Sunday 13th January 2019
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough come through a tough one
It was a while since we had played Baltic. But we knew enough from club folklore to expect a tough examination and that is what we got. Rumours that Farnborough refugee Des Lindsay had found asylum with Baltic were confirmed when he parked alongside me in the early bird car park. I asked him casually if he had taken the day off work tomorrow. I also asked if Baltic match subs were the same as ours. Des did not have a problem with match subs – it is laundry that caused him enormous difficulty with us.
Other early arrivals included Jay Hardy who had travelled with Matt Angelo. I am not sure what they talked about but Matt’s effervescent exuberance and the testicular nature of his utterances caused Matt Ellis to ask who had put ten pence in Matt (Angelo that is). I think it was more a case of a £50 note.
Before the game in the changing room we witnessed as our first football plastic fan moment of the day. This is a new feature which I am introducing in my Farnborough Senior Vets match reports to pander to the true or real fans. Colin Mant – a true one, donated a used match ticket for AFC Wimbledon vs Liverpool (Monday 5 January 2015) to Patrice Mongelard, a plastic one. Manty has a kind heart but I could see why as a true fan he might not wish to have the ticket a round to remind him of the result – a 2-1 win for Liverpool with two Steven Gerrard goals in this FA Cup third Round game. These days my team concentrates on the league.
Colin Mant, Michael Hills, Patrice Mongelard;
Colin Brazier, Matt Ellis, Waine Hetherington, Gordon Thompson, Obi Ugwumba;
Jay Hardy, Kypros Michael.
Substitutes: Phil Anthony, Mick O’Flynn, Peter Harvey, Simon Thomas.
Director of Football: Mick O’Flynn.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard.
For the time of year, the weather was good for football – dry, no wind, mild although the pitch was a little claggy. It looked like it had been a while since the heavy roller rusting away alongside the pitch had been used.
Both teams started well. The early chances were Farnborough’s and they fell mainly tp Kypros Michael back after a long spell out injured and consequently quite rusty. I counted two or three one on ones that went begging. Jay Hardy and Matt Ellis were causing problems to the Baltic defence and their keeper was the busier of the two. It was also clear early on that the malaise which affected us in the second half of last week’s game against Inter Vyagra had now dissipated. We were back to being organised, disciplined and taking better care of the ball. It was, of course, not all one-way traffic. Baltic posed questions. They were organised too, with big units at the back, pace up front and bite in midfield; and they had Des Lindsay who memorably had a 50-50 cruncher with Patrice Mongelard. “You’ll feel it in the morning” he said. I think he meant the coming together.
The deadlock was broken shortly before the half-hour by Jay Hardy who had a few sniffs at the goal. A peach of a cross from the boot of Matt Ellis found Jay in the six-yard box in a crowd of players, most of them bigger than Jay, but the forehead that mattered was Jay’s as a sweet connection with the ball finally beat the able Baltic keeper.
We made four changes on the half hour with Colin Brazier, Kypros Michael, Patrice Mongelard and Obi Ugwumba making way for the four substitutes. I sort of lost track of further changes in the second half when the substituted players all returned but unscheduled changes were also made as Mick O’Flynn and Obi Ugwumba did not make their allotted hour and at one point we had twelve players on the pitch. Suffice to say that the full squad of fifteen were involved today and all played their part.
Just before half-time we had the cushion of a second goal. The big Baltic centre half dawdled on the ball in a dangerous area in his box, had his pocket picked by Jay Hardy who hopped clear to beat the keeper from close range. A good time to score pundits often say, as if there is a bad time to score.
The wind seemed to pick up in the second half and was now against us. Some felt there was a bit of a slope against us too. It is also fair to say that Baltic upped their game and began to press harder, winning more corners. From one such set piece they got back in the game. Matt Angelo pulled off a fantastic point blank save to push a header against the bar. The ball rebounded back into the six-yard box, there was a crowd scene and a Baltic shot crashed against the post and hit Mick O’Flynn to trickle over the line. One moment of brilliance from Matt had been undone by his own team mate. For a while it looked like we would let this one slip away. This feeling became more acute after Peter Harvey uncharacteristically missed a penalty.
The referee’s authority was felt when he made it clear that he would order players to be substituted if there was a recurrence of the momentary unpleasantness involving ex-Farnborough player Des Lindsay and Michael Hills. As often happens the player not involved in the original incident is the one that aggravates the situation. I saw more fire in Des in that moment than I had seen in however many games he played for us. I had the idea that he was a man of God – a Jehovah’s Witness unless I am mistaken. This reminds me, I must one day tell you about the testicular take on a pair knocking on your door on a Sunday morning – but obviously not here in this report. The Farnborough webmaster would not allow it.
The last ten to fifteen minutes were tense. Baltic won corners and we threatened on the break with Kypros Michael once again involved. With barely five minutes left Matt Ellis produced another supreme pass that Kypros feared he had used all his talent to bring under control but he had kept enough back to drive a low shot past the keeper. There was no coming back from that for Baltic. The lads reckon that Kyp’s ratio of goals to opportunities is about one in fifteen. A two-time European Golden Boot winner deserves more respect – I think it is one in ten.
Peter Harvey declared the showers to be Scandinavian. It was not quite what you might think.
Our second plastic fan moment came courtesy of south east of England resident Kypros Michael who left promptly after our game so he could get to Wembley to watch his team in the game. I’ll give you a clue – Kypros is hoping that Mauricio Pochettino will be managing his team this time next year.
I understand that our opponents put on a big food spread after the game at the Warlingham Sports Club. For once I missed that particular gravy cruise liner but it must have all been splendid fare because the man who brought out the chicken nuggets and chips got Colin Brazier’s Man of the Match vote. I gather we were just beaten in the bar.
Man of the match – there were some great individual performances against the broader canvas of a solid team display – six players garnered votes with Michael Hills, Des Lindsay’s new football buddy, getting the most.
Man of the match: Michael Hills