Sunday 2nd October 2011
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets Wilt in Defeat to West Farleigh Vets as Temperatures Rise
We lost our way in this one and I do not just mean the difficulties around Junction 3 of the M25, or the broken down car that deprived us of Danny Winter, our first choice right back.
This was our first time against today’s opponents based in West Farleigh, deep in the Kentish Weald. When we got there it was well worth the trip. We had to get over an improvised stile with oak logs to reach our Portacabin changing room, and then there were another eighty yards along a well-trodden path to a delightful well-cared for pitch, in an idyllic setting amongst meadows, oast houses and blackberry and hawthorn hedges.
In glorious sunshine Farnborough lined up with Steve Palmer in goal; Chris Bourlet, Steve Blanchard, Ian Coles and Patrice Mongelard in defence; Nick Waller, Rob Lipscomb, Dave Green and Ian Shoebridge in midfield; Paul Smith and Andy Faulks in attack. Paul Bell was our solitary substitute and we had eight supporters in Isabelle, Thomas and Roger French; three members of the Bourlet family, Robbie Hall and Steve Palmer’s partner. Robbie Hall had come to watch as he is contemplating a return to football but may well be having second thoughts after today.
It did not take us long to realise this was going to be a game of few chances. We went with the slope and about 65% of the play was in the West Farleigh half. We fashioned the early chances and moved the ball about well. We were getting behind them and our midfield were joining the attack, and often Chris Bourlet too. The best early chance fell to Paul Smith as the ball was cut back to him at the edge of the six yard box but he put his shot high over the bar.
Although West Farleigh had begun to match us after the first quarter of an hour it was still a surprise when they took the lead. I would not say it was entirely against the run of play but a well-constructed break down our right was allowed to develop and the ball was carried deep into our box and a low shot was driven across our goal against the bottom of the opposite post and into our net. It did not take us long to equalise – as the ball was moved from Patrice Mongelard to Paul Smith who played Andy Faulks in behind the West Farleigh defence and he in turn passed to Dave Green who had advanced down the left and was able to loft the ball into the West Farleigh net. That was to be our best move of the game, not to be repeated sadly. As half time approached we were beginning to feel that things were not quite right, particularly up front.
To add to our discomfort, Roger French and Chris Bourlet had an altercation at half time. Chris, who was not having the best of games at right back, and would not have started in that position had Danny Winter made it to the ground, took strong exception to being substituted and complained loudly about never getting a full game etc. etc. etc. Roger French, always the first name on the substitutes bench, reacted and harsh words were spoken, including the F-word, in front of children and Bourlet mère. As toys came out of prams I thought it would take more than a packet of Farley’s rusks to sort this one out. Clearly this was not good – and from two long-serving players who should know better. Chris eventually came back on the pitch “when asked nicely” for a tiring Nick Waller, after his Tevez moment. Chris, whose line of work ought to have taught him about the smack of firm management, the value of teamwork and serving the community, received a full apology from Roger after the game (to him and his family) but I expect that, with a young family, Chris will now wish to consider his future with the team.
Paul Bell (homo flatus himself – who thankfully behaved in the bijou dressing room) came on at half time for Chris Bourlet in what looked like patent blue leather football boots – the shades that Paul was wearing would have been needed to handle those boots, but came in handy today. The second half was a difficult one for us. Our lack of movement up front slowed our game down and midfielders tried to do too much. Gradually the better organised and reinforced West Farleigh put pressure on us. Yet with the score at 1-1 we had a very good chance to edge ahead as Andy Faulks was played through behind the defence but lacked the energy to take the ball fully clear of the pursuing defender who was able to put in a saving tackle as Andy pulled the trigger. There were some long range shots and a couple of corners but that was it from us. The winning goal for West Farleigh came about ten minutes from the end as our midfield was overrun and a shot from distance crept low beyond Steve Palmer’s reach, and to be fair they deserved it. We huffed and puffed a bit more but never really looked getting an equaliser.
For the second week running we had only twelve players whilst our opponents had fifteen and it had a bearing on the game as West Farleigh rotated furiously, and without dissent, and several times in both halves could afford to bring three or four substitutes at a time, particularly on such a hot day. All our water bottles were emptied at half time and emergency supplies had to be fetched by Robbie Hall and Nick Waller midway through the second half, old friends renewing acquaintance on the walk to and from the oasis. Nick Waller became our water carrier – though not in the sense that football uses the term – besides he only drinks ale.
There was not a bad tackle in that game, nor harsh word with our opponents (amongst ourselves it was a different matter). West Farleigh Vets were friendly, sporting (even putting the ball in touch for a handball missed by the excellent referee) and we look forward to the return game on our turf when we will have players back. Our opponents will never have a better time to play us than at present. Today we were missing an entire first choice midfield in Sinisa Gracanin, Chris Webb, John Tallis and Mehmet Bozyigit – as well as players like Danny Winter and Colin Brazier among others. But we were pleased to see the comeback of an old boy in Nick Waller – who showed some neat touches and good technical ability.
After the game we were due to go to The Walnut public house for rehydration but got lost and settled for The Bull, fittingly I thought in view of what we had produced on the pitch.
Man of the match today was Robin Lipscomb for a lot of running on a very hot October day.
Man of the match: Rob Lipscomb