Sunday 22nd March 2009
By Patrice Mongelard
Vets in routine 2-0 win against Crofton Albion to keep Farnborough mums happy
Another win for the Vets – our 9th this season, a third victory on the trot and a second consecutive clean sheet. Yet although we won today there was mild disappointment in the way it was done. I suppose it is a good thing that we care about that.
Our starting line-up was: Gary Rosslee in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Chris Webb, Toby Manchip, and Steve Blanchard in defence; Paul Tanton, Steve Ponulak, Ian Shoebridge and Simon Harvey in midfield: Paul Smith and Pete Harvey up front. Subs were Trevor Stewart, Darren Mace, Chris Bourlet, Colin Ebdon and Matt Wright – all of whom came on. Mother’s day duties deprived the vets of Roger French, Paul Storkey and Ian Connelly. Chelsea blues deprived us of Toby Harlow, we think.
This was a scrappy game in sunny but blustery conditions and on an unhelpful pitch. We were never in danger of losing this game but the possibility of a draw could not be discounted as we made heavy weather of it. Several passes were too short or too long. The ball bounced up more than we liked, crosses went astray and the final ball was not quite there.
Before the game started several of us were concerned that our manager, Toby Harlow, a keen Chelsea fan, seemed not quite himself today. Perhaps it was the presence of so many Spurs and Liverpool fans in our team. The first sign that not all was well came when Toby wondered aloud about the colour of the Crofton Albion strip that was causing a clash with our all-red strip. That problem was resolved when Toby dredged out of the Farnborough vaults a daffodil yellow strip that last saw the light of day in the 70s.
We controlled this game well but laboured to convert our advantage into goals. We enjoyed a lot of possession and pressure and had several long range shots, particularly from Pete Harvey. One such shot had to be retrieved by Paul Tanton (who was substituted early in the first half in favour of Matt Wright) from High Elms and returned by bus to Farnborough. Our first goal when it came was not entirely unexpected but lacked definition. A long range shot from Pete Harvey kept low and induced a fumble from the keeper and the ball trickled over the line.
Things were not well in the Crofton Albion goalkeeping department. Even before we scored there was one surreal moment when their keeper walked off the pitch, his feelings very hurt by remarks from a team mate. He was persuaded to resume in goal but vowed this would be his last game, perhaps he meant in goal as he went soon after to play up front.
As with many of our second half performances there was a bit more for us to worry about after the break as our subs settled, a second goal proved elusive and Crofton Albion took heart from coming close once or twice. Those of us who have played for Farnborough in the difficult times that Roger French reminded us of last week will recall that games against Crofton Albion can be spicy affairs. So it was again as Paul Smith and a Crofton Albion player had to be separated for reasons that were unclear at the time. It transpired that an accidental trip and being called a muppet (by Paul) resulted in a threat to life.
Our troubled manager made several changes in the second half. One such change saw Toby Manchip come off – a decision that he questioned not a little as he made vain attempts to suggest he should get back on the pitch in any position. Talking of vain attempts at half time we had a feeling that we would have to win ugly today – yet were still not prepared for the 40-yard shot that Toby Manchip put in the executive homes behind the Crofton Albion goal shortly before he was substituted and comfortingly poured himself into Pete Harvey’s Spurs shirt.
Just when we thought we would not score again, one of the substitutes Trevor Stewart engineered a move from the space previously occupied by Toby Manchip which resulted in Matthew Wright bursting into the box, not unlike Steven Gerrard, to slide the ball into the net and put the result beyond doubt.
Perhaps a reason why so many teams want to play Farnborough was revealed when Toby Harlow asked the Crofton Albion manager as he handed over £30 in the bar for the privilege of playing us – “Did you enjoy that?”. As this was Mother’s Day there was quite a polite reply.
Man of the match, or mummy’s boy, was Ian Shoebridge. His mother will be pleased and also glad that Toby Manchip’s numerous nudges, winks, nods, raised eyebrows, and tics in the dressing room, shower and bar did not result in more than one inexplicable man-of-the-match vote for that individual.
Last thing: clocks go forward next weekend and a derby game against Orpington.