Sunday 2nd December 2012
By Gary Rosslee
Unbeaten run comes to an end but 2 defeats all season is excellent
After weeks of deliberating and agonising over ‘should we’? Or ‘shouldn’t we’? Farnborough Young Vets finally decided to pull the curtain down and call it a day against playing their old foe the Met Police. Now with my goalkeeper’s hat on personally this would be a fixture I would sorely miss on the season’s fixture list, however for the majority of the outfield players this would also be a fixture “sorely” missed but completely in the wrong sense!
So without a game the previous Sunday due to a waterlogged pitch and now presented with a sudden hole in our fixture list as gaping as the Chelsea defence, luckily we were able to muster up some last minute opposition most notably due to the demise of our other local rivals \'The Buff’. Step forward Peckham Rye Vets, this would give us the opportunity to test ourselves against new opposition and having grown up on the Old Kent Road a stone\'s throw from Peckham I was keen to return to my old stomping ground and if there was time after the match maybe even drop that Christmas gift off to dear old Mrs Rosslee!
Well unfortunately the only similarity that today’s opposition had with the Old Kent Road was the fact they played at Kent County Cricket Club, in Beckenham….so alas there would be no family reunion and me giving Poison to my mum would just have to wait till nearer to Christmas, now officer when I say poison I am obviously referring to a ladies\' perfume just in case anybody from “you know who” are reading this and thought I had ideas to try and bump the old girl off, and when I say bump her off that actually means kill her by the way (for some of the the sickos reading this, yes Cheesman I\'m looking in your direction!!).
So we assembled at KCC Worsley Bridge Road to be greeted by at least 4 football pitches that were still very hard underfoot from the drop in temperatures. We were advised that we would play on the narrowest pitch furthest away from the changing rooms but to be fair seemed to have thawed out the most. Farnborough lined up as follows.
GK, Gary Rosslee
LB, Richard Davies
CB, Andy Cobham
CB, Matt Wright
RB, Brett Cheesman
LM, Jerry Cogotti
CM, Danny Clark
CM, Jim St John
RM, Ben Clunn
CF, Barry Grainger
CF, Simon Davies
At the coin toss the referee gave his usual instructions but also for one day only included the rule of no slide tackling due to the very hard ground, a rather curious instruction and a rule that would surely see the likes of St John have to drastically change their style of play and improve on that all important first touch, which in Jumbo’s case is a normally a sliding tackle! Farnborough won the toss and elected to change ends and kick downhill with the sun behind them hoping by half time it would have moved into a more favourable position for them when the second half would resume.
Peckham Rye according to the 3 Buff players we had inherited were playing today without their normal goalkeeper and in fact the person who took up the role between the sticks was their centre forward who had actually put 4 past them in a previous encounter so that was a very pleasing sight, that was until we saw how quick and mobile their other centre forward was! Peckham’s playing style was simple and effective; they had several good players who were very comfortable on the ball and not afraid to ask for it and they enjoyed some good spells of possession for the first 10 minutes which drew the first save of the match from Rosslee who had his palms stung from 20 yards out to give Peckham their first corner of the match pushing the ball around the post. It took Farnborough maybe 15 minutes to get their rhythm going and they soon had Peckham on the back foot although they did not create too many clear cut chances, Barry Grainger had 3 or 4 efforts on goal that either went over the bar or wide of the posts. Grainger then found James St John from a left hand side free kick unmarked with the Peckham goal at his mercy but rather than using his head to guide the ball home where at least 60% of his goals have come from this season he elected to side foot volley the ball home but the effort did not trouble the Peckham stand-in keeper as it went quite wide of the upright.
Peckham then had Farnborough on the back foot for the next 10 minutes of play but everything that they channelled via their rapid centre forward Andy Cobham dealt with impeccably to detract any further notable chances for the home team and then Farnborough would have the ball and attempt to knock on the door for another 10 minutes and this is how the game went for the opening 40 minutes it was real see-saw stuff but with no real penetration for either side. With the game heading into the final five minutes of the half it looked like the first 45 minutes were destined to finish finish nil-nil however Peckham got that little slice of luck that was needed to break the deadlock. Peckham outnumbered the Farnborough defence and attacked down the right hand wing and their winger wriggled past a challenge from Brett Cheesman however his final ball left a lot to be desired as it fell to Richard Davies but as he attempted to clear to safety it seemed to bobble up and repel off of his shin right into the path of an unmarked runner 6 yards out who coolly slotted home, 1-0 Peckham Rye.
Farnborough rallied to try and pick themselves up from this clear sucker punch goal however a moment of bad luck was their second undoing in as many minutes. A routine ball upfield was met by an Andy Cobham clearance that somehow sliced off of his instep and propelled goalwards into the path of the onrushing centre forward who then showed Andy a clean pair of heels for the first (and only) time of the match and he fired home with a low finish. Farnborough nearly found a way back into the match from the restart just prior to the half time whistle as Simon Davies was played in on goal by Barry Grainger but his low effort was neatly saved by the Peckham goalkeeper. Peckham went into the interval 2 goals to the good, Half time 2-0 Peckham Rye.
Farnborough to their credit knew they had not been undone by the better team and it was just a case of rotten luck that saw then trailing by two goals but they knew that the next goal was the important one; it would either make or break them and they tried their hardest to get back into the match. However what this meant was they were leaving themselves exposed at times and open to the counter attack and Peckham Rye did manage to exploit this on a few occasions and Rosslee had to be alert within the opening minutes of the restart to charge off his line and save low down at the feet of the Peckham attacker. Paul Tanton and Mark Friend had both been introduced to the match by now and Paul Tanton went very close with an effort on his weaker foot (that’s the left one for those who didn’t know) but he dragged the shot wide. Andy Cobham and Matt Wright continued to defend resolutely and St John and Clark in the midfield continued to mix it up – and within the rules of no slide tackles and for all their efforts Farnborough were finally given a lifeline when St John was adjudged to have been fouled inside the Peckham penalty area much to the dismay of the home team and especially when an earlier claim for a penalty of their own had fallen completely on deaf ears. Up stepped Richard Davies to coolly convert, 2-1 Peckham Rye.
Peckham had a chance to go 3-1 up but Rosslee got down well to keep out a fiercely struck angled effort from the Peckham centre forward who had played a neat give and go in the penalty area as Farnborough legs and minds were now clearly starting to tire. Now it was alleged that he referee had stated at the time of awarding the penalty that there were at least 10 minutes of the match remaining, I’m not sure if that was including the time that the match had to be stopped due to a Peckham Rye player twisting his ankle on the unforgiving surface but regardless he soon brought the whistle to his lips to blew for full time with Barry Grainger having Farnborough\'s last decent chance but again another effort that whistled over. Farnborough’s unbeaten run of 7 matches had come to an end but as we walked back to the changing rooms we were upbeat, and had you have been an onlooker you would not have guessed that Farnborough had just lost the match in fact in the 5 years or so that I have played for the club I think it\'s fair to say that not one Farnborough player moaned about being on the losing side today. It was also good that we had been paired against some good opposition and a decent bunch of lads and we are already relishing the replay and the other good news I guess is given the circumstances of how this match actually came about this may mean that a few of our players may also get to prolong their glittering Farnborough careers as they took considerably less knocks out there today!
Shot of the match: Barry Grainger’s last minute shot that was a fag paper over the bar
Save of the match: The Peckham Rye goalkeeper\'s save to deny Simon Davies
Man of the match: Andy Cobham, regardless of the tiny blemish, he was immaculate.
Moan of the match: None from our side chief!
So next week we are at home to Toby Vets whom we humbled 0-6 at their place a few weeks back, and if we show the type of character today we showed against Peckham I reckon everything will be just luvvly jubbly!
Man of the match: Andy Cobham