Sunday 30th August 2020
Senior Vets come from behind, copiously
Nobody could have predicted this result.
The squad reduced overnight to thirteen players, with Phil Anthony having been taken roughly from behind in his Saturday game. I could not do it. Play two games in a weekend, I mean. You have to admire 63-year olds who do this to their bodies. Ever the team man, Phil limped his way to Farnborough and “ran” the line in both halves.
The recent rains had greened and softened the Farnborough top pitch for our first outing of the campaign on it. Conditions were good for football, a little overcast but dry with a light breeze and a drinks break was unlikely to be required. In addition to our supporters there was a steady stream of ramblers and dog walkers using the footpath by the pitch. The adjacent big pitch was hosting a game by one of our Sunday sides. It was as close as you could get to a normal scene in these abnormal times.
FOBG Squad: Matt Angelo, Ian Coles, Jay Hardy, Dan Herbert, Waine Hetherington, George Kleanthous, Kypros Michael, Colin Mant, 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: Hannah and Michelle Kleanthous, Ian Shoebridge, Claire Skinner, Amanda and Daisy Thomas.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard
I repeat; nobody could have predicted this result. The evidence of the first fifteen minutes pointed indubitably to an Erith victory. Their game plan was working – defend in numbers, concede the midfield and play long balls to two willing and able forwards who would chase and cause problems in our box. They nearly scored after five and ten minutes – only last-ditch interventions by Matt Angelo and our defenders saving our blushes. On the quarter hour the Erith tactic paid off and the ball was lofted into our net after our defence had been discombobulated.
At the other end we were creating situations in their box. Shots and crosses were coming in, we were finding space in their box and penetrating but their keeper was pulling off incredible saves for a relatively small man or we were falling just short – Jay Hardy and George Kleanthous had headers that would have made them wish they had more inches to play with. Our best chance came when Kypros Michael broke through the Erith line and advanced on goal – from five yards out he opted for power over finesse and the Erith keeper got a strong wrist to parry the fierce shot. He did the same moments later with a Ricky Young thunderbolt from close range.
Midway through the half manager Mick O’Flynn brought his legendary tactical acumen to bear on the game. If Pep or Jurgen did this, you would read about it in the papers. He withdrew Patrice Mongelard and Ricky Young and inserted Ian Coles and Dan Herbert in the game. This was transformative. This is what followed (times are approximate (like all my match reports some would say)):
30th minute: 1-1, Jay Hardy lashed a shot into the top corner after a through ball from Dan Herbert.
35th minute: 2-1, Jay Hardy sent the keeper the wrong way before swerving a close range shot into the net, played in by Kypros Michael.
40th minute: 3-1, a crisp low shot – a characteristically classy finish from Gordon Thompson after a Dan Herbert assist.
There was even time for George Kleanthous to put an acrobatic volley against the bar. As the half-time whistle went, I was moved to mention to Ricky that the score was 0-1 when he came off. Of course, he could have said the same to me but was too much of a gentleman.
Ricky Young and Patrice Mongelard resumed for the second half and within a minute Ricky delivered.
46th minute: 4-1, Ricky Young tap in after Jay hardy had back-heeled the ball into play from the byeline. Jay Hardy called it a Premiership standard move (even if he said so himself). It was a slick move indeed.
50th minute: 5-1, Dan Herbert swivelled and shot low from close range to convert a pass from Gordon Thompson.
60th minute: 6-1, Dan Herbert again after a crowd scene in the Erith box.
70th minute: 7-1, Kypros Michael after a mazy run – he spun, twisted, spiralled, went left, went right, shuffled, pirouetted, dummied, bamboozled – to finish from close range. I felt dizzy just watching it. One moment like this from Kyp is worth ten misses (it usually is I hear you say).
80th minute: 8-1, Kypros Michael again – a Greek mezze this time after George Kleanthous headed the ball to Kyp after a cross from the right and Kyp headed it on.
85th minute: 9-1, Dan Herbert in the right place and the right time to pick up the pieces after the ball had come back off the post following a Ricky Young intervention.
There was time for a very sporting gesture from the Erith no. 9. A fierce competitor with abundant skill, he showed grace in adversity by turning down Paul Parsons’ generous offer of a penalty after Matt Angelo had dived at the forward’s feet to palm the ball away in a one on one. I should credit also the three Erith team members who went toe to toe with us in the bar afterwards (a three all draw I think). Simon Thomas was there at the final bell, fully enjoying what he called an enhanced bar experience. You’ll have to ask him. I want no trouble with another Farnborough Manager. It is hard enough coping with Mick O’Flynn.
I cannot recall an easier game against Erith Vets. I first played against them over twenty years ago. Over the years they have always given us a tough game. It is also rare that we score all our goals from close range like we did. All were from inside the box and most from inside the six-yard box. This might not happen again this season. Another thing which I hope will not happen again this season is the sight of paramedics rushing to attend to a suspected heart attack in one of the footpaths that run behind one of our pitches. News of a walker in distress had sent a rush of people including several from the Erith contingent to provide assistance before the professionals arrived. We wish whoever it was, well.
Man of the match: Dan “Baby Face” Herbert – after a very close contest with Joe Skinner. These two players claimed 73% of votes cast, after discounting Daisy Thomas’ vote for Dan and Claire Skinner’s vote for Dad not Dan.
Man of the match: Dan Herbert