Sunday 5th February 2006
By Colin Mant
Fired up from recent performances and losing by the odd goal just two weeks previously to Crofton, this was a game that we fancied our chances of winning in the return fixture. Though technically this was supposed to be an away game Crofton were unable to get a pitch, thus advantage to us by playing on the superbly prepared ‘big pitch’ at Farnborough Sports Club. Even the club coloured nets were put up in anticipation of a heroic first win of the season.
However, with a starting 11 that had turned to 10 the advantage had been given to Crofton - not that it affected the final outcome in the end - but, and I’m sure Toby and Vic will echo this, if you cannot make the game for any reason please call Toby (07886 633443) or Vic (07900 211986) so we can arrange replacements. Please note these numbers in your phone. The starting 10 were Steve Tanner in goal, a back four of Patrice Mongelard, Steve Blanchard, Ian Couchman, and Kevin Wolstencroft. The midfield four were Chris Bourlet, Toby Harlow, Chris Ponulak and Colin Mant. Farnborough welcomed Lee Southby in his 1st game for the club up front. Joining us later from their excursion to Austria, and drive through the night to make the game were Trevor Stewart and Colin Ebdon, all credit to them for taking the effort to make the game, albeit knackered!!
The game started well for us, and it was hard to believe that we only had 10 on the pitch. We looked threatening on the break and kept our shape well. It was Albion however who broke the deadlock first. We lost possession and the ball was played through to the Crofton striker who netted from fairly close range. This seemed to spur us on, and after Chris Ponulak and Lee Southby both went close with long-range efforts, the deserved equaliser came shortly before half time. Chris Bourlet lofted the ball over the Albion defence and Colin Mant timed his run to beat the offside trap and slot home from the edge of the box (a £3million bid from Chelsea in the transfer window looked a possibility, but Colin didn’t want to drop down a level!!). Honours even at the break.
An inspiring team talk from Toby later we took to the pitch with a full side, Colin Ebdon joining the fray shortly before half time, and we were really up for taking the game on and winning. The half started with us pressing Albion on the back foot and Toby Harlow went close with a shot blocked in the box. But once again our luck was out. In Albion’s first foray forward the ball broke just inside the box and their player made no mistake, hammering the ball past the outstretched Steve Tanner. We tried to get back into the game with Chris Ponulak taking the lead in a superb display, winning everything in the air all game and taking the man-of-the-match award. But Crofton pressed on and with us getting tired and debut boy Lee Southby limping off we lost our shape slightly. This lead to a silly goal being conceded, followed by a penalty, which Steve Tanner was unlucky not to keep out the net, and we fell to another defeat to heap pressure on Toby Harlow who looks set to follow in the footsteps of Mr Souness if rumours in ‘The Sun’ are to be believed!!
The scoreline was fairly harsh as for the first half, and for spells of the second, we looked good and played some really good football. That first win is just around the corner boys, I can feel it in my bones!