Sunday 18th October 2020
By Mark Harrington
A Family Affair…
Team: Gary Rosslee, Neil Pearce, Robin Moody, Jon Gasson (Capt), Matti Wright, Paul Tanton, Si Davies, Mark Fisher, Dean Murphy, Barry Grainger, Steve Shippey.
Subs: Joe Champ, Mark Harrington, Jay Gasson, Damien Preston.
Manager(s): Damien Preston then Pro-rata Alan Fines
Referee: The excellent Paul Parsons.(Ed...what, the usual one never showed up?!)
Viewers: Gary Willison, the whole McQueen family, Marcus & Otis, Chris Morris and son, The Shippey family.
It was a warm autumnal day and beautiful football conditions. We had the rare use of the bottom pitch which was apt bearing in mind we could fill the stand with the capacity crowd if onlty COVID regulations allowed! Families galore descended upon the hallowed Farrow Fields to see the boys do battle with an unknown opposition, this was our very first encounter with Mayfair. Well apart from when we were younger and I am course referring to Monopoly and not the top shelf magazine or the cigarettes.
So what would we encounter with the guys from…er yes you guessed it…Beckenham? They had added a couple of recruits from Orpington Vets, who also play in Beckenham so we knew we were going to be in a game. The sight of them going through a vigorous warm-up did not detract from what we knew, we would be in for a good battle. So the crowds had flocked on the public footpath to see a feast of goals, no doubt educated by these trashy scribes each week or constantly hearing from the boys how well we are playing. So they came in their droves to see for themselves and we didn’t disappoint!
Every week I at least plagiarise some old gag regarding something that has happened or on our opposition so, like the team performance, I will also not disappoint and give you two! These are the only clean things I can use on Mayfair, which I hear you say that is a joke in itself! So here goes….
I cheated on my wife tonight. The guilt is really getting to me... maybe I should confess?
How do I tell her that when she was on the toilet, I took £5000 from the bank and put two houses on Mayfair.
Two dyslexic skiers are on a mountain top...
The first says to his friend, "Are you ready to zag zig down this mountain?"
The second replies, "No it's zig zag!"
They get into an argument about whether it's zig zagging or zag zigging when a tobogganist comes along so they ask him.
"I don't know," He says, "I'm a tobogganist."
"In that case we'll have 20 Mayfair please," say the skiers.
So back to the plot… it was great to have Paul Tanton back after his eye scare and also Barry Grainger putting on the new shirt for the first time this season after sharpening his fitness with the seniors the week before. Barry carried on from scoring two the previous week by putting us one up with a classy side-foot just inside the left hand post, which our goal was only possible once our lucky charm, Senior McQueen, had taken his pitch-side seat (on the footpath). We did try to get him to leave and keep coming back in but he is definitely our lucky mascot! Anyway, it was great move and pass by Simon Davies to free Dean Murphy on the right and his accurate right wing cross was neatly cushioned into the net by Barry. Few people seem to have all the time in the world on the ball and Barry makes the hardest skill look quite easy. A number of us are of course, the complete opposite! Not long after, not content with helping set up a goal, Si Davies scored a real gem. Well so I’m told! Unfortunately Neil Pearce was on a one man mission to rid Farnborough of all balls and I spent more time the other side of the fence so I have no idea on the goal other than to take the team's comments that it was a great finish.
Putting health on the line with tackles and COVID I don’t mind but at 50 years of age, hanging on a branch above brambles to retrieve a 35 quid ball I think is pushing it. Manager Damo, Gary Willison and Marcus all offered assistance by wetting themselves especially when the branch broke. Words of comfort from Damo were “you should have just jumped straight in at the beginning and saved time”. Thanks pal, wonderful words of wisdom! He thought it even funnier to then tell me I’m going on so get stripped off. I was still picking the thorns out of every orifice at that point so the polite answer was to say “the team are playing well so leave it until half-time”. That turned out to jinx the boys as we overplayed in midfield, lost the ball and from the resulting through ball, the striker just evaded Robin’s last ditch attempt to tackle to fire into the bottom corner and give Gary no chance. It was a good finish by the striker and a wake-up call and moments later, Barry released Dean Murphy who with power rifled us 3-1 ahead with a smart right foot finish coming in from the right.
Our opponents immediately attacked and won a corner. We left two up top rather than sending them back to preserve the 3-1 lead at half-time and it worked better than we could have imagined. Capt Jon Gasson cleared and Barry controlled and turned and released Shipps over the top, who in front of the watching family, dropped his shoulder and snake-hipped the keeper to sit him on his pants and rounded him for a simple tap in. 4-1 at the break was more than we could have wished for. The play had again been of the highest quality and we had restricted this lively and competitive opposition to a few half chances. We knew they had fight so if we dropped our standards they would be all over us like a cheap suit. Changes were made with yours truly, returning from the jungle to replace Robin Moody, Jay Gasson replacing Dean Murphy and Joe Champ resuming at his usual left back berth from Matti Wright, who had an excellent first half.
We carried on momentarily from where we left off when Shipps fired in to take us further ahead but this lot are fighters and from winning a corner, their forward jumped highest to plant a powerful header, which Gary could do absolutely nothing about. Jon, Neil and myself concluded that sometimes there are some goals you can do little about and this guy had a very good spring. So for a few minutes we seemed to start to panic and clearances were rushed and passing went off the boil for a bit but further changes settled us down with Damo coming on for Tant, Dean Murphy back on but into the centre and Matti Wright taking his left foot to right back. It was needed as the opposition threatened again and a brilliant last ditch tackle by Matti put the ball out for a corner despite their protest for a penalty, which it never was. Shipps also took a break after feeling his hamstring but I suspect he wanted more time with the family, who had the unfortunate scenario of seeing a load of old blokes changing in front of them.
Damien put over an excellent cross which was half-cleared to Dean Murphy, who controlled and fired in his second and our sixth, hard into the bottom right. This we hoped would kill off their fight but an arm in Deano’s mush proved that not to be the case. Deano went down, took a standing eight count and carried on as normal. Not a nice challenge but it may have been trying to fend off rather than anything malicious. It was nothing compared to my bramble scratches! Deano was not put off by this and put over a brilliant corner which I headed goalwards, the keeper saved at the first attempt and then somehow it dropped at the feet of the alert Robin, who could not miss, much to the annoyance of the watching Chris Morris and tapped in from two yards out. Where was Tant ? I’m having that as an assist by the way!
What happened next was ridiculous. What is a 50-year old, dodgy kneed idiot running the length of the pitch to score our eighth doing? Yes guilty, I am sorry I should know those days should be long gone but sometimes you can't help yourself. Winning the ball off the striker I played to Dean Murphy, who probably out of what he thought would be a comedy moment saw me running through and played a lovely ball and from just inside the area and with the outside of a nonchalant right foot, bent the ball over and round the keeper. Like my team mates, I couldn’t believe it but years ago this sort of goal would have resulted in massive post match celebrations, large amounts of alcohol but what did I do? I went home for a nice cup of tea and cut the grass, which I thought was appropriate bearing I’d spent most of the morning in the bloody flora!
This was an excellent result in terms of goals and general play. Whilst the above describes the success, there were many a performance that enabled these headlines to be written. Mark Fisher, the man from the Civil Service, again confirmed his tackling is anything but civil. Gary Rosslee, Matti Wright, Neil, Jon and Robin were rock solid. Tant, Deano, Damo and Jay Gasson gave us speed and width. Adding this to the guile of Si, Barry and Shipps we were unstoppable yesterday. Si is having an excellent season and in addition to winning the ball, there are goals, tricks and flicks and he is not suffering niggling injuries of the past and you can see it in his play. Rightfully and easily the Man of the Match with 7 votes. Votes also for Robin, Jon, Mark Fisher and Dean who were again all excellent. The opposition complemented us on being a very good team and I didn’t have the heart to say three payers who have started the season in fantastic form were not even included but that would actually detract away from the fact that as a squad, people miss out but are replaced with the same calibre.
At home to Inter Vyagra next week who we started the season against with a 5-1 victory. They will no doubt come looking for revenge so we will need to again be at our best.
A good and safe week all.
Man of the match: Simon Davies