Wednesday 11th May 2011
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets Shrug Off Goalkeeping Crisis to Overpower Plucky Wanderers
For our fourth game in eleven days, and our second game in four days against the same opponents - the Farnborough Senior Vets lined up as follows: Patrice Mongelard in goal; Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard, Colin Brazier and Rob Lipscomb in defence; Mehmet Bozyigit, John Tallis, Paul Bell and Sinisa Gracanin in midfield; Andy Faulks and Pete Harvey up front. Late-arriving Nick Kinnear was our twelfth man. Riverside Wanderers had mustered 14 players.
We had seven players who had played in the 6-2 win against Riverside a few days ago – and Riverside probably had the same number. Of our twelve players - ten were regular Senior Vets – and for today’s game we had been rejuvenated with Pete Harvey and Rob Lipscomb (aged 44 and 41 respectively) who normally play for our younger vets. We had the top scorers from our two vets side paired together - over forty goals between them this season, before today’s game, and that proved quite telling in the end.
The keen followers of the Senior Vets among you will have spotted an unfamiliar name in goal. Yes, we had a bit of a situation in the goalkeeping department – with Toby Manchip pulling out only hours before the game, and we were not able to find a recognised keeper to fill in. I thought I would not have to mention the 29 April wedding in this report but Toby, wisely in my view, albeit rather late in the day, decided it would not be in his best interests to play football on the eve of setting off on his honeymoon (delayed like for that other couple). I probably would have made the same decision, but been more wary of upsetting Statler (aka known as Roger French) – and I am sure this will not affect the attendance at Toby’s testimonial.
Once again the game was started on time by referee Mick Gearing, and in more pleasant conditions than last midweek’s affair – there was no wind, the sun was not shining in our eyes, it felt very temperate and there was a general stillness in the air on a splendid spring evening.
I have to be honest – from my vantage point this was a very one-sided game. We could have scored five or six goals in the first half but made really heavy weather of it. A combination of good Riverside goalkeeping, and mostly poor finishing on our part yielded only two goals by half-time. It took us about twenty minutes to score and even then it was an over-hit cross by Robin Lipscomb that found the net. Another fifteen minutes passed before Pete Harvey meandered with purpose through the Riverside defence to get our second goal.
Outside those two moments we had a string, or farcical catalogue, of missed chances, which I would rather not go into, out of consideration for my team mates, as we peppered the Riverside goal with shots, crosses, headers and corners or tried to walk the ball into the net. There was an offside goal by Mehmet, too eager to impress his watching nephew.
What about the other end you might ask. I had about five interventions to make – twice to rush out to clear at the edge of the box, and three saves from close range, including a memorable one when I got my fingertips to a fierce shot to send it crashing against the bar. I spilled the ball more than once it has to be said. I had plenty of time to take in the surroundings and could hear conversations among spectators sat high up behind the goal, and the excited cries of children rolling down the bank. Another sort of rolling had taken place, I suspected, from the sweet, woody aroma, wafting from a couple of lads enjoying an exotic cheroot behind the goal.
At half time Paul Bell made way for Nick Kinnear and I was liberated by John Tallis. If anything John was to have an even quieter game in goal than I did in the first half. The only frisson of note came when he was caught out by the back pass rule, after chesting a tricky ball from Nick Kinnear, trapping it with a first time control, looking up coolly – and then spoiling the overall effect by picking the ball up.
The pattern of previous games against Riverside repeated itself as we asserted ourselves in the second half and goals came quickly. A clever ball over the top of the ultra-square Riverside defence from Rob Lipscomb, played Pete Harvey in on goal five minutes into the half, for our third goal. Pete again made it 4-0 soon after once more getting behind the Riverside defence and advancing deep into the box before placing his shot beyond the keeper. Patrice Mongelard put the ball in the Riverside net but was judged to have fouled the keeper, who thankfully was not injured.
Meanwhile Andy Faulks was waiting his turn, not for the first time this season as the goals kept going in, and thanks to a great assist from Pete Harvey who unselfishly squared the ball to him, was able to get our 5th. Our sixth goal was probably our best – a delightfully weighted, angled chipped ball over the defence to Pete Harvey by Sinisa Gracanin, was quickly processed to deliver a tap-in for Andy Faulks. It was crisp, and incisive, and deadly. Revitalised, Andy went on to get our 7th goal with about five minutes left, with a clean volley from the edge of the box to bag his second hat-trick against Riverside in four days – to nail the Senior Vets top scorer trophy and take our goal tally in 30 games this season past the 100 mark. There was even time for Andy to hit the post in the dying minutes in another big win under Waldorf’s management.
Once again we owe thanks to Vic Farrow – not feeling 100% today, so no Ceroc for the rock of Farnborough tonight, who opened up, put our stuff out, switched the hot water on, and stayed until the end. We must not forget the referee Mick Gearing, and Ian Couchman for opening the bar, and Steve Blanchard junior who ran the line.
Spare a thought too for our opponents today – who were well beaten but not embarrassed, and who played with a smile throughout. Even allowing for Mick Gearing’s economy with the whistle – there was not a single ill-tempered moment, or bad tackle, in that game. I am not sure we would have shown the same solidarity and grace in similar circumstances – well, not Statler anyway.
The pizzas went down very well again – for some reason John Tallis, took a particular liking to them – perhaps reminded of home cooking. I would be surprised if any of us needed a curry after the game (unlike some who will remain nameless after last Tuesday’s pizzas).
Man of the match today – Pete Harvey, with votes deservedly cast also for Rob Lipscomb, Andy Faulks and Sinisa Gracanin. Pete’s next game will be playing against us on Sunday in our final game of the season, which is becoming a traditional celebration of the contentment that Farnborough Old Boys Guild football club brings into the lives of its two vets teams.
Man of the match: Pete Harvey