Sunday 27th October 2019
By Patrice Mongelard
Joy of Six for Farnborough
After all the rain this week what a lovely morning for football – dry, still, sunny, blue skies, almost like Barbados or Mauritius, for my return after an absence of six weeks. In that time the team had played five matches and won them all, causing Mrs M to note that there was “a message in there somewhere”. In that time too, new match reporters had been talent-spotted, producing accurate reports that were a welcome change from the fiction I normally make up.
The extra hour in bed helped a number of us to recover from Mick O’Flynn’s 60th birthday celebrations on Friday. The impresario for this Joy of Sixty was Phil Anthony. The appearance of a nippled wonder on a cold night confirmed what many of us have long suspected – namely that Phil has had a taste bypass. There was also a blonde woman in a terrible wig and a worse Irish accent who offered to tarmac Phil’s drive but we don’t have time to go into the sordid details.
FOBG Squad: Phil Anthony, Colin Brazier, Sinisa Gracanin, Jay Hardy, Peter Harvey, Waine Hetherington, Michael Hills, Colin Mant, Kypros Michael, Patrice Mongelard, Danny Mullins, Mick O’Flynn, Joe Skinner, Simon Thomas and Gordon Thompson.
Supporters: Miss Claire Skinner
Director of Football: Mick O’Flynn
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard
We lined up with fifteen players, all playing a part in the game with only Michael Hills and Peter Harvey playing full games. In Peter’s case it was in his new position as goalkeeper. He is making it his own.
Ashburnham made the slightly better start seeing more of the ball initially, defending in numbers and robustly, looking to hit us on the break. Michael Hills had his hands full with their most dangerous player and the first scoring opportunity of note fell to Ashburnham drawing a fine save with his legs from Peter Harvey quick as a flash off his line. On the quarter hour our king of assists Gordon Thompson weaved his magic, penetrating deep into the Ashburnham box on the left, before lofting a cross to the far past where Simon Thomas unfurled his long legs for an acrobatic volley to give us the lead. It was a bit against the run of play but the tide started turning with that goal despite Ashburnham forcing a number of corners.
Just after the half hour Simon Thomas quiffed the ball back across goal for Jay Hardy to finish emphatically from a yard out. Joe Skinner added our third, also from close range after the Ashburnham keeper spilled a driven cross from Simon Thomas. We are not sure if Miss Skinner saw daddy score but with Christmas coming my advice is to say that of course she saw daddy score the best goal of the match with a bullet of a shot that nearly split the net. At 3-0 up we relaxed a bit and were slow to close the ball down on the edge of our box and Ashburnham produced a smart curling shot to register a goal that gave them hope as half time approached. It was a deserved goal based on their first half showing.
With the benefit of the not inconsiderable slope we thought that we would grow the score in the second period. For a good twenty minutes however the Ashburnham keeper kept us at bay producing eye-catching saves to keep out a 30-yard pile driver from Michael Hills, a rasping shot from Jay Hardy and foiling one or two one on ones. We started to think we could walk the ball into the net. Then came what could be seen as the controversial moment of the game. Simon Thomas was brought down from behind in the box as he launched on a clear run on goal. The linesman – an Ashburnham player, conferred with the referee and awarded the penalty which according to one his team mates ‘ruined the game’. This was a brave decision by the linesman. It will be a while before his team mates buy him a drink, I suspect. Peter Harvey came all the way from our goal to finish with aplomb. I do not suppose it crossed his mind that his penalty could have been saved with our goal bereft of a keeper. Peter could now boast a conversion rate of 100%, as he reminded Kypros Michael.
Mick O’Flynn’s senses, still sharpened up after his Friday night experience, executed tactical changes as we dominated the last ten minutes. More goals came – Sinisa Gracanin blasted the ball home after another crowd scene in the Ashburnham box and celebrated as if Croatia had won the world cup. There was just enough time for Kypros Michael, to put the icing on the cake by rounding the keeper and slotting the ball between the posts with virtually the last kick of the game – I could not help wonder if this had anything to do with the betting in Paphos.
A handsome win with six different scorers put a smile on every Farnborough face. There was some puerile behaviour in the showers at my expense which created more mirth – how I have missed all of that and the top banter. Even more chuckles came from Senior Vets section in the October issue of ‘The Guild’, the new official club monthly magazine. I am not going to repeat my own words – get your own copy, suffice to say that I have been banned from writing anything for the November issue.
The platter of hot sausages, bacon rolls, roast potatoes and assorted sandwiches enhanced the feelgood factor. I was strategically positioned for that, of course, my best position all day some might say. For a moment I was reminded of the shift that Farnborough legend Nick Waller – Buffetsaurus Rex – used to put in after games – having seen him in jaw-dropping action last Friday at the Village Cuisine in Farnborough Village for Mick’s birthday curry.
We now have a run of three home games to come – weather and pitch permitting.
Man of the Match – by a long chalk, Michael Hills, playing in a team where he is truly valued.
Man of the match: Michael Hills