Sunday 25th November 2007
Our first away win of the season, or is that ever?? We turned up in sunny Dartford (some of us via Essex having missed the turning off the M25!) to find the home team a little disorganised. Down to the bare eleven with injuries and birthday parties getting in the way we ended up putting the nets up for the home team to try and get the game going before we turned blue from the wind chill. The pitch runs along side the river Darenth on an open exposed hillside, which gave full effect to a blustery wind.
The team consisted of Gary Rosslee in goals, a back four consisting of Pat Mongelard and Toby Harlow in the centre, and Trevor Stewart and Mark James as full backs. In midfield Toby Manchip and Chris Ponulak held the centre with Colin Ebdon on the left and Chris Bourlet on the right. Up front were Paul Smith and Ian Shoebridge.
The pitch was in good condition, firm and flat, which suited our ever improving football. Passes were zinging around and we were putting together some good moving football. Even their supporters recognized the quality of our game. We had the wind with us in the first half, and we made good of it. A good understanding is developing between the front two who made several good chances. The ball just wouldn’t fall kindly and the keeper made some good saves. The midfield were running through to cause the Tiger backs all kinds of trouble and we made a host of chances. At the other end, Gary had a great game, and although he didn’t have too much to do, when he was called upon, he pulled out some real quality saves, diving down to his left to keep out Tiger from an excellent shot.
We then got our break. Another good move put us on the edge of the Tiger box, the ball broke and Chris Bourlet was able to pirouette and turn the shot to the top corner and although the keeper got a hand to it, he couldn’t keep it out.
We looked the better side and grew in confidence. Ian Shoebridge worked well laying off the ball to serve several attacks with Paul Smith just missing with several good efforts until he broke through and slammed the ball into the bottom corner with a classy finish. 2-0 at half time and good for our lead. The backs were clearing up any danger with Mark James having one of his better games (probably as he managed to avoid injury for more than 10 minutes!) forging overlapping runs on the right and Toby and Pat covering for each other in the middle. Trevor pulled one of his muscles (apparently he has more than one!) but coped well until late in the second half when Chris B was given a man-marking job to cover their young and fit sub.
We knew we would be under pressure in the second half, and so it proved to be. Tiger brought on fresh legs and swopped players positions. It seemed that Farnborough might run out of steam as often happens in the second 45, but we survived a few self inflicted panics for Ian Shoebridge to gain a well deserved goal to make it 3-0. Blimey, looked like the elusive away win was going to happen after all!! But hang on, we weren’t going to make it that easy!! Tiger continued to press and our failure to clear our lines led to a swinging cross met by a completely unmarked Tiger forward leaving Gary no chance. ‘It’s only one goal’ said Mark confidently. Just a few minutes later Tiger looked to have snatched another one with Gary performing a one handed push up and over the bar in an almost unbelievable keeping feat. Again Gary pulled out a fantastic block to thwart another Tiger attack. The ball fell to Toby Harlow in our box. Normal Vets tactics are to hoooof it as far as possible. But Toby has clearly been watching too much Arsenal and tried to “play football”. Unfortunately, the five Tiger players around him also wanted to ‘play football’ and with Toby in an embarrassed heap on the floor, the ball was slammed into the back of the net! 3-2. Were we going to throw it away? Not if Shoey had anything to do with it. Off the woodwork, another certain goal did not go in, with no one following up the rebound. At one point, Toby Manchip decided it was all too much, laid down and had a little kip on the edge of their box, oblivious to all about him! But he was to pick himself up and follow in behind a smashing drive from Ian that came off the underside of the bar, with Toby able to head home. Still time to make the game safe as Toby changed their keeper who then illegally collected a back pass. “I wouldn’t mind taking this free kick,” chirped up Toby M and Pat M politely told him where to go as Paul smashed the ball through all eleven Tiger players to restore the three goal advantage.
A great win, with spirits high we weren’t even bothered that there wasn’t any hot water as there was a problem with the gas boiler. Never mind, ‘we’ve got food coming in 10 minutes’. 45 minutes later, the three of us left in the bar had our fill of sausages, wedges, prawns, kebabs and chicken goujons. Not done much for the waistline though!
Another away game making it two on the bounce for the Vets with one to follow next week as well Our director of football is already staring at the grey clouds awaiting the return of his older legion…..
An away a trip to Dartford enticed the whole squad to travel leaving our manager to select from the bare eleven. We spent the first half an hour putting up the goal nets for the opposition as it was felt that if we didn’t kick off before 11.30 we would be playing in the dark. The oppo’s manager wandered out with his team bemoaning that there were no showers as the boiler had blown up It was explained to him that we had started the game without his whole team and that it was already half time…? What a fine place we frequent when we play at home which will be more enhanced once the Keddle stand is erected …
Better prepared and playing better football this year means the vets are giving all their opponents a run for their money and this was no exception. A fixture we lost last year easily was winnable this year even without the overpaid players who didn’t travel and we duly went in front from a Bourlet bender which nestled in the top corner. Golden boot chaser Smithy clinically buried a second and the referee called time on the first half.
The manger of the month Harlow explained we need to keep the ball and start the second half as we finished the first which we duly obliged by adding a third from our other striker “ no hamstrings Shoebridge” who had an excellent game considering he pulled it after 10mins…
At three nil we were now in command ,even to the extent that our goalkeeper “ Gary bit about Rosslear” could produce a Banks like save of extraordinary agility?? A clean sheet bonus was now on the cards only for our manager Harlow to bring Tiger Vets back into it as he went walkabouts for their first header and then proceeded to play a neat one-two with their centre forward in our six yard area……3-2?
The ship was listing and last year it would have sunk but not this year . A neat pass to “Trevor short sighted Stuart” brought a cross for Shoey to clip onto the bar bouncing out 66 world cup style. It was clinically finished with a bullet header from “Box to Box”.
The manager was spared and even able to breathe a sigh of relief when their goalkeeper picked up a back pass enabling Smithy to add to his tally taking him to twelve this season….
This was a good performance which has been coming all year only for results not to , it is now an enjoyable experience playing for the Vets which showed in the fact we all stayed behind for a beer awaiting the food which didn’t materalise…..??
Tiger had no nets , showers, food or points ….God bless FOBG….