Sunday 11th October 2009
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough Old Vets not a pretty sight in 0-2 defeat against Belvedere.
The word “Belvedere” comes from the Italian meaning beautiful sight. However there was not much of the beautiful game played today. Once again we were left wondering how we lost this game even though we were the architects of our defeat.
The already stretched squad was depleted further as news came that Trevor Stewart was indisposed – a dodgy Italian meal perhaps. As last week – an SOS call was made not long before kick off and Colin “I hate golf on Sundays” Ebdon came out of a short retirement to bolster our team.
So Farnborough lined up with Toby Manchip in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Chris Webb, Rod Loe and Chris Bourlet in defence; Colin Brazier, Colin Ebdon Darren Tucker and Sinisa Gracanin in midfield; Paul Smith and Roger French up front. Mick Ingram was our first half substitute, with Chris Ponulak expected after to arrive for the second half from church (though any prayers he may have uttered for Farnborough clearly went unanswered today).
The initial feeling we had of getting something out of the game disappeared after 5 minutes. There are many formations and playing styles in football: the diamond, the Christmas tree, total football – in fact we played some of the latter today with three different goal keepers. Today Farnborough Old Boys added a new configuration as we took up the Easter Island defence for the first Belvedere corner – and their centre forward barely rose, unchallenged, to nod the ball into our net. Worse was to follow as Toby Manchip clearly incapacitated by back trouble had to come off after 10 minutes – he put this down to poor weight distribution during the previous night’s sleep on a non orthopaedic bed.
To his enormous credit Colin Ebdon who received the call to play whilst still in (orthopaedic?) bed went in goal. He was 25 minutes later to let in the second goal before half-time after a further Farnborough tribute to the Pacific islanders’ stone carving skills during another Belvedere corner. There is really not much more to say about Belvedere’s goal chances in that half or the second one.
What about ours?. Too many to recount really – though some recur in the mind like a bad dream. Soon after the Belvedere first goal Paul Smith produced a rasping shot that beat the keeper, came off the inside of the post, went across goal and out. Darren Tucker got at the end of many through balls and tried a few shots as did Roger French; we forced several corners but nothing came of it. We made changes at half time with Chris Ponulak making a much appreciated return to the team. Roger French went in goal - and we hammered at the Belvedere door. Their keeper made numerous saves from close range as Paul Smith, Colin Brazier and Colin Ebdon produced much good work down the left. On the right Darren Tucker was getting through many times – including a one to one on the keeper that failed to yield the return we deserved.
Watching the game today were several of the players we hope to have back from injury soon: Steve Blanchard, Peter Storkey and Ian Shoebridge but still no sign of Toby “Lucan” Harlow though Roger French was briefly mistaken for Toby by one of the Belvedere management. In fact Roger impersonated several people today – a bloke called Dave before the game, a centre forward in the first half and a goalkeeper in the second – in fact the latter was his most successful role as he turned in a clean sheet and even said the goal keeping gloves felt like velcro. For a moment his old self and that red mist came back as he came off his line and chased down a Belvedere forward to the edge of the box and beyond – and causing the forward to find it difficult to get back on his feet.
The referee was what we’d call a proper referee brought along by Belvedere – he checked studs, advised the taping up of wedding bands and played the advantage rule a lot. Not sure he blew his whistle any more than “tantric” referee Mick Gearing who officiated on the big pitch where the Young Vets took on the Met Police. There were four Vets teams at Farnborough today as the bar takings will reflect no doubt. Shirley’s sandwiches went down a treat.
The man of the match was Chris Webb, back in defence and back to his old unyielding self – including Italian handbag at six paces with the Belvedere centre forward.
One silver lining from today was Rod Loe – a 60 something local lad and fullback whose performance for almost an hour belied his age – and he continued to contribute from the touchlines and in the club house. Indeed he was even seen picking up litter before the game - good for the back all that stretching – maybe others should try it!.
From our oldest recruit to our youngest who was in the end the only beautiful sight on show today - and that is the little bambino (with mum’s looks) we saw in the form of Oliver Manchip. His contribution to the day’s events was as great if not greater than his father’s. And he seemed to have no trouble sleeping – as we will all do next Sunday morning as we have no game.