Sunday 27th January 2008
By Roger French
A journey into uncharted territory for this return game against Baltic saw us take a magical mystery tour through the country lanes of Biggin Hill in an effort to locate the pitch in Warlingham somewhere in Surrey.
Numbers were slightly down due to winter skiing and non-availability so the team lined up with Toby Manchip in goal, defensive duties carried out by Pat Mongelard, Chris Webb, Ian Coles and Roger French, midfield of Chris Bourlet, Chris Ponulak, Toby Harlow and Paul Storkey and up front Paul Smith and Ian Shoebridge. Mark James provided support from the line when he wasn''t marking out his territory.
Having only played once in 5 weeks this game was always going to be a difficult one particularly on a very muddy, slippery and energy draining pitch. It was therefore very pleasing to see the Vets get straight back into the passing game that had been evident leading up to the Christmas break. The first half saw us dominate possession with everybody playing a part with attacks coming from both wings creating a number of chances on goal. Baltic were dangerous on the break with fast wingers (particular down the right hand side) well supported by their midfield but Toby in goal was not troubled during the first half. Our first goal
came from an attack down the left hand side when the ball was picked up by Roger F and played inside to Toby H who provided an excellent pass to Paul Storkey for him to turn, beat the defence and score. We continued to press forward and both strikers were guilty of missing excellent chances while the Baltic keeper pulled off an acrobatic save to deny Chris Webb. Half-time came and we should have been 3-0 up but 1-0 it was with a tough second half to follow.
We started the second half the way we finished on the attack and Paul Smith extended our lead with a disputed goal early on. After this Baltic turned up the tempo and we were under the cosh for much of the second half with the Farnborough goal at times resembling the Alamo. Good saves and safe handling from Toby Manchip kept Baltic at bay with help from headers off the line, the post and some crucial tackles by the back four. Chris Webb and Ian Coles provided a solid central partnership with Pat Mongelard providing his usual energetic running and I was knackered thanks to a rare late night and a far too early morning call! Baltic finally got the breakthrough with 10 minutes to go but we hung on for what seemed an age to record our fourth win of the season.
A great team performance again and nice to get a win early in the New Year.