Monday 13th May 2013
By Gary Rosslee
Into The Valley of Football
On this bright May 13th Monday evening we were presented with an opportunity to test ourselves against new opposition pencilled in for our 2013/14 schedule. That team are known as Metrogas from New Eltham, a team that has a connection with Charlton Athletic FC courtesy of their current management who were ex-players for the ‘Addicks’ and it was that connection that presented Farnborough with the opportunity to play Metrogas at ‘The Valley’ home of said Championship side and it was an opportunity we were happy to take with both hands and all of a sudden that slightly bitter taste of our first home defeat of the season at the hands of John Roan (0-1) only a mere 24 hours ago was all but a distant memory.
Farnborough were able to rally 15 players to make the journey to South London and lined up as follows.
GK, Gary Rosslee
LB, Chris Rawley
CB, Matt Wright
CB, Paul Bailey
RB, Richard Davies
LM, Ben Clunn
CM, Dean Wyatt
CM, Grant Gable
RM, Jason Miller
CF, Barry Grainger
CF, Danny Clark
It was always going to be difficult to not get overawed by the grandeur of the stadium and facilities and the vast size of the pitch at the Valley, and although the pitch was slightly bumpy in areas after a long domestic season and various cup matches played on it, it was still quite an impressive surface to play on. From the opening kick off Farnborough started very well with Danny Clark preferred over 18 goals for the season Simon Davies up front alongside Barry Grainger and the pair linked up well, with Danny doing an excellent holding job which invited the central midfield duo of Dean Wyatt and Grant Gable to advance at will.
The first chance of the match fell to Farnborough and was presented to Ben Clunn whose first touch to be fair was a bit on the heavy side but that allowed him to skip past the right back unchallenged and advance into the box, From there the obvious choice would have been to have looked up and squared the ball to either Danny or Barry on the 6-yard box but he opted to shoot and in the end the shot was saved comfortably by the Metrogas keeper.
It was only a matter of time till yesterday’s gruelling match took its toll and the first casualty of the match was Danny Clark whose hamstring gave way as he tried to latch onto a through ball, this forced the OBG management into the first change of the match and Simon Davies replaced Danny. With the forced change in dynamics Metrogas defended well and soon came into the game and enjoyed greater spells of possession. The likes of Paul Bailey and Matt Wright had to be alert at all times at the heart of the defence and on the first occasion that they were breached Rosslee was on hand to block with his left leg at the near post after some confusion and a lapse in concentration allowed their right winger to ghost inside the box unchallenged.
Simon Davies then found himself in a good position on the edge of the Metrogas penalty area but as he tried to get the ball out from under his feet he was dispossessed by a covering defender but that surely had to go down as a decent opportunity for the visitors.
The nature of Metrogas’ opening goal on 30 minutes was very fortuitous as they were awarded an unnecessary direct free kick on the edge of the Farnborough 18 yard box. Rosslee lined up a 4-man wall accordingly, however the effort took a nasty ricochet and it\'s still up for debate whether it was off of the head of Barry Grainger in the wall or off of one of the by standing Metrogas players occupying a position on the penalty spot, nevertheless the ball changed direction in mid-air leaving Rosslee with no chance, 1-0 Metrogas.
Farnborough refused to let their heads drop and continued to work hard both with and without the ball, by now Farnborough had made a few more substitutions and Simon Davies then played a major part in the OBG’s equaliser. He chased down a pass back to the Metrogas keeper that saw his first time clearance go straight to the thankful Barry Grainger, this allowed Barry to run in on goal and even with a defender breathing down the back of his neck he showed great composure and awareness to finish across the goalkeeper who in fairness may be a bit disappointed as he got something on the shot but clearly not enough to keep the effort out, 1-1 all level.
Farnborough weathered the storm for the remainder of the half and went in at the break all-square and in good spirits.
The restart saw Metrogas again take the upper hand in terms of possession and they carved out the first chance of the second half. Rosslee had to charge from his line to thwart the original effort and then save a second attempt bravely at the forward\'s feet. Jason Miller started to find his rhythm out wide and delivered some telling crosses into the Metrogas area but the forward line were unable to react or read the second ball. Simon Reynolds was then desperately unlucky not to give Farnborough the lead, again an excellent Jason Miller cross was met first time on the swivel half volley but his effort was somehow kept out by the keeper as he tipped the shot onto the underside of the crossbar and then Barry Grainger headed the rebound wide.
Metrogas then stretched Farnborough yet again as by now the Sunday game against John Roan was taking its toll on the legs of the visitors and they created another opportunity to take the lead as they played a well weighted squared ball across the goal some 10 yards out but the first time effort was beaten away by Rosslee to his right hand side. As Metrogas piled on the pressure in their droves they left themselves exposed at the back and Barry Grainger found himself racing through undeterred one on one with the keeper who then deliberately handled the ball outside the penalty area, and if this was deemed as unsporting the resulting incident completely overshadowed that as the keeper was shown a red card for head butting Barry. After the melee had calmed down Farnborough, the ever sporting side that they are, allowed Metrogas to replace the dismissed player with one of their subs so they still effectively had 11 players on the pitch. And to be fair credit must go to both teams today as there wasn’t a single bad or over-the-top challenge from either side up to or even after that one isolated incident. As it is with football Farnborough got absolutely no advantage whatsoever from the resulting free kick as it was struck straight at the wall.
Metrogas pressed forward once again and played some clever football using the entire width of the pitch and utilising both wide players who were always linking up well and then a lapse in concentration from the visitors allowed the home team to finally break Farnborough’s hearts by retaking the lead with no more than 15 minutes left on the clock. Not taking anything away from the finish that was right out of the top drawer and curled into the top corner of the goal but it was more the nature and lacklustre effort that allowed Metrogas to score that was frustrating, 2-1 Metrogas.
There was still time for Metrogas to try and put further daylight between the two teams but a combination of good fortune (a well struck effort that hit the Farnborough upright and the ball somehow rolled right back across the goal line) and another fine save by Rosslee kept the scoreline far more respectable as the ref blew for full time.
Both sets of players commended each other on a hard fought performance and apologies were made and accepted where applicable. Without singling out any players the likes of Matt Wright, Paul Bailey, Jason Miller, Dean Wyatt and Chris Rawley all gave excellent accounts of themselves and Barry took his goal expertly which no doubt he will be re-telling that story to his children for years to come and Simon Reynolds can tell his family about the one that got away!
We are already looking forward to the prospect of pitting ourselves against Metrogas next season and may I say on behalf of the entire Farnborough Young Vets squad thank you again to Metrogas and Charlton Athletic FC for allowing us the opportunity to play at the Valley it was an excellent experience for all involved.
On another note we are due to play the older Vets this Sunday as part of our customary finish to the season and we will be looking to bounce back from our 2 defeats in row, stats show that we have never suffered 3 defeats in a row as a team however if we do lose this will be sure to dump further pressure on the Young Vets management team and speculation is rife at the moment with the management merry go round as some eye witnesses claim to have seen a certain Italian manager formerly from the blue half of Manchester in the Farnborough village vicinity only this morning!
Shot of the match: Metrogas’ second goal that was curled precisely into the top corner (postage stamp-esque)
Save of the match: Rosslee’s brave double save at the forward’s feet early into second half.
Man of the match: Farnborough stopper Gary Rosslee.
Moan of the match: Having to do 2 match reports in 24 hours!!!
Man of the match: Gary Rosslee