Sunday 16th May 2021
Youth prevails but pizzas win
The Annual Farnborough Veterans Football Festival is usually a sunlit affair but today’s unseasonal wet and cold weather put a bit of a dampener on things. Nonetheless, we still had a 7-goal thriller with some sparkling moments from both sides.
We had just about enough blue kit but would not have had enough if two other players we had (erroneously perhaps) expected to be there, Ian Coles and Michael Hills, had turned up. We were not expecting Gordon Thompson but to our pleasant surprise he materialised and did a splendid job at left back, out of position some would say, but with the football intelligence to play anywhere, well.
FOBG Squad: Matt Angelo, Phil Anthony, Steve Blanchard, Giles Foster, Sinisa Gracanin, Jay Hardy, Waine Hetherington, George Kleanthous, Kypros Michael, Chisa Mkala, Patrice Mongelard, Andy Osborne, Joe Skinner, Simon Thomas, Gordon Thompson.
Kit sponsor: The Dog and Duck, Outwood.
Referee: Paul “Play On” Parsons.
Supporters (socially-distanced on the public footpath): Andy Cobham, Mark Harrington, Peter Harvey, Michelle and Hannah Kleanthous, Natasha McCartney, Claire and Tracey Mills-Skinner, Lorna Stewart, Steve Viner. Apologies to any others I may have omitted from my list – the Young Vets Match Reporter will have their own list.
Director of Football: Mick O’Flynn.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard.
Chief Impact Officer: Phil Anthony.
Match Photographer: Colin Brazier.
The first twenty minutes or so were even, with the greater goal threat coming from the Young Vets. We felt we matched them without finding a cutting edge. The midfield battle was earnest. The Young Vets had the more seasoned pairing up front and they caught the eye with their intelligent movement and link-up play. Alan Fines produced some fancy footwork, he fancies a stepover or two, our Alan. Paul Tanton was doing his usual trick of creeping up on the opposition from the left, like a silent assassin. It was only a matter of time before our defence would be breached despite the heft in our middle and the agility of Matt Angelo in our goal. A fortuitous ricochet on the edge of our box found Steve Shippey in the middle of our box, he turned sharply and steered the ball home. He combined with Alan Fines ten minutes later to nod the ball home from close range. Paul Tanton then hit the base of the post from a corner.
Chisa Mkala drew a splendid diving save from Matt Wright in the Young Vets goal. The low 20-yarder fizzed off the greasy surface and was arrowing into the bottom corner until Matt got a strong wrist to divert the ball round the post. The Young Vets increased their lead further just before half-time. A spectacular overhead kick by Alan ‘bag-of-tricks’ Fines was met by an even more spectacular point blank save by Matt Angelo who dislocated his finger in the process. Steve Shippey had an easy job converting the rebound. There was a suspicion that Alan Fines was offside at the start of the move but as is often the case the Senior Vets got little help from their reluctant linesman.
Steve Blanchard popped Matt’s finger back in for the start of the second half. That did not start too well for us with a fourth goal for the Young Vets crafted early on as they walked the ball through our midfield and defence. At that point I feared the worst but we did not give up and began to create chances of our own as Kypros Michael, Jay Hardy and George Kleanthous began to ask questions of the Young Vets defence, despite the robust ministrations of Jay Gasson. Kypros Michael got one goal back with an emphatic finish after Jay Hardy had played him in.
There was plenty of time left for either team to score again. The Young Vets did not need help but Joe Skinner decided to offer his services. I have been accused of not giving Joe the inches he deserves. So, I am going to make amends. Matt Angelo attempted what Alan Hansen would have called a suicidal or diabolical clearance to the edge of our box where Joe Skinner lurked. The ball was quickly snaffled up and a shot resulted which Matt Angelo did very well to parry. What happened next is the tricky part. Joe Skinner found himself in the unaccustomed position of providing cover and was the last Senior Vets player nearest to our goal line with Matt out of the picture. He was not encumbered by an opposition attacker. How then to explain that he proceeded to produce what Peter Harvey called an “exquisite finish” to put the ball in his own net. Had he lost control of his body? Was the momentum of his beard to blame, or his Alice Band? Words fail me, and I don’t say this often. Peter Harvey added the gratuitous remark that if this had been at the other end Joe would have cleared the woodwork. I mention this to illustrate the universal point that team mates can be one’s harshest critics. We are all hoping that Colin Brazier has captured the moment with his lens (he hadn't). Joe could have a photo to go with my words.
Yet at 5-1 down we contrived to take the game to our younger siblings. Kypros Michael was to get a second goal with a trademark run, dribble and shot that crept in just inside the post. The game ended in the even vein that it had started in.
There could have been more goals for either side. Matt Ellis missed a couple of late chances he normally puts away for the Senior Vets. Steve Viner did a very good impression of being disappointed when Matt missed what some would say were sitters. Kypros Michael could have added to his tally. But In the end the result was the right one. We drew the second half but the damage was done in a 20-minute burst in the first half. The game was played in excellent spirit. The presence in the Young Vets side, of several players who have turned out for us on occasion this season, helped; but both teams aspire to a brand of football which favours finesse over force and that tends to provide more of a spectacle. Referee Paul Parsons had an easy game despite some dodgy work by a linesman.
Despite the drizzle good numbers stayed behind, from both teams for the arrival of fifteen 15” pizzas from Ollie’s Kebab & Pizza in Farnborough Village. We support local businesses. I fear, and I do not say this very often, that we over-catered; but we had splendid support from a few most hungry lads from the Sunday XI (and I should clarify for Vince Wray that I did not mean my comment about some of his boys needing worming). It felt right to share an abundance of pizza with other members of the Farnborough family in dismal weather.
Man-of-the-Match: today the finger of fate singled out Matt Angelo with the big digit. He’ll have to go up for corners, I think.
Man of the match: Matt Angelo