Sunday 25th October 2009
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough old vets turn the clock back to sparkle in 5-1 win against Diamond
This was a polished first victory for the Older Vets who had been boosted this week by four old stars from the younger Vets side who responded to our call for players. In the end we had a starting XI that was not too dissimilar from the side that did so well last season with a mix of old and not so old vets. We even had the good fortune of having Paul Smith and Sinisa Gracanin becoming available at a very late hour.
In the autumn sunshine which added to the general mood of optimism and expectancy Farnborough lined up with: Matt Wright in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Chris Webb, Stephen Blanchard and Roger French in defence; Neil Connelly, Paul Tanton, Ian Shoebridge and Sinisa Gracanin in midfield; Paul Smith and George Kleanthous up front. Mick Ingram, Paul Bell and Trevor Stewart were on the bench and so could have Rod Loe who sportingly and unselfishly stood down as our numbers turned out to be greater than anticipated.
This was a bright, fluent and confident performance that should have brought us more goals in the first half than the one scored by Paul Tanton after good work by the lively George Kleanthous. Paul hit the post before that and we carved out many half chances. The passing was crisp, the defence was largely untroubled and we built a lot from the flanks with Ian Shoebridge and Sinisa Gracanin and the solid and energetic centre provided by Neil Connelly and Paul Tanton. Even Paul Smith was mobile – and more surprises would come from Smithy later.
The defence, too, fancied their chances – Chris Webb went up for two set pieces and had good headers each time saved well by the keeper. Roger French tried a wild 40-yard shot with his wrong foot which drew a rebuke from Patrice Mongelard whose mood was not due to the fact that his team had lost the Farnborough OBG quiz the night before by one point to a team which appeared to have more members than allowed by the rules. Pat put his mood down to some apprehension about events at his beloved Anfield later in the day – but as it transpired there was no need to be on edge about that after all.
Shortly before half time Stephen Blanchard was injured and made way for Trevor Stewart. The second half brought us the riches we deserved. Sinisa Gracanin hit a gem of a lob to give us a two-goal cushion early in the half. He was soon after to catch a Diamond clearance in the crown jewels and made way for Mick Ingram. Paul Bell also came on as we shuffled the pack. Our third goal came from Paul Tanton, this time benefitting from an unexpected pass in the box from Paul Smith. It would not be surprising to learn that Smithy was vaccinated against passing at an early age but today a more caring and sharing Smithy was on show – and he soon after laid on our fourth goal scored by Ian Shoebridge. Paul was to get a well deserved fifth goal with a crisp and smart finish as he strove frantically to get his name on the score sheet in the final quarter of an hour. In between our fourth and fifth goals Diamond dashed Matt Wright’s hope of a clean sheet as a Farnborough misplaced pass and lax marking led to a well taken shot to give Diamond a consolation goal.
It was good to see Toby Manchip supporting the team from the sidelines – he even ran the line for the second half all the while dispensing naïve advice and seeking to orchestrate the numerous substitutions we were able to make. Toby is awaiting medical advice – not on his tactical acumen – but on whether he can resume playing in goal for us with his troublesome back. His future may well lie in an outfield position and the management team has made careful and grateful note of Trevor Stewart’s willingness to play in goal.
Trevor is of course the generous sponsor of our new kit this season. The dressing room suspects that Trevor may well have modelled this kit himself before purchase – slim, sinewy Pinot Grigio-drinking Chelsea supporter that he is. Had the kit been modelled by say beer-drinking Liverpool supporter Darren Mace we might have found it more comfortable. The shirts are fitted according to Trevor, the shorts could do with a bit of gusset according to Rod Loe. As for the socks – the application of Vaseline to guard against blisters was mistaken as lubrication for socks which last season used to be for the Frodo Baggins Best XI but this season are for the Legolas Best XI.
Referee Mick Gearing had little to do – one or two rough Diamond players let their frustration get to them but the match was played in good spirit. Mick’s refereeing may have something to do with the fact that National Health glasses were found in the pocket of his fleece which in a senior moment he left behind in the dressing room.
Farnborough 24-carat geezer (aka man of the match) was Ian Shoebridge who was making his return after several weeks on the injury list.
Shirley’s excellent sandwiches and nibbles added to the feel good factor. Even Vic Farrow seemed relaxed though he does not do jokes on Sundays.
Roll on next week – once again the management team start the week unsure of numbers for next week and needing a few players to rally round. Time for the return of Lord Lucan perhaps.
Man of the match: Ian Shoebridge