Sunday 23rd April 2017
By Patrice Mongelard
A superb effort from Farnborough and the football was not bad either!
This game was a challenge even before it was played. Pie-eyed Colin Mant had, after an afternoon in the Five Bells in Eysnford last Sunday, spotted that three Farnborough teams were down to play at home this week, at the same time, on two pitches. He was right. So I made arrangements to play Wellcome at Norman Park in the London Borough of Bromley with the kind and efficient assistance of Meryl Clarke (the delegated manager for Norman Park). My regular readers will recall that we played our first three matches there this season while we waited for the grass to grow on our top pitch at home. Despite the dry period there was plenty of grass in Norman Park.
We met the challenge of finding the right car park, the changing rooms, locating Meryl and setting things up including hanging, taping and pegging the nets. We were challenged too by having only eleven players when we were expecting fourteen. Obi Ugwumba was detained in Nigeria, Andy Faulks need not detain us, and Darren Chalker, an old Farnborough stalwart with the lowest ratio of distance run to goals scored in Farnborough history, threatening to come out of retirement, was putting out fires last night as a volunteer fireman. At least everyone got a full game but that does not mean that there was no whingeing.
Patrice Mongelard, Ian Coles, Ian Lyons, Colin Mant;
Sinisa Gracanin, Kypros Michael, Ian Shoebridge, Simon Thomas;
Peter Harvey, Des Lindsay.
Supporter, Co-Manager, DJ, Strategist, Sandwich Carrier and Linesman: Mick O’Flynn.
Referee: Mick Gearing.
On a mild, still and fairly sunny day we started well against opponents who always give us a good game. They had a cluster of supporters and two or three subs and were playing their last game of the season. In fact, they were looking forward to their club presentations after the game – and were therefore unable to join us in our clubhouse back in Farnborough to make inroads into the four platters of sandwiches I had ordered from Sainsbury’s. More on that later.
The early inroads into the opposition box were ours. Chances came and went with good penetration down the flanks and with Peter Harvey and Des Lindsay linking the play between midfield and attack. The experienced Wellcome midfield knew their business though and had willing runners in front of them. However, we edged ahead with Peter Harvey playing the Paphos Express in on goal for a smart finish after a quarter of an hour. Kypros Michael had notched his sixteenth goal of the season in his sixteenth game. Ten minutes later Kypros returned the compliment when he teed Peter up for our second goal and Peter’s twenty-sixth goal in his twenty-sixth game. Chances came and went for both teams. Kypros flashed a low drive against the post. Simon Thomas blazed over from six yards via a slight deflection off Sinisa Gracanin who found himself twice in the way of goalbound efforts in the six-yard box.
We were certainly not having it our own way and Wellcome will rightly feel that they did not get the rub of the green and the half-time score line was harsh on them. Good scoring opportunities were foiled by Dave Salako, they had a good shout for a penalty turned down, and we were having difficulty applying the offside trap so much so that Colin Mant suggested that the offside rule should become compulsory retirement reading in a certain Orpington household (and he did not mean Mick Gearing’s). Mick had a difficult game today and there were a few tetchy exchanges dotted here and there throughout the game which we could all have done without, not least Mick.
The main topic of the half-time tutorial from Mick O’Flynn was how we needed to defend corners better. Within five minutes of the restart we conceded from a Wellcome corner. As they say in football the next goal was going to be crucial. Wellcome rallied – had a superb header that crashed against the bar and inexplicably their most potent forward could not make anything of the rebound from a yard out. Dave Salako played as if Mrs Salako was watching and kept us in it.
Relief came in the shape of Des Lindsay who benefited from a superb Peter Harvey pass, advancing on goal and coolly lifting the ball over the keeper. We had a bit of breathing space but we also had Wellcome breathing down our neck. The game could still have turned at that point; however Peter Harvey was not done and he self-assisted the next goal after harrying the Wellcome defence into an error (with a hint of handball which on another day might have been given) as the ball rebounded into his path and the low finish was unerring.
We saved the best til last. Patrice Mongelard volleyed a thirty-yard clearance across the field behind the Wellcome right back and the Paphos Express put the thrusters on – two touches and the ball flew past the keeper into the top corner. You will not come across many better sights on a football pitch, the goal I mean, not the assist which might have appeared agricultural to the uninitiated. There was not long left to go after that.
Although the margin of victory was emphatic, and the better team won, it is fair to say that there were not four goals between the two teams today. We shook our opponents’ hands, wished them well for their presentation and agreed to meet again next season. We did what we do at home with the goal nets and flags and repaired to the dressing room for the usual game of who is taking the kit today – me again. in case you want to know, for the third time this season (and now challenging Phil Anthony for Dot Cotton’s favours, and expecting a challenging exchange with Mrs M about it). There are still players who have yet to take the kit and we have only three games left. Still it gave me an opportunity to explain to Des Lindsay that players who take the kit and pay their subs probably get more Man of the Match votes.
While we made the most of the showers that were working, with the usual Harvey over-lathering, Mick O’Flynn kindly volunteered to collect four platters of sandwiches from Sainsbury’s which I had ordered earlier in the week when I was expecting bigger numbers to partake. Mick seemed to take a long time over it – I think the delay was the transfer of my Nectar points to him but at least when he arrived we were starving. Dave Salako had not eaten anything that morning. I think he was still digesting a seafood buffet he had in Pembury the weekend before. I can tell you now that even in the absence of Buffet Mangetout Nick Waller it is possible for ten people to eat sandwiches meant for three times that number, and that was despite one of the ten having to avoid anything eggy. There were only three sandwiches left last time I glanced at the platters – an egg one which Daisy Thomas turned down because of the green bits in it, and two tuna ones (despite the fish being line-caught in the Maldives). It had been a superb effort which Mr Creosote would have applauded.
Man of the match: Kypros Michael showing the benefits of olive oil and the Cyprus air, and re-affirming that universal but rarely acknowledged football truth that “it is all about the service”.
Man of the match: Kypros Michael