Sunday 27th September 2009
By Patrice Mongelard
“Farnborough old vets find that supervets are not so easy after all - in (1-2) defeat by Sanco Supervets in sunny Dulwich”
It is difficult to say what hurt most today - losing the game or the manner of losing or having to accept that even supervets sides will give us a tough examination that we can fail.
News that Toby Manchip had pulled out did not disturb us unduly. After all we had 15 players: Chris Webb was making his long awaited return and the management team of Roger French and Patrice Mongelard were back after missing last week’s draw. And it was a rather pleasant day for it. The pitch looked very good, if a tad on the hard side for studs once the initial surface moisture had dried, and the opposition looked like true supervets.
Roger “Zanussi” French had worked out various permutations to use the full squad but as often happens human nature triumphed over the appliance of science. Colin Ebdon was late for the start, having had to answer an urgent call of nature and we had to wait until the second half for any further movement on his part. As will be revealed later – Farnborough vets will not see Colin in motion again.
Farnborough lined up with Steve Palmer in goal; Ian Coles, Roger French, Steve Blanchard and Patrice Mongelard in defence; Chris Webb, Chris Bourlet, Colin Brazier, and Sinisa Gracanin in midfield; Paul Smith and Andy Faulks up front. Substitutes – all of whom came on for the second half were Colin Ebdon, Trevor Stewart, Paul Bell and Mick Ingram.
When the game started we had cause to be optimistic. It seemed only a matter of time before we would score. If we had underestimated Sanco this was soon proved to be unwise as their keeper pulled off a triple save of great quality: first he parried a 25-yard drive from Sinisa Gracanin on to the bar, got up in time to block the point blank shot from Colin Brazier who had been first to the rebound; and then again he got in the way to divert a Paul Smith shot from 2 yards onto the post. We continued to have a lot of possession without creating clear chances – Chris Webb hit the foot of the post from close range, Roger French came close with a 30-yarder and Colin Brazier was working hard down the left to prove the “law of the ex”.
But then half an hour into the game – Sanco scored as their tall target man (Gary Sibley, usually a left back!...ed.) controlled a long clearance with his back to goal, turned and hit a clever shot that caught out Steve Palmer who had strayed a little off his line. That was the only shot of note that Sanco had in that first half. We huffed and puffed to no avail until the end of the half.
Our four subs came at the start of the second half as part of our policy to give all subs a fair share of the game. Sanco too made a few substitutions – and their subs seemed to settle down more quickly as we struggled to find a way back into the game. The main problem was that we were not putting any pressure on the Sanco back line. The penetration down the left had gone and we had difficulty holding the ball in the final third. In one of many overlapping runs Patrice Mongelard blazed a shot inches over the angle of post and bar to remind Sanco that Farnborough were not out of it.
Our equaliser when it came – was deserved but a bit messy as there was confusion in the Sanco defence, the linesman was indecisive, we assumed the ball remained in play and good work down the right by Paul Bell and a header back across the goal from Paul Smith resulted in a close range shot from a difficult angle by Mick Ingram that found the bottom of the net. To his credit the referee allowed the goal to stand and to their credit Sanco accepted it.
Encouraged by this we pressed on and were rewarded five minutes later with a penalty award as Paul Bell was bundled from behind in the box. The Sanco defender awarded Paul 10 for artistic impression. Another Paul (Smith) stepped up as he has many times to take the spot kick. However the Sanco keeper, Alan Cavanagh, proved once again that age had not dulled his reflexes as he provided the real artistic impression to make an acrobatic save. A few minutes later our set-piece nemesis came back to haunt us as Sanco scored from a corner with less than 5 minutes to go (a trademark header from Mick Hawkins...ed.). We searched frantically for an equaliser but ran out of time.
The man of the match voting was laboured - but eventually Sinisa Gracanin emerged as the winner (for the second week running I think).
Casting his vote for the last time was Colin Ebdon who was moved to announce his retirement at the end of the game.
So – on to next week against Old Albany Park vets as we search for that elusive first win of the season. Not sure if the word “Old” means anything – as we found out today – if we lack quality and do not find a cutting edge up front - the age of our opponents will not matter.
(editor....ex-Sanco player Colin Brazier)