Farnborough OBG FC
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Match Report

Sunday 17th November 2019


Alan Fines 2, Mark Harrington, Sean Blackwell, Steve Shippey
5 - 3
Bird in Hand Vets

By Mark Harrington

Bird in the Hand is worth one in the mush.....

Supporters: Senior Mr McQueen, Andy Cobb, Neil Connelly.

Squad: Gary Rosslee, Gary McQueen, Robin Moody, Matti Wright, Joe Champ, Dean Murphy, Paul Tanton, Simon Davies, Sean Blackwell, Alan Fines, Steve Shippey, Damien Preston, Mark Harrington.

Sadly last weekend’s weather put paid to our chances of honouring the fallen. Sadly the Wickham Park groundsman prefers to ‘protect’ the pitches and so arriving at the ground to see a perfect playing surface then to be told “we are off” was disappointing. With this in mind, fixture secretary Paul Tanton switched this week’s game to a home fixture as the turf bearer at Perry Street is usually of the same mindset as his colleague in Beckenham. This was a masterstroke as with 24 hours' dry weather and with our own groundsman a proper football man we were good to go.

So whilst we could not pay our respects last Sunday and wear our poppies, this week's performance was a perfectly fitting  tribute. We have always had good games against this opposition, always close and always in good spirit. We knew from the off it was going to be tough and so the first 15 minutes proved. We struggled to gain possession and their ploy to knock the ball through to their lively strikers and midfield runners was proving difficult to handle. We withstood an enormous amount of pressure and then started to get a foothold in the game and knocked it around with more confidence. Their striker (apt title, more later) plays on the shoulder but we should have put ourselves at least one up when Alan's, yes Alan’s, square pass to Shipps should have seen the net bulge but to our disbelief the dog walkers in Farnborough fields were in more danger. Anyway, matters not now as Shipps came back with a vengeance.

So the inevitable happened when their striker, who had previously been offside more times than Prince Andrew, just beat the trap this time to toe poke another through ball past the onrushing Gary. Hard on us at this part of the game but to be fair the first quarter of the game probably made it a fair reflection. As usual our response is always good and today was no exception. A cross from the right found Alan with his back to goal and he turned on dustbin lid, sorry sixpence to then side foot us level. This was an exquisite piece of skill and at a point when we really needed to be on terms. Our confidence was up and we had a couple of chances and from a corner we nearly stole the lead but the shot was blocked on the goal line and from the clearance we fell behind. Caught on the break which is a familiar story this season saw a long range shot, which caught us and Gary completely by surprise. Nothing Gary could do with this one and he had already made a few saves to keep us in it. We were also nearly punished with the very last kick of the first half but thankfully the shot shaved the post and the 2-1 deficit was not harsh as in truth, it could have gone either way.

Tactics played a massive part in this game and usually they can make you look like you don’t know what you are doing or they can make you look like Pep. Thankfully this week we were more 'Pep' than 'Pop' although, we were definitely more fluid after the game. More later on the celebrations.

We realised we were too light in midfield so Shipps moved to the right wing for a 4-5-1 formation. This was a masterstroke, eventually, but not before we went 3-1 down. A long punt found their striker free and he dodged last ditch tackles to fire in. Thankfully it was early in the second half and we had more than enough time to turn it around and so it proved. Their striker's second action of the half was to completely lose it after being beaten to the ball by Robin. Both players fell to the ground but for some reason, maybe frustration, he lost it and punched Robin in the back of the head. No excuse and he should have been sent off not put in the sin bin. The ref made a compete cock-up here which also allowed him to return to the action ten minutes later. Thankfully nothing further occurred, probably as his wrist was still in pain from striking Robin’s slab. Robin acted in absolutely the right way and was calm and composed at this point, just as he had been all game and deservedly picked up six votes to claim man of the match. Brilliant composure and he did himself, watching family and the club proud. In all fairness the oppo player was man enough later on to apologise.

Anyway, 15 minutes in and Tant made way for Damien who had an immediate impact with a lovely cross which just eluded the strike force but that was only the taster of what was to come. On the messiest part of the surface Damien somehow dug out and put over another cross that had ‘goal’ written all over it as soon as it left his foot. It bent over to the far post to see Shipps arriving to plant a sublime header across the goal to reduce the arrears. A well deserved goal for Shipps who had been a constant menace. Our tails were up at this point and then the second managerial masterstroke came, Si Davies was replaced by yours truly with about 13 minutes to go. We won a corner after their defender nearly 'shanked' us level and from the resulting kick, expertly taken by Dean Murphy, my first touch saw us equalise at 3-3 with a powerful header into the goal despite the attempts on the line to clear. A large part of the goal was not only due to Dean’s delivery, which we had practised in preseason, but Matti Wright holding off the marker to enable the free header. Not sure why I was left unmarked in the box but perhaps they had given me so much grief for my lino decisions they decided to leave me alone for once!  

So we were level and the last part of the managerial masterclass was to put Sean Blackwell back up front and he duly delivered. Sean’s delivery is more Uber Eats than a postman but he was again in the right place to follow up and side foot us in front. Joyous scenes but with six minutes remaining we knew the oppo are good enough to get back into it and several last ditch tackles and blocks just kept us in front before we broke and Shipps unselfishly squared the ball for Alan to tap his second and our fifth into the net. That is now 21 goals in 8 games for Alan, which is an amazing stat.

So tactics, sheer endeavour, bravery and good football won out. It was a classic game and one you always love to play in. Bird in Hand have good players and play good football so we were a good match and we look forward to the re-match at Perry Street.

Robin was rightly MOM and it was definitely not a case of a sympathy vote as any one of the defenders could have claimed the title as well as Shipps and Dean but Robin was solid as a rock, won every header and kept his cool under testing circumstances. A massive injustice that Matti Wright only got one vote and the same for both Garys, who got no votes. A hard crowd to please! Gary McQueen is quickly becoming a fans' favourite, well if we had any he would be and he has fitted in brilliantly and it feels like he has played for us for years. Good to see part of his family making their debut watch. Gary's dad sat on the sidelines and must have been impressed by his boy's performance. Gary Rosslee also made several exceptional saves and was backed up by Joe Champ in being resolute and a good outlet and distribution from the back.

It really was a game where every Guild player turned up. Hard to pick a standout performer as added to the above, Si Davies and Sean were industrious and calm in a congested midfield. Tant tucked in and helped out when we really needed it and even the subs/managers played their part. This was great victory against one of the better sides we will play. Only one moan, the fastest we ran was when I asked for help to put the goals away. Usual suspects here and so, whilst I appreciate it’s the last thing you want to do after 90 minutes, it’s the last thing I and the usual guys really want to do either. You know who you are! This does not apply to Si, Joe, Damo, or me, if you are in any doubt!

On behalf of us all young vets, thanks always to those who help on the day. Gary, Leanne and the ground staff.

Well done all and we should be away to Farleigh Vets next week.

Man of the match: Robin Moody