Sunday 10th October 2010
By Patrice Mongelard
Maximum points for Farnborough, 3-1 winners against Belvedere, on 10/10/10 day
This was our first trip to the Belvedere ground which we all found by various routes, most of us looking brighter and sharper than a couple who will remain nameless but were clearly a little dehydrated and dishevelled. This was by far the biggest pitch we were to play on and the size of the Belvedere squad – 19 players, matched the pitch.
Farnborough lined up with Toby Manchip in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard and Mehmet Bozyigit in defence; Sinisa Gracanin, Mark Perry Chris Webb and Jerry Cogotti in midfield; Ian Shoebridge and Leo Maccioni in attack. Roger French and Colin Brazier were our reinforcements. Trevor Stewart’s Merc was also severely dehydrated and he was not able to join us in the rather smart but snug dug-out. We also had, briefly before kick-off, a substitute goalkeeper in the form of a wheelie bin, until another large presence, also in green, returned into goal after doing the captain’s duties in the centre circle.
We knew from last season’s home defeat against Belvedere that this would not be a stroll in the autumn sunshine. The size of the pitch was helpful to our now customary passing game, perhaps too helpful at time as Arsenalitis crept in. It is true to say that Toby Manchip had not very much to do in this first half. There was one shot of note that he was well-positioned to deal with and I also recall a cross that was fumbled but apart from that it was only his kicking that caused him a bit of disquiet in the long grass.
Farnborough had the better start and were playing the more composed football. The defence snuffed out any danger from the two robust Belvedere forwards fairly easily, and they did not really get behind us to put crosses in. We were doing plenty of that ourselves and we had relatively little trouble taking the game into the final third around the Belvedere box. But their defence was rugged and muscular and there was always a last defender to nullify our final ball. Just when we were getting a bit impatient with ourselves our first goal came 25 minutes into the game. Mark Perry combined with Mehmet Bozyigit on the right and was able to swing a low cross in to Ian Shoebridge’s feet. Ian turned his marker smartly, and laid the ball into the path of Leo Maccioni who advanced unchallenged into the six-yard box to tuck the ball away. This was no more than we deserved and soon after Leo had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 but completely lost his co-ordination 3 yards out with the Belvedere keeper having been bamboozled by an Ian Shoebridge cross.
Sensing that we needed to press our advantage, and still basking in the glory of last week’s thunderbolt, Patrice Mongelard began to move into that corridor of opportunity between 30 to 35 yards from the Belvedere goal and was able to unleash several powerful shots in quick succession – the first one was five yards wide but the right height the second one was not wide but a foot over. Colin Brazier was photographing some of the game but his camera may not have been fast enough to capture these moments. Editor's / photographer's note: you have a photographic memory Pat.
We were quietly pleased to be 1-0 up at half time and looking forward to playing with the not inconsiderable slope. Colin Brazier came on for Stephen Blanchard and restored a bit of balance on the left side of defence and Ian Coles moved into the centre of defence. We ought to acknowledge that Belvedere surprised us a little in that second half and seemed to have more of a threat even against the slope, and curiously a breeze had sprung up to help them. They must have brought on 3 or 4 substitutes and suddenly we had some mobile, rangy and hungry forwards to deal with. However, we were able to silence the crowd as they say with a rather quick second goal ten minutes into the half as Leo Maccioni played a through ball for Ian Shoebridge who calmly lobbed the keeper.
The next 20 minutes were fairly even. Belvedere created some dangerous moments, two or three corners, even had the ball in the net but from an offside position after Toby Manchip had pulled off a very smart save. We lost a bit of cohesion in the midfield and whilst we had a lot of possession did not do much with it. A couple of crosses from the ever busy Mehmet Bozygit and Mark Perry on the right nearly led to goals. Colin Brazier was finding the new Belvedere forward quite a handful on the right and his 90 minutes yesterday and late night were beginning to take their toll and Patrice Mongelard and Ian Coles had to put in good covering and saving tackles – one from Ian was particularly good as the Belvedere forward was pulling the trigger. Roger French came on for Jerry Cogotti for the last fifteen minutes, we thought to bolster the defence, but after his goal last week went up to do his “sniffer” French thing in the box.
Relief came with about 10 minutes left. A long goal kick from Patrice Mongelard found its way to Ian Shoebridge on the left wing – he skinned his marker, advanced into the box, ignored Roger French hoping for a cut-back, but listened to his sound advice, opened his body and placed a low shot into the bottom corner. Moments later Patrice Mongelard advanced forward, picked up a loose clearance from a corner and let fly from 25 yards – only to see the ball flash six inches above the bar, the closest of a trio of most satisfying shots. With a couple of minutes left we lost our concentration, Patrice Mongelard and Chris Webb contrived to allow one of the aforementioned Belvedere forwards to place a shot low under the despairing Toby Manchip, very cross for not being able to post a clean sheet as captain today. And that was it – a well-deserved away victory against a useful side who probably win more games than they lose or draw. We are now in that happy state ourselves with our fourth win of the season to set against our two narrow defeats.
The mood was good after the game, helped further with some rather good sandwiches, hot potato wedges and sausages in a cosy bar and a friendly bunch of opponents. The trip home was on the long side but in bright sunshine, with the temperature rising up to 21 degrees centigrade – which made Toby Manchip’s chilling tale of igloos all the more harder to take in.
Man of the match: Ian Shoebridge