Sunday 21st November 2010
By Patrice Mongelard
“Daylight robbery at Farrow Fields: inside job suspected as Met Police nick 3-2 win against Farnborough senior vets.
We were expecting the usual tough game against these opponents who fittingly play in black and blue. And even though we left behind plenty of incriminating evidence, this was not a fair cop. To cap a plodding performance we gave away three goals – more on that later. Nine tenths of Farnborough possession was not enough against the law today.
Farnborough lined up with Gary Fentiman in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Chris Webb, Trevor Stewart and Roger French in defence; Mark Perry, Robin Lipscomb, George Kleanthous and Mehmet Bozyigit in midfield; Andy Faulks and Leo Maccioni up front. Waiting round the corner in the van were Paul Bell and Danny Winter. Ian Shoebridge came to watch the game – wisely deciding to protect his bruised ribs from the Met.
The Met had a full team – reinforced with two underage vets (one was less than half my age I was to uncover later) and they also nabbed Rod “I’d do anything for a game” Loe, loitering with intent in the clubhouse, to bulk up their numbers.
I suppose we found the opening exchanges too easy as we laid siege to the thick blue line and fashioned a string of half chances that we could not convert. We had no trouble getting behind or through them, and had them kettled inside their half, bar the occasional break. This said I cannot really recall a clear chance for Farnborough in that half, as many crosses went begging, many shots were off target, cut backs inside the six yard box went astray and we lacked composure in the box. The Met were happy to concede free kicks outside, sometimes inside even. And Mick Gearing was showing great economy with the whistle – even though there were plenty of laws being broken. He would not have lasted long on the beat, in the old days, with his attitude to whistle blowing. Ironically it was the Met players who wanted him to blow his whistle more. The Met keeper made one good save from a Patrice Mongelard free kick and that was it.
At the other end Gary Fentiman was wasting police time. Midway through the half we gave the Met help with their enquiries so to speak, as Roger French left the back door wide open, and one of the younger Met players, on-side, to advance on goal and slip the ball under Gary’s body to put the Met 1-0 up. The linesman on that side was our own Paul Bell who kept his flag down – until that time I had put out of my mind that Paul’s employer is in fact the Met. I was to be troubled again by that thought later on, in the second half. What made it seem worse was that it was so much against the run of play, and so easily avoidable with a bit more alertness and energy at left back. Soon after, Trevor Stewart was injured and Danny Winter came on at right back without breaking our pattern of play. Our attempts to get even continued to fail and the Met side were starting to believe that this was their day after all. I am not sure which side was more relieved when the half time whistle came. Mick Gearing came off the pitch in heated discussion with a Met player about the vices and virtues of tantric refereeing.
At half time Mark Perry made way for Paul Bell and we carried on where we left off. More chances went begging. George Kleanthous and Robin Lipscomb kept being fouled, sometimes noticed by the referee, sometimes not. We kept trying to walk the ball into the net against the tight ranks of the Met defence. One horrible slice off the right boot from Andy Faulks stood out in the memory – after he was teed up by George Kleanthous. Today Andy could not buy a goal and after bagging 4 goals on remembrance Sunday – he’ll want to forget today’s game. But before he was substituted Andy was able to set up our equaliser as he peeled off his marker, advanced on goal, and the save from the keeper landed at George’s feet who calmly lofted the ball into the empty net. This was no more than we deserved but a false dawn.
Andy’s substitution had led to a change in formation as Roger French went up front, Paul Bell dropped to left back and Mark Perry came back on at left midfield. Doubts about the wisdom of this move grew in my mind as the game went on.
Then we cracked under the pressure and, I confess, tempers began to fray even more. A shot from a Met Police forward hit Paul Bell in the box, on the hand from no more than 3 yards away. Mick Gearing saw fit to award a penalty that was put away to make it 2-1 to the Met. Paul Bell’s assist will have pleased his employer – but it was harsh (particularly on Paul who scored against Farnborough in our last defeat). Mick Gearing assured me afterwards that the tax disc on his car in the Farnborough car park was not out of date. I had to point out that he missed at least two blatant penalties in our favour – one in particular when George Kleanthous “lost his footing” with a Met defender very close by as Mehmet Bozygit was about to cut the ball back to him – I say about to because in the end Mehmet opted to blast the ball over the bar, not for the first time today.
Amazingly Farnborough was to have a hand in the third Met Police goal a few minutes later as Robin Lipscomb squared the ball to a Met Police forward on the edge of our box, with just the right amount of pace and on his best foot, to lash the ball into the Farnborough net.
Soon after there was a spot of GBH committed on Gary Fentiman in the box and things really threatened to get out of hand as Roger French nearly got into trouble with the police for his protest. Roger was asked by a Met player to step outside rather than aside – not quite standard Met procedure I thought.
With the minutes ticking away – Roger French got our second goal. From where I was standing it looked like a mishit but Roger assures me it was a cunningly disguised shot that deceived the keeper. There were too few of us in the bar afterwards to take a vote on it. Yes, Roger scored but I do not think we played our best football when the formation was switched. Then we ran out of time and that was it, we’d been mugged by the Met.
The mood was sombre in the club house afterwards. Vic Farrow seemed more meldrewish than usual as there was not much help available to him with all the chores around the club. He even had to unblock the boot-cleaning sink but was tooled up for the job. It was suggested to him that he cheers himself, and others, up by getting a Brazilian au pair to help out on Sunday morning. Who knows she may have relatives who can play for the senior vets, particularly up front.
Farnborough Man of the match was Chris Webb who stood out in the identity parade.
Man of the match: Chris Webb