of the power available as he did not want to hurt Gordon who was on the edge of the Inter wall. Colin Mant guided a header from one of our corners into a dangerous space. The keeper was beaten but Phil Anthony was in the right place to clear off their line, and he also thwarted the follow-up from Simon Thomas. There was though no stopping our flow. Debutant Lee Loizou converted a smart assist from Jay Hardy. A fluid move from the back of our defence all the way deep into the Inter box saw a silky finish from Simon Thomas to make the most of another assist from Jay Hardy. Jay recorded his third consecutive assist of the game five minutes or so from the end to help Peter Harvey get on to the score sheet with a crisp close-range finish. This final nail in the Inter coffin was witnessed by a delighted Tony Harvey (Peter's dad).
Before the game ended there was time for linesman Michael Ugwumba Jr, and cousin David Orji, to be highly amused by the sight of Matt Angelo going up for the last Farnborough corner. Matt can be unconventional to say the least.
There was a lot of water about as the game ended and we put the goals and nets away. The water was less abundant in the showers. Abundance was restored with the buffet laid out by Leanne MacDonald Catering Solutions (one of our home comforts). We even had to get the Sunday team to help mop up the remaining crusty rolls and pasties. Gary Harrigan was on hand to provide an expert finish.
The name of the visiting team brought out a dad joke I read about in the Times recently - why do cemeteries have walls? Answer: because people are dying to get in there. There was another joke about an 85-year old Mick O'Flynn failing to produce a sample for his doctor but it is not for a family audience.
To celebrate our victory Mrs M produced a wonderful apple traybake to a Mary Berry recipe. I think I will get fourteen slices out of it, one for every member of our team today, and one each for the two players we loaned to Inter. I shall eat it all, in my own modest tribute to my team. Two slices a day should do it over the coming week.
Man of the match: Jay Hardy with a double hat-trick of goals and assists, a pair of jugs and all the MoM votes cast (minus his own which went elsewhere).
Man of the match: Jay Hardy