Sunday 26th October 2014
By Patrice Mongelard
Senior Vets faith restored in St Dunstan’s lane
Today’s opponents CUACO Vets had beaten us 2-1 on our home ground on 14 September. We were keen to deny them a double. We had sixteen players available potentially but yesterday afternoon we lost our regular goal keeper Gary Fentiman to a knee injury. Efforts to find a replacement had come to nothing – so the plan was that Waine Hetherington and Patrice Mongelard (not GK, guess who?) would share the job between the sticks.
Fifteen became fourteen when Andy Faulks failed to appear for the start. We are used to players being late when clocks go forward - but the clocks had gone back overnight. A clue appeared on the dressing room wall in the form of a photograph of Andy’s post at 3 am, on Facebook, showing him modelling the latest Ann Summers range, perhaps from their Bromley store. Young Thomas French learned a long word today which I will not repeat here in case he decides to tell teacher about it after the half term break. I’ll give the rest of you a clue – it is not Transylvania. Andy, we surmised, had had trouble finding the right smalls, or difficulty undoing the clasp.
Our opponents are based at the Old Dunstonian’s Sports Ground in St Dunstan’s lane in Beckenham. St Dunstan as some of you may know was once Archbishop of Canterbury. The ground is punctuated mostly with rugby posts – cue for a social comment après-match from Ian Lyons about the egg-chasers taking over the universe. There were some funny markings on the pitch – the penalty area was delineated in red. Still Roger French would have felt at home sporting his England Rugby team shirt - quite fitting for his brand of football, I thought, and pity the final score was not 0-2. We arranged our XV, and barmy army like this:
Mick O’Flynn Steve Blanchard Ian Coles Patrice Mongelard
Simon Thomas Paul Scotter Ian Shoebridge Colin Brazier
Colin Mant George Kleanthous
Substitutes: Roger French, Nick Waller, Ian Lyons – and eventually Andy Faulks.
Supporters: Isabelle and Thomas French; Louie Dwight; Phil Anthony & Caesar (once again our lucky mascot – two appearances, two wins) and the three Graces – Freya, Kathleen and Thea; Andy Faulks’ girlfriend Jo.
Today we registered our biggest win of the season and we meant business from the first whistle. The passing was crisp and mostly short, with defence, midfield and attack connecting well.
The neutral would have observed that Waine was not very busy – and in fact he found his clean sheet in the first half so much to his liking that he opted to play the second half in goal too. He was a natural – his kicking long and true, and as they say he knew where the posts and bar were. An instinctive save to palm the ball over the bar in the second half was quality.
We were patient and probed down both flanks, with Simon Thomas and Colin Brazier on fire, as we kept CUACO cooped in their half. The half chances started to come. We broke through on the quarter hour when George Kleanthous showed his number thirteen to his marker, got down to the by-line and floated a cross to the far post where our tallest player Simon Thomas arrived to volley the ball home off the keeper. We had not noticed how tall he was until he came into the dressing room as we were pondering the goal keeper situation. He wisely went next door to get changed.
We proceeded to create a number of half chances – Ian Shoebridge putting a powerful header just over, and Paul Scotter meeting a cutback from Simon Thomas with a powerful shot from six yards out that went between the rugby posts behind the goal. Patrice Mongelard had cut in from the left back position, shifted gear, and advanced on goal before lofting a thirty yarder that the keeper just managed to palm over the bar. A quarter of an hour later Patrice repeated the move with much less success, shall we say.
After twenty minutes we replaced Mick O’Flynn, Ian Coles and Ian Shoebridge with Ian Lyons, Nick Waller and Andy Faulks who had used the French tent to change out of his lingerie. We remained in control and on the half hour saw our domination crowned with a superb thirty yarder into the top corner from Andy Faulks. I hope Jo had a good view of it – she might need her eyes tested I suggest, as it was reported to me that she thought Mick O’Flynn, our own Archbishop of Banterbury was wearing some sort of ecclesiastical cap (a bit like St Dunstan perhaps).
We could not find a third goal despite pressing for it. The referee was very good, communicated a lot with the players and on the whole even-handed. The iffiest tackle he had to deal with in the first half was when Patrice Mongelard lifted a big CUACO unit off the ground in a fifty-fifty. But there were no hard feelings – the whole match was played in excellent spirit and it was very sporting indeed of our opponents to give us three cheers at the end.
At half time Roger French came on for Colin Brazier. It is fair to say that we had a bit of a wobble in the first five to ten minutes. CUACO got back in the game with a good finish that would have taxed even our Gary.
However, we rallied and before further changes were made there was time for Patrice Mongelard to produce a 70-yard dash that left the nippy CUACO winger trailing, ghost past the fullback, and pull the ball back for Andy Faulks on the edge of the box to produce a disappointing finish. Next time I’ll push on.
Soon after Patrice Mongelard and Simon Thomas were replaced by Mick O’Flynn and Colin Brazier, and five minutes later we made our final changes as Steve Blanchard and Colin Mant made way for the return of Ian Coles and Ian Shoebridge.
The last quarter of the match saw Farnborough dominant again as we hit the bar and post and also hit the rugby bar behind, twice. We got a bit frantic and a bit more composure and less selfish play would have yielded greater dividends as good moves and positions were wasted. Paul Scotter and Mick O’Flynn buzzed in and out of the CUACO box. The relief of a two-goal cushion was restored with a crisp finish from George Kleanthous. With a little over five minutes left Paul Scotter produced a peach of a cross from a free kick that was met with a diving header from Andy Faulks that the CUACO keeper could not keep out.
The weather was much cooler today and there was a bit of a breeze as we watched the archers set up and start shooting arrows, even though there are no toxophilites among us. We have some cricketers though as Colin “smooth” Mant recalled he played his first cricket match at Farnborough decades ago. One day he’ll play football there too.
The beer was good and we purchased fifteen chunky beef and ham rolls from the bar. By happy coincidence I had two beef ones with red onion and cucumber. On the way home I wondered whether any of our players had a rabona in their locker – probably none. Not frilly enough for Andy Faulks I suspect.
Man of the match: deservedly and overwhelmingly, with a bustling, bristling, bulldog of a performance Paul Scotter although in co-manager Statler’s eyes the award went to Thomas French for having searched the pitch and found his lost mobile for him. A true superhero in the making – well done Thomas, you saved us all!
Man of the match: Paul Scotter