Sunday 14th November 2010
By Patrice Mongelard
Day to Remember for Andy Faulks who Bags All 4 Farnborough Goals in Senior Vets 4-2 Win
Those among us with a memory for such things will have recalled that this same weekend last season (on 15 November to be precise) we lost our first fixture to the weather. Thankfully history did not repeat itself today, but the rain did have a bearing on the match, and après-match.
First though before kick off - we observed a minute’s silence in the centre circle, just enough time to make a mental note that Belvedere had 18 players to our 14. But we also had 4 supporters from the French and Coles camps in the bus shelter. And “Chief Super” Chris Bourlet was today’s referee, with commander Gearing presumably on cenotaph duty.
Farnborough lined up with Gary Fentiman in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Steve Blanchard, Ian Coles and Chris Webb in defence; Sinisa Gracanin, Ian Shoebridge, Mark Perry and Mehmet Bozyigit in midfield; Andy Faulks and Toby Manchip up front. Today’s reservists were Roger French, Paul Bell and Nick Kinnear. That number would have included Trevor Stewart who stepped down to give others a game.
The pitch was greasy, and in places pace-sapping as Toby Manchip was to point out more than once, but on the whole it was possible to pass the ball well – as we and Belvedere proved. We dominated the early exchanges even if the cutting edge was not quite there. After a quarter of an hour we registered our first goal as Andy Faulks blocked a clearance and chased the ball into the box and slipped the ball past the keeper. Andy then had a great opportunity to make it 2-0 but after rounding the keeper in a one-to-one, shot against the last defender on the line.
We were eager to get forward, in particular our two wide midfielders Mark Perry and Mehmet Bozyigit who were causing Belvedere a lot of problems. Mark Perry was slow to get back from one such foray to prevent the Belvedere right back from scuffing a cross into the far corner of Gary Fentiman’s net to make it 1-1. The defence had to be watchful for a while as Belvedere rallied but Gary had not much to do for the rest of the half as the defence managed to pass their way out of trouble with a composure that was pleasing on the eye.
Toby Manchip had a golden opportunity to make it 2-1 as he found himself unmarked at the far post with what looked like a simple tap-in that my granny might well have put away. But it appears the surface was churned up, the ball had some spin imparted to it, Toby’s forward momentum had shifted his centre of gravity (i.e. his nipples) etc. etc, and the score remained 1-1 (and it was time to call for a taxi for Toby).
We restored our lead with a goal which owed much to Ian Shoebridge as he blocked a telegraphed pass from the Belvedere centre half, raced into the box and rolled the ball towards the empty goal – for Andy Faulks to make sure with an emphatic tap-in.
Roger French and Paul Bell came on for the start of the second half with Patrice Mongelard and Sinisa Gracanin making way. Patrice Mongelard had turned in what many may have felt was the best left back performance for the senior vets in a first half this season - and the management will have to reflect if they have at last found the last piece of the proverbial jigsaw.
Sinisa seemed glad to have the opportunity for a rest, and to bond with his number one fan (Thomas French) in the bus shelter, before disappearing to the rest room for an emergency. Rumours that Sinisa had been out until 4 in the morning in bad company – seemed to be well founded with his unusually late arrival, and some of the hospital passes he sprayed around were atypical. It transpired later that Sinisa had been delayed by a bout of tantric yoga which would explain why he is always so calm.
The same cannot be said about Roger French who was clearly not touched by the armistice spirit today as he proceeded to make his mark on the game, and his opponents in the second half. Roger becomes the inaugural winner of the “Joey Barton” award – but there is no truth that a condition of his restraining order is to spend the week at the house of today’s captain Toby Manchip. The vegetarian diet would not be to his liking. Roger’s muscular approach earned an impeccably logical reminder from referee Bourlet that it was difficult to make a legal tackle when one was nowhere near one’s opponent. But one legit tackle from Roger that we were all thankful for is when he put his body on the line and blocked a goal-bound shot in the 6-yard box after Gary Fentiman had failed to hold on to a shot.
Before that point though – we had once again been surprised by the quality and number of our opponents at the start of the second half. Seen from the vantage point of the bus shelter – it was clear that Belvedere had brought on reinforcements and pinned us back into our half, and the Farnborough defending got more desperate as the barrage mounted. It was no surprise when Belvedere equalised to make it 2-2. We were outnumbered, outfought and outfoxed in the muddy trenches, and a smart turn and shot from close range brought matters to a standstill with Belvedere emboldened.
We were fortunate, if truth be told, to regain our lead quickly after that. A long punt from Gary Fentiman was missed by the Belvedere defence – and Paul Bell accompanied by Andy Faulks were both clean through bearing down on goal. It looked like Paul Bell had overrun the ball as the Belvedere keeper came out but this was a ruse as Paul feinted to shoot and slipped the ball sideways to Andy Faulks to roll it into the empty net. Belvedere cried offside but they were not helped by their own linesman keeping his flag down. Five minutes later Andy Faulks sealed his memorable day as his close range shot from a one-to-one came back off the keeper to rebound off his legs into the net to make it 4-2 to Farnborough.
Patrice Mongelard and (a little later, but lighter) Sinisa Gracanin came back on to steady the ship and see the game out, as Steve Blanchard left the fray and Toby Manchip caught his taxi from the bus shelter. Nick Kinnear declined the opportunity to share in the glory as he had, unlike Sinisa, really been out with bad company the night before.
Only the fact that this was our 7th win this season, and against good quality opposition, made it just about bearable that we did not have any tea, or food after the match. We were left with only a remembrance of last Sunday’s feast laid on by Shirley. Today the master of Farrow Fields had given Shirley the morning off as he was genuinely uncertain as to whether the game would be played. All that remained was for Roger to pass on his apologies that we had not been able to reciprocate the hospitality which Belvedere had graciously extended to us a few weeks ago (and for one or two of his tackles possibly).
Farnborough Man of the Match and our tallest poppy today was Andy Faulks.
Man of the match: Andy Faulks