Sunday 13th January 2013
By Gary Rosslee
Young Vets almost snatch defeat from jaws of victory
So it didn’t quite snow as the weathermen predicted however you could have been forgiven for thinking it had as the temperatures must have been in the minus’ for this away match against Princes Park Vets. We made the journey via Britain’s biggest car park AKA the M25 towards Stone near Bluewater to arrive at Stone Recreation Park just off London Road. We were greeted by two adjoining football pitches, both pitches looked on the rather narrow side and were at a slight slope but thankfully they were a lot flatter than Princes Park’s previous pitch that was affectionately renamed the ‘fruit bowl’. Apparently Barry Grainger had such fond memories of that previous pitch from his Buff playing days that he couldn’t resist stopping off there for one last time en route to our game today, or that was the assumption we were going on as he arrived at the wrong ground!
Due to Princes Park playing in their customary yellow home shirts we were forced to wear a maroon coloured kit that had somehow found its way from Petts Wood FC to Farnborough OBG and according to some reliable inside knowledge apparently the higher shirt number the bigger the size, so as you could imagine the shirts numbered 14, 15 and 16 were soon snapped up!
With Brett Cheesman and Rowan Foggitt both missing due to injuries sustained in last weeks 2-2 draw with John Roan and Andy Cobham and Paul Brett both absent Farnborough lined up with their eight different centre back pairing of the season and the rest of the team, was as follows.
GK, Gary Rosslee
LB, Neil Connelly
CB, Paul Bailey
CB, Matt Wright
RB, Richard Davies
LM, Paul Tanton
CM, Danny Clark
CM, Jim St John
RM, Ben Clunn
CF, Barry Grainger
CF, Simon Davies
Both teams looked a tad nervous in the opening exchanges as neither Princes Park nor Farnborough could get a foothold on the game and stamp their authority and chances were very limited to say the least. That was until Ben Clun did well on the right wing to find Judith Chalmers stunt double Jim St John with a neat pass that saw him take the ball in his stride with one of his marauding runs into the penalty box and his effort was smashed high into the roof of the net leaving the goalkeeper with no chance, 0-1 OBG’s.
Princes Park nearly found themselves level just moments after going behind with their first decent attack of the game as their number 10 jinked inside of the box and made a couple of yards space for himself to shape and shoot with just Rosslee to beat but Rosslee stood his ground well and was able to beat the shot away however the same player then hit the bar with the rebound with the entire open goal at his mercy, still 0-1 and a let off for Farnborough.
With that wake up call Farnborough should have then doubled their lead as Barry Grainger did well to take the ball around the advancing goalkeeper but his goal bound effort was blocked by a defender and although the rebound fell nicely for Paul Tanton the Princes Park keeper had done well to get back in to position and make a smart save with his feet. As the ball looped up Barry Grainger had a second bite at the cherry with a header but the goalkeeper was back to a vertical base to collect the ball safely in his midriff.
Before the kickoff Simon Davies and I had a conversation and he said to me ‘my son asks me how do I celebrate when I score a goal’ to which I replied ‘rarely?’ so I guess it was only apt that Simon would go on to score Farnborough’s second of the match however due to a wardrobe malfunction (the changing of shorts) yours truly missed his goal but I was advised that it was a very well taken goal after some good team play. I think he unfairly received a yellow card however for removing his jersey to show a T-shirt underneath sporting the words ‘free the Chilean Miners’. 0-2 OBG’s.
With half time approaching Farnborough should have had the game dead and buried but a lapse in concentration saw Princes Park pull a goal back to give them some hope going into the interval. The ball deflected off Matt Wright on the edge of the box and kindly ran into the path of a Princes Park midfielder who had got across Richard Davies to hammer home a first time shot that Rosslee could only get hand to but not keep out. 1-2, OBG’s half time and the only notable change for the second half saw Danny Clark make way for Dean Wyatt in the centre of midfield.
Farnborough started the second half brighter and with the benefit of kicking downhill they soon added a third goal of the match. A Princes Park attack failed to materialise as Rosslee came and collected the ball on the edge of the box and he quickly distributed the ball out wide to Richard Davies who then found Barry Grainger with an exquisite 50 yard cross field pass which allowed Barry to run onto and coolly finish after rounding the goalkeeper, 1-3 OBG’s and surely the game was in the bag for the Guild?!
Princes Park soon found their way back into the game or at least Farnborough allowed them back in as they created a number of decent chances most notably one effort that was thankfully beaten away by Rosslee from 10 yards out but the home team weren’t to be denied as they scored from the edge of the penalty area after Farnborough had failed to push out and an effort that left Rosslee unsighted, 2-3 OBG’s. There was an air of controversy at the other end almost immediately as Farnborough thought they had scored a fourth goal as the ball appeared to have been bundled over the line in a goalmouth mêlée but the referee and linesman failed to spot this and play continued.
In between Princes Park grabbing their third Jim St John saw his header from a corner cleared off the line by the man on the post which would have surely seen Farnborough leave Stone with the victory but that was not to be. Again some sloppy play by Farnborough on the edge of their penalty area resulted in yet another gift to Princes Park. The ball was there to be cleared by a number of players in a maroon shirt but somehow the attacker wriggled through a series of challenges to play in his team mate who looked marginally offside but he did not hesitate in despatching the ball home from 8 yards to level the scores, 3-3.
With the final whistle looming (I must add at this point that the ref only played 40 minutes per half today, I’m still not sure why) Princes Park nearly grabbed a winner right at the death. Again Farnborough were caught napping as the number 10 received a throw in completely unmarked in the penalty area and as he was closed down by Rosslee he squared the ball across the 6 yard box to his attacking partner and if it wasn\'t for an outstretched foot of Paul Bailey Farnborough would have found themselves 4-3 down and with nobody to blame but themselves.
The ref blew for full time and the game ended 3-3. Our past two games against Princes Park have both ended in 2-2 draws so maybe a draw was on the cards; however Farnborough trudged off the field and back to the dressing rooms as though they had just suffered defeat.
Next week (as it stands) we are at home to Charlton Rangers another decent team who wont be just turning up to make up the numbers so lets hope we can get back to winning ways because as it stands we haven’t won now in our last three matches!
Shot of the match: Princes Park’s well taken first time strike
Save of the Match: The combined double save from defender and goalkeeper to deny Grainger and Tanton in the first half
Man of the match: Paul ‘Bodge’ Bailey at the heart of defence, who rarely put a foot wrong and saved Farnborough blushes with almost the last kick of the game
Moan of the match: Our inability to keep hold of the lead with 10 minutes to go when we looked to be in control
Worst Sign: The Burger Van in the car park named ‘Fine Cuisine’ not even a hung-over Richard Davies would have eaten from there and that’s saying something!
Man of the match: Paul Bailey