Sunday 25th April 2010
By Patrice Mongelard
Older Vets Continue Long Run of Failure Against The Buff With 3-2 Defeat
We will not be sending runners ahead with news of a great victory for Farnborough today. In fact we had something of a Greek farce at times, particularly in the first half. On a day when we could draw on our Young Vets whose game against Cudham vets was not taking place – we managed (a verb Toby Manchip would dispute with the management) to start this home game with 10 players (and no linesman) and by the time we had 11, the race had been run, so to speak.
Farnborough lined up with Gary Fentiman in goal; Nick Kinnear, Rod Loe, Steve Blanchard and Ian Coles in defence; Sinisa Gracanin, Chris Webb, Patrice Mongelard and Toby Manchip in midfield; Peter Harvey up front on his own. Ian McCaw, Mick Ingram and George Kleanthous joined the race later. Andy Faulks never started – a runner brought news at half-time that he was stuck in Brighton, I think he meant the place on the south coast.
It dawned on us in a flash that this Buff side was built for sprinting rather than long distance running – with 3 or 4 very quick players, who were blessed with very youthful looks, as well as pace. The ancient Buff manager assured us they were vets – by some peculiar Greek calendar perhaps, or there must be something in the beer at the Buff (though it does not seem to have had the same rejuvenating effect on Toby Manchip – not yet anyway). This said, in fairness we had two good young vets of our own, in Peter Harvey and, for the second half only, George Kleanthous.
The game was barely ten minutes old when the Buff took the lead, as we were overrun on the right of our defence, and Gary Fentiman was beaten at close range by quick feet and thinking from the Buff. We feared worse as the Buff had the bulk of the possession and pressure (with the wind to assist their sprinters) and we failed to string passes together to get out of our half. Our full backs were always in danger of being left behind and the Buff running from midfield and the movement of their players gave them a fairly comfortable first half. Ian McCaw had joined us midway into the first half but it was as if we played the rest of that half thinking we had only ten players on the pitch.
Greek farce almost turned to Greek tragedy as Toby Manchip tackled one of his own players, Peter Harvey, in the centre circle in a 50-50 (though really it should be called a 100-0 perhaps) that left Peter nursing an ankle that was already sore from the attentions of the rugged Buff defence. The Buff keeper was barely tested in that first half – one memorable moment came from a shot from Toby Manchip from the edge of the box which looked close as it fizzed low past the post – but it was not until the second half that we were to find out just how good the Buff keeper was.
Still it was only 1-0 at half-time – partly due to some excellent saves from Gary Fentiman and some wayward finishing from the Buff who searched hard for a second goal, ably prompted by Barry Grainger. Rod Loe and Nick Kinnear made way for George Kleanthous and Mick Ingram. It is fair to say that we gave the Buff a harder time in that half, with the wind behind us, and their keeper was called to make some very good saves from Peter Harvey, George Kleanthous, Ian McCaw and Toby Manchip and we forced several corners. Inevitably the abundance of pace in the Buff side was put to use as a through ball lofted over our defence doing its impression of Greek statues saw not one but two Buff roadrunners clean through to lob Gary Fentiman.
In spite of this we kept going forward and managed to get a goal back from Peter Harvey’s sweetly-struck left foot curler into the far corner from an edge of the box throw-in. As often happens the team chasing a goal was then caught out as another of the Buff spring chickens burst through the centre to latch on to a clever through ball from Barry Grainger, and coolly finish past Gary Fentiman. There was time for Farnborough to get a second, from an even better strike from Peter Harvey into the top corner this time. We finished the half strongly but ran out of time in the end. We will run out against the Buff again in one of the midweek games next month – after we have all voted, even the Buff lads, and then maybe we will have news of a great victory to convey.
Man of the match today was Gary Fentiman in goal – with the Buff keeper a close second.
A few clubhouse titbits to report: Ian Shoebridge was spotted by some amongst the marathon runners bearing news of another Farnborough defeat. Vic Farrow was sporting a medal awarded to him on 20 April by the Mayor of Bromley for services to the community. If you ask me – he deserves a medal just for putting up with some of the tripe we have served up in some of our games and listening to us talk it all up afterwards as we tuck into Shirley’s grub (excellent again today) and wash it all down (though, sadly perhaps, not from a barrel from the Buff). Toby Manchip changed young Oliver Manchip’s nappy – a rather fuller load than usual I hear, reflecting our first half. Roger French had two man-of-the-match votes – a well formed number one from a well-taught demoiselle, and another less assured digit from an even younger hand.
Lastly, I can confirm that young Oliver Manchip has not yet been signed up by the Buff manager (like his father who has not yet been guillotined by Roger French, contrary to Toby’s fantasies, fuelled by nectar from the Buff barrels).
Man of the match: Gary Fentiman