Sunday 27th November 2011
Statler & Waldorf Challenge Match
By Patrice Mongelard
Family Occasion for Senior Vets as FOBG Barmy Army Rally Round to Share an Eight Goal Thriller in Clash of the Co-managers”
Those of you expecting to read about our first ever fixture against Barming Youth Vets will have to wait a bit longer. But do not despair. We have something better.
The weekend did not start too well as Roger French took a call on Friday evening, from Toby Harlow - our fixtures man, and Downe Trousers 2012 Calendar’s Mr January (only for those with a strong disposition) - to hear that Barming Youth Vets could not raise a side for today’s game. What made it more annoying I am sure was the timing of the call. Still Roger French did not get where he is today by giving up when angry and he spent the next 36 hours trying to raise sufficient numbers to join the 14 players we had available to make a club game of it; and that is how we had 20 players available in the clubhouse for this in-house game despite the absence of five of our regulars. I say 20 but in the end we had 19 because one player, Steve Palmer, appeared at the club and vanished inexplicably, despite the prospect of a full game, having turned up for a half. The art of management had prevented Roger from disclosing to everyone that today’s game was going to be an inside job.
The two sides today lined up like this:
Senior Vets (co-manager Patrice Mongelard (PM’s) side)
Gary Fentiman, Danny Winter, Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard, Colin Brazier, Patrice Mongelard, Ian Shoebridge, Rob Lipscomb and Andy Faulks. I suppose you could see this as being quite close to our starting team except there were only 9 players.
Senior Vets Reserves (co-manager Roger French’s side)
Toby Manchip, Paul Commons, Ian Couchman, Steve Kong, Roger French, Ryan Shoebridge, Paul Smith, Nick Barclay, Jerry Cogotti and Connor Barclay. This was a mix of Senior Vets, young players, contacts, club President, mates etc – there were 10 of them – enough to make a game of it.
Referee Mick Gearing kicked us off on a breezy but bright morning, freshened by the early morning rain. As could be expected there was plenty of room to move the ball about with 19 players in space normally occupied by 22. Both teams were experimental to some extent though PM’s team had the more familiar look about it, albeit with a new midfield general in Patrice Mongelard himself.
The Senior Vets “regular” side – much more familiar with each other, hit their stride more quickly. We scored three goals in the first half – two by Ian Shoebridge and one by Andy Fauks. The Reserves relied on the speed of their youngsters – in particular Connor Barclay, Jerry Cogotti and Ryan Shoebridge but the service to them was not as good as they would have liked. The superior organisation of the Senior Vets gave them the advantage and there were several passages of good play and running into space. It is fair to say that Toby Manchip was the busier keeper in the first half – saving two good goal attempts from Patrice Mongelard, and making other saves. He was to get his fingertips to the two close-range shots from Ian Shoebridge that resulted in goals and could not do much to stop Andy Faulks goal as he finished off a crisp passing move that saw Patrice Mongelard release Robin Lipscomb who in turn rolled the ball low across the back four for Andy to crown the move with a goal. 3-0 at half time was a fair reflection of the game at that time though some of the play by the Reserves had caught the eye. Paul Smith in particular was surprisingly alert and mobile in a slightly more defensive midfield role. Our back four had to be on top of their game to preserve our first half clean sheet.
All the half-time oranges went – no surprise really as unusually two teams shared them – that was five large oranges sliced into 20 quarters. There was even a quarter for the referee though he found it a tad sharp.
There were five more goals scored in the second half and you could argue perhaps (I am surprised Roger did not – probably saving all his arithmetic for the money) that the Reserves won the second half. They brought the game back to 3-2 with sharply taken goals from Jerry Cogotti (capitalising on a dropped Fentiman catch) and Connor Barclay making most of his pace. At the other end we were woefully wasteful – Patrice Mongelard probably more than most as shots and shots disguised as crosses went for throw-ins or into the trees behind the goal.
The tackling by the reserve side got a bit more agricultural as Roger French in particular brought down Danny Winter and Rob Lipscomb possibly half a yard late from behind. By then Toby Manchip had come off with a groin strain suffered allegedly by following the trajectory of one of my shots – turning it briefly into a 9 v 9 affair though Danny Winter followed him to the touch lines to restore the Reserves’ numerical advantage. Toby Manchip later described Danny’s withdrawal as a precautionary move by the manager-in-waiting with next week’s game in mind.
We scored two more goals ourselves – our fourth by Patrice Mongelard, who had made the run into the box to apply a silky touch to Ian Shoebridge’s unselfish lay-off. After Ryan Shoebridge had brought the score back to 4-3 from close range with his flexible young legs - Andy Faulks bagged his second as a poor clearance had left the keeper (by then Paul Commons) stranded. There was even time for the referee to deny Patrice Mongelard a penalty as he was brought down by Ian Couchman. The referee later revealed that the theatrical dive, rolling around, and sound effects by Patrice Mongelard, had influenced his decision. 5-3 was a fair result in the end but the real winner today was the club and football.
The mood in the clubhouse was very good – following excellent tea this week, made by Pam Shoebridge, and the wonderful spread laid on by Shoebridge catering: egg sandwiches, cheese and pickle sandwiches, ham sandwiches, pizza slices, sausage rolls, roast potatoes, sausages, spring onions, celery and potato crisps. We talked about the curry night, yesterday’s first team match programme, the switching on of the Farnborough Village Christmas lights, re-lived some of the moments from the game, recalled Roger French’s tribute to camping last week with daughter Isabelle, and looked ahead to next week’s fixture against Old Tamponians – a team we hope to face for the first time, given that in the two previous seasons the month of December had been the wrong time of year to play them.
Man of the match: all 19 players who showed that where there is goodwill and an appetite for the game, and loyalty to the club, there is a way. Incidentally, 11 of those playing today had shared in another good-for-the-soul FOBG family occasion earlier in the week - the very successful Cobra and Curry evening at the Village Cuisine which raised £263 for the club – another organisational success for Roger French, like today’s adding-up of match subs and other monies.
Man of the match: Football!