Sunday 19th October 2008
By Patrice Mongelard
“Vets snatch draw from jaws of victory against Welsh Tavern (4-4)”
The crowd got its money’s worth today - 8 goals in a game of fluctuating fortunes played under overcast skies but with not a single bad tackle or angry word which made a welcome change for the referee Mick Gearing who also did last week’s game.
The depth of our squad came in handy. Several heroes from last week were missing: Gary Rosslee, George Kleanthous, Simon Harvey, Matt Wright, Paul Tanton. Back were Peter Harvey, Roger French, Neil Connelly, Darren Mace and Ian Shoebridge.
We were even able to cope with the belated realisation (on Toby Harlow’s part), or possibly relief, that Toby Manchip would not after all be making his return in goal. It was reported that Toby M was in fact in Barbados and (so Chris Webb surmised) staggering back from the rum shop, at the very moment we were pondering his whereabouts. With all the technology available to talk the two Tobys had not connected. After a very brief struggle with his thoughts Trevor Stewart announced that Darren Mace would make a fine keeper - which he did.
Farnborough lined up with: Darren Mace in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Chris Webb, Trevor Stewart and Steve Blanchard in defence; Paul Storkey, Neil Connelly, Colin Ebdon and Chris Poniulak in midfield; Peter Harvey and Paul Smith up front. Reinforcements were Roger French, Chris Bourlet, Ian Shoebridge and Toby Harlow. Welsh Tavern seemed to have an even bigger squad and some changes they made during the game took us by surprise.
Our start was very good – too good in fact - two up after 20 minutes and looking forward to a big score. We were dominant, quicker, sharper, and moving the ball well. Peter Harvey had smashed in the first after the keeper parried his first shot and Chris Ponulak got the second after advancing unchallenged to shoot from the edge of the box over the head of a not tall keeper.
There are many theories as to what happened to Farnborough in the last 15 minutes of that half: ‘we lost our shape’ was heard a lot, ‘we stopped defending as a team’, ‘the midfield was not running back’, ‘we got complacent’, ‘they wanted it more than we did’ - I think it is just that shit happens. A point blank header from an innocuous cross and a speculative long range shot brought Welsh Tavern level at half time.
Playing against the wind in the second half we struggled a bit and were disjointed at times. Substitutions were made, rightly, to give everyone a run and we were still playing the more collective football. Ian Shoebridge brought a new balance to the team and more threat on the right. But I do not think we were surprised when Welsh Tavern took the lead twice in that half. There was a suspicion of offside with the fourth Welsh Tavern goal but “honest Trevor” on the line said he could only give what he saw – but perhaps he was not looking…
Twice we came back – Colin Ebdon scored after a brief rest on the subs bench which he felt had revived him and Peter Harvey scored a much deserved equaliser after good work by Neil Connelly who moments earlier was nearly substituted by “Felipe” Harlow! The last ten minutes saw one-way traffic as we besieged the Welsh Tavern goal – a boxing match would have been stopped by now.
Numerous chances came and went for many of our players and Paul Smith Paul nearly had the last word, again, with a crisp and firm low shot after a one-two with Paul Storkey inside the box. If we could have played extra time we would have. This is a game we would have lost a year ago but these days a draw is a disappointment.
Man of the match was Peter Harvey – for his two goals, selfless running and overall contribution (he was even to be seen at right back at some point).