Farnborough OBG FC

Match Report

Sunday 20th March 2022


Catford Wanderers Vets
5 - 7
Senior Vets
Jay Hardy 3, Landy Sakala 2, George Kleanthous, OG

By George Kleanthous

Jay Hardy sparkles as Farnborough get back to winning ways in 12 goal thriller

This week our travels sent us to play in Catford and it was a perfect day to play football in glorious sunshine, little wind and a decent pitch. Our squad this week was padded out with the addition of yet another debutant in the shape on Ben McWilliams who had a strong performance with a display of strength and commitment. He may finally be the centre back that could give us some stability alongside Sinisa as he has committed to us for the rest of the season. This is a huge plus after losing our standout captain Michael Hills to injury (potentially for the rest of the season). Also, a big thank you must be given to Paul Zanelli who assisted by “loaning” us himself, a very solid goalkeeper in Tom and a good midfield player in the shape of Brett.

FOBG Squad: Tom Girling (GK), Aaron McWilliams, Ben McWilliams, Simon Thomas, Chisa Mkala, Landy Sakala, Peter Harvey, George Kleanthous, Sinisa Gracanin, Jay Hardy, Paul Zanelli Subs: Kypros Michael, Brett Chandler.

Referee: Did his best, was not accepting any back chat and gave out a couple of yellow cards for talking back and questioning decisions. Walked off in protest after being questioned why he didn’t give a foul for a blatant foul on Peter Harvey but in the best interests of the game I apologised, and he came back on to complete the game with no further drama.

Kit sponsor: The Dog and Duck, Outwood.

Manager:  George Kleanthous.

Interim Chief Football Correspondent:  George Kleanthous.

We recently played Catford in what was a closely fought 1-1 draw. Today, both teams adopted a much more attacking and buccaneering style and the huge crowd were rewarded with a goal bonanza. The huge crowd was actually our 2 subs and their 3 subs; however, poetic licence allows me to embellish slightly to give this extremely entertaining game more kudos.

Today did not start well and it looked like we had reverted to the Farnborough of old, whereby we started by giving a goal away very early to go 0-1 down. This was a trait we adopted earlier this season and were able to overcome it. Fortunately for us, this ability has not deserted us, and we were able to turn things around and get a positive result.

As they always say in football, it’s always important to not give a goal away just after you have scored. I have reason to believe that todays result was decided for exactly that reason. On 3 occasions, Catford seemed to drag themselves back into the game with a goal and 3 times we scored within a minute or two of that happening. The momentum swing is immediate and deflates a side rapidly when this happens once so I’m not sure how they found it within themselves to continue a spirited fight back to keep the game close.

After his debut goal last week, Landy Sakala wasted no time on adding to that tally and he added 2 more goals in what was a strong bustling performance from our front man, and it was a pity that he pulled up with a tweak in his groin just before half time. He is a strong lad, and his direct bullying style was giving the Catford defenders trouble and a headache they could not deal with. We hope he is back soon as he definitely gives us a different look up front to what we have had previously.

Where Landy had such a strong 45 minutes I’m sure that Catford were relieved to see him go off, however, they did not count on what they were about to contend with in the shape of Jay Hardy. Jay stepped up and played the best 45 minutes in the second half of any player I have seen this season. We have mentioned in previous reports about Jay’s work rate, however, today was more than that, much more than that. Not often does a single player take a game by the scruff of the neck and decide the outcome but today that happened, and I would go as far as to say that not only did Jay most definitely eat 3 shredded wheat but must have had a side order of another 3 such was his first class display. Jay fought for every ball, won every tackle, ran relentlessly covering every blade of grass on the pitch, oh and scored a fabulous hat trick, one being a great header from a corner where he rose above everyone to once again renew an advantage we had just lost where we had conceded a goal at the other end.

One of Jay's goals came in the first half which complimented the 2 Landy had scored. The half time score was 4-1 and we were helped by the fact that an unfortunate Catford defender wrong footed his keeper by scything an attempted clearance into his own net.

In true Farnborough fashion we went into the break happy with ourselves knowing one more goal would probably kill the game off, so we did what we usually do and let them score straight from kick off to bring the game back to 4-2. As mentioned earlier, that shot in the arm didn’t last long as we ourselves then went 5-2 up with a great bit of route one football where one long pass from the back let us get behind Catford and we tucked the ball away nicely to get to 5-2.

The next phase of the game was fairly even and the next 20 minutes saw Catford score to give themselves hope only to relax and once again let us score very quickly after they did. I don’t think it would be unfair to highlight that Catford were capable of playing some very tidy football, but they continually hurt themselves at the wrong times and generally couldn’t control how quickly we were able to move the ball in the final third.

We got a 7th goal by way of a penalty and with Kypros Michael pleading with regular penalty taker George Kleanthous to let him have it and give him a morale boost after an unpleasant covid related week, George declined and was not ready to relinquish this responsibility quite yet and he smashed the penalty high into the top corner, 7-3.

The last 15 minutes were perhaps more nervy than they should have been, and we allowed Catford to bag a couple of goals to bring the score to 7-5. The clock became their enemy and time ran out on them before any further damage was inflicted.

It was a very entertaining game, and it was nice to see Farnborough back to winning ways after 2 straight losses, however, one blight is that Pete Harvey was taken extremely roughly from behind and had to go off with a neck injury and we await positive news that he will not be missing for too long as he is an extremely important player for us.

Next week, we return to Farrow Fields to play Baltic Vets and I think we are on the top pitch so hopefully we do not have the curse of the bottom pitch hanging over us.


No doubt and a landslide of votes for Jay saw him the undisputed best player on the pitch.

Man of the match: Jay Hardy