Sunday 13th September 2009
By Patrice Mongelard
“More testing times for new management as Old Farnborough repeat last week’s result in 1-3 defeat against Erith Vets”.
After much effort during the week to find players, mostly by Roger French supported by Vic Farrow, we managed to field 13 players today. There were five new faces joining the eight who played last week. Clearly it will take a few weeks for the side to settle down but it was encouraging to see the new faces. We will also have to wait until next week to unveil our new high definition kit – today due to a clash of colours we played in a changed strip.
Farnborough lined up with Steve Palmer in goal; Ian Coles, Trevor Stewart, Steve Blanchard and Patrice Mongelard in defence; Colin Ebdon, Toby Manchip, Chris Bourlet, Paul Bell and Ian Shoebridge in midfield, (and so it turned out) Andy Faulks up front. Reinforcements were Roger French and Danny Winter.
Conditions were overcast and the breeze made it feel cooler than for mid-September. It was not easy to warm up with only one ball between us.
Erith had well over 13 players and are a good passing side that play a patient and not very pacy game. This suited us as it meant we could match them. They scored first at close range from a cut-back in the box after we failed to clear the danger on the left. We reacted well but Toby Manchip and Ian Shoebridge were having to drop a bit deeper than we would have liked – which meant Andy Faulks ended up as the lone striker. Yet we exerted pressure, in particular from the flanks and from a resulting corner Toby Manchip (15 stone 5 lbs and 3 oz) arrived late in the box and delivered an equaliser to his expectant team mates. He promptly dedicated the goal to Oliver David Manchip who arrived earlier this week (8 lbs 4 oz). There was no truth in the rumour that this was an own goal.
Chances were few and far between and when they came for Erith our keeper was equal to them - one particular save from a one to one stood in the mind (and was to be bettered in the second half).
Failure to clear a ball down the left resulted in a well taken shot, again from close range, from Erith to restore their advantage before half time.
The numerous second half Erith subs appeared to have more of an impact and we were forced to play on the break. We could all see that we needed more of a presence up front and in the box – but it is one thing to realise what the problem is and another to solve it. Despite valiant efforts by several of our players it is fair to say that we did not really create any clear cut chances in that half as flick-ons, crosses, through balls and shots failed to yield anything.
Erith were not creating too much themselves but when they did they found a ‘gritty’ Steve Palmer in their way (and I do not mean from the pebbles in the new goal mouth top soil) – and he pulled off a memorable double save midway in that half that rightly drew sporting plaudits from Erith.
The second half also confirmed Roger French’s commitment to the team as he put his crown jewels in the way of an Erith shot, and crawled off the pitch for relief. This was one of many dead ball situations that we failed to make the most of.
Just like against Orpington last week we were chasing an equaliser when Erith broke, outnumbered us in the box and scored their third goal with less than 5 minutes to go. This was harsh as was the final 1-3 score.
Roger recovered his poise later thanks in part to Shirley’s sandwiches which were miraculous. So good were they that we had a job keeping other teams away from them – and for a moment there it looked like Shirley was going to have to feed the proverbial 5,000.
The referee, Mick Gearing, had his usual economical and impartial performance, and had very little to deal with as the game was played in excellent spirit.
It was good to see Chris Webb among the spectators – and he kindly brought the teas in after the game.
Men of the match were Steve Palmer and Ian Shoebridge after votes were cast (and Manchip’s ‘Afghan’ practices failed).
Next week it is Cudham – always a challenging fixture and with some unavoidable absences we will need to dig deep again – it was even suggested that a creche at the club on Sunday mornings might help player availability. The mood in the team is good and despite losing we are enjoying our football.