Sunday 30th May 2021
Sun shines on Farnborough in second period, as Old Tamps keeper opens his legs three times for Kypros “Timo” Michael
The weatherman had promised us a scorcher but it did not turn out like that at all, early doors this morning. Things would get better by 11:00 some said. We found ourselves the only home team for a morning kick-off at home, after an initial frisson in the week when three home teams were on the billboard for two pitches. In the end, we had the ‘big’ pitch all to ourselves.
We have had some sticky games in the past against today’s opponents, Old Tamponians, and with only fourteen players including a new keeper we were not expecting an easy game. We also had a new referee in Jim Grimley, who usually collects his Player of the Tour for Farnborough Vets around this weekend. The pre-match changing room banter was dominated by a dislike of Chelsea winning the Champions League for only the second time, unlike some other big clubs, and talk of a tough week for football fans in Manchester. There were some insightful exchanges on Timo Werner’s goal ratio compared to Kypros Michael’s.
FOBG Squad: Phil Anthony, Sinisa Gracanin, Jay Hardy, Waine Hetherington, Michael Hills, George Kleanthous, Colin Mant, Kypros Michael, Chisa Mkala, Patrice Mongelard, Danny Mullins, Andy Osborne, Joe Skinner, Simon Thomas.
Kit sponsor: The Dog and Duck, Outwood.
Referee: Jim ’Player of the Tour’ Grimley.
Supporters (socially-distanced on the public footpath): Aaleya Hawker, Natasha McCartney, Claire Mills-Skinner, Kayleigh Richards (and doe-eyed Ethel), Lorna Stewart, Chris Webb.
Director of Football: Mick O’Flynn.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard.
Chief Impact Officer: Phil Anthony.
Both teams will have felt that they started well with plenty of passing and composure. Farnborough had marginally greater possession and a bit more of a goal threat. This said, there were no clear-cut chances for either team in the first quarter of an hour, with defences on top. Old Tamps changed their goalkeeper at that point and twice I had to re-take a throw-in to allow Roy in the Old Tamps goal time to put his gloves on. These same gloves were called into action not long after, as Roy palmed a piledriver from Chisa Mkala around the post, acrobatically. At that point it would have felt to the Old Tamps management that they had done the right thing to swap Roy for the other keeper who had kept a clean sheet.
I cannot really recall other memorable penalty area incidents in that half. We had a few corners that came to nothing. Old Tamps were looking to hit us on the break but Waine Hetherington had no real cause for alarm. We finished the first period strongly, energised by the introduction of Danny Mullins who brought his physicality to bear on a midfield where some of Old Tamps’ most skilful operators were based. As the end of the half approached there were some spicy exchanges between Joe Skinner and several of his team mates who had failed to appreciate the full extent of Joe’s talent and who could not understand his disappointment at being given only sixty minutes, and at left back. There was even a baseless accusation after the game that I had tinkered with the tactical template from our Director of Football, Mick O’Flynn.
The second period was a different affair as goals flowed regularly, even if they were not the cleanest. Kypros Michael was on hand to break the seal with a finish from close range after the Old Tamps keeper had spilled a shot from Jay Hardy, allowing the ball to squirt through his legs and Kypros had a tap-in. To their credit it did not take long for Old Tamps to show their class. As referee Jim Grimley described it - Colin Mant was bamboozled by a bit of fancy footwork from an Old Tamps forward on the edge of our box who created the angle and the space to strike the ball crisply past an embalmed Waine Hetherington on our goal line. There was not even a limp-wristed waft at the ball. We were punished for not being more decisive in the preceding passage of play when we did not clear the danger. Old Tamps deserved their equaliser but that was as good as it got for them.
The last half hour was certainly ours. Jay Hardy assisted another Kypros goal as the ball squirted through the hapless Roy in the Old Tamps goal. He got his body in the way but did not have full control of it as the ball was tapped in again from close range. A one goal lead did not feel enough and we were relieved when George Kleanthous produced a memorable moment. George had burst through the midfield and lined up a left-foot shot only to nutmeg himself and kick fresh air but the momentum of the ball and player carried it and him past a defender and he then produced a right-foot curler into the top corner. To the untrained eye it would have looked as if George meant the whole thing. That move was not the most memorable dummy of the game. That was produced by Patrice Mongelard as he sent an Old Tamps attacker on his way towards our goal with the ball and Patrice going the other way. An appreciative and canine-perambulating Chris Webb on the touchline commented “I would have bought that dummy”. I think it was meant as a compliment.
There were about five minutes left when George Kleanthous slipped the ball through for Kypros Michael to run in on goal. After a trademark drop of the shoulder and bustling shuffle to tee up a left foot sizzler, Kypros could not believe it when Roy opened his legs again to let the ball through. Kypros noted afterwards that this was the first time anybody had opened their legs for him, to score three times. There was time for a comedy moment when Jay Hardy, Danny Mullins and Kypros Michael stood over a prostrate Roy who had, you guessed it, spilled the ball through his legs, but recovered in time to smother the danger.
The score will have felt harsh to Old Tamps especially after the even first half but in the end our pressure told. The game was played in excellent spirit, as games between our two sides are. The emergence of the sunshine at 11:00 helped greatly as the air temperature jumped seven to eight degrees. We even got to use the showers today. Manty noted this was his first shower since lockdown. I think he meant at Farnborough. He over-lathered as usual.
The mood on the green outside the clubhouse was enlivened by a group who had come to watch a charity game. The sound system was playing what Manty called “proper tunes”. I even got a sighting of Andy Osborne’s hairdresser, also known as Simon Thomas’ barber, in the throng. Simon informed me he had covered 5.4 miles in today’s game before naming his coiffeur as Iuean. I am not sure if I have the spelling right, sounds like a Welsh Druid’s name. There were a lot of dogs on show and I could not help thinking that the curator of Simon Thomas’ quiff would do well if he started to groom canines.
Man-of-the-Match: Kypros Michael, who has had a tough week in football land, but made a mockery of his new nickname “Timo” with his 24th, 25th and 26th goals in twenty games.
Man of the match: Kypros Michael