Sunday 8th November 2009
By Roger French
Senior Vets Fire Blanks as Fig Rolls and Jaffas Fail to Deliver
With joint assistant manager and regular match reporter Patrice Mongelard away playing an exhibition game in Kensington it fell to me to pick up the additional responsibilities (as pointed out by Patrice) of providing a valuables bag (borrowed from Paul Daniels - more on that later) and half-time nourishment which this week consisted of oranges, jaffa cakes and fig rolls as recommended by Ryan Giggs. As the Young Vets had managed to get a fixture arranged to replace their postponed Cup game we decided that they could play on the main pitch but in return we took the main changing room – one of my better managerial decisions taken to date.
This week’s guest appearance recruited by Nick Kinnear saw Gary Fentiman give an accomplished performance in goal and in the process become the 29th player to have played for the Senior Vets this season. The game also marked another return for Chris Ponulak having arrived just after kick-off – thanks to both for helping out. Numbers throughout the week fluctuated to the extent that having been boosted by the welcome return of Ian Coles and the late availability of Sinisa (not Sidney or Simi as was heard throughout the game) Gracanin I was in the position of letting Colin Ebdon off the hook late on Saturday. This turned out to be a little bit hasty as this call was followed by a rather incoherent, rambling phone conversation with Toby Manchip who had obviously been celebrating Spurs' win. I think the gist of it was that Compo was unavailable but we had subs so it was OK or so I thought.
As it was Remembrance Sunday we all duly observed two minutes' silence prior to kick-off and lined up as follows:
GK Gary Fentiman
RB Mick Ingram
CB Ian Coles
CB Nick Kinnear
LB Rod Loe
RM Paul Bell
CM Chris Webb
CM Sinisa Gracanin
LM Roger French
CF Paul Smith
CF Colin Brazier
Subs: Chris Ponulak & Trevor Stewart
The game kicked off and it was evident from the start that Baltic had a number of players who were keen to pass the ball around and were not averse to a hard (but fair) challenge. Both sides were playing the ball around nicely but Baltic probably had the edge with the breeze behind them. However, 10 minutes in and I was to regret letting Colin Ebdon off the hook as I felt my hamstring go when chasing back from midfield. Luckily Chris Ponulak had arrived and got changed by then so took over my midfield role but not according to my many planned options.
Gary was looking assured in goal and the defence was coping well with the lively Baltic forwards. Midfield was holding the ball up well and the passing was good creating some excellent attacking moves but without troubling the keeper. As it was Baltic put away two goals before the break and Trevor Stewart replaced Mick Ingram with 15 minutes to go.
Half-time was a chance for everybody to test out the new tactic of fig rolls but they didn’t seem too popular. We knew we were still in this game and with the breeze behind us it was time push forward. No changes were made mainly because we were short of subs so didn’t have any to bring on.
The second half continued and we lived up to our half-time talk and took the game to Baltic. We had plenty of chances with Sinisa getting in a number of shots and Smithy going close notably one free kick from just outside the box looked destined for the top corner until the Baltic keeper dived full length and tipped it round the post. Whilst it was not all one way traffic we certainly had the lion’s share of possession in their half but once again we were unable to convert our chances. Baltic continued to look dangerous on the break and added a third against the run of play.
Despite being three down we did not give up but we just could not get what we deserved which was a goal or two. Mick brought our winning streak to an end with the final whistle on a game that had been very well contested by both sides and luckily no rain this week.
Back in the clubhouse the votes were tallied up and it became a closely contested vote for MOM between Ian Coles and Sinisa Gracanin with Ian shading it by one vote. In between this Mick Gearing was seen to be wandering round each of the changing rooms searching for his valuables. He had put them safely away in the Paul Daniels valuables bag and now by magic they had disappeared into thin air. A search was launched and all bags were searched over the next 20 minutes...all but one bag that is…yep Micky’s valuables were safely tucked in his own bag all the time.
Following today’s game we have another added to the casualty list (me) but next week is rumoured to be the return of Lord Lucan Harlow. Onwards and upwards.
Man of the match: Ian Coles