Sunday 31st August 2014
By Roger French
Senior Vets Sluggish Start Simply Slacking
And so the new season was upon us as holidays came into the equation (for those that remembered at least - George) and as such the squad was looking a bit light weight as Nick Waller observed in his updating email towards the end of the week as he offered to beef it up a bit with an unexpected appearance. Another surprising appearance was Trevor Stewart who had somehow got roped in after enquiring about the FOBG match day programme production for the coming season (something that Trev has produced for the last 3 seasons to great effect but sadly is no more - the programme that is, not Trev). This then bumped our numbers up from 13 to 15 for our opening game against Orpington Vets in very warm sunshine at Farrow Fields.
With co-manager Waldorf off sunning himself in Bali for the first two fixtures of the season (unheard of in previous years I may add) he departed with the following words of encouragement, “Have a good week off and don't f... it up on 31st August and 7th September. Remember there is no transfer window for managers!” So that leaves 7th September then as we proceeded to f… it up right royally.
As I had been off for a week getting wet on the Isle of Wight I had created my plans based on the info I had to hand over a week ago and as such these had to be hastily redrawn on Sunday morning to cater for the extra numbers. So with new plans in hand and negotiations over the non-transportation of bikes with one half of FOBG’s Supporters of The Year complete (or at least as far as I was concerned they were) we set off full of confidence.
The team lined up as follows for our opening fixture:
Gary – GK
Paul Scotter – RB
Colesy – CB
Steve B – CB
Colin B – LB
Simon Thomas – RM
Shoey – CM
Rob – CM
Waine – LM
Compo – CF
Colin M – CF
Referee: Mick Gearing
The game at different points was watched by Isabelle and Thomas French, Jane Martin, Pam Shoebridge, Rebecca Coles, Mick O’Flynn (injured) and Sinisa Gracanin (injured) who witnessed us basically throw the game away.
Unlike our regular match reporter and co-manager Waldorf my memory is not what it used to be and it is some time since I have written a match report in earnest and as such I can’t recall the details of what went on during the game sufficient to do it justice. However, the bits I do recall were not very pleasing to the eye or the mind.
We started well and took the game to Orpington, after all everybody who started the game had been to the summer Wednesday training at some point or other and the passing and link up play was good at the beginning. We had a couple of relatively new faces in Paul Scotter who had previously played for FOBG Vets back in 2008 and slotted in very well at right back and was linking well with our other “new” player Simon Thomas who had played once for the Senior Vets and twice for the Young Vets last season.
We certainly had opportunities in the first half without dominating play but still shaded possession. Gary had to be alert on a few occasions and pulled off some good saves but the back four looked solid. Where it was going wrong was in the midfield with players’ not tracking back again putting the back four under unnecessary pressure. Orpington had the players who could take advantage of the space we were giving them in the middle and some lively players down the wings that caused us problems.
It was a huge relief when after about 25 minutes Shoey picked up a loose ball in the box after a bit of a scramble and coolly slotted home our first goal of the season. It felt to me that this would settle us and we would go on to build on this slender lead. But it was not to be as hero turned villain Shoey was harshly adjudged to have fouled an Orpington forward in the box as Mick Gearing after slight consideration decided to award them a penalty from which they equalised. The tide was turning as Orpington started to put us under pressure and I think it was us who were most glad to hear the half-time whistle.
This only served to highlight another failing (no valuables bag was the first) of Statler’s as no oranges had been purchased – I can hear the disparaging sigh coming from Bali from here. With so many subs the plan was to keep changes to the second half so Mehmet, Nick, Trev and Statler came on for Paul Scotter, Colin B, Simon and Waine but only after Statler had legged it back to the clubhouse to find a shirt as he had forgotten to take his up to the pitch. The clipboard was left in the capable hands of Colin B.
It is fair to say that the multiple changes were disruptive and we struggled to get any kind of rhythm going giving Orpington the upper hand. Balls were being lost in the tackle (in more ways than one - I'm still looking for mine), players were not chasing back and we conspired to throw the game away. The goal they scored came about as the ball was lost by Compo in the centre circle and played back into our box. We didn’t manage to clear it as the ball fell at the feet of an Orpington forward standing two feet from our line and nobody blocking him – an easy winner.
The rest of the half saw more changes as Trev, Steve B, Shoey and Statler went off at different stages with Colin B, Waine, Simon and Steve B (yes he had just gone off) coming back on. We were rubbish in the second half and the only shot of note was from Colin Mant.
And that was it we lost and we face a tough task next week against Erith Vets at home. More concerns were voiced in the changing room after the game as it appeared that nobody had thought to arrange bar staff. No problem though as beer monster Nick Waller offered his services together with Steve B and Colin B to run the bar – and what an attractive bunch of bar staff they made as one unnamed senior vet commented upon. The suggestion from a certain Aardvark to Nick was that he might want to show a bit more cleavage next time he served behind the bar.
Pam provided the usual array of post-match hospitality and this was much appreciated by all including one Orpington player who commented on the excellent facilities and hospitality we provide and asked if they could play at Farrow Fields every week or perhaps he was more impressed with our generosity on the pitch.
MOM votes were widely spread throughout the team but the eventual winner was Shoey. Anyway I am off to submit my application for the vacant position at Leeds United seeing as mad Italian president Massimo Cellino is willing to appoint anybody with no experience and an ability to throw games.
Man of the match: Ian Shoebridge