Sunday 8th September 2019
By Patrice Mongelard
Truffles and tripe from Farnborough in eight-goal thriller
At least the weather was very good for football. Dry, sunny, with a cooling breeze and the pitch had been watered beforehand to suit our technical players. That was the idea anyway. “Grassmeister” Simon Thomas is taking a personal interest in the state of the Farnborough pitches and his eyes misted over when he spoke of adding fertiliser to the watering tank at the right ratio. No need for that, I suggest, us Farnborough Senior Vets can over-fertilise a pitch by just playing on it. As the only home team at Farrow Fields today we opted to use the big pitch. But our performance was far from big, even though visitors CUACO had let it be known that they did not have a proper goalie.
FOBG Squad: Phil Anthony, Steve Blanchard, Colin Brazier, Ian Coles, Sinisa Gracanin, Jay Hardy, Peter Harvey, Waine Hetherington, George Kleanthous, Colin Mant, Kypros Michael, Patrice Mongelard, Joe Skinner, Dean Statham, Simon Thomas and Gordon Thompson.
Referee: Nick Kinnear (who donated his match fee to club coffers).
Supporters: Jordan Glen, Tony Harvey, Danny and Ethan Mullins, Paul and Rory Tanton, Gary Willison.
Director of Football (when we lose): Mick O’Flynn.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard.
We started the game so well that after only two minutes George Kleanthous asked how it could be that the score was still 0-0. A minute later it was not. Gordon Thompson won a free kick on the edge of the Cuaco box, outthought everyone and slipped the ball behind the Cuaco defence for ginger fox in the box Jay Hardy to poke the ball home. Was this the point at which the virus of complacency set in? Yet we had our warning – five minutes after we had taken the lead Cuaco were level – a little to their disbelief I would argue. A speculative cross cum shot from the right had got the better of Dean in our goal. He either misjudged the flight of the ball, or underestimated its pace, or just thought he could pluck the ball out of the air without the benefit of a degree of spring in his legs.
The rest of the half was largely one-way traffic. For the second week running superior possession did not translate into goals, at least not for what felt a long while. We had opportunities aplenty but the finishing was poor. It was not until the latter part of the first half that we edged ahead. Once again “give it to Gordon” was the key to unlock the CUACO defence as he embarked on a trademark mazy run into the CUACO box before slipping the ball to his left for Kypros Michael to surprise us all by lashing the ball high into the net. I have seen him miss so many from a similar position. Not long after, Kypros doubled his tally, courtesy of a Peter Harvey assist, by getting the benefit of a rebound, rounding the keeper and squeezing the ball home from a tight angle. Man U. fan Kypros Michael was sharp today – he even pointed out that my stylish T-shirt, depicting five Liverpool Champions League Trophies, was out of date. Yes, but he’ll never get to wear one of those.
3-1 up at half-time – the mood was positive and then Manager Mick O’Flynn’s team talk was easy. Surely, I was not the only one thinking there were more goals in it for us despite our stuttering display. Or indeed that the only way CUACO could get back in the game was if we helped them. Yes, you guessed it – we did, and very generously. 3-1 became 3-2, 3-3 and 3-4 after a catalogue of Farnborough errors. I am not ashamed to say I was one of the culprits (before I am accused of bias, or of watching another game). CUACO had put an 18-year old in goal who was about five foot four, and tellingly moved a more than able centre half out of goal into his rightful position. As the scoreline changed the visiting team’s spirits rose and they could sense a famous victory. Not even a Harald Schumacher moment could ruffle their feathers. Our keeper Dean had come off his line to make contact with CUACO 's midfield bearded ginger wonder on the edge of our box. As I say, think Schumacher on Battiston in a 1982 World Cup match but without Schumacher’s finesse. Dean was lucky not to be sent off. Thankfully, the bearded wonder was unharmed, unlike ex-squaddie Dean who thinks he has busted one of his ribs.
The conversation in the Farnborough technical area was not good. Three times Mick O’Flynn denied that he was Manager, claiming instead the title of Director of Football as we kept missing chance after chance. Danny Mullins left, having decided that his son Ethan had seen enough to give him nightmares. Come to think of it, Master Rory Tanton too saw things that the very young should not see. We are all in it together and it will not do to single out individuals. But I feel compelled by my team mates to mention the miss by Peter Harvey, normally so deadly, from a yard out. His first touch was not ideal but he had the use of his best foot. His dad Tony was as surprised as we were to see the ball sail high over the bar. We think Peter’s new Adidas Predator boots might have something to do with it. Either they have been supplied by Puma, or he should ask for his money back. He had much to brood on as he was clattered in the box after he had executed a shot and had to hobble off as Farnborough claims for a penalty fell on Nick Kinnear’s deaf ears (see what I did there?).
As the minutes ticked away things were getting a bit frantic. With less than five minutes to go Gordon Thompson created an oasis of calm and space around him in a crowded box, engendered the vision to see an unmarked Jay Hardy, caressed the ball back for Jay to drive hard and low into the CUACO net for an equaliser. We then showed an urgency that we could have done with earlier in the game as we pressed hard for a winning goal. Successive corners followed and from the second one the ball fell to Gordon as he swerved past two defenders to line up a shot that drifted agonisingly wide of the post. A Farnborough winner at that point would have been harsh. Our visitors deserved something from the game.
We had drawn the game but it felt like we had lost, or that we should have lost. It is early days and we are having to adjust to new formations and rotations. It might get worse before it gets better.
I doubt though if we will have better crusty rolls than we had today. Leanne Catering Solutions had excelled. There were additional goodies, including vegan mini sausages, from a club function last night that could not be finished off despite our best efforts.
Man of the Match – “Trufflemeister” Gordon Thompson, the king of assists.
Man of the match: Gordon Thompson