Wednesday 12th May 2010
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough Vets given the bird by Buff Vets, yet again, in tame 4-2 defeat
Once again this season – I have lost count – we have come up short against the Buff. And the reasons are the same, for those of you who have followed our earlier failed attempts.
Farnborough lined up with Gary Rosslee; Patrice Mongelard*, Tony Simpson, Ian Coles* and Steve Blanchard* in defence; Sinisa Gracanin*, Chris Webb*, Colin Brazier* and Robin Lipscomb in midfield; Peter Harvey and Ian Shoebridge* up front. Rod Loe* and Mark Perry* were the subs at the start of the game; Mick Ingram* bobbed up a little later, unexpectedly, to add to our bench [ * Older Vets asterisked]. We had one or two absentees: Andy Faulks was pursuing a different kind of match of his own with a (buff) bird; and Toby Manchip was probably perched in The Buff at the time hydrating his torn hamstring.
The Buff side was the usual one as far as I could make out – if not stronger, buoyed by the presence of a large brood of fans, despite the weather.
We had great trouble making our mark on this game and it was noticeable how quiet we were throughout the game – like a team of trappists - with the shouts of growing frustration from our technical area all the more audible. The pattern was set early doors – most of the game was played in our half, the more incisive passing and greater pace came from the Buff, their defence was not very troubled and it was merely matter of time before they would score. They did so from a corner by Barry Grainger – as they have in previous games. Gary Rosslee came for a high catch, misjudged the flight of the ball, which landed on the biggest and best header of the ball in the Buff attack and that was it. We rallied briefly and quickly as a dangerous cross whipped in by Peter Harvey was headed into their own net by the Buff.
I do not recall the Buff keeper having to make any save of note in that half – except for a 25 yard free-kick from Patrice Mongelard that was destined for the top corner until it was plucked out of the air. The second Buff goal duly came – from the same mix of ingredients as in previous matches – indecisive defending, fast Buff forward who charged down a poor clearance and arrowed into the box to lift the ball over Gary Rosslee. Somehow we managed to prevent the Buff from going further ahead.
The second half was even more difficult – as all our three subs came on and there was more pressure applied. It was a bit of a surprise when we equalised as Pete Harvey latched on to a headed through ball from Chris Webb to lob the keeper. The Buff keeper had got a bit cocky as he played most of that half on his 18-yard line. Still the direction of migration was towards the Farnborough goal and there were numerous near misses for the Buff. Around the 70th minute the Buff finally got their reward as Gary Rosslee elected to punch a ball he could have caught. He may have been off balance at the time as his clearance travelled all of 5 yards, and sat nicely for a Buff midfielder who had the freedom of the Farnborough box to pick his shot and restore their lead. Ten minutes later their fourth goal arrived from an area that had been vulnerable to quick breaks. The final whistle was a welcome relief.
For Gary Rosslee in our goal – I could not help reflect that this may have a game too far, and that he should have quit while he was ahead and ended on the high he achieved on 9 May. That day he registered a clean sheet, great point blank saves, and that treasured thing for keeper - a goal. Instead he tarnished his 100% record against the Buff, picked the ball out of his net four times, and provided assists for two of the Buff goals. To be fair the score would have been more severe today but for two or three very good saves. Gary also seemed to have an assistant with him in goal – A. Post – who was called upon three times in quick succession as the Buff pecked at our goal, in that second half.
Pete Harvey had a frustrating evening, isolated up front and coming up against a flock of defenders each time – no wonder feathers were a little ruffled as he and the Buff “ginger bullet” puffed their chest out at each other after an altercation which was quickly snuffed out by wiser birds around.
It was good to have marathon man Ian Shoebridge back – after an absence of several weeks – and he looked and felt a bit leggy. I am not sure what excuse the rest of the team had. I could say it was the playing surface or the cold but it was the same for both teams. I cannot blame the referee, Mark Edwards, either, as he assured me after a polite enquiry, that he had completed his training.
We need to reflect on whether to continue these midweek games (and mixing players from two vets sides for them) – we have not had a lot of luck with the three games played. On 22 April there was a broken leg; on 29 April we did not have the use of the clubhouse; on 9 May whilst there was only wounded Farnborough pride, and we had the use of the clubhouse, we had to cope with reduced TV facilities following a break-in; and we also experienced the downside of having disturbed the Wednesday evening routine of Vic “snake hips” Farrow who had itchy feet and his mind elsewhere.
Man of the match was Steve Blanchard – fittingly, a defender.
I would be lying if I said that we were not already thinking of next season. There is much to ponder: return of former management, players whose contracts would not be renewed, transfer targets etc.
Lastly, words of thanks to Shirley for hot sausages, especially welcome, on what was not far from the coldest 12 May evening in Farnborough since records began; and also to Darren and Julie for keeping the bar open during the post match inquest.
Man of the match: Steve Blanchard