Sunday 9th April 2006
By Colin Mant
Bright sun illuminated the main pitch at Farnborough Sports Ground, surely a beacon lighting the way from the darkness of the Vets’ doldrums. This was the week our first win would be recorded as sure as Easter eggs are, well, Easter eggs!
Toby Harlow sent the troops out onto the baked tundra with steel in their hearts and fire in their belly – or was it curry and beer in Mr Manchips case, who incidentally tried to tempt former Charlton ‘keeper Dean Kiely into the Vets ranks after a visit to one of Chislehurst’s finest Indian Cuisine restaurants the night before. After accosting Mr Kiely in the toilet he failed to persuade him to join our club, therefore Mr Kiely can be blamed wholeheartedly for this latest defeat!
We lined up as follows, Toby ‘George Michael’ Manchip between the sticks, Steve Blanchard, Patrice Mongelard, Trevor Stewart and Kevin Wolstencroft at the back, Chris Bourlet, Neil Smith, Toby Harlow and Dave Asseltine in midfield and Paul Smith with Colin Mant up front. Colin Ebdon and Mick Gearing waited in the wings on the subs bench.
Farnborough started the brightest and enjoyed a good spell of pressure. The shape was good and Tiger’s attack looked ineffective, whilst ours was giving their defence a torrid time. Paul Smith and Colin Mant seemed to link up well for their first game together, and pressure was beginning to mount on Tiger’s back line. For once we capitalised on the pressure and Trevor Stewart slotted home his first for the season from the tightest of angles (creative journalism!!) to put FOBG one up.
Not content to rest on our laurels we nearly nabbed a second shortly after, Paul Smith nipped in between defender and keeper after Tiger failed to deal with a long ball but his lob hit the bar and was cleared to safety. Forced into a defensive reshuffle after Steve Blanchard succumbed to a hamstring strain and Colin Ebdon joining the fray, the tide began to turn Tiger’s way. One defender against two attackers from the corner was an uneven battle that they won, and they were level.
Disaster followed and Tiger were quickly ahead after a mis-hit shot evaded the outstretched Manchip and we went into the break behind. Micky Gearing came on for Kevin Wolstencroft who went lame shortly before half time and out we went looking to turn the game around. Tiger continued to pressure after half time, and some fine saves were produced by Mr Manchip to keep us alive (who needs Dean Kiely!). We still looked as if we could score though and it seemed that our prayers were answered when Toby Harlow forced their keeper to spill the ball, Colin Mant picked it up and just as he was about to roll it in the goal his leg was pulled back by the prone keeper – PENALTY!!! Not on your Nelly ruled referee Richard Cawker whose ears must have rang with the skipper’s tirade!
Time ticked down and we were left with the empty shell of defeat rather than the Easter egg of victory. No game this week, so with two games remaining it would hurt to be part of the squad that has failed to win a game all season for the first time in the club’s history. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen lads.