Sunday 28th December 2008
By Patrice Mongelard with a second report by Roger French
“Vets close 2008 with a win in a 9-goal thriller in Beckenham against Wellcome with a first-half brace from Matt Wright and a razor-sharp second-half hat-trick from Pete Harvey”
It is a long time since the vets played a game between Christmas and the New Year and judging by the turn-out of 18 players this was a welcome game for the vets, eager to play after a 3-week lay-off and too much turkey.
Farnborough lined up with Gary Rosslee in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Matt Wright, Chris Webb and Steve Blanchard in defence; Paul Tanton, George Kleanthous, Neil Connelly and Ian Shoebridge in midfield; Toby Manchip and Pete Harvey up front. Subs were Toby Harlow, Chris Bourlet, Roger French, Trevor Stewart, Paul Storkey, Paul Parsons and Simon Harvey.
The goals came like this:
Wellcome 1-0 a dubious penalty
Farnborough 1-1 a shot from Matt Wright (after good work from Neil
Connelly) that the Wellcome keeper surprisingly failed to hold on to and the ball trickled over the line.
Farnborough 2-1 a bullet header from Matt Wright after a precise corner
from Pete Harvey
Wellcome 2-2 an ugly goal after a scramble in the box
Farnborough 3-2 a sweet connection from Pete Harvey to place the ball in
the bottom corner after a low cross from the right by Paul Tanton
Wellcome 3-3 a loose ball in the box lashed into the top corner after
Farnborough failed to clear the danger
Farnborough 4-3 a second identical goal from Pete Harvey again created
by Paul Tanton
Wellcome 4-4 a farce of a goal as the referee failed to rule Wellcome
offside much to the chagrin of Gary Rosslee who had stopped play in anticipation of a referee’s whistle that never came.
Farnborough 5-4 with less than 5 minutes left Pete Harvey was not to be denied as he controlled the ball in the six-yard box, beat two players and planted the ball into the top corner.
There was even time after that for George Kleanthous who had sprung the off-side trap to miss a good chance as he went for power instead of accuracy. And we must not forget the shot from Pete Harvey that rebounded off the post. There was also the sitter missed by Paul Storkey after yet more good work down the right from Paul Tanton. A shocked young Joe Storkey witnessed this and said he’d be having words with his dad for a long time about that miss and some shenanigan with Pat’s nan.
There was no disputing that Farnborough deserved the win. We had played the more flowing and attacking football but Wellcome had been resilient and got the rub of the green, including the benefit of a referee that at times seemed to favour the home side and had forgotten football was a contact sport and blew for many needless free kicks. But in the end we had the outstanding individuals that made the more telling contributions: Matt Wright and Pete Harvey for their five goals and also Paul Tanton for his intelligent and selfless running and the goals he made for others. Even after the game Paul was still making assists as he rang Vic Farrow back at base to give him the news and welcome tonic of our win.
I should record that midway through the first half Toby Harlow had astutely (though Toby Manchip will dispute this – see below) moved Paul Tanton up into the attack, taking off an energetic but ineffective Toby Manchip, and moving Matt Wright into midfield from whence came his two goals. We should also note the welcome returns of Gary Rosslee who made some brave saves that told us his broken fingers had mended and also a rusty Paul Storkey after a long lay-off.
All the subs came on except Toby Harlow. Not many teams end up using 6 fullbacks in a game but Farnborough did, and seamlessly so. One substituted player was not available to be brought back on. Toby Manchip, after much muttering along the sidelines “You don’t know what you are doing Toby” he kept saying as Wellcome kept equalising and I think he was not talking to himself), retired to the clubhouse depriving Toby Harlow of the opportunity to bring him on for an intended final flourish. It appears both Tobys have trouble with this rotation business but it is equally clear that we can register wins like we did today because we have a big squad. And as we close 2008 we must acknowledge the difference that our ‘youth policy’ has made to us this year: Neil Connelly, Paul Tanton, Matt Wright, Peter Harvey, Simon Harvey, Darren Mace and George Kleanthous have brought us much on and off the pitch and long may it continue.
At year end a few facts from stato: Farnborough vets started 2008 (on 6 January) with a 9-goal thriller against Erith vets which we lost 3-6. And when we last played Wellcome vets, on 5 October, that too saw 9 goals with Farnborough winning 6-3. Stats do not lie – in the first half of 2008 we played 11 matches – 7 defeats, 2 draws and 2 wins; in the second half of 2008 we played 13 matches – 3 defeats, 5 draws and 5 wins. We are better.
Man of Match : Pete Harvey
Next week – Erith Vets away and let us hope that in 2009 we avoid a repeat of the 3-6 score against Erith that started 2008.
Looking at the fixture list when it was published back in September this was one game I thought we would struggle to fulfil bearing in mind its proximity to Christmas. How wrong I was as we met up at Beckenham Cricket Club and discovered that 18 vets had decided that running around or standing on the sidelines on a bitterly cold day was preferable to another day lounging about gorging on Christmas Fayre. The game saw the return of FNo1 Gary “The Cat” Rosslee after a 10 week absence due to a broken finger and through clouds of B&H smog a certain “Smokin’ “ Paul Storkey was back after a 9 week break and raring to smoke some more. This game also marked the strangest excuse for not playing as “Tinkerman” Harlow was heard to say that he had strained a muscle whilst playing with his wee – the mind boggles!
The game kicked off in bright sunshine but with a distinct Arctic chill in the air. The team lined up as follows:
Gary Rosslee (GK)
Pat Mongelard (RB)
Steve Blanchard (CB)
Chris Webb (CB)
Matt Wright (LB)
Ian Shoebridge (RM)
Paul Tanton (CM)
Neil Connelly (CM)
George Kleanthous (LM)
Toby Manchip (CF)
Pete Harvey (CF)
Subs: Chris Bourlet, Simon Harvey, Paul Storkey, Roger French, Trevor Stewart, Paul Parsons
Manager: Toby Harlow
Wellcome started the game at a high tempo and had us pinned back in our half for the first 10 minutes or so and indeed took the lead early on when the ref awarded a very dubious penalty after Pat had made a superb tackle to clearly win the ball. The half continued with end to end action and it took an inspired tactical switch by Tinkerman Toby after 25 minutes to draw us level. Toby M and Shoey gave way to Chris B and Simon H with Matt W moving into midfield. Mr M was not best pleased and the Tinkerman was berated by a one man chorus of “You don’t know what you’re doing” (repeated several times over).
However, back on the pitch this worked wonders as Matt played in by Neil C “unleashed” a stoppable shot that saw the Wellcome keeper almost roll over it and help it into the back of the net. Spurred on by this slice of good fortune we pressed forward and as Pete Harvey swung in a corner for Matt there was no luck about his second as he almost ripped the back of the net with a thunderous header to put us in front. But to give Wellcome credit they did not give up in this ding dong of a game and shortly before half-time they managed to draw level following a goal mouth scramble.
With plenty of subs getting cold on the sidelines more switches were made to ensure everybody got a piece of the action. The most popular position to be subbed being the left back with no less than 5 players playing this role during the game including subbing a sub (I now know how Emanuel Eboue feels).
If the first half belonged to Matt then the second was definitely Pete’s with a hat trick in 45 minutes. The first one put us 3-2 up following good work down the right by Paul Tanton but Wellcome were soon to be level after we had not cleared our lines. This was followed by an almost identical goal created by Paul T and finished by Pete in similar fashion to make it 4-3 to us.
At this point we were hoping that we could make the game safe but the referee had other ideas as he ignored my flag for an obvious offside and allowed the Wellcome attacker to continue and lob another equaliser past the bemused Gary who was waiting for the referee’s whistle which didn’t come. We felt a bit aggrieved to say the least and Pete hit a thunderous shot that came back off the post while Storks had a glorious chance to redress the balance but just could control the cross.
Eventually Pete got his third and our winner in some style as he picked up another cross in their penalty box, cut inside to beat two defenders and firmly planted the ball in the top corner giving the keeper no chance. What a winner and what a game and a great way to end the year.