Farnborough OBG FC

Match Report

Sunday 5th January 2020


Lads of the Village Vets
1 - 5
Alan Fines 3, Sean Blackwell, Josh Zegeling

By Mark Harrington

Supporter and Videographer: Hollie Harrington

Squad: Gary Rosslee, Gary McQueen, Joe Champ, Dean Murphy (Capt), Simon Davies, Sean Blackwell, Alan Fines, Mark Harrington, Rob Merone, Adam Banks, Josh Zegeling, Damien Preston, Matt Kerby, Paul Tanton.

Happy New Year all!

For once, away to Lads of the Village it turned out to be. Since being at The Guild I have never managed to be part of a winning side in early January at Stone Rec. Much midweek WhatsApp traffic centred on the away facilities and the time of the year we play this game, especially after a long 5 weeks off. Some of those who have not played at Stone Rec almost withdrew their availability; however, Dartford council worked wonders on the pitch and it was in excellent condition.

With this weekend being dominated by the FA Cup a visit to Stone Rec had a certain football romance about it. Goals needed to be erected, there were antiques in the small cold changing room and an old fashioned football bath that thankfully was not in working order. It was actually colder in the dressing room than outside but there is a certain charm about playing at these sorts of venues and our hosts are always a fair and welcoming bunch. It is a shame that we all had to retreat after the game and not make it to their local pub to sample the hospitality but we are grateful for the offer.

In our last away game we suffered a heavy defeat so a few weeks off to rest aching limbs was needed but we also had to return in the right frame of mind. We did and no one more so than Dean Murphy who lead by example especially as our opponents are not one to not put in 100% against. They always do and whilst Dean was chief cheerleader, every man put in a determined and energetic performance which, bearing in mind the recent festivities, it did not look like we had not played for a while and over-indulged.

The front players of Alan and Sean formed a great first line of defence and were backed up with Dean and the returning Matt Kerbs excelling. Rob Merone was making his first appearance of the season and with Paul Tanton, both our  wingers pulled their full backs all over the place with their clever running and tackling back to support Joe and Gary McQueen. The back five of Gary Rosslee, Gary McQueen, Joe Champ, Simon Davies and myself stood firm although, early in the match we could have found ourselves down but for the reflexes of Gary who dived low to tip a shot, which also took a slight deflection off yours truly, around the post.

Whilst people blame themselves for mistakes that lead to goals, our first was as much about an error as it was about our pressing and determination to win the ball back, their attempts to play out from the back played into our hands. Alan seized upon a wayward pass to put us in the lead. Not long after, the goal of the game, after winning the ball on the halfway line and exchanging a one-two with Sean, Gary McQueen put over a magnificent cross that Alan headed in at the far post. A good finish from a tight angle. Gary Mac had a super game and added an assist to many defensive clearances. Strong in the tackle, composed on the ball and good in the air made Gary a contender for Man of the Match.

Si Davies has been playing through pain and today, due to shortage of central defenders, gave up his usual midfield role and slotted in with ease alongside myself. His composure and distribution frustrated the opposition on numerous occasions and on the left hand side of the defence, formed a considerable barrier with Joe Champ. Joe’s usual effortless distribution set up many an attack and two crosses should have yielded goals. Joe came off with 20 minutes to go to give Rob Merone a further run out and Rob was equally adept at left full back as he was at right wing. We hope to see more of Rob throughout the season.

We had chances to add to our two goal lead but we nearly conceded a penalty when a collision between their striker and keeper Gary resulted in the ref playing on. The striker having to leave the pitch and if Stone had electricity and plugged in VAR then I think a penalty would have been given although it did look like a 50/50 collision so perhaps and for once, we got away with one. Perhaps the opposition's protests and the ref’s guilt would come back to hurt us? More on that later! So we left for the interval with a two goal lead and worthy of our lead.

The half-time oranges, jelly babies and water were consumed and Manager Damo made changes. Josh coming on for Rob and Adam for Paul Tanton. Both players are in their 20’s but have played for us before but with so many injuries we had little option and fair play to the opposition as when we explained the situation to them regarding the use of non-vets as a result of injuries, they had no issue with it especially, as they would only be brought into the action as subs. The sensible “it’s better than no game at all” was their response. Josh and Adam sadly do not play football for a team but would be great additions to the Guild’s younger squads. Adam an excellent keeper and Josh a tricky winger. Gary Willison is already on the recruitment drive!

We started the second half very much like we ended the first, yes on top but I mean facing a penalty decision. Simon shielded the ball that was going to Gary, the opposition forward went down as he was not as strong as Si and after a few seconds, probably with the first half decision fresh in mind the ref gave the penalty which Gary almost kept out. Normally panic sets in but we were a different proposition today and Josh skipped past the full back, fooled the defence and us all in that he was going to side foot a cross to the onrushing attackers but feinted and beat the keeper at his near post for a great finish. Josh’s second ever goal for the young Vets and well deserved as until he had to leave the pitch after a heavy tackle, he showed great skills on the left and when moved upfront. Daughter’s boyfriend Adam is usually a keeper but played on the right wing and gave great cover to Gary McQueen. Unfortunate not to score when his shot hit the side netting. Only blemish on a good performance was that he didn’t vote for his potential father-in-law as MOM. Hollie is under instructions to show him the road! Clearly does not understand how this MOM vote system works as he voted for Alan!

Before Josh left the field he put over another great cross that caused mayhem in the oppo defence and the alert Alan seized upon the chance to side foot us 4-1 in the lead. Whilst it should have been cleared by the centre half it says a lot about Alan’s predatory instincts that he was ready to snap up the chance and complete yet another hat-trick.  Sean had worked tirelessly upfront with his hassling of their defenders and also dropping deep to help out in midfield. Sean’s endeavours were rewarded with a goal, a simple tap-in but he was in the right place at the right time. There was still time for Damo to have a goal ruled out for handball.

All areas of the team responded today and performed at their very best. The returning Matt Kerby put in an excellent shift from box to box and it’s great to have him back after a long time out. It didn’t look like he had been away but will no doubt be feeling it tomorrow as he covered virtually every blade of grass. So it was a hard decision on Man of the Match but as all good teams have great spines, it was appropriate that it was shared by a defender, a midfielder and a striker. With four votes each it was jointly awarded to Alan Fines, Captain Dean Murphy and yours truly. Votes also for Gary McQueen and Kerbs although it could have been any of the 14 on duty and no one would have complained.

A super performance against our bogey side and avenged the last minute defeat at our place earlier last year.

A good week all. It’s started off great so far! Home to Charlton Rangers next week where we will again need to be at our very best.

Man of the match: Alan Fines, Dean Murphy and Mark Ha