Sunday 8th May 2011
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets\' Own Wanderer Returns to Sink Riverside Wanderers with Hat-trick
Rumours that Andy Faulks, who had not played for the Senior Vets since 6 March, had come home from some Greek odyssey, to regain his place as Senior Vets top goal scorer were after all true. And it was also reported that Andy had had an early night (leaving Biba's prematurely at 1:30 AM), to prepare for this game. And it seemed the Mediterranean weather had come home with him as well.
For our third game in 8 days the Farnborough Senior Vets lined up as follows: Gary Rosslee in goal; Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard, Danny Winter and Nick Kinnear in defence; Mehmet Bozyigit, Ian Shoebridge, Patrice Mongelard and John Tallis in midfield; Andy Faulks and Jerry Cogotti up front. Roger French and Chris Bourlet stood ready to make their mark in the second half – more on that later. For once we were outnumbered at home as Riverside Wanderers had managed to gather between 15 and 16 players.
When referee Mick Gearing started the game we were expecting a contest and so it proved to be. Riverside had the wind behind them and it took us a while to get out of our half. I have to be honest and say that our first goal after about 15 minutes was against the run of play – as Patrice Mongelard lofted the ball over the Riverside defence to play Andy Faulks in on goal. Andy got ahead of his marker, steadied himself and took the shot early and crisply from the edge of the box beating the keeper at his near post. Ten minutes later, still against the run of play, Jerry Cogotti provided the same silver service to Andy Faulks, and we were two up with a similar sort of goal. We had got away with it – no question. Riverside forced between five and six corners in that first half and Gary Rosslee had to be at his best to make a splendid double save from close range. Riverside even had the ball in the net from a rather good back header but that was disallowed because of an infringement well spotted by Mick Gearing in the box. It was really no surprise when Riverside got a goal back - after they had penetrated behind the defence on our left and cut the ball back inside the 6-yard box for a low shot into the bottom corner. We managed to hold on until the end of the half with our spine of John Tallis, Steve Blanchard and Ian Coles holding firm. We even had a half-chance to make it 3-1 when Patrice Mongelard sliced a left foot shot wide from six yards out, when the ball was unselfishly played across the box by Andy Faulks.
At half time Nick Kinnear and Patrice Mongelard made way for Roger French and Chris Bourlet. Nick went to run the line, from where he was able (allegedly) to ask the youth team about their elderly relatives when their game on the top pitch finished midway through our second half.
Half time had also seen the arrival of the bride and groom (mentioned in recent match reports) and other supporters, including Chris Webb, plastered and unfortunately out of action, and a little later, expectant father - Paul Bell, with an unusual and interesting sweepstake. We also had at half time a very kind offer from Pam Shoebridge to top our water bottles, such was the thirst caused by the warm sun, and our efforts to keep Riverside at bay.
Although we now had the wind behind us it was difficult to peg Riverside back. No doubt feeling hard done by in the first half they pressed us hard. We came close to scoring when Roger French had a volley from the edge of the Riverside box that was made for a left footer, but we had to do more defending than attacking in the first ten to fifteen minutes. Soon after, Riverside got their reward when a dangerous cross from the right was turned in at the far post for an inadvertent Riverside equaliser by our own Mehmet Bozyigit who was covering the defence. Mehmet tried very hard to make amends and five minutes later crashed a 20-yarder against the Riverside crossbar. Psychologically this was an important moment – as it gave us fresh hope. Andy Faulks, who timed his diagonal runs very well today, latched on to another through ball, and appeared to be impeded as he sought to round the Riverside keeper. The referee blew for a penalty, but Andy sportingly said the keeper’s challenge was fair.
We did not have to wait long after that before restoring our advantage. It came from a wholly unexpected source as Chris Bourlet, prone to wander from his left back position, found himself in the right place at the right time, as the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the Riverside box, in the centre, and he swept it instantly into the net. His positional transgression was forgiven, on this occasion.
Patrice Mongelard came back on for Mehmet Bozyigit for the last twenty minutes – and was to add to the inspired management decisions made today (though no doubt Toby Manchip would dispute that). Five minutes later Patrice Mongelard teed the ball up for Roger French to make it 4-2 to Farnborough with a delicate right foot lob from close range. Two more Farnborough goals were scored in the last ten minutes; first Jerry Cogotti’s quick feet slipped the ball behind the Riverside defence for Andy Faulks to run on to, and get his richly deserved hat-trick. Soon after Jerry registered his third assist of the game, as he caressed the ball into Patrice Mongelard’s path, who advanced into the box and hit a low shot past the keeper to everybody’s surprise but his own. Not for the first time this season Patrice Mongelard had scored a goal which did not quite register with his team mates – as it was not immediately clear to them how the ball had ended up in the net. Solitary goal celebrations were followed soon after by the final whistle.
Things were lively in the clubhouse with Toby Manchip, who had come to seek, and obtained approval, to open transfer talks with Cudham – and with perhaps more beer than usual imbibed to accompany Shirley’s excellent grub, because of the warm weather and relaxed atmosphere. To keep Roger French relaxed his daughter Isabelle had taken to wearing a fluorescent police vest, and his son Thomas had been armed with a sword. This almost failed, as Roger got exercised when he felt Riverside had got away with something during the game – though being honest I would have to say that Farnborough got away with it a bit today, particularly in the first half – and we only asserted ourselves in the last twenty five minutes when injuries and tiredness afflicted Riverside more than Farnborough.
Man of the match today – an inspired Andy Faulks – for a hat-trick which restored him as top scorer, coming home like a Greek tragic hero, to win his rightful place and dash his rivals’ hopes.
Riverside Wanderers liked our pitch and hospitality so much that they are coming back to play us on Wednesday – and I hope to be reporting on that too (our thirtieth and penultimate game this season).
Man of the match: Andy Faulks