Sunday 10th May 2009
By Patrice Mongelard with a second report by Roger French
“Vets polish off season, and Diamond Vets, in close but relaxed game with 12th and final win.”
In keeping with the cricket weather Toby Harlow put two teams up on the board today – one for each innings. The warm sunshine induced such a relaxed mood that we even allowed some of our players to play for Diamond Vets who only had 10 players (whilst we had 17). I should also mention the five absent ones from our squad today who have contributed in great measure to our season: Peter Harvey, Paul Tanton, George Kleanthous, Craig Belgrave (27 goals scored between them) and Darren Mace.
The two Farnborough teams lined up as follows:
|First half||Second half|
|Gary Rosslee||Gary Rosslee|
|Trevor Stewart||Roger French|
|Toby Harlow||Chris Webb|
|Steve Blanchard||Steve Blanchard|
|Chris Bourlet||Patrice Mongelard|
|Matt Wright||Chris Ponulak|
|Neil Connelly||Neil Connelly|
|Colin Ebdon||Ian Shoebridge|
|Paul Storkey||Simon Harvey|
|Paul Smith||Paul Smith|
|Toby Manchip||Matt Wright|
In the first half Patrice Mongelard played at right back for Diamond, as did, for the second half Colin Ebdon and (in part) Toby Manchip. There were other changes made as players came on and off in the second half. The referee, Mick Gearing, managed to keep up with all these changes.
The first half was an even and composed affair. Both teams were comfortable on the ball, there was a lot of passing, no great urgency and no real clear chances were created. But neutral observers would have seen that Farnborough had marginally more of the play. Paul Smith had a couple of 25-yard shots that were easy on the eye. Toby Manchip had a shot from close range that was not so pretty to look at as “the ball failed to come down”. Toby huffed and puffed – but the same neutrals would have concluded that the Diamond full back on loan, Patrice Mongelard, had him in his pocket as they say and had probably his most comfortable first half this season (the sort of not very searching examination that gets fans singing “Can we play you every week?”). At one point Toby managed to find a spot of moisture on the dry wicket that caused him to slip over in the right corner of the pitch. He looked like he injured his wrist in that fall and no doubt will be inconvenienced by that though he was able to wield a pen later in the man-of-the-match vote – more on that shortly.
It was no surprise that the first half ended 0-0. The second half was a very different affair. Ian Shoebridge got our first (and his sixth for the season) when he converted, from close range, a pass from Matt Wright who had broken down the left with a typical forceful run. One nil became two nil not long after as Paul Smith put away a header from about two yards out from a measured cross by Simon Harvey. This was not the first time this season that a Harvey had helped Paul Smith score – this was Paul’s fifteenth goal (and he was not done yet with the goal net).
The quality that was always there in Diamond’s play led to their goal and for a while at 2-1 we wobbled a bit. Toby Manchip had reappeared on the pitch (this time for Diamond) and tried his best to prove the “law of the ex”. “They are arguing amongst themselves” he said at one point – probably true as the argument we had was with his fanciful claims. In fairness he did produce a towering header off a corner that went close. But then not for the first time Matt Wright steadied our ship with our third goal from a through ball by Ian Shoebridge returning the compliment. This was Matt’s ninth goal this season, not a bad return from one who played mostly in defence. There was time for Diamond to grab a second but not to deprive us of our deserved win.
Ian Shoebridge nearly got us a fourth from a sumptuous cross from Toby Harlow (who had reappeared on the pitch to make sure of the result). It was noted that Toby Manchip failed lamentably to clear that cross as he crumpled in the box, on yet more moisture presumably.
And so it ended. 25 games played – 12 wins, 7 draws and 6 defeats, or 1.72 points per game played, 70 goals for and 56 against. Could these figures have been bettered if we had played the additional 10 games that were cancelled due to waterlogged or frozen pitches or opponents not able to fulfil fixtures? You might think so, I could not possibly comment. Compared with previous seasons this was unquestionably a season of hope, and a triumph for our youth policy, as we contemplate the next one - with the prospect of a second Vets team, perhaps sponsored by Christmas Tree Farm - and hopefully they will not influence the formation we play next year.
The feeling that the season was now truly over was brought home when the goal posts (from both pitches) were lifted out and stowed away for the summer by a small group of players and club officials led by the two firemen in our midst. Prior to that the goal nets were taken down by a group including, surprisingly but fittingly, our top scorer for the season Paul Smith.
Man of the match was Trevor Stewart – although it transpired that Toby (Mugabe) Manchip had proclaimed himself double man of the match for both teams, for each half. Of course, the log book told a different story, though not before a reliable witness (a senior Met Police officer no less) witnessed Manchip shuffle his fingers (on his injured hand) and vote for himself twice, in a clear case of fabricated evidence exposed by the law.
Lastly – a reminder of the Vets end of season meal. This will be on Friday 29 May at Reku Zen in Orpington (bottom of High Street at the corner of Aynscombe Angle opposite The Best Kebab Ye). Table will be booked for 8:00 – meet at 6:30 - 7:00 in The Cricketers in Chislehurst Road.
And so to the last game of the season and once again I found myself in the position of having to contemplate another game on the sidelines unless I could come up with a cunning plan and locate a child minder before 10.30am. As it was we had a healthy surplus of players – more than enough eyes to keep tabs on two under fives and so I joined the ranks and got changed for the last time this season.
With players in abundance and the Diamond team down to ten Toby set about creating an elaborate plan that featured a team for the first half, a team for the second half and some complicated arrangement to allow Diamond to have the use of one of our players depending on which team they were due to play for and when. As it was Pat volunteered to fill in at right back for Diamond in the first half and the FOBG Vets lined up as follows:
Gary Rosslee GK
Trevor Stewart RB
Toby Harlow CB
Steve Blanchard CB
Chris Bourlet LB
Paul Storkey RM
Matt Wright CM
Neil Connelly CM
Colin Ebdon LM
Paul Smith CF
Toby Manchip CF
Subs: Chris Webb, Ian Shoebridge, Chris Ponulak, Simon Harvey and Roger French
Referee: Micky Gearing
The first half saw lots of endeavour from both teams but no clear cut chances were created and neither keeper had too much to do but Gary did manage to make a trademark diving save to push one shot round the post. With Toby Manchip playing up front mainly on the left his view was that the on loan right back was having a torrid time a view that was not shared by Pat whose response was that it was probably the easiest half he had played all season.
Alot of the first half detail was missed by me as I spent most of my time trying to bribe two under fives to play nicely and watch the exciting game that was unfolding before them – they were unimpressed and found other ways to keep themselves amused up to half time. Whilst this was going on a promising Farnborough attack saw Storkey bringing the ball forward and having spotted support in the box looked to swing in a cross for a certain goal only for him to scuff the ground up in a cloud of dust which saw the killer pass dribble to the nearest Diamond defender to be cleared out of harm's way. Storkey for his efforts received a round of applause accompanied by raucous laughter from the gathered crowd in the dugout.
As it was half-time arrived and the scores were level at 0-0. The team was changed around as planned and Storkey was now in charge of childminding with Colin Ebdon swapping the red shirt for the black and white of Diamond. Once young Thomas had been located the second half commenced with the following line-up:
Gary Rosslee GK
Patrice Mongelard RB
Chris Webb CB
Steve Blanchard CB
Roger French LB
Simon Harvey RM
Chris Ponulak CM
Neil Connelly CM
Ian Shoebridge LM
Paul Smith CF
Matt Wright CF
With the heat of an early May day and the introduction of 5 fresh players against a team lacking in subs it was no surprise that we took control of the early exchanges in the second half. It was not long before Matt, who had switched from midfield to attack, set off down the left and swung in a low cross to the waiting Shoey at the far post to put us one up. Soon afterwards Simon Harvey swung in a cross from the right and top goal poacher Smithy was on hand to head in from 2 yards to get our second and his fifteenth of the season to seal the Golden Boot award for the third season running.
Diamond were not to be outdone and pulled one back whilst continuing to draw on our extra resources as Toby Manchip rejoined the fray to help Diamond out and in keeping with the cricketing weather embarked on a campaign of sledging and elaborate appeals. He did get a chance from a corner as he rose salmon like to thump a header wide of the post and scattered a number of players like skittles in the process.
We had a shaky spell following the goal but then regained our composure and pressed forward creating a good few chances which were kept out by good keeping or in the case of Smithy the post as he thumped in another 25 yarder. However nerves were settled when a good flowing move down the left started by seasoned campaigner Roger French (vocally supported by his 3 year old son Thomas) saw Shoey return the favour and set up Matt for our third of the game. Soon after Shoey was in on goal again following a well worked move involving Toby Harlow only for him to blaze the ball just over the bar.
At this point we were almost cruising but Diamond threatened to spoil our end of season when their lively forward scored from an acute angle to make it 3-2 and set up a tense final 10 minutes. We stood firm and Micky brought the season to a close and we had equalled our best run of victories for a season. The goal posts were taken down and that’s it for the summer although it won’t be long before the club’s five-a-side tournament and dare I say Vets “training” which hopefully will be well attended.
There are no doubts that this has been our best season for many a year thanks largely to the addition of eight “younger” Vets in Matt, Tant, Neil, Pete, Simon, Darren, George and Craig, most of whom appear on the list of goal scorers for the season. Yes we have equalled our previous best for victories in a season but more importantly we only lost 6 of the 25 games played and had we had more luck on the weather front and less no-shows I feel these stats would have been even better.
This season also saw the introduction of an additional match reporter in Patrice Mongelard who in keeping with his play on pitch has an uncanny knack of getting there first. It is looking good for our ambitious proposal of forming a second Vets team and Toby H has already put in alot of hard work in arranging 50 fixtures to date so it is down to us to make sure that we have suitable numbers to fulfil the fixtures.
The Vets end of season celebration will take place on Friday 29th May and this will be followed by the club end of season presentation – let’s get a decent Vets turnout for both. Onwards and upwards.