Sunday 1st May 2011
By Isabelle French, with a second report by Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough Gazette Written by Isabelle French
...and now a second report from Patrice Mongelard...
Senior Vets Pull Off Italian Job
One week on, another trip to the Kentish Weald, in glorious spring sunshine, and another 2-0 scoreline, but this time Farnborough were crowned.
The Farnborough “squadra” featured: Gary Fentiman in goal; Paul Parsons, Patrice Mongelard, Danny Winter and Nick Kinnear in defence; Ian Shoebridge, Mehmet Bozyigit, Mark Perry and John Tallis in midfield; Jerry Cogotti and Leo Maccioni up front. Chris Bourlet and Roger French (and their bambinos, and miss Fentiman) completed the Farnborough expedition – for our furthest away game, to facilities, hospitality and opposition that are well worth the trip.
Games between Farnborough and Staplehurst Monarchs have always been close affairs, often with late goals, nicking a result. Today did not follow quite the same pattern – but this was an evenly contested game, played in excellent spirit, and with both teams missing several players from when they last met, at Farrow Fields on 6 March.
The pitch was in excellent condition, a tad dry and bouncy in keeping with the weather, and with a fairly strong breeze that required both sets of players to concentrate and take care of the ball. The early pressure, and greater fluency of passing was ours and we came closest after a quarter of an hour, when Leo Maccioni slammed a close range shot against the post after good work in the box by Jerry Cogotti. We had a lot of joy down the right with the usual combination of Mehmet Bozyigit and Danny Winter, but failed to make the most of a string of crosses from that source. We were having trouble too with our corners which were mostly under-hit, and therefore well defended at the near post. The Staplehurst keeper was agile and confident, and it was clear that something special would be needed to get the better of him.
At the other end Staplehurst reminded us more than once that they could break with effect and purpose, and the ball over the top which held up in the wind, made it awkward for Gary Fentiman to come off his line with maximum efficacy. Staplehurst had the same number of corners as we did, for about half of the possession that we had in the first half. With half an hour gone, our incessant probing down the right, and Jerry Cogotti’s darting runs, quick turns and quicker feet, combined to give us our first goal as Jerry produced an exquisite and crisp half volley from Ian Shoebridge’s cut-back, with great finesse, to loop the ball over the keeper (a bit like Roberto Baggio or Alessandro Del Piero, I thought). We managed to defend that lead until the break, with John Tallis anchoring the midfield, ably supported by Ian Shoebridge and Mark Perry, aided by Leo Maccioni’s energy and Paul Parsons’ robust defending.
Roger French and Chris Bourlet came on at half time, for Nick Kinnear and Mark Perry, to give us a new look, and more rugged left side. We needed it as the breeze was now with Staplehurst and the early pressure was theirs. Five minutes in – they gave us quite a scare as a dipping volley from distance looped over Gary Fentiman’s head, and he was just able to tip the ball onto the bar, and we cleared the rebound. But then, ten minutes into the second half, we managed to do what away teams hope for, and that was to silence the home crowd by getting a second goal, on the break, with Leo Maccioni timing his run to sprint clear of the Staplehurst defence, after some neat inter-passing on the halfway line, to carry the ball twenty yards or so, deep into the Staplehurst box, before hitting a fierce low shot that struck the post before coming to rest in the net.
But of course, this did not finish Staplehurst off – as they pressed forward to get back in the game. They forced some corners and from one of those Chris Bourlet cleared off the line, and Gary Fentiman had to make a smart save diving low, and without spilling the ball, to hold on to a fierce close range shot in the follow-up. This save will have given Gary particular satisfaction after events in the last minute of last year’s corresponding fixture – and (he confided) it made him better able later to enjoy the excellent post-match grub (that is whatever Roger French and Patrice Mongelard left for the rest of the team).
Paul Parsons made way with about twenty minutes left and John Tallis dropped back into central defence, and Mark Perry returned, this time into central midfield, to have, arguably, more influence on the game than he did in the first half. We continued to defend well and to look for the break mainly down the right – and in some ways not really making the most of the opportunities we fashioned, or using our left side as much as we ought. Leo Maccioni hit the post again and Jerry Cogotti was just beaten to the rebound. We crowded round the Staplehurst box, over-passed to some extent and while we did not look like scoring again, we kept the play at their end. Whenever they tried to break our covering defenders, Danny Winter, Chris Bourlet and Patrice Mongelard, managed to play Farnborough out of trouble.
After the excellent showers, power showers compared to the Farrow Fields plumbing (alas), a good number of us made our way to the King's Head – to enjoy regal hospitality in the form, once again, of a steaming vat of turkey curry, copious parsley-flecked rice, and a mountain of poppadums. Roger French, for whom the match had been relatively serene, tucked in with gusto, like a man who had sharpened his appetite by re-reading the culinary extracts in the report of last season’s corresponding match, which he had missed.
The journey home, for all of us, though long, will have been enjoyable, in the lovely Kent countryside, past vineyards, and excellent weather – and with the satisfaction of a job well done in our last away fixture this season, against worthy opponents. We also welcomed news that Friday’s wedding had passed off very well, and the groom will be back in a Farnborough shirt very soon. Several of us even have another match to look forward to – on Tuesday, as sadly the season draws to its close.
Man of the match today – Leo Maccioni, closely followed by Jerry Cogotti. Between them this dynamic duo polled ten out of thirteen votes cast, (no AV system here) for a combined performance that was smooth, intense and velvety – just like a top Italian ice cream – Maccioni & Cogotti’s perhaps, or Leo & Jerry’s.
Man of the match: Leo Maccioni