Sunday 23rd January 2011
By Gary Rosslee
A cold and bitter Sunday morning on the 23rd of January saw the Young Vets face Charlton Rangers at the hallowed Farrow Fields. We were going into today’s match against unknown opposition and because their fixture with the Senior Vets back in November had been postponed Statler & Waldorf were unable to provide us with a dossier outlining their strengths and weaknesses. So playing the role of Miss Marple yours truly went off to investigate Charlton Rangers to see if there was any valuable information that may assist us and what better place to start than the world wide web.
Charlton Rangers appeared to be one of the more organised set ups we had faced in our 2 years of of existence, they had their own website, 4 senior teams in total which included 2 Vets teams and they even went to the trouble of writing their own match reports (now what sort of idiot would do that!). They were established in 1965 when the idea of forming Charlton Rangers was suggested with a gentleman called John Commerford, while travelling by coach to a Charlton Athletic away match at Birmingham on 4th September 1965. He suggested to a bunch of ardent supporters at the back of the coach that they should form a football team to play on Sunday mornings and as there was enough of an interest they decided to have a practice on the Sunday week, 12th September. Funnily enough today’s ref Laurie Parsfield informed me that Charlton drew that day 2-2 as he went to the game; he also added ‘if Charlton come away with all 3 points it would have made his 21st birthday an even better day to remember’!
Getting back to business, Charlton Rangers were coming into this fixture without a win under their belts in at least 15 games, but to their credit they had held Cudham to a 2-2 draw similar to ourselves earlier in the season so we could not take them too lightly.
We lined up as follows
Gary Rosslee - GK
Neil Connelly - LB
Tony Simpson – CB
Paul Brett – CB
Richard Davies – RB
George Kleanthous – LM
Jim St John – CM
Grant Gable – CM
Jason Miller – RM
Pete Harvey – CF
Paul Tanton –CF
The early passages of play were dictated by Farnborough who knocked the ball around to feet nicely and were a pleasure to watch in some spells. Pete Harvey was the closest to breaking the deadlock when his left foot curler from outside the box was only kept out by the right upright with the Charlton keeper rooted to the spot. Farnborough continued to pepper the Charlton goal with some excellent deliveries by both Jason Miller and George on their respective sides of the pitch but unfortunately Farnborough were unable convert them. Charlton’s style of play was direct AKA route one football and lo and behold this tactic finally worked for them on around the 20 minute mark when a long ball over the top found Tony Simpson flatfooted and 3 yards behind his man, the striker composed himself and finished smartly into the bottom right hand corner leaving Rosslee no chance, a real sucker punch 0-1 Charlton.
Farnborough pressed forward in search of the equaliser and all credit to them they never once dropped their heads and found themselves level on 30 minutes when Jason Miller was given too much space out on the right; he was able to cut inside and fire a rasping shot into the far corner which again gave the goalkeeper no chance, one apiece, 1-1.
Farnborough should have gone in at the break with at least 2 goals to their name, this time Richard Davies delivering the pass of the game, he found Pete Harvey unmarked at the back post with a pinpoint ball into the box from 40 yards out but his header went wide, Pete also took an almighty whack for his troubles from the goalkeeper and decided to sit out the last 5 minutes of the half, and thus managing to cram in 2 isotonic Marlboro Lights!
Laurie blew for half time and the team had their half time talk, which basically went along the lines of ‘keep up with what you are doing and the goals will come’.
With the second half now underway the third goal of the game did come, unfortunately for the OBG’s it was at the wrong end!! A routine corner came over from the left flank which was almost behind the Charlton attacker but he managed to get a toe on the ball and volley it home through a crowded penalty area. 1-2.
That goal sparked Farnborough back into life and Pete Harvey finally got off the mark with an excellent half volley finish from a Neil Connelly corner, to this day we will never know if Neil actually meant to pass to Pete or did Pete get Neil out jail for his poor corner? All jokes aside the goal was as good as one you will see scored on that pitch for the rest of the year. 2-2.
Matt Wright who had come on as a second half sub and taking up a position in the middle of the park was then put through on goal thanks to some quick thinking by Jason Miller – and one of his Rory Delap style throw-ins. The Charlton players all seemed to stop and stand still when it suddenly dawned on them ‘you can’t be offside from a throw in’ and Matt exquisitely curled his effort around the despairing dive of the goalkeeper. 3-2 OBG’S.
A copy of the offside rule for all of our good lady readers can be found at http://www.offside-ref.co.uk/laws/11-offside-rule/detailed/
Pete than grabbed his second of the game when he was put through from an inch perfect George Kleanthous slide pass to steer the ball around the onrushing goalkeeper to put the game out of reach with the scores 4-2 and there was even time for Pete to net his hat-trick, this time chasing down a loose ball that ended up with a tangle of bodies as both the Charlton defender and goalkeeper collided and were left sprawled out on the floor in starfish positions allowing Pete to smash home the ball into an empty net. The calls for modern day technology were not ignored as many of us believed the ball had crossed the line already and the last touch came from the defender, however these calls were rightfully swept aside after the game when Pete bought the customary hat-trick jug of lager!!!
So a well deserved 5-2 victory in the end against a team who didn’t always make it easy for us, although to be fair we probably made it a lot harder for ourselves!!
Next week is the first of 5 away games on the trot with a game against Glendale Vets, again a team we have never faced; maybe yours truly could do some research and have another look on the internet. But this time when ‘er indoors’ is out!
Man of the match: Jason Miller