Sunday 17th October 2010
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets Win 5-2 in Limp Performance Against Inter-Vyagra
In the end there was satisfaction for Farnborough but this game will be remembered more for the frustration than the relief.
Farnborough lined up with Toby Manchip in goal; Patrice Mongelard, Steve Blanchard, Nick Kinnear and Trevor Stewart in defence; Sinisa Gracanin, Colin Brazier, Chris Webb and Paul Bell in midfield; Ian Shoebridge and Mark Perry up front. Roger French arrived as the game kicked off becoming our twelfth man (and would be doing some kicking off of his own later). We were missing a few from last week and also the explosive shooting of Andy Faulks, who went for a drink in Chislehurst last Monday and woke up in Corfu, so I gather.
After the first 10 minutes Ian Shoebridge got our first goal – a close range volley from a knock down by Mark Perry. By then we were feeling we should be 2 or 3 goals up – as Inter Vyagra struggled to get into our half and we had no difficulty penetrating their defence, and lining up shots, or crosses, more or less at will. So we got complacent and sloppy and Inter Vyagra walked through our defence to score an equaliser – after Toby Manchip had parried the first shot but the ball found its way to the far post for a tap in by an unmarked Inter Vyagra player. The feeling that we were being mugged increased as Inter Vyagra hit a post from a free kick after Toby Manchip misread the flight of the ball and only desperate defending by Nick Kinnear prevented them from scoring from the rebound. They should have gone ahead when the centre of the defence parted again to let their forward in and only Toby’s fortuitous positioning for the ensuing shot saved us.
Our mood was not great and words were being exchanged all over the pitch as we continued to enjoy 80%+ of possession but without any outcome, until our second goal arrived after 30 minutes or so as Mark Perry got to the end of a through ball, managed to prod the ball past the keeper’s grasp for Paul Bell to tap it into the net. This was no more than we deserved and we pressed on, even if we played a little too much down the left where we compressed the play. From that sort of area Sinisa Gracanin produced a long range shot that hit the post – on the adjacent rugby pitch. Soon after Chris Webb delivered an up and under that bounced awkwardly for the not tall Inter Vyagra keeper who had two goes at it – and was put off by the close attentions of Ian Shoebridge and the ball found its way to Trevor Stewart arriving in the box to tap in our third goal. You might think it churlish to ask what Trevor, our left back, was doing up there given that he had scored but this moment was symptomatic of the way we had played, all eager to score like teenagers, and not always keeping our shape, discipline and patience. But we were 3-1 up at half time.
And we thought that we would score again even though we were now playing against the slope. Roger French joined the fray – and some tactical changes were made to enable him to go up front, with Trevor Stewart taking over child-minding duties on a flat surface, on the touchline. What Trevor saw in the first five minutes would not have been pretty as Farnborough went all soft and Inter Vyagra scored a goal which, in the interests of historical accuracy, I really ought to describe as a Toby Manchip own goal. A cross was allowed to be put in from the left. Toby reached for it, grabbed the ball and in one swift movement placed it on the laces of the boot of an incoming and grateful Inter Vyagra forward to make the score 3-2. Some say that Toby was distracted by the thought, or sight, of a small man from the Indian sub-continent cruising down the road in a Ford motorcar. I do not know what goes on that mind of his but he would have been disappointed with that episode, and his kicking, throws and movement off his line was that of a man with a troubled mind for most of the rest of the game – except for a very smart save diving low to his right later on which troubled the Inter Vyagra player who had the shot – and who was still disbelieving later on in the bar.
We had let Inter Vyagra back into the game and they were up for it as moments of indecision in the defence (which includes the goalkeeper) threatened to cause us more embarrassment. Things were not much better up front, where Roger was having a tough time – no service, overhit through balls, not much end product for his flick-ons, passes and shots. The straw that broke the camel’s back took the form of a shot from Chris Webb from 15 yards out which went over the bar when Roger was expecting a pass. I think that shot hit the cricket sightscreen behind the goal (which meant we hit the bar, the rugby post and the cricket sight screen today). Anyway furious words were exchanged and Roger advised his team mates to shut up as they were treading on very thin ice, and we could see wisps of that red mist in a few tackles in the next few moments but thankfully it seemed to have dissipated by the time the match reached its last ten minutes and we had begun to pass the ball, and speak, to Roger again.
I was asked in an aside by an Inter Vyagra player to confirm the score as he, understandably, thought that this was not normal behaviour for a team that was winning. I’ll be honest with you – I cannot recall if by then we were 4-2 up or not. Chris Webb had eased the pressure with a firm header into the Inter Vyagra net from an Ian Shoebridge corner.
We continued to lay siege to the Inter Vyagra goal: Ian Shoebridge hit the bar with a shot, we had several corners; Patrice Mongelard got behind the defence and fizzed a cross-cum-shot that went narrowly wide; Paul Bell and Ian Shoebridge got to the byeline in quick succession but could not cut the ball back to unmarked players.
There was some light relief: Nick Kinnear offered some advice to Mark Perry only to be told to worry about his own game; Nick almost revealed his managerial potential when he substituted Paul Bell, clearly knackered after a late night and we hear three bottles of Argentinian wine on the train back from the Newcastle game yesterday, and brought Colin back on, who had given way for Trevor's return 20 minutes earlier. But then – soon after Trevor went on a run and then suddenly stopped and fell to his knees as if his battery had run out.
All seemed well in the last 5 minutes as Ian Shoebridge scored our fifth, and his second, goal with a 20-yarder that sailed over the keeper’s head into the net. But this had not been a convincing display compared with recent games – we could have done with some performance enhancing substance at times. There was a fractious and tetchy mood in the team that brought apologies and handshakes later. It would have been a lot worse if we had lost but as it is this was our fifth win of the season from seven games. I suppose when a team become used to winning they can develop a collective anxiety about their performance and we suffered from that today, and forgot to enjoy the game.
We had a fine pair of Men of the Match today in Ian Shoebridge and Colin Brazier.
Man of the match: Ian Shoebridge and Colin Brazier