Sunday 18th December 2011
By Gary Rosslee
Given our recent travelling record when I saw the ‘Farnborough Young Vets’ were away to ‘Santos’ this Sunday I wouldn’t have put it past our wonderful fixture secretary that we would have needed to board a plane to sunny Sao Paulo in Brazil! However it later dawned on me that Santos were entertaining Barcelona that same weekend in the World Super Cup so thankfully we only made the much shorter trip (than usual) to a welcoming yet very cold Chislehurst to face Santos “Vets”.
The game always looked in doubt from 2 perspectives one being due to the overnight drop in temperature which had firmed up every green area in the BR6 & BR7 vicinity and the underlying fact that Farnborough were missing no less than 10 plus players today. Thankfully we were able to call upon some late recruits during the week and even on the Saturday to help us out. Barry (Splinter) Simpson formerly of Lloyds Golden Oldies fame and 2 Buff players namely Brett Cheesman and Ben Clunn. BTW I’m not referring to the pair in a colloquialism for a muscular physique but in the sense they play for The Buff in Orpington!
Farnborough lined up in a very experimental XI as follows.
Gary Rosslee – GK
Mark Friend – LB
Barry (Splinter) Simpson – CB
Andy Cobham – CB
Brett Cheesman –RB
Matt Wright - LM
Jim St John – CM
Danny Clark – CM
Ben Clunn – RM
Paul Tanton – CF
Paul ‘Bodge’ Bailey’ – CF
Santos decided to delay the kick off by 15 minutes to allow for the ground to thaw out and this seemed to work a treat; also since the pitch at the Beaverwood has been cut it played very very nicely. This allowed for Farnborough to get the ball down on the surface and spray passes around to each man with ease, sometimes their football was as South American as their aptly Brazilian named opposition today! It didn’t take long for the deadly strike force of Paul ‘I once scored 66 goals for the Cubs in one season’ Bailey and Paul ‘I haven’t scored in 66 games’ Tanton to put the pressure on Santos and with only 5 or 10 minutes on the clock Farnborough were a goal to the good. Paul Tanton was on hand to neatly round the onrushing goalkeeper and calmly slot the ball home from the angle. 0-1 OBG’s.
Farnborough soon doubled their lead this time courtesy of a cracking own goal; the Santos defender lobbing his own keeper from 25 yards out. This was sandwiched in between some further excellent play in the Santos final third from the Farnborough midfield and forwards; 0-2 OBG’s. Farnborough nearly added a third moments later but Ben Clunn’s one two with Paul Tanton on the edge of the box saw the former hit the upright. Santos somehow found a brief and unlikely lifeline back into the game via a spectacular first time volley through the Farnborough penalty area after Matt Wright’s headed clearance seemed to be enough to defuse any danger, 1-2 OBG’s. Farnborough rarely seemed troubled at the back with the assured centre back pairing of Andy Cobham and Barry Simpson who was deployed as a sweeper and looked very comfortable on the ball; in fact most of the Farnborough waves of attacks all started from playing the ball out of defence in a positive and calm manner.
Farnborough although coasting at this point almost let Santos back in the match, this time a lack of concentration between Cheesman and Simpson with a simple through ball allowed for the largest player on the Santos side to unearth a vicious drive that had Rosslee beaten all ends up but somehow bounced on the 6 yard box line and thankfully bounced over the Farnborough bar. That acted as a stimulant to Farnborough and thanks to Matt Wright they restored their 2 goal cushion, Matt receiving the ball out wide on the left and deftly cutting inside before drilling a low efforts down at the keeper\'s near side post. 1-3 OBG’s. Some further fine play down the right hand channel involving the 2 Buff players who were on the same wavelength constantly brought further pressure on the Santos defence and it was a Brett Cheesman corner that was coolly finished off by Paul Bailey with a right foot guided volley for his first goal of the season and his first goal in his first start up front. By this time in North London a certain Pete Harvey’s ears must have been burning!! 1-4 OBG’s half time.
A half time change saw Andy Cobham make way for Daragh Nott who went into the midfield and Brett Cheesman tucked in at Centre back. Farnborough started the second half as brightly as they finished the first but sometimes were a little guilty of allowing Santos tiny glimpses of hope but this was purely from their over confidence on the ball in their own third, but to their credit the defence were always there again on hand to sniff out any danger and this meant that the Farnborough players were not on anybody’s backs at all in the game unlike they have been guilty of pretty much most of this season; saying that it is easy to moan when you are losing games or not scoring so today was just an excellent opportunity to enjoy the match and surely more goals would come. Well as sure as eggs are eggs Farnborough did find the net; twice legitimately and two were ruled out.
Jim St John found the net twice in a matter of minutes courtesy of a header having had an effort chalked off for offside moments earlier to make the score 1-5 and Ben Clunn found the net after some neat play involving Paul Tanton yet again but his effort from 6 yards was ruled out for offside. However he soon got on the score sheet after his energetic run and cool finish killed off the game completely. 1-6.
Today’s game was a joy to play in (unless of course you are a goalkeeper freezing your cods off); the bad news is our next game is in 3 weeks\' time after the Christmas and New Year break, the good news is it is at home.
Today’s MOM was debutant Barry ‘Splinter’ Simpson, but special mentions must go out to Mark Friend and Jim St John who both had very good games respectively.
Yours truly would like to wish you and yours a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Man of the match: Barry Simpson