Sunday 20th September 2020
Farnborough Old Boys Guild supports Sands
I was not around for last Sunday’s match. I was in Greece (a part from whence there was no need to quarantine). Although our two Greeks scored in that game, it did not go well. The fallout has cast a long shadow. At times like this I hear a voice in my head that says “It’s only a game, there are more important things in life”. No, it is not Mrs M, but it could be, and I would have to agree with her, as always.
Our visitors today reinforced that feeling. Today’s game was in support of Sands – the UK Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity – organised by Farnborough stalwart Jordan Glen. The Club and the Senior Vets were honoured to support this Charity and also to say thank you to Jordan for all he does for Sands and for Farnborough Old Boys Guild.
Fourteen players answered the call for this 12:30 kick off, including Toby Manchip who said he had come to experience the Joy of Six, although I might have misheard him. In the absence of two other members of the Management Triumvirate – Phil Anthony and Mick O’Flynn, the team came under the benevolent dictatorship of Patrice Mongelard.
FOBG Squad: Toby Manchip, Steve Blanchard, Giles Foister, Dan Herbert, Waine Hetherington, George Kleanthous, Colin Mant, Kypros Michael, Patrice Mongelard, Andy Osborne, Joe Skinner, Simon Thomas, Gordon Thompson and Ricky Young.
Referee: Paul “Play On” Parsons – officiating for his second game of the day at Farrow Fields and who kindly waived his match fee in support of Sands Utd.
Kit sponsor: The Dog and Duck, Outwood.
Supporters: Jay Hardy; Katy, Imogen and Elliot Herbert; Helen and Oliver Manchip; Claire Skinner; Lorna Stewart; Chris Webb.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard.
What a lovely day for football. Dry, sunny, a light breeze and the Farnborough big pitch in excellent nick. The start of the match was preceded by a minute of applause from both teams, and many players and spectators from the previous game still about, for babies lost. Self-appointed overall club captain Toby Manchip won the toss in the centre circle but that was all he won today. He owes £7 for this weekend to son Oliver who had the canny sense to strike a deal that gives him £1 for every goal dad Toby lets in on Saturdays and Sundays. Smart lad – who will have a bumper Christmas kitty – with his dad’s business acumen and his mum’s football talent.
In the pre-match team talk I had warned our players not to underestimate our opponents. And they looked younger than 15 months ago, unlike us. The first half-hour was not great from our point of view. Normally intelligent players seemed to have trouble working out what they were meant to do. The first two goals – scored by our opponents after five and ten minutes, were the result of Farnborough errors. Joe Skinner, a lookalike for the bearded man in Alex Comfort’s 1972 seminal publication, will wish he had done better with the clearing header that went backwards and sideways to set up a Sands forward – Callum Hatcher, who lashed the ball home despite Toby Manchip getting a hand to the shot. The second goal, again from Callum Hatcher, stemmed from another Farnborough error after Giles Foister mis-controlled the ball after a poor goal kick from Toby Manchip who had started to show signs of stiffness in his movements. I often think Toby Manchip in goal is an apt metaphor for the frailty of the human condition. One minute all is well, the next it is quite the opposite. On the half-hour Jordan Glen made it 3-0 to Sands with the Farnborough defence discombobulated and players out of position and confused.
Changes on the half-hour helped, not least because Dan Herbert was introduced into the midfield and he soon began to make his presence felt. It was a long while before we could get a Farnborough player to pick up the linesman's flag which Patrice Mongelard had been wielding. That was not the only sign that we were a bit hard of thinking today, collectively. Jay Hardy on the touchline, and injured, could see what was not working and his insight – and post-match analysis, proved most valuable.
The second half did not start well for us. A few minutes in, Giles Foister sliced a clearance into his own net, while attempting to cut out a Sands cross, with Toby embalmed on the line.
From then on, however, we went on to have a much better half. In fact, we ended up winning the second half, with two beauties from a classy Dan Herbert. The last half-hour was ours with chances spurned, corners, free kicks on the edge of the Sands box. The Sands keeper was the busier and pulled off a few blinders to foil George Kleanthous and Gordon Thompson. There was not much he could do on the hour when Dan Herbert beat two defenders in the box, advanced along the by-line and curled a beauty into the far corner.
At 4-1 we felt we could get back into it. Ricky Young had hobbled off with a pulled hamstring and Kypros Michael had a second, much more productive, spell up front. He was a new man, sharp, alert, energised and with fifteen minutes to go produced one of his mazy slaloms in the box to set up Dan Herbert for a crisp finish. Andy Osbourne dropped back into the centre of our defence for a most influential period and we entertained hopes of turning the tide. Sands could still be dangerous on the break and even found time to bundle a hobbling Toby Manchip into our net after Toby had gathered a high ball under pressure but thankfully Paul Parsons did not see this as a perfectly good tackle. In the end we could have done with an extra fifteen minutes. Sands were more relieved than we were to hear the final whistle, I suspect.
All our match subs - £140 - went to Sands Utd to support their charity work. There was another £10 added to the pot by Colin Mant’s neighbour Doreen Thurgood (who wished to express her support for the work Sands Utd do) and who used to be Black Sabbath’s Road Manager. Manty should ring her along to our games – she must have some stories to tell.
Man of the match: All the players from both teams.
But for the record Farnborough votes favoured Dan Herbert by a long wick. His reward is to experience the joy of one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s candles – the one that is made with tart grapefruit, neroli, and ripe cassis berries blended with gunpowder tea and Turkish rose absolutes for a scent that’s sexy, surprising and wildly addictive – oops getting my Joys confused again.