Sunday 3rd April 2011
By Patrice Mongelard
Mother’s Day Delight for Senior Vets in 8-1 win Against Catford Wanderers
The absence of some fathers on Mother’s Day, golf, motor racing, foreign business ventures and injuries had reduced Farnborough numbers a bit compared to recent weeks but the return of some familiar faces in Mark Perry and Colin Brazier was welcome, and Toby Manchip’s dedication to the club, playing in a position he does not want to be, in spite of a calf injury, gave us the following line-up for this Mother’s Day parade: Toby Manchip in goal; Steve Blanchard, John Tallis, Patrice Mongelard and Nick Kinnear in defence; Sinisa Gracanin, Chris Webb, Mehmet Bozyigit and Mark Perry in midfield; Colin Brazier and Ian Shoebridge up front. Paul Bell and Chris Bourlet completed the Farnborough display.
Our plucky opponents mustered the bare eleven with Rod Loe pressed into service. I was to hear more about how they struggled to get a side later from an unexpected, but well-informed source. I would be lying if I said that I did not think we could win this game. My unspoken complacency must have infected the rest of Farnborough team as we sleep-walked through the first ten minutes, only to get a rude awakening in the form of the opening goal, scored by Catford Wanderers. The centre of our defence had parted in a tribute to the Old Testament and one of the quicker and younger Catford vets had rushed in from midfield to hit a powerful dipping volley that blew away Toby’s hopes of a clean sheet.
As volleys go this was easy on the eye but it was eclipsed ten minutes later as we drew level. A right wing cross from Patrice Mongelard had been met by Chris Webb’s header which was blocked, with the ball dropping to the edge of the box – only to be embraced in the sweetest of clean, crisp volleys by the left foot of Colin Brazier – into the top corner. Any sweeter than this and this volley would have had to carry a health warning for diabetics. Colin was to be in a sweet spot again five minutes later as he met a cross from Mehmet Bozyigit with a deft header at the far post, to put us ahead. We had truly woken up by the time Mehmet Bozyigit was brought down in the box, after he’d pushed the ball round the keeper with an empty goal beckoning. Acting sole – and highly successful manager for the day (with our highest score this season) – Patrice Mongelard, in Roger French’s absence, selflessly offered the penalty to Toby Manchip, who started coming off his line for it, but then not being quite over the psychological trauma of missing our last penalty against the same opponents – left it to Mehmet Bozyigit to stroke the ball home forcefully, for a 3-1 lead which we kept until half-time. Chris Bourlet came on for Nick Kinnear, still feeling the effect of walks in the woods allegedly, with about ten minutes of the half left.
Whilst we had most of the play, Catford were not without hope. They brought out a fantastic diving save from Toby Manchip, who pushed the ball round the post from a powerful long range shot. It would be a tad picky to think that he should have held the shot - so I am not going to go down that route. Clearly playing with some discomfort Toby had to rush off his line to make a couple of painful clearances in that half but his distribution was faultless.
The only change made at half-time was to bring Paul Bell on for Mark Perry who offered to play for Catford as they were down to ten men. For someone who had not played for a few weeks Mark gave a very good display in the Catford midfield and was at the heart of things when it flickered into life, and gave us something to worry about.
To cut a long story short we had the better of that second half. We scored a further five goals without reply – though Catford were unlucky not to get a second goal, from one passage of play that saw one of their better players, unmarked at the far post with a relatively easy chance. Our goals came in a rapid burst. Chris Webb got our fourth from a through ball by Ian Shoebridge which required a cool finish to beat the on-rushing keeper. Mehmet Bozyigit blasted our fifth from close range. Chris Webb produced a delicate lob from a delightful killer pass by Sinisa Gracanin to register our sixth. Ian Shoebridge, got our seventh, (his 14th of the season) to finally move ahead of Andy Faulks as our top scorer – from a well-placed left foot shot into the bottom corner, after a short pass by Paul Bell. Finally Chris Webb pounced on an underhit goal kick to set himself up for another cool finish and his hat-trick.
There were some other incidents of note. With about fifteen minutes left Toby Manchip had to leave the field such was his discomfort, and our tallest player, John Tallis, went into goal. Nick Kinnear came back on to see the game out. Chris Bourlet had a twenty-yarder that brushed the top of the bar. Paul Bell missed what looked like a very good chance from three yards out, having probably used all his luck to win a (20-1) bet on the top-scorer at the cricket world cup. Steve Blanchard ventured far from his comfort zone to find himself into the opposite six-yard only to roll a ball past the post. Patrice Mongelard spent the last fifteen minutes virtually upfront looking for a goal that never came, and getting the wrong end of several offside decisions from the very fair Catford Wanderers linesman, who nonetheless might wish to consider visiting his local SpecSavers for a check-up.
I was not entirely unaffected by Mother’s Day – as I had to leave early, in my Mother’s Day shirt, to partake of lunch at the Queen’s Head in Green St Green. I was not able to do justice to Mrs Shoebridge who had mothered us all by laying on a splendid spread, or drink some of Paul Bell’s winnings. It was in the Queen’s Head that I ran into Toby Harlow, still working hard with Mrs H on his return, who confided that Catford Wanderers had called him earlier in the day with the news that they were struggling for players – so all the more credit to them for fulfilling the fixture. We need teams with this attitude on our fixture list.
It was good to see referee Mick Gearing back from his New Zealand holiday – no doubt glad that the earth did not move while he was there.
Man of the match, to his genuine surprise and without the need for his own vote which he cast by phone, was Toby Manchip – referred to in management despatches by Roger French earlier in the week as “a top bloke who puts the team first”. It is rare that the player who gets a hat-trick – comes second in the voting. Still Chris Webb was able to dedicate his hat-trick to his mum, in lieu of the flowers he was not able to buy outside of the Rose & Crown this morning because the queue was too long. The smell of some fresh flowers would have made a nice change.
Man of the match: Toby Manchip