Sunday 2nd January 2011
By Patrice Mongelard
Football Wins as Senior Vets do it for Themselves in 10-goal Thriller
Earlier in the week it looked like our winter break would run to yet another Sunday as Erith Vets failed to honour their fixture against us. But having last played on 21st November, we were gagging for a game and decided that as we already had 16 players available for the match we would put out a call for some extra bodies to get to 22 and have a bit of a run out. And so we did (with Ian Clarkson joining the fray midway through the second half). We also got Mick Gearing to drive to Farrow Fields in his Christmas present, a shiny blue Toyota, to referee the game (more on that later).
Club records will show that the two Farnborough Senior Vets teams today lined up as follows:
Senior Vets (Waldorf’s XI) in maroon:
Gary Fentiman in goal; Nick Frost, Steve Blanchard (sr), Nick Kinnear, Steve Blanchard (jnr) in defence; Sinisa Gracanin, Paul Bell, Mehmet Bozyigit, Patrice Mongelard in midfield; Dave Huxley, Andy Faulks up front.
Senior Vets Reserves (Statler’s XI) in yellow and red:
Toby Manchip in goal; John Tallis, Ian Clarkson, Trevor Stewart, Paul Parsons in defence, Mark Edwards, Chris Webb, Colin Ebdon, Roger French in midfield; Ian Shoebridge, Ryan Shoebridge up front.
On paper these looked two well-matched teams, devised by the Farrow Fields Senior Vets boot room, on what turned out to be a very good day for football – catching up with old friends, dry, no wind, a good pitch and a little nip in the air.
The first goal was not long in coming – as Gary Fentiman presented Ryan Shoebridge with a belated Christmas present as his attempt at a tight pass out of defence rebounded off Ryan’s foot into the goal. By then we had been playing for about five minutes and the Senior Vets had yet to appear in their opponents’ box. Anyone betting on the outcome of the game at that point would have lost money.
Slowly though the Senior Vets began to trouble the other team. Our equaliser was a Christmas cracker of a goal – as Mehmet Bozyigit cut in from the right and let fly. The ball whistled past a frozen Toby Manchip, and went in off the post. Our pressure told soon after as Paul Parsons put in a tackle in the box which the referee saw as man + ball rather than the other way round, and the only legitimate penalty of the game was awarded. Patrice Mongelard found traces of the penalty spot, and belted the ball past a diving Toby Manchip, against his outstretched hand, into the bottom corner. The Senior Vets' third goal followed soon after as Toby Manchip dived smartly to palm a low shot away but Patrice Mongelard got to the loose ball before Trevor Stewart could clear it, and cut it back for Paul Bell to slot home from a yard out.
Ian Clarkson joined the fray at that point and this released Roger French to yet again try his luck up front. He must have been highly excited at the thought of scoring, as the ball broke to him unmarked, on his right (left) foot into the box five yards out – but the score remained unchanged.
We then had an unscheduled stop so that the “Alan Hansen” cut on Dave Huxley’s forehead could be seen to. He had banged heads with Paul Parsons as he headed a cross over the bar. I am glad to say after initial reports of “alot of claret” that Dave was fine, once washed, vaselined and plastered, and he resumed the game soon after.
Even at 3-1 at half-time the game was finely poised, but then Toby Manchip swapped shirts with Chris Webb, and the tide turned slowly at first but then quickly – as the goals came. I cannot quite remember the sequence but I think Paul Bell got his second after a well-worked move down the right ended in a cut-back from Mehmet. 4-1 became 5-1 as Andy Faulks scored with got a deft header from yet another cross from the right.
Patrice Mongelard put a free kick on the outskirts of High Elms – before Paul got his hat-trick – drifting in from the left to put the ball high into the net from a central position just inside the box. Thinking back on it now - such was the direction of play that I cannot recall our two wide midfielders, Paul Bell and Mehmet Bozyigit being in our half of the pitch – other than for restarts after goals (and I think Mehmet was not back in his half for two of these). The referee missed that - just as he was remiss in awarding a dubious penalty to Roger French whose pass had clearly bounced off Patrice Mongelard’s chest in the box. If Roger thought this was not a penalty he kept his thoughts to himself – and proceeded to score low into the bottom corner. I think by then Gary Fentiman had swapped shirts with Nick Kinnear – making it five goal keepers between both sides today – talk about strength in depth!
There was time for Trevor Stewart to become the third keeper for the Senior Vets reserves but to no avail as Patrice Mongelard got his second goal to make it 7-2, after the Senior Vets Reserves’ defence was yet again breached on the right. Soon after Dave Huxley got a well deserved goal (I think after having one ruled out for offside). And that was it – a most enjoyable game, snatched from the jaws of inclement weather and unreliable opposition, by tenacious and football-mad management. The icing on the cake came in the form of delightful sandwiches from Mrs Pam Shoebridge.
Man of the match: All twenty-two players