Sunday 4th September 2011
By Gary Rosslee
As of Saturday lunchtime Lloyds Golden Oldies only had 8 available players and therefore would need to borrow some of the 15 players Farnborough had readily available. Normally this wouldn’t be the ideal scenario but we were just desperate to get our first game of the 2011/12 season under our belts and if Farnborough ever had a chance to break their hoodoo against ‘Lloyds Golden Oldies’ it should have been today. The 15-week summer break had finally come to an end and during this time had seen some new arrivals to the Connelly & Wright households respectively so many congratulations to the both of them. The break also saw Farnborough Young Vets number one elope to Las Vegas and tie the knot (sorry ladies but that ship has now officially sailed, you had your chance).
On arrival to Farrow Fields yours truly couldn’t help noticing that the 15 players that Farnborough were due to have soon became a bare 11. On the squad list that was circulated in the week it seemed that Paul Tanton had brought in a couple of new recruits that were unable to make their debuts today but it also saw the return of Andy Cobham which was like having a brand new player.
Notable absentees today were Matt Wright, Neil Connelly, Richard Davies, Tony Simpson and George Kleanthous who was injured playing in last Sunday's ‘charidee’ match in Edenbridge that according to reliable sources had all the hallmarks of a prison football match!
We lined up as follows today
Gary Rosslee – GK
Daragh Nott - LB
Andy Cobham – CB
Paul Brett – CB
Chris Greenhough – RB
Paul Tanton – LM
Jim St. John - CM
Grant Gable – CM
Jason Miller – RM
Danny Clark – CF
Pete Harvey - CF
Referee - Lawrie Parsons
As the Sunday team were also playing at home today Farnborough had to play on the smaller top pitch, thankfully the Young Vets were very fortunate not to grace this pitch many times last season, I think you could count the number of occasions on one hand. And for all the hard work that had clearly been done on it over the summer the pitch was still very bobbly and completely unforgiving in areas – so if anybody has a spare 4 thousand pounds kicking about then please support our Save our Pitch project. (ahem Jason Miller).
Farnborough won the toss and kicked off towards the fields end and they didn’t take long to open the scoring. Paul Tanton was on hand to neatly flick a cross on with his head invitingly for Pete Harvey who made no mistake smashing the ball home with a first time volley that left the Lloyds emergency goalkeeper absolutely no chance. 1-0 to the OBG’s and a great start to the new campaign. Farnborough were out of the blocks quicker than Lloyds and were hungrier and more determined to win the ball and want to play football. Then with no more than 15 minutes gone in the first half Pete Harvey pulled up with a thigh strain that he first felt pop in the warm up but was doing his best to play through the pain. This changed the dynamics to Pete’s usual direct style of play and just when Farnborough thought it couldn’t get worse Jim St John pulled up with a hamstring injury. Light on substitutes on the sidelines both Pete and Jim played on.
Lloyds first chance came when one of their midfielders hit a first time curling right foot shot from just inside the edge of the box which Rosslee was able to parry and then gather the rebound at the second attempt. With Farnborough now playing with 2 struggling players Lloyds started to find their rhythm and were soon on level terms albeit very harshly. Andy Cobham was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box whilst he was actually on the floor having just made an excellent block tackle. Referee Lawrie pointed the spot and the resulting penalty sent Rosslee the wrong way 1-1.
Lloyds now upped their game and created a number of other decent chances, thankfully Rosslee in the Farnborough goal was on hand to first save an unmarked header low down to his left and then get up and save the second effort with his feet, Andy Cobham was then on hand to save the third goalbound effort which Lloyds challenged as handball but their appeals fell on deaf ears. Farnborough then took the lead again completely against the run of play, Daragh Nott getting on the scoresheet and again the pitch had a huge part to play in this. Daragh opted to strike the ball early from the edge of the box when he had a lot of time and space to carry the ball forward with just the goalkeeper to beat. Now on another day and on another pitch this would have not troubled the goalkeeper but the ball pitched up like a James Anderson yorker and completely wrong footed him. 2-1 OBG’s.
By now Lloyds had kindly loaned us one of their spare outfield players to replace the injured St. John and luckily Darren Burkett who had just come up to watch the game was then called into action to replace Pete Harvey and take up position up front, Lloyds also called upon a substitute of their own, and unfortunately for Farnborough this came in the shape of a player who resembled Chelsea’s new summer signing Romelu Lukaku and to be fair was probably around the same age, if not younger! It did not take Lloyds long to reap the benefits of the young fresh legs they had introduced to the match and were soon on level terms again. This time a neat one-two out wide on the right saw a ball driven in to the feet of Jerry Dolke on the edge of the 6 yard box, his deft lay off to his team mate was smashed home to make the scores 2-2 going into the break. Half time.
Second half saw a few tactical Farnborough changes and the introduction of a very late Danny Saines at left back and again Farnborough took the lead for a third time in the match, Paul Tanton bringing a decent save from the Lloyds goalkeeper at his near post when he maybe he should have squared the ball but thankfully the resulting corner which was excellently delivered by Jason Miller was met by a diving unmarked Grant Gable to power home a bullet header and restore Farnborough’s narrow lead. 3-2. OBG’s.
Lloyds continued to press for an equaliser and were equally matched by the likes of Paul Brett, Andy Cobham and Chris Greenhough at the heart of the defence for Farnborough who put on a defending master class at times which is why they would have all felt aggrieved when Lloyds equalised for the 3rd time. This time it was a case of tired legs in the Farnborough box as they failed to clear the ball and Jerry Dolke had time to pick his place and fire the ball home through a crowded penalty area, 3-3.
With the game now on a real knife edge Lloyds nearly found the net for the 4th time but their direct free kick on the edge of the box hit the bar and ricocheted over to safety and up the other end Daragh Nott was unlucky not to double his tally for the day with a header from another excellent Jason Miller corner but his effort sailed just wide with the keeper beaten all ends up. Grant Gable was also unlucky not to add a 4th for Farnborough as his header sailed over the wrong side of the bar from another pin point perfect Jason Miller cross. With both teams now seeming to lack their shooting boots sandwiched in between some good saves from each goalkeeper the game appeared to be heading for a draw, that was until Lloyds managed to bundle the ball home for their 4th and surely the decisive winner. Rosslee had thwarted the first effort; Andy Cobham was on hand to save the rebound on the line only for the youngest player in the Farrow Fields vicinity (including the game being played on the main pitch) to poke the ball home again, somewhat fortuitous as his effort hit the ground first which helped it beat both Rosslee & Cobham. 3-4 Lloyds. Farnborough mustered up one last half chance but the long range effort was saved somewhat unconvincingly by the Lloyds number 1, but the goalkeeper had done enough with what was the last kick of the game.
So there you had it another opportunity to take something form a Lloyds game had passed us by, our record against them currently reads played 4, lost 3 drawn 1. The good news is we have another 2 games scheduled against them this season to put things right and I’m positive with the talent that we have to return to the team we will definitely give them another run for their money this season. No game next week which is a shame but seeing as this was our first game in 3 months maybe an extra week off will be a godsend for some of our players today.
There were many contenders today for the MOM award including Paul Brett, Danny Clark, Chris Greenhough, and Grant Gable but it was the rejuvenated Andy Cobham who shaded it with an outstanding display today.
Man of the match: Andy Cobham