Sunday 18th November 2018
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough make it a very long journey home for Reigate
The trip we make to Reigate is probably the longest we make during the season. I suspect Reigate’s trip to Farnborough is their longest. Today it would have seemed even longer to them, particularly on the way back.
Colin Mant, Michael Hills, Ian Lyons;
Waine Hetherington, Danny Mullins, Simon Thomas, Gordon Thompson, Obi Ugwumba;
Peter Harvey, Jay Hardy.
Substitutes: Patrice Mongelard, Mick O’Flynn (unused), Ian Shoebridge.
Referee: Paul “Play-on” Parsons.
Supporters: Steve Blanchard, David Orji, Michael Ugwumba Jr.
Director of Football: Mick O’Flynn.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard.
On a crisp, dry, sunny morning we looked forward to a tight game – as borne out by past results against today’s opponents. Indeed, a neutral watching the game would have found it hard to predict a winner after the first ten minutes. Reigate matched our passing, defending, and care of the ball and their keeper looked like he knew his business. In fact, it would be fair to say that Reigate came closest to opening the score in that initial period; but after what could be seen as a shaky start, we got our bearings and our more influential players began to find their range and their feet.
It took three quick and slick goals from Farnborough to break Reigate’s spirit by the half hour. Waine Hetherington, usually the anchor in our midfield, had ventured into the Reigate half and exchanged passes with Danny Mullins to find himself unencumbered by defenders with the keeper to beat. Waine took the shot on the run, two short strides into the eighteen-yard box, with the outside of his seemingly weaker right foot to thread the ball wide of the Reigate keeper at full stretch. Five minutes later we doubled our lead with another clinical finish. This time the blow was struck by Jay Hardy virtually on the penalty spot, who timed his entry in the box just right to meet a low cross with a first time shot. The cross was curated by Simon Thomas who had got behind the Reigate defence. As we readied ourselves for two substitutions scheduled after one third of the match, we were able to admire a through ball which was eased into Peter Harvey’s path by Obi Ugwumba who can make a difficult pass look deceptively easy. Peter stroked the ball against the base of the post and into the net.
Patrice Mongelard and Ian Shoebridge came on for Ian Lyons and Waine Hetherington soon afterwards. Five minutes later Patrice lofted a pass over the Reigate defence which fell just right for Jay Hardy to steer beyond the keeper. Of course, the finesse came from Jay who made what Peter Harvey called a hopeful punt forward look good. We had other chances, notably Gordon “moves like Messi” Thompson came closest but we could not grow the score.
The talk at half-time was that this game had not been won yet and that an early goal from Reigate would make a difference. However, the early decisive strike was ours – barely two minutes after the restart. Gordon Thompson made an interception in a central midfield position, advanced on goal, slipped the ball past the last defender, nipped round to collect it and guide a low shot into the bottom corner. Gordon was prominent ten minutes later to set up Jay Hardy for his third hat-trick of the season. On the hour Waine Hetherington and Ian Lyons were back on for Colin Mant and Obi Ugwumba. We went on to register a seventh goal when Simon Thomas used his slide rule to invite Peter Harvey to apply a finish with the outside of his left foot.
Just when our minds were turning to a fifth clean sheet of the season Matt Angelo intervened. With about fifteen minutes left a hopeful cross was lofted into our box. With no other player within three yards of him Matt Angelo called for the ball, went up to gather but, perhaps blinded by the sun or hubris, fumbled and Reigate had a tap-in. Matt did not have long to beat himself up about it before we scored again. This time it was a fumble by the Reigate keeper which was seized by a marauding Jay Hardy from a tight angle. We could have scored more – Ian Shoebridge had time to control the ball after a cut back from an unselfish Peter Harvey but lashed the ball over from a couple of yards out. Waine Hetherington hit the bar and Ian Lyons had a header from a Peter Harvey corner which he must have thought was in as soon as he made the contact. Michael Hills, excellent again, was taken off as Mick O’Flynn took his foot off the pedal for the last ten minutes and Colin Mant was back on to close the game out, so to speak..
To their credit Reigate did not lose their composure and they congratulated us warmly at the end despite what must have been a difficult morning for them with an unaccustomed experience. I am sure they cannot wait for the 10th of March when we go to their place.
There was a rumour that the showers had been fixed but I found no evidence of that. The bread rolls supplied by Leanne MacDonald were a delight and we did not need too much help from the Sunday team to finish the mini sausage rolls. Peter Harvey also liked Leanne’s furry bits.
The après-match discussion included an exchange on democracy. No, we were not discussing Brexit. We were discussing something more complicated – the man of the match voting. Simon Thomas and Jay Hardy seemed to have difficulty accepting the idea that other players might have a different perspective from theirs, and therefore cast their votes in a different direction. Some might say that the problem with democracy is that you cannot control the way people vote. Anyway, I was not able to enrich the discussion because Mick O’Flynn felt that since I came from an African country, I was unable to grasp the concept of democracy in full. I let that imperial spasm pass and focused instead on my fourth cheese and pickle roll (I blame the African famines – although Mrs M would disagree).
Man of the match: Jay Hardy, feeling on top of the world after his four-goal haul who tried to ginger up your match reporter, for having deprived him of eight inches in the last match report. Jay feels he is five foot ten not the five foot two attributed to him. Well, I am happy to acknowledge that today Jay was immense.
Man of the match: Jay Hardy