Farnborough OBG FC
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Match Report

Sunday 11th October 2020


Senior Vets
Kypros Michael 3, Barry Grainger 2
5 - 1
Inter The Valley Vets


Lefties shine as Senior Vets get back to winning ways

After the limp performance against Erith Vets we wanted a different outcome with the visit of Inter Vyagra last Sunday.  But they practised the withdrawal method the day before, explaining that rain and mud compounded by the absence of changing rooms and showers, would make it hard for their players to perform. 

A week later - illness, injury, the international break (aka quarantine after a COVID-dodgy visit abroad) and internecine strife meant that we could only muster twelve players and that is with the light brigade in the form of Barry Grainger, Jason Miller and Stuart Roscoe, helping out their seniors. Unlike last Sunday the conditions were perfect – dry, sunny, blue skies, imperceptible breeze, a superb playing surface true, well-drained, with a little bit of zip from the morning dew. 

FOBG Squad: Matt Angelo, Steve Blanchard, Sinisa Gracanin, Barry Grainger, Waine Hetherington, George Kleanthous, Colin Mant, Kypros Michael, Jason Miller, Stuart Ross, Joe Skinner, Simon Thomas.

Kit sponsor: The Dog and Duck, Outwood.

Referee: Paul “Play On” Parsons.

Supporters:  Neil Connelly; Ian Shoebridge, Paul, Rory and Samantha Tanton.

Chief Football Correspondent and Manager du Jour:  Patrice Mongelard.

As advocates of quality over quantity, Charlton fans Inter the Valley play only a few games every year and today was their first outing this season after a six-month break.  They looked so composed and fluent in the first quarter of an hour that one of their players suggested they should take a six-month break more often.  We had a job getting hold of the ball in these initial stages, and to the impartial and trained eye there was only going to be one winner and it was not going to be Farnborough.  This feeling was reinforced when fluffer Kypros Michael started to go through his extensive repertoire of misses.

The first clear-cut scoring opportunities fell to Farnborough. On fifteen minutes Kypros Michael twisted clear of his markers in the box, enjoyed a clear sight of goal, need not have bothered about the keeper but chose to strike the ball with his right foot from three yards out.  As Kypros barely trusts that foot to stand on you can guess the result as he shanked the ball wide.  Five minutes later Barry Grainger bamboozled his marker and rolled the ball back to George Kleanthous on the edge of the box, only for George’s shot to clear the netting behind the goal. On the half-hour we thought surely that would be it when Barry Grainger wriggled free and advanced on goal in a central position and we expected the cultured left foot to do the rest but the ball was rolled just wide of the post.  “My Mrs would have scored that” – opined Paul Tanton on the touchline. I could not possibly comment. 

The score was still 0-0 on thirty-two minutes when Matt Angelo had to dive to his right to palm a low fizzing shot from the edge of the box, around the post.  Matt did not have too much to do in the first half but when called upon he was there, for example at corners.  

Five minutes from the half-time whistle, Kypros Michael produced a trademark thunderbolt from inside the box after his usual trickery to make space and scatter markers, to give us a deserved lead.  As always, we had to wait for it from Kypros, but it was worth it. We could have had something even better almost on the stroke of half-time.  Barry Grainger had curated a cross to the far post which Kypros met on the volley only to see his shot come off the inside of the post and roll back along the goal line before being hacked away.  The mood at half-time was positive.  We had contained the initial burst from Inter and fashioned many opportunities and surely more would follow, we thought. 

An early chance was blasted high and wide with his right foot by Kypros, after Waine Hetherington had slipped him in.  “I live nearer than that Kyp” observed Matt Angelo helpfully, from fifty yards away.  Matt lives in Petts Wood.  George Kleanthous had a shot cleared off the line. We forced a few corners. 

On the hour an impudent back heel from Barry Grainger set up Kypros for his second of the game – another belter from the left peg.  A few minutes later we were in cruise mode. Simon Thomas and Waine Hetherington had combined to give Barry Grainger a shooting opportunity on the edge of the box and the ball was arrowed into the bottom corner in a crisp fluid strike. 

At 3-0 we eased off, I felt, or got complacent.  We were not helped when Matt Angelo came off his line to gather a ball on the edge of the box, tripped himself up and fell awkwardly.  Kyp pointed out knowingly to me from the centre circle that this was the usual one per game moment of madness that we had been expecting from Matt.  Being in a more sympathetic frame of mind, I feared I had witnessed the first case of self-dislocation of the shoulder but thankfully mad Matt was able to carry on. 

Moments later an exquisite Inter free kick crashed against our bar and although Matt punched away the rebound it looked like a feeble attempt hindered by the shoulder and the ball was bundled acrobatically into our net.  Someone had blundered but in fairness it was no more than Inter deserved (though Manty will chide me for saying so).  Now running the line, Steve Blanchard felt moved to point out that Inter had scored when he was off the pitch. We wobbled for a moment. Joe Skinner made a goal-saving clearance at the far post much to the annoyance of the dreadlocked wonder from Inter who had scored earlier. 

The next goal was going to be important and given the firepower we had on show it felt right when we scored twice in the space of five minutes. Simon Thomas put a ball over the top which Kypros converted for his hat-trick. Kypros then set up Barry Grainger for his second, and our fifth.  Barry made that look easy after putting the Inter keeper on the floor with a drop of the shoulder, and rolled the ball into an empty net. 

We were a bit like the walking wounded at the end. Steve Blanchard had come off and gone back on after Waine Hetherington told manager Patrice Mongelard “I can’t sprint”.  What’s new? I thought.  Simon Thomas was now nursing his hamstring as well as his quiff.  But thankfully there was no time for Inter to get back at us. Going into games with just twelve players is not ideal but we got away with it today.     

As well as Barry Grainger’s stylish display the other two newcomers today also had eye-catching performances. Jason Miller was all bustle and hustle, energy and sinuous trickery and powerful long throws. Stuart Ross was solid, full of movement and composure and chat. Since the days of Colin Brazier, the best left back the club has ever had (self-appointed), we have had a bit of a problem in that position and Scott made it his own.  He even had time to join in the banter, pointing out after yet another Kypros miss that “You can’t be that bad all the time Kyp” only to hear Matt Angelo say “Yes, he can”.  

We made the most of the COVID-restricted hospitality rules once Steve Blanchard had mastered the electronic art of ordering drinks. He used a pad and paper in the end.  There were even some rolls from yesterday – onion & cheese, ham & pickle, ham & tomato and cheese & tomato, which lifted the mood even further.

Man of the match:  George Kleanthous, for an indefatigable and effervescent display full of heart, guile and bite. The bookies will stop taking Player of the Year bets on George soon. 

Man of the match: George Kleanthous