Sunday 10th October 2021
By George Kleanthous
Unbeaten start falls to a youthful opponent
Today’s game was our second encounter of the season against Sands – the UK Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity. There was a minute’s silence at the start of the game to commemorate the sad anniversary of our opposition captain’s loss of his daughter. Sometimes, things in life are much bigger and more important than football and respecting these moments is one of them which both teams and referee Paul Parsons did impeccably.
FOBG Squad: Matt Angelo, Colin Mant, Waine Hetherington, Peter Harvey, George Kleanthous, Sinisa Gracanin, Kypros Michael, Jay Hardy, Michael Hills, Dan Herbert, Gary Coughtrey, Mick O’Flynn.
Referee: Paul Parsons.
Kit sponsor: The Dog and Duck, Outwood.
Manager: George Kleanthous.
Interim Chief Football Correspondent: George Kleanthous.
Match Photographer: Colin Brazier.
It is not very often that a team can look back on their first defeat of the season without a feeling of nothing but disappointment; however, alongside that feeling there should be a feeling just as much of pride for a team that would not roll over and continually fought to stay in a match that they were clearly overmatched to deal with in terms of age, physicality and fitness. That we are a Senior Vets side (although do carry a couple of under 45 players), we are not equipped to deal with the onslaught of a team carrying a whole team of players at least on average 10-15 years younger than us.
Despite this initial disadvantage, Farnborough did well to compete for the first 30 minutes and with the game still scoreless, there was even a feeling that had we taken one of a couple of very good chances that we created early on we could easily have been ahead. This has been a recent theme where we are making a lot of chances each game but don’t seem to be clinical enough in front of goal to get the end reward. A better final pass or more heads up play to find a player in a better position would swell our goal tally considerably. We have been able to overcome this in other games, however, this would cost us a result today. There must be mention of a chance made from nothing that had it gone in would have undoubtedly not only won goal of the season in any season but would have been one of the best goals ever seen at Farrow Fields. Jay Hardy came within a foot or so of scoring an acrobatic overhead kick from the edge of the area, sadly whistling past the outside of the upright rather than bulging the net. It is not a fluke that Jay is a regular scorer for this Farnborough team.
As it was, our opponents were beginning to have the lion's share of possession and were beginning to create chances of their own and there were moments that had our post and crossbar shaking but we held on resiliently until a sloppy piece of defending where we gave the ball away right on the edge of our box led to the opening goal. Although we were 0-1 down, we were to show that we were by no means out of the game.
The half-time whistle blew and the opposition knew they had been in an equal contest, one they probably weren’t expecting and to further enhance this point their half-time changes consisted of bringing on a whole raft of fresh, younger legs, removing their more senior players, albeit they were still much younger than a majority of our players by a considerable margin.
Our Achilles heel today may have been that we were not able to do the same as we could only muster 12 players so in a game where fresh legs would have proved invaluable, we were only able to make 1 substitution.
Early in the second half, we were undone again by a ball over the top of the full back which was then whipped across goal for Sands to net their second. It is at this point that lesser teams may have folded however, not this Farnborough team. We pressed for the next 10-15 minutes and were rewarded when after one of about 3-4 corners we had in quick succession we were to get the desired result. From one corner, the ball was cleared to the edge of the area, we shot goalbound, the ball was cleared straight to a Farnborough player (I think it was Michael Hills) who then drove our second shot towards goal where it was heading in, however, the opposition centre back decided it would be a better option to palm it safely away and hope it wasn’t spotted, however, the eagle-eyed referee Paul Parsons was on the spot to deliver the correct decision of a penalty. George Kleanthous quickly volunteered for the responsibility of taking the penalty, probably to ensure Kyps didn’t ask for it first! George sent the keeper the wrong way and Farnborough were back in the game 1-2.
We continued to press but our midfield were being caught out by the speed of the counterattack of our opposition and in particular their left winger who when up against a 50+ year old player looked probably as quick as Usain Bolt and it's worth a mention that his continuous step overs and rainbow flicks and nonstop showboating were not appreciated and he was lucky that he chose his prey carefully, had he been more central, things may have taken a not too pleasant turn. Friendly game or not, these actions were not in the best spirit of the game.
We were unfortunate in the way we conceded our third goal as we made a couple of good blocks and attempts to clear it but it fell straight to their player who had an easy job of tapping it in. Once again, we would not lie down and after another good spell of football we broke away down the left and this time Kyps looked up and squared the ball to an unmarked Dan Herbert who had made a lung busting run to get on the end of the pass to slide the ball home. Kyps scores at least 30 goals a season and is our most prolific scorer, it is my observation that if he could add finding a pass to a better placed team mate more often, he would also be our most prolific assist maker and could add another 30 goals to the teams totals.
Shortly after scoring our second, we gave away a free kick right on the edge of our area and we were to rue this as the free kick was neatly bent around the wall into the bottom left corner of the goal and yet again, we found ourselves two goals down.
As the game neared its end we forced another corner and Peter Harvey sent in a great cross for Jay Hardy to outjump everybody and head home. With only 4 minutes left, we felt a sense that we could somehow get a result. We couldn’t have been more wrong. We have a goalkeeper in Matt Angelo that is about as extreme as it gets when marking the spectrum from shaky moments to ridiculously spectacular. Only minutes earlier Matt had made an absolutely world class save to keep us in the game, tipping a hard hit shot from close range at full stretch over the crossbar, a save which the world’s finest goalkeepers would have been proud of. Straight from kick off after our third goal, the opponents' captain decided to take the rather opportunistic route and shoot straight from the halfway line. The ball lofted high and straight, ballooning goalward with not too much threat to our keeper who was standing no more than a yard off his line. That yard somehow didn’t help as Matt didn’t seem to move right until the last second by which time the ball had looped directly over him and over that yard gap just under the crossbar. That was to be the final nail in the coffin, time had become the final enemy and we were undone. 3-5 but a valiant effort.
A final note on that final goal. The scorer of that goal was the opposition captain (I think his name was Brandon) and he was a thorn in our side all game with a robust performance. The fact that in the last minute or so of the game, after having spurned a couple of chances to score a goal he finally nailed one from 55 yards. There is something extraordinary about this in that it was an extremely difficult day for him, however, to be crowned off with scoring a goal in the manner in which he did caps this game off in the best way possible. To concede this moment to him seemed right and for once conceding a goal seemed completely irrelevant and insignificant. As I said right at the beginning of this report: Sometimes, things in life are much bigger and more important than football. Congratulations Brandon, someone was looking down on you and would have been very proud of that moment.
Man-of-the-match: 2 players shared the votes for MOM – Jay & George (3 votes each respectively)
Man of the match: Jay Hardy and George Kleanthous