Sunday 16th November 2008
By Roger French with a second report by Patrice Mongelard
A bit of a dismal day all round for this away game off the Kidbrooke Road against Toby Vets on a damp drizzly morning. Our large squad has dwindled in recent weeks due to injuries to Gary Rosslee, Paul Storkey and Ian Shoebridge resulting in the call-up of FNo4 in the place of Toby “Gomes” Harlow (FNo5). There was a certain amount of indecision regarding the choice of pitch before it was eventually decided that we would play on the usual pitch being the furthest from the changing rooms and so we lined up as follows:
Subs: Chris Bourlet, Toby Harlow
Our crowd following this week had also diminished to Paul and Joe Storkey such is the attraction of the Kidbrooke area. This was a game that was there for the taking but we just didn’t turn up and it was a bit like watching the Vets of old with poor passing and a general lack of cohesion.
We kicked off and failed to find any rhythm allowing Toby to pass the ball around and pressure our defence. They took the lead from a speculative cross which evaded the despairing clutches of Toby FNo4 in goal after 15 minutes or so. This did spur us into some action but once again the final ball into the box did not appear. It took some good work by Colin Ebdon taking the ball into box and unselfishly laying on a gilt edged chance for FNo12 attacker (name withheld to avoid further embarrassment) who duly cocked it right up from 4 yards out – no wonder he doesn’t get much of a run out up front is all I can say but I wonder where I am…I mean where he is….going to get his usual goal for the season from? I somehow think that Pat’s granny is going to get a few more mentions this week.
Try as we may we just could not get any flowing moves together and Toby had us pinned in our half for long stretches of the first half (the team, that is). George was an early casualty as he aggravated his hamstring injury and was replaced by Chris Bourlet and further bad luck from our point of view struck just before half-time when the ref failed to take any notice of our acting lino, Toby tinker man, and allowed an attacker to play on despite being clearly offside and round FNo4 (a long journey) to score their second.
The half-time chat was not a harmonious affair amid talk of slackers and wasters – not constructive…let's stick to encouraging each other. We know we are better than this and it was just one of those off-days.
The game continued pretty much where we left off as we huffed and puffed but with little return for our efforts. A 50/50 pile up likened to dancing on ice brought an end to FNo12’s game but there were plenty others willing to take up where he left off when another golden opportunity went begging from within the six yard box. Without the extensive substitutes bench of recent weeks it was down to Toby H to bring himself on and reorganise the team. This involved Chris Webb moving up front with Toby taking over sweeping at the back.
The reshuffle paid dividends soon after when a ball was played into the box and found Paul Smith unmarked and free to find the back of the net to pull us back into the fray and spark a 15 minute period of pressure. Unfortunately against the run of play a Toby attacker lined up a strong shot which was covered by Toby “cup hands” Manchip but who was unable to hold the ball and spilled it into the path of another grateful Toby attacker who duly despatched the ball into the back of the net. This resulted in a further switch with cup hands Manchip handing over the gloves to Trevor “FNo6” Stewart for the remaining 15 minutes – we have only played 11 games to date but have somehow managed to use 6 different keepers from our current squad.
The game petered out to a very disappointing 3-1 defeat but its only 4 weeks until we play them again at home – let's not repeat this performance. Man of the match votes went to Chris Webb.
“Under strength Toby’s vets lose to Toby Vets in woeful performance (1-3)”
It is five weeks since we lost a game and we had begun to believe in our own hype – and I fear that as match reporter I have talked many of our games up. So this match report will tell like it is.
Yes we were missing a lot of players and we had players who were carrying injuries, some playing out of position, had one key refereeing decision that went against us for an offside goal - but apart from that we were slow, sluggish, lazy, could not control, pass or cross the ball, missed sitters, gave away soft goals, lacked composure, became tetchy with each other and got what we deserved. We made an average opposition look good.
A depleted line-up consisted of: Toby “Gomes” Manchip in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Chris Webb, Steve Blanchard and Trevor Stewart in defence; George Kleanthous, Simon Harvey, Chris Ponulak, and Colin Ebdon in midfield; Roger French and Paul Smith up front. Reserves were Chris Bourlet and Toby Harlow.
The first Toby Vets goal was a farce; their left full-back ran 50 yards along the touchline, swung in a cross not far from the corner spot and Toby Manchip (a Spurs supporter) unchallenged in goal had a “Gomes” moment and the ball dropped into the goal at the far post. Soon after Roger French had a “Rosenthal” moment as he missed from 4 yards. To make matters worse George Kleanthous, our most mobile midfielder, had to come off with an injury. Shortly before half time Toby Vets got their second as their lively forward was not given offside and ran from just over the half-way line to round our keeper with great ease and walk the ball into the net. He sportingly helped Toby up from the floor on his way back.
We rallied in the second half – scored to get back into the game but as we were chasing the equaliser “Gomes” Manchip failed to hold on to a shot from distance in the middle of the goal and a quicker and sharper Toby Vet forward made it 3 to them. Another “Rosenthal” moment was experienced, this time by Chris Bourlet. We had Toby Vets rattled until their 3rd goal went in. Even after that we pressed them, ending with 3 forwards - Chris Webb, Toby Manchip and Paul Smith – all to no avail.
Only consolation: Paul Smith regained his scoring touch.
Man of the match: I left before the votes were counted but frankly I think we do not deserve to award this to any one today.
Toby Vets visit Farnborough on 14 December. Let us hope there is a different result and performance to report for that game.