Sunday 22nd February 2009
By Patrice Mongelard with a second report by Roger French
Daylight robbery foiled at the Warren as a Paul Tanton ‘dribbler’ in the 90th minute nicks a 2-2 draw against the Met.
After the eventful 2-3 home defeat against these opponents earlier in the season Farnborough Vets were determined not to go quietly this time. And what a game it proved to be. It had everything – overcast sky, tricky surface, early and late goals, refereeing that would vex a saint, a whiff of crowd trouble, fantastic saves, passion, pride, injuries, mates falling out, tackles with feeling, early showers - no wonder Toby Harlow required towelling down after the emotion of it all from the sidelines.
Farnborough lined up with Gary Rosslee in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Chris Webb, Matt Wright and Toby Manchip in defence; Neil Connelly, Paul Tanton, George Kleanthous, and Colin Ebdon in midfield; Paul Smith and Pete Harvey up front. Subs were Chris Bourlet, Paul Storkey, Trevor Stewart, Chris Ponulak, Simon Harvey and Roger French.
We were pleased with our start; one up after 5 minutes from a Matt Wright toe poke/punt. We were playing the more controlled football, with plenty of passing and composure, raiding down both flanks and competing robustly in the middle. We snuffed out anything that the Met threatened. Opta stats will show the Met did not earn a single corner in the first half – normally a weapon of choice for them. One choice they had made was the referee – one of their players – and it proved a good one as we were denied not one but two penalties (which several Met players admitted in conversations with the tape switched off should have been given).
A few other highlights from the first half: George Kleanthous, who said he had been looking forward to this game more than any other for some reason, had unfortunately to come off with an injury to his ribs after 15 minutes – it looked like he had been hit by a (metaphorical) police truncheon as he gasped for air and was bent double. George missed the rest of the excitement as he went off to Farnborough hospital – and he has our best wishes for a speedy recovery. Toby “Roberto Carlos” Manchip – don’t ask me why, the hair maybe – had a storming run into the box, and hit a right foot volley that the keeper nearly spilled into the net. The Farnborough touchline support was vocal and numerous – all the above-mentioned subs, the manager, Ian Shoebridge, Keith Sollieux, Master Connelly & mum, Master Storkey, Master Manchip, Miss Bourlet, and a couple of others (whose names I apologise for not knowing) – and after several decisions from the home ref – words were exchanged and a frisson went through the ground. My gran put in an appearance too as Chris Webb put a free header wide from a corner.
Once again we had cause to regret not scoring more goals in a first half which we dominated. Several changes were made to give everyone a run and we lost momentum and cohesion. The Met sensed a more even game and began to press. Your match reporter was knobbled by our own keeper – now I know he does come for crosses (serve me right for calling him Crosslee in some match reports – some subliminal message there I think) and he weighs at least 15 and a half stone. Soon after the Met had their first corner and promptly scored from it as we did a good impression of a police line-up in our box. By then we had begun to have a go at each other, what worked in the first half was not working anymore, our passing got longer, laziness crept in and it was no surprise when the Met put together a couple of neat one-twos at the edge of the box and carried on unchallenged to get their second from close range.
To my embarrassment I have to say that in pain from my injury I retreated to the showers for hot water and deep heat. I apologise to the rest of the team for that – I should have stayed to the end not only as a team mate but as your match reporter. I was not the only one in the showers – there were others who will remain nameless but will no doubt wish to express contrition next week.
But I heard the roar of our last minute equaliser as years of frustration against the Met were laid to rest. As described to me it went something like this: Paul Tanton was playing from memory just like in the old days – as he went clean through from a Matt Wright pass (author of a goal and an assist), was surprisingly not given out by the Met ref and linesman (both would we assume have to help with enquiries later – abuse from his team mates caused the linesman allegedly to throw his flag to the ground and walk off to a lonely shower); decided not to cut the ball back (Pete Harvey said he saw something in Tant’s eyes which told him there would be no cut-back) and curled one in.
I had hobbled to the doors by then and saw there was just time for the ball to be placed back on the centre circle and the re-start and final whistle become one. Sweet.
Today was a great test of character and a team effort as all played a part – we were in danger of losing consecutive games for the first time this season until rescued by Paul Tanton’s centre forward’s selfishness and craft.
It is not known at the time of writing who won the man-of-the-match award – take your pick from Gary Crosslee (which pulled off several stupendous saves in the second half, including one before we had equalised when I was in the shower), Matt Wright, Neil Connelly to name but a few.
After storming a warren this week next we have to tame tigers. Time to win again.
DRAW NICKED FROM SWEENEY TODD
Having arrived at the clubhouse at my usual time on Sunday morning I was surprised to see the car park empty and naturally assumed that the main body of the squad had already left for The Warren to prepare for the clash of the titans which turned out to be a bit of a Cracker. As I stood outside the impressive but deserted changing facilities it dawned on me after a series of deductions that would have impressed Inspector Clouseau that this was no ordinary kick off and the Prime Suspect was Vic for not putting it in bold in the newsletter that this game kicked off at 11.00am.
Eventually the remainder of the squad assembled and after a dodgy few weeks of winter weather it was good to note that the pitch was devoid of a Touch of Frost that had disrupted so many fixtures since the end of November and in fact looked rather Softly, Softly which was just as well as we knew this game would not have The Gentle Touch about it. The Vets were virtually at full strength with only Shoey, Blanchy and Macey missing although Shoey was on the sidelines testing out his new found vision that would have served the referee well (as I advised him as the game progressed – I do apologise for the bad language to those that were watching...it was uncalled for).
With an abundance of players to choose from our own Dixon of Dock Green read out the starting line up to ensure that kit was distributed to the players on the pitch. We filed out and kick off as follows:
Gary Rosslee (GK)
Pat Mongelard (RB)
Chris Webb (CB)
Matt Wright (CB)
Toby Manchip (LB)
George Kleanthous (RM)
Paul Tanton (CM)
Neil Connelly (CM)
Colin Ebdon (LM)
Pete Harvey (CF)
Paul Smith (CF)
Subs: Paul Storkey, Chris Bourlet, Chris Ponulak, Simon Harvey, Roger “wash your mouth out” French and Trevor Stewart
Manager: Toby Harlow
Spectators: Ian Shoebridge, Joe Storkey, Toby Manchip jnr, The Bourlet clan, Annie Ponulak, Keith Sollieux, Laurie Parsfield plus others.
We got off to a Flying Squad...sorry flying start when a ball was played down the left with Matt Wright in hot pursuit who managed to slide in front of the Met’s defender and toe poke the ball into the far corner beyond the reach of the keeper to put us 1-0 up with only 3 minutes on the clock – a real piece of smash and grab if ever I saw one. The game continued at a high pace with the Boys in Blue determined to get back on level terms but the Boys in Red were equally determined to keep them out and did. George’s bad luck against the Met continued when he suffered the effects of the strong arm of the law and had to go off after 15 minutes with a painful rib injury which cut short Storkey’s latest fag break as he was the first of the subs to take to the pitch.
Toby Manchip having specified the roaming role that he would like to play was true to his word as he was spotted at various times playing at right midfield and in attack. Having said that not much got past him when he was playing at left back and he did have an excellent shot on goal well saved by their keeper. As the half progressed tension mounted as first Paul Smith was denied a blatant penalty as he was hacked down from behind on the edge of the box whilst clean through on goal followed by Pete Harvey being brought down by the keeper in a similar position although I would probably give the benefit of doubt to the keeper on that one. We also had a goal ruled out for offside which sparked some lively debate on the sidelines culminating in the unlikeliest person on the pitch to utter the immortal phrase of “just calm down” – words of wisdom from Pete Harvey!
So half-time arrived and we were only 1-0 up after a bit of daylight robbery. Toby set about making some changes with Chris Ponulak being drafted into centre midfield with further subs to take place and the second half commenced.
We were somewhat slower out of the blocks in the second half and had lost some of our cohesion. We had managed to avoid conceding a single corner to the Met in the first half and they took full advantage when winning their first of the match as they scored a ram raid of a goal as our defence stood back and watched a bullet header hit the back of the net to draw things level. Pat became the second injury victim of the game being on wrong end of a collision with Gary Rosslee resulting in a dead leg. We were now a bit under the cosh and the strain was showing at times made worse as the Met were able to take the lead with some neat play round the edge of our box.
As the half progressed all subs were introduced and with the final 15 minutes approaching we switched to a back 3 and Matt pushed up in support of the attack. Gary was called into action from another corner when he somehow managed to palm a dead cert goal over the top of the bar to keep us in the running much to the amazement of the Met’s forwards. Into the last few minutes and Matt threaded a ball forward for Paul Tanton to collect and with one thing in mind he cut inside the box and expertly curled the equaliser into the far corner. Orders to regroup the defence were issued by Toby from the sidelines but they were not required as no sooner had the restart been signalled the game was over and we had nicked our point to avoid a criminal result.
This was a fantastic team performance against a strong physical side and a number of players were in the running for MOM but with a goal and an assist the votes went to Matt Wright. It’s been a long since we got anything playing against the Met and it’s fair to say that we were disappointed to only get a draw – how things have changed in a season.