Sunday 16th May 2010
By Patrice Mongelard
Sunday morning glory for Older Vets who score five times against Inter Vyagra
And so it ends – a long and hard season climaxing in a 5-1 win for the Older Vets.
The score may suggest a soft encounter but it did not feel like that throughout the game. While we always had the greater penetration our opponents were proud, demanded respect and were good enough to profit from any mistakes we made. The average age of the team fielded by Farnborough today was 48.3 years – though our opponents, a true supervets side, were probably on the other side of 50, but up for it.
Farnborough lined up with Steve Palmer in goal: Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard, Rod Loe and Robin Lipscomb in defence; Sinisa Gracanin, Chris Webb, Patrice Mongelard and Paul Bell in midfield; Paul Tanton and Ian Shoebridge up front. Mick Ingram was our twelfth man, fitting really on a pitch in a facility now geared for cricket – a reminder that this was, sadly, the end of the football season (and with a wicket now doctored by a scooter).
The early morning sunshine had vanished by the time this game started in overcast conditions. There was a noticeable breeze that made the ball difficult to control and many passes went astray in the first fifteen minutes. There were no clear cut chances until Paul Tanton broke through on the left of the box and squared the ball for Patrice Mongelard to register his first strike for the season. Not quite goal of the season but I have seen chances like that missed (at Wembley yesterday in fact) and the hardest part was to make the run to be in the right place. I did think at the time as I thrust forward that if I missed this then I would have to write about it!
1-0 became 2-0 when a cross from Patrice Mongelard led to a shot from Ian Shoebridge that Paul Tanton cleverly re-directed into the net. We continued to dominate without finding the right final ball. There was a bicycle kick which looked good and was on target from Chris Webb, at the end of a cross from Patrice Mongelard. Paul Bell threatened to get at the end of one or two moves and contrived a diving header in the six yard box that deserved better. Patrice Mongelard produced a 40-yard burst of pace down the left wing, which surprised his team mates, to get to the end of his own chip. “Like Andrei Kanchelskis” purred Paul Tanton. Inter Vyagra had their moments and were not out of it, making good use of the flanks and the most of their target man (Craig) who was having a good game and giving hope to his team. We needed to be on their toes and erect the right sort of defensive barrier.
Mick Ingram came on for Rod Loe at right back for the second half. Even though we scored three more goals in that half I think we had a stiffer examination from Inter Vyagra, who created chances and put more pressure on our defence. One of their forwards had a “Solomon Kalou” moment from two yards out as he put a rebound from the keeper against the post.
Early in that half, Patrice Mongelard stretched for a half volley in the box from a corner. The significance of that attempt was not how close it was to going in as it brushed against the post, but rather it was attempted with the left foot. This resulted in stiffness in the groin area that restricted Patrice’s movement for the rest of the half though he was instrumental in two more goals.
Our third goal came from a passing move inside the box which saw Paul Tanton lay the ball into the path of Paul Bell who had cut inside from the left and had the whole of the goal open up in front of him, to place his shot into the bottom corner to beat the pumped up Inter Vyagra keeper. Our fourth goal followed not long after that as a clever dummy from Patrice Mongelard released Ian Shoebridge on the right and his near post through ball was volleyed into the top corner by Paul Tanton.
Ian Shoebridge was soon to set up the Inter Vyagra goal as he attempted to cushion a ball and ended up rolling it nicely into the path of the Inter Vyagra forward (Craig) who placed a low left foot shot inside the bottom corner. This was no more than they deserved. There was time for Ian Shoebridge to get our fifth goal in the last five minutes as he got his head to a pinpoint cross from the right from Patrice Mongelard, to steer the ball through the keeper’s legs at the far post.
I am pleased to report this game was played in excellent spirit – we were all conscious of the unfortunate happening when we last played this team and we hope their player continues his recovery well. The closest we came to an injury was when Steve Blanchard bounced off the big unit that is Robin Lipscomb and almost went limp.
French and Mongelard unveiled their Statler and Waldorf collection of T-shirts from Rookers Risque Rags - more products may follow. It will, of course, come as no surprise to Mrs French and Mrs Mongelard that their husbands are grumpy old gits. But after today’s game they had a smile on their faces.
There were other reasons why the management were pleased. We had come through an experimental season with a second vets side that had held its own. Excluding the abandoned game against Inter-Vyagra on 22 April – we had come through 27 games – winning 7, drawing three and losing 17 – with 54 goals scored and 78 conceded. Over the season we used a total of 43 players, including 9 different goalkeepers. We got through 135 oranges, produced detailed match reports for every game, and never had less than 11 players for any game. In fact we averaged 13.3 players for every game (and needed to call on our younger vets on very few occasions). So yes we can – and we are looking forward to next season.
Man of the match was Sinisa Gracanin – and without any votes from his number one fan – Thomas French.
ps from Colin Brazier on behalf of the rest of the old gits sorry vets. Many thanks to Patrice for his entertaining reports - as he demonstrates above he does not miss any kind of open goal - and to him and Roger for taking to management with alacrity (whoever Al Acrity is).
Man of the match: Sinisa Gracanin