Farnborough OBG FC
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Match Report

Sunday 6th December 2020


Senior Vets
Kypros Michael, Simon Thomas, Andy Osborne, Joe Skinner
4 - 2
Old Tamponians Super Vets


Farnborough come through sticky second period to overwhelm Old Tamponians

Today we played game number 10 of this stop-start season.  We should have done so long ago, but a combination of precipitation and contamination claimed the last six games. In these dark and uncertain times, how many of our remaining twenty-two games will we get to play?  It could all still end in tiers, and tears. 

Referee Paul Parsons was grateful, as we were, for the FA dispensation to allow match officials to travel between tiers.  Manty, who works for the Government but is not allowed to say which bit, had suggested, with rare subtlety, that since all referees have impaired vision, Paul could have done our game to test his eyesight, in any case. It turned out there was nothing wrong with his eyesight nor his pace (more on that later).

Some players came already changed to avoid the alfresco changing facilities on a ground sheet in overcast conditions, with little wind and only the memory of early morning showers. They had gambled on the all-yellow kit being used today.  We had enough, bar a pair of shorts and a shirt for sixteen players.  Yes, sixteen players – tactical supremo Mick O’Flynn had what Premier League managers lack and that is five substitutes to play with. All were needed today. Thankfully, Colin Mant had changed already and we were spared a sight of his lucky pants – a pair of ladies’ knickers so skimpy one could cough them off. 

Our last game, on 18 October, a 4-0 win, had given rise to some frustration with the management’s long-established policy of giving all available players at least one hour of game time. Today only one player mumbled a grumble. If it lingers, this frustration can be addressed with two words, involving sex and travel.

FOBG Squad: Matt Angelo, Phil Anthony, Ian Coles, Giles Foister, Sinisa Gracanin, Waine Hetherington, George Kleanthous, Colin Mant, Kypros Michael, Patrice Mongelard, Andy Osborne, Stuart Ross, James Rutter, Joe Skinner, Simon Thomas, Gordon Thompson.

Kit sponsor: The Dog and Duck, Outwood.

Supporters:  Claire Mills-Skinner and Lorna Stewart.

Director of Football:  Mick O’Flynn. 

Chief Football Correspondent:  Patrice Mongelard.

Boot Room:  Phil Anthony.

Our last game against today’s opponents had not ended well for us. We expected a tough game; and that is what we got.  We knew Old Tamponians were adept at soaking pressure, took good care of the ball, defended robustly and could produce the right degree of incision into our box; yet we had the better start, with the direction of play towards the Tamponians goal. After fifteen minutes or so we had edged ahead with Joe Skinner converting a George Kleanthous cross from close range. The goal had been coming but we could not quite find the right final pass. It was also clear early doors that Kypros Michael was more rusty than usual after the long layoff, so rusty in fact the club were expecting Rio Tinto to put in a bid for him; but Kypros was, as often, to have the last laugh, as we shall see. Before the half-hour was up, we could have had a second but George Kleanthous’ header from a Kypros Michael cross came off the crossbar with the Old Tamps keeper beaten.  

Substitutions on the half-hour affected our rhythm but in fairness Old Tamps were making a fist of it even without creating any clear chances. There was a bit of excitement when Stuart Ross was taken roughly from behind by the Old Tamps’ rough diamond and our fiery Scot reacted. Referee Paul Parsons sin-binned Stuart. I had not noticed this had happened, so frequent is the feeling that we play with ten men, until Colesy confirmed my assessment that “We are one player short”. We did not even get the free kick! 

The usual half-time talk from Mick O’Flynn was not testicular, and seemed to have done the trick as we edged into a 2-0 lead very early in the second half.  An exquisite first-time cross from James Rutter had found Andy Osborne at the far post and the big man did the rest. It was good to see one of our many crosses in the box finally find a Farnborough head for once, and with deadly result. 

It was not a surprise to see Old Tamps rally and we had to dig deep as energy levels were being sapped by the heavy pitch and there were beginnings of what I have called Easter Island defending and midfield play on our part. A tackle on the most dangerous Old Tamps player by Patrice Mongelard in the centre circle drew admiring gasps from the Farnborough crowd; however, there was too much quality in the Old Tamps side for things to stay as they were. We contributed with poor defending but there were classy touches in both their quick goals as they drew level with close range finishes from well-timed runs into our box. 

On the touchline Ian Coles and Patrice Mongelard were moved to just say that it was 2-0 when they came off. Seriously, it could have gone either way with twenty minutes to go. Kypros Michael hit the base of the post after another of his usual mazy runs. Then he could not find a right foot to shoot with after breaking through and advancing far into the Old Tamps box. Old Tamps were playing a high line and it felt like it was only a matter of time before we would capitalise. Gordon Thompson and James Rutter were doing what George Kleanthous had done earlier in the game, imparting forward momentum to our play. 

We regained the lead after Gordon had driven deep into the Old Tamps box and crossed the ball; for once we had bodies in there. Joe Skinner made the first connection but his shot was parried by the keeper only for the ball to fall at the feet of a grateful Simon Thomas who tapped the ball home with nonchalance from a yard out. 

The game was not yet won. Sinisa Gracanin had to bring his class to bear in the midfield to steady the ship. We still had some hairy moments to weather at the back – with Colin Mant and Ian Coles back in harness. We had a fourth goal in our locker though. A Stuart Ross long range shot was nearly spilt into the postage stamp by the Old Tamps keeper. Gordon Thompson was fouled professionally from behind when clean through on goal. We even had the sight of a fast breakaway made to look pedestrian when referee Paul ‘Road Runner’ Parsons outran the Farnborough forwards; still, it was not tantric Mick Gearing with the whistle, but clearly yards of Farnborough pace have been lost during lockdown. 

With not long to go, Kypros – who, according to George Kleanthous is Mister 20% in that he needs five chances to score, (many will dispute that %) finally broke through forty yards from goal and made his sinuous way towards goal once again.  As defenders and keeper converged Kypros stroked the ball with his left peg as he went to ground and the ball rolled towards goal, kissing the inside of the post as it found the back of the net. Just like Man U. – must have thought Kypros.  There can be no better tribute for Kypros.

And that was it. A fair result for a tough game with one minor flashpoint, played in very good spirit by two good sides who were gasping for a game.  

Man of the match: today it is a threesome, or if you prefer, a Holy Trinity of George Kleanthous, James Rutter and Gordon Thompson with four votes each.

Before I go there are two other celebrations to mention in the form of two very recent shared birthdays among the squad – Jay Hardy and Toby Manchip, both a year older and, we hope, wiser.

Man of the match: George Kleanthous, James Rutter, Gordon Thompson