Sunday 23rd August 2020
Local derby ends prematurely on a dark note
This game was our first home game since 15 March and sadly it ended with a serious injury to an opposition player that caused the match to be abandoned after 81 minutes, just as it got more interesting. We wish the Orpington player all the best.
The COVID protocol in place at the club meant restricted access to the changing rooms, masks, no showers, no food etc. The Orpington players seemed delighted to be told to use the back entrance, although they all got changed by the pitch. The Farnborough big pitch was ours, courtesy of a Sunday team game being called off, and we were delighted to have the run of it. The excellent work done by a dedicated team through the spring and summer had paid off handsomely. The clubhouse too was looking good after a bit of a refurb.
There was no truth that Matt Angelo had been dropped after last week. Having to wait over the weekend for the results of a Covid test (negative) meant that Matt could not be considered for this game. You might think it fortunate that they did not test Matt for other conditions but I could not possibly comment. Mark Harrington ended up between the sticks as our Young Vets did not have a game. Toby Manchip called me after the game to say he thought the 23rd was next week – he clearly lives on another planet. Other drop-outs meant that Matt Ellis also got a bit of a game despite not having the right shorts. Another one who felt he did not have the right shorts was George Kleanthous. His medium shorts could not be traced. He ended up with a man’s pair that gave him a retro “Stanley Matthews” look, much to daughter Hannah’s amusement – one for the family album.
The day was also notable for birthdays, for Phil Anthony (63rd – honest !). The real 80-year-old this week was Tony Harvey. Another birthday today was Daisy Thomas – her 7th – the mental age of Phil’s jokes – more on that later. Talking of jokes our Manager Mick O’Flynn turned up with a shaven head, not unlike Yul Brynner. Not many people know this but Yul never wore cologne.
FOBG Squad: Phil Anthony, Matt Ellis, Jay Hardy, Mark Harrington, Waine Hetherington, Michael Hills, George Kleanthous, Ian Lyons, Kypros Michael, Patrice Mongelard, Joe Skinner, Simon Thomas, Gordon Thompson and Ricky Young.
Director of Football: Mick O’Flynn
Kit sponsor: The Dog and Duck, Outwood
Referee: Paul Parsons
Supporters:, Peter Harvey, Hannah Kleanthous, Rob McKie, Danny and Ethan Mullins, Kayleigh Richards, Claire Skinner, Paul and Rory Tanton,
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard
The more impressive team in the opening exchanges was Orpington, moving the ball about with confidence, with players comfortable in their positions, knowing what they were doing, with quick wingers and the canny “Lord of the Rings” Kevin as the spearhead. Yet the first was goal was ours. A little against the run of play a George Kleanthous cross from the edge of the box had found the meaty forehead of Ricky Young for a bullet header after five minutes. 1966 was a good year for football according to Ricky, fifty-five next year. Our lead lasted about a quarter of an hour. We conceded a corner after being outnumbered at the back. The corner was swung in. A reliable witness informed me that Simon Thomas decided to get his quiff out of the way, the ball reached an Orpington head and from there hit Michael Hills on the back on its way into our net. Orpington deserved that goal such was the pressure they were putting on our goal and only Mark Harrington’s safe hands, sound positioning, quick feet and thinking had kept them at bay. Midway through the half another George cross found Michael Hills at the far post and there was a happier ending for Michael as we restored our lead. We had begun to turn the tide and it seemed only fair when Ricky Young was brought down in the Orpington box and the normally tantric Paul Parsons had no choice but to blow his whistle. Kypros “too may kebabs” Michael skewered the spot kick home with gusto to give us a 3-1 lead at half time.
The second half was certainly eventful. Michael Hills assisted the Orpington second goal by heading a diagonal cross backwards and beyond an advancing but silent Mark Harrington and Kevin did the rest with his quick feet and low centre of gravity. It did not take long for Jay Hardy to restore our two-goal advantage with our third headed goal, again laid on by a cross from George Kleanthous. Jay produced a deft header to guide the ball inside the post from two yards out – a moment of great finesse. Sadly, that was to be the end of our finesse for the half. Like last Sunday we produced a catalogue of misses, many from close range after good approach play. Ricky Young put a header against the crossbar; Jay Hardy, Michael Hills, Gordon Thompson, George Kleanthous and Kypros Michael all had good opportunities to stretch our lead. That was not the sum of our frustrations. Simon Thomas was moved to articulate an existentialist crisis by asking “What is the point of me being here?” as the ball kept a social distance from him. Please no need to send answers to this one.
With just under ten minutes left Orpington found a way to reduce their deficit. One of their more dangerous players shimmied his way on the edge of our area to set up a shooting opportunity. Sadly, he appeared to stub his foot into the ground as he released his shot, found himself off balance and he ended up, we thought, dislocating his knee. Michael Hills was nowhere near him because he was elsewhere busy diverting the shot into our goal, off the base of the post, his third assist, technically, for an Orpington goal He should be their Man of the Match. That was the last action of the game as players from both teams gathered round the distraught and distressed Orpington player on the ground while an ambulance was summoned. The Princess Royal University Hospital in Locksbottom is within shouting and shooting distance of our ground, and yet it took an hour for the ambulance to arrive. As I write this report - I have news that the player has been discharged from the PRUH and transferred to St George’s with his patella in two pieces.
We’ll never know what the eventual score might have been. Both teams had enough quality to add to their tallies. Notwithstanding this unfortunate ending the game was played in excellent spirit.
As we sat outside for a beer, mood subdued, birthday boy Phil Anthony shared a joke from one of his presents – how does Darth Vader like his toast? Answer: on the dark side. There is plenty more where that came from, unfortunately.
Man of the match: George “Stanley Matthews” Kleanthous – three assists in his lucky shorts – a Greek bearing gifts.
Man of the match: George Kleanthous