Saturday 12th February 2011
By Colin Brazier
For the second time this season, a week without a game brought a serious injury to one of our young players playing for the 3rds last week. This time Scott Barnes was on the receiving end of a late tackle, and after the swelling had receded on Friday the doctors found a break to his right ankle. He was due to have an operation this week and will be four weeks in plaster. Everyone in the team and at the club wish him a full and speedy recovery.
So, on to this week’s game then, amazingly in mid-February our last away league game of the season. Thank goodness, for yet again our preparation was diabolical, with the kit arriving with the manager less than 15 minutes before kick off. I am not having a go at Des here. He does an incredible amount of work behind the scenes at the club without complaint and like Vic is his own worst enemy by wanting to help with anything and everything if he possibly can. It is down to the senior players in the 4ths to help out on matchday mornings, especially when we are playing away. When the referee says “the kick off’s late – Farnborough must be playing” we know it can’t be a one-off!
Team selection: Bodge was called up by the 3rds again this week, and then fell ill, so Todd was called up to replace him. Luckily we have a ready made central defensive partnership of Blanchard Snr and Edwards to replace them. We welcomed Alex King, returning for his second game of the season in centre midfield, with Tom Smart moving over to the left to take Scott’s position. Another young player, Tommy Noad, made his debut on the bench.
Our line up, then, was…
Jez Allen – GK
Steve Blanchard jnr - RB
Mark Edwards – CB
Steve Blanchard snr – CB
Colin Brazier – LB
Luke Allen – RM
Neil Barnes – CM (capt.)
Alex King – CM
Tom Smart– LM
James Foyle – CF
Connor Barclay – CF
Tommy Noad - Substitute
Oh yeah, the oppo! We were up against AFC Mottingham in the league for the first time this season, but we had already played them in the cup on the same ground, a game notable for Neil’s Rooneyesque volley into the top corner in our 4-2 defeat (OK a bit of literary licence there!).
The pitch was soft and clingy but we started brightly, trying to play short passes and take the game to the opposition whenever possible. After about five minutes the home side tested out the Guild’s left back with a ball over the top down that side. Now one of the great things about playing for this team is the clear communication between us, with everyone wanting the ball and giving options. It was no different in this case. Running towards my own touchline I heard calls from Jez, Neil and Mark as well as my own idea of putting it out for a throw. So I chose the worst option: none of the above. Having nicked the ball off me, the winger’s low cross was hit high into the net for the first goal of the game.
What followed was just, well, to quote Sky’s Chris Kamara, “unbelievable Jeff!”. While I was dishing out my apologies Jez started screaming “Colin! Colin!!”. “Bl00dy hell” Jez, I thought, “leave it out, it’s my first cock-up of the season!”. But looking across, I could see our keeper was in a lot of distress and went over to him. On TV you see many players wanting to look away when there’s an injury involved, and I discovered first-hand why. Jez had removed his glove to reveal an horrendous break and dislocation to his right little finger and with blood coming from the wound it was clear that properly qualified medical help would be necessary. A call was placed for an ambulance and the game obviously stopped. With Jez in extreme pain, we tried to comfort him as best we could with Steve B. Senior taking the lead. The wait for the paramedics seemed overly long to most people and interminable to Jez. Eventually they arrived, ambling the length of the pitch enjoying a joke and telling me they were “going as fast as they could” when I gave them the hurry-up! They did do a good job, however, and Jez was taken off to hospital, with Luke going with him.
I must say at this point that the management and players of AFC Mottingham were a credit to their club. They offered to abandon and replay the game even though they were 1-0 up against 10 men with a substitute goalkeeper (they weren’t to know that Mark is a capable replacement!). Our thanks to them and to the referee Mr. Potts who was also helpful and supportive of any option we chose to take. To a man, however, all the Farnborough team wanted to finish the game. We settled on the match being reduced to 30 minutes each way.
I think the youngsters had been keeping themselves occupied by devising the best formation to play on with! Anyway Mark went in goal, with Neil dropping back and Tom Smart going back into the centre. Tommy came on to do well at left midfield and Connor and James were to share midfield and striking duties. Soon after the restart an AFC player went down in our area, and the ref immediately gave a pen. It looked innocuous to me, but Steve Snr admitted to leaving a leg out which the guy went over, so no complaints. No harm done though, as the kick was blazed over the bar.
We played well under the circumstances, but couldn’t really create any good chances for James or Connor. AFC scored on the break late in the game to secure the points and that was that. Mark ran away with the MoM award for an assured return to goalkeeping duties.
This week we have Latter Day Saints at home. They have worked their way up to be the main threat to AFC Bromley at the top of the table but we know after last week’s cup draw with them that we can give them a game. If we can get a team out!
Our best wishes go to Jez and Scott. To finish on a positive note, Mantas Gaiglas is recovering well from his leg break and hopes to be playing again soon.
Latest medical update
In the words of Neil Barnes:
“Scott had a double break of the ankle of which the ankle bone was displaced. On Monday he had his op, they have pinned the displaced ankle bone and said that the second break should heal naturally. And all of this was originally diagnosed within the hospital after x-rays as a badly sprained ankle. He is now home and hungry so apart from the injury is back to his normal self.”
Jez also had his operation on Monday. He is also now out of hospital. The finger does not need a wire insert as originally feared.
Man of the match: Mark Edwards