Sunday 13th December 2009
By Patrice Mongelard
“Woeful old vets hammered 5-0 by chipper Toby”
Even now as I write this, a full eight hours after the game it hurts. I can still hear the Toby Vets players arguing as to who had scored the best goal as they came off the pitch. After the five presents we gave them no wonder they were wishing us all merry Christmas in the post match handshake. Good thing our Christmas presents do not depend on the performance we turned in today.
There has been a lot of moaning today, before, during and after the game, by players – some of whom should take a long hard look at their performances however long they were on the pitch, and club management. So I will add my own. Today we looked tired, old, disorganised, unfit, slow to move, think and support each other, with no imagination, passion, pride, appetite for hard work and no team ethic. We made the other team look good – they were no older than us collectively, no particularly skilled individual stood out among them, but they worked hard, played like a team and relied on two mobile forwards who wanted it more. One of them was Colin Mant who had probably his best game ever on the Farnborough pitch, including when he used to play for us a few seasons back. I could sense him thinking “What a shambles that Farnborough have become – I am glad I don’t play for this lot any more”.
We were missing a few players today and had to call on a number of “irregulars” but on paper at least we did not have a bad team. The young vets had beaten Toby 5-2 earlier in the season and whilst we did not exactly fancy our chances we did not think it would be as bad as it turned out to be. Farnborough lined up with: Toby Manchip in goal; Nick Kinnear, Ian Coles, Rod Loe and Trevor Stewart in defence; Patrice Mongelard, Ian Shoebridge, Paul Storkey and Colin Ebdon in midfield; Paul Smith and Roger French. Mick Ingram was joined by Chris Ponulak on the subs bench and both came on at half time.
The first 15 minutes were fairly even and we fashioned a couple of chances before Toby had a sniff - Roger French had a point blank shot saved well by the Toby keeper (who turned out to be surprisingly good for his stature) and Ian Shoebridge could not lift his shot high enough into a deserted goal after the Toby keeper had ventured to the edge of the pitch from whence a dog was to join the game a little later – and even muzzled had more bite than we did. The rest of the half belonged to Toby. Our own Toby started to come off his line to get to a very good one two that played the Toby forward in – hesitated, stopped and was lobbed with a powerful shot to give Toby the lead after 25 minutes. Toby was lobbed again five minutes from the end of the half to give us a two-goal deficit at half time. You could say Toby Manchip had been chipped twice by Toby. Worse was to come.
At the start of the second half we had a truly bizarre moment which defies explanation. The game was two minutes old when yet another Toby chip, from 25 yards, sailed over a disinterested Toby Manchip’s head to make it 3-0 to the opposition. Toby’s positioning seemed very odd – he appeared to be strolling back into his goal in a path parallel to the flight of the ball and waved it good bye as it passed him. Toby explained to everyone that he was not ready for the re-start of the game. (Note for Roger French: make sure to issue instructions for referee to check with our keeper when game starts or re-starts). As Toby was to admit later in the showers to the opposition he had been unhappy playing in goal and for the last 25 minutes he swapped places with Trevor Stewart and came out to play in an attacking midfield role. Trevor himself, once a great white hope for the goal keeping position – fell to the curse of the chip, twice as Toby added their fourth and fifth goals. In between we put some pressure on their goal – our best chance fell to Ian Shoebridge who had a good shot smartly saved by the keeper’s legs. Roger French put the ball in the net twice from offside positions.
Chris Ponulak was voted man of the match – not bad for someone who had the least playing time of the 13 players who played today but oddly right I think as the longer we played on that pitch the worse we got.
We have to go back to November 1st for the last time we scored a goal. On today’s showing we might have to wait until next November to score again. And next week we have Old Tamponians – a team unbeaten this season that by all accounts pass other teams to death. A repeat of today’s performance will see me reporting double figures next week. I hope not – I hesitate to say wear the shirt with pride – especially when that shirt is so tight – another moan today.
Man of the match: Chris Ponulak