Thursday 29th April 2010
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough Young and Older Vets sans goal against Sanco Vets in 1-0 defeat
This is all a bit new – my first midweek game vets match report – but not my first Farnborough Vets midweek game, but somehow the sad sight of the ambulance on the pitch last Thursday induced a severe case of writer’s block. This week – although we lost – I feel the whole, more positive, experience deserves recording.
Apart from the novelty of a second consecutive midweek vets game we were also experimenting with the side we put out – a mixture of young and older vets; and it showed – against a Sanco side that has had years of practice at this kind of thing. At times all the Farnborough players had in common was the kit, and even that was a bit of a mixed bag.
Farnborough lined up with Gary Fentiman* in goal; Patrice Mongelard*, Tony Simpson, Ian Coles* and Colin Brazier* in defence; Matt Wright, George Kleanthous, Robin Lipscomb and Toby Manchip* in midfield; Peter Harvey and Andy Faulks* up front. Rod Loe*, Chris Ponulak* and Paul Storkey* were the subs. [* older vets asterisked].
Sanco too had mixed their vets up – but it was clear very quickly that they had a smoother blend (sorry that’s Kenco but you know what I mean) - more composure, more collective play, more patience and care of the ball, knew each other’s names, nobody out of position, fewer stray passes - that sort of thing. We hung on and whilst we were not really penetrating their box, and our final “killer“ ball was not hitting the spot - it would have looked like an even, well-contested game to a neutral observer, with Sanco showing a tad more menace.
I do not recall the Sanco keeper having much to do in that first half – Gary Fentiman was the busier keeper – and was the one who had to pick the ball out of his net after a very good cross from the right eluded him, and was met by an equally good header into the top corner to give Sanco a deserved lead – twenty five minutes or so into the game. After that Sanco controlled the game without looking like they could score a second. We continued to huff and puff, and made substitutions without coming close to get an equaliser. Our forwards were well-policed and starved of service, our midfield was finding it hard to get hold of the ball and keep it.
When the second half started Sanco enjoyed even more possession and had quite a bit of joy down their left where their quickest player was operating. It is fair to say they could have scored one or two more goals in that half but for last ditch tackles and resolute defending from Ian Coles, Tony Simpson, Patrice Mongelard and general alertness from Gary Fentiman. We tried harder too, with George Kleanthous and Peter Harvey putting more pressure on the Sanco defence that held firm – and we never really tested the Sanco keeper – bar some tame long range shots.
At times Farnborough tempers shortened with each other, tantric Mick (the ref) and Sanco players, but at no time was there any danger of things getting out of hand. It was just not that kind of game, and certainly that kind of team, or fan, involved, on both sides.
The good spirit among both teams was carried over to the Change of Horses where we gathered for a beer or two. I even saw a Sanco Chelsea fan and a Farnborough West Ham fan (George Kleanthous) getting on well – and a Farnborough Spurs fan (Colin Brazier) exchanging pleasantries with a Sanco Gooner. The Liverpool game was on – even if it provided the one discordant note of the evening for me.
The time in the pub reminded me that football has a social side that is often forgotten amid the Sunday morning hurly-burly. And – having watched the Barcelona/Inter Milan game the previous evening when I saw science triumph over art, our own modest game reminded me that football was more than science or art.
For me it also meant a dirty kit to take home (again). I am not sure how, but that’s two out or two for me with the kit for the two Thursday evening vets games we have played. Still as Roger French told me – it means that I am now, with four kit washes for the season, the front runner for the Dot Cotton award at the end of the season.
We were not able to use the clubhouse this week – a more genteel and serious-looking crowd had occupied it - there was not the usual après match housekeeping, Toby Manchip wit, and no man of the match votes were recorded. This said – football won today and there was a clear sense that these midweek games are a good idea – and should continue, especially against opponents like we had today. There was a generally more relaxed mood among the players, and the management (even Vic Farrow seemed mellow) and it was good to catch up with old friends – after all we had only one vets team last year.