Sunday 16th November 2014
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough Foil Farrow Fields Daylight Robbery by Met Police
First we have a public service announcement for the benefit of the teams that play us. Our co-manager Roger French was delighted to announce earlier this week that he had successfully completed the FA First Aid training course. Whilst this is more cure than prevention – this form of victim support is a huge step in the right direction, for Roger. It is also in tune with modern policing, as today’s visitors to our turf, the Met Police Super Vets, would no doubt agree.
Games against today’s opponents are now closer than they used to be, something not unrelated, as the finest minds in the constabulary would deduce, to the number of players with a full head of dark hair, now in their ranks. They say one gets older when policemen look younger – well the same holds for their Super Vets. To be fair they had four or five players whose full heads of hair were last on parade a very long time ago. I doubt though if the combined age of their back four was 216, like ours and they did not have to face two very nippy forwards with a combined age that was probably less than Mick Gearing’s. Talking of Mick, it was good to see Mrs Gearing in the clubhouse after the game, there to support Mick of course, but also perhaps to investigate reports of what Mick has been doing with his tantric whistle.
The conditions were milder than could be expected, but quite overcast. The pitch was very heavy and bore signs of recent rolling, and a cut. There was no hiding place for dodgy groins, hamstrings, suspect knees and stressed calves – as we were to find out.
Paul Scotter Steve Blanchard Ian Coles Colin Brazier
Mick O’Flynn Colin Mant Ian Lyons Waine Hetherington
Andy Faulks George Kleanthous
Substitutes: Roger French, Nick Waller, Patrice Mongelard, Simon Thomas.
Supporters : Thomas French (who did not miss sister Isabelle), Vicky Tanner; Jane Martin and Rebecca Coles; Sinisa Gracanin, Ian Shoebridge.
We started sluggishly but fashioned the better chances. The usual story of missed Farnborough opportunities started to unfold whilst at the other end we could be undone by a quick break. Andy Faulks was playing like a man preoccupied by an out of date tax disc – his touch was very poor, and not as sharp as usual. Andy and George had one-to-ones that were not converted. On the quarter hour though Mick O’Flynn broke through on the right and crossed the ball into the box for George leaping like a salmon, to steer the ball over the keeper into the net. George has waited years to score with a header and now two had come in consecutive weeks. Soon after, Mick O’Flynn found himself alone in front of the Met Police goal six yards out after collecting an Andy Faulks through ball but elected to pass the ball to the Met keeper. The worst miss came from Andy Faulks after twenty-five minutes as the Met Police keeper muffed a goal kick and Andy found himself on the edge of the box, unencumbered by defenders, and his shot on goal went out for a throw-in. Patrice Mongelard’s scream of “Aaaaaagh useless” made an impression on young Thomas French who rather amusingly, was to use the same expression later to describe some of Patrice Mongelard’s corners.
At the back we creaked a bit but we were getting away with it. Gary did very well in a one-to-one but the warning signs were there. The four changes we made on the half hour – with Patrice Mongelard, Simon Thomas, Nick Waller and Roger French – coming on for Paul Scotter, Colin Mant, Mick O’Flynn and Andy Faulks – did not help. The Met sensed their opportunity as hesitancy crept into our game and they found themselves with more time in midfield. Their equaliser on 35 minutes was a well-worked goal, with a smart finish at the far post as one of their nippy forwards crept up behind Colin Brazier to steer the ball into the net from close range. Five minutes later the Met edged ahead as a good through ball pierced the heart of our defence and the ball was rolled into the net beyond Gary by the other nippy one. By then Simon Thomas had left the scene with a groin strain and Colin Mant made his first comeback of the game.
The second half was not dissimilar from the first except that the Met did not really have a clear chance to edge further ahead. Instead we applied ourselves to search for an equaliser. We had several half chances, forced several corners, breached the blue line more than once but our finishing was poor (Roger) and the Met Police keeper grew in stature and confidence and pulled off great saves (for example from George). On the hour Mick O’Flynn and Andy Faulks replaced Ian Lyons and Colin Mant, and this gave us more forward momentum and more missed chances. Ian and Colin Mant were not done yet though as injuries to Mick O’Flynn and Colin Brazier brought them back. Ian though waited for us to defend two set pieces with ten men, and for his embossed crested invitation to be hand-delivered by the High Sheriff of Farnborough, before Patrice Mongelard bellowed him back on (good thing Thomas French did not pick up that pithy Anglo-Saxon epithet).
As the final whistle approached and the equaliser remained elusive our tempers frayed. Patrice Mongelard chided Colin Mant for not retrieving a ball that had gone out of touch, with greater celerity. Colin replied advising Patrice to do a spot of perambulation. But with five minutes left Waine Hetherington played our get out of jail card to prevent a smash and grab raid by his employers. Waine might have to help his colleagues with their enquiries into an inside job tomorrow but we were grateful for his deep long cross that was met at the far post by a sliding Andy Faulks to steer the ball into the net. There had been no miscarriage of justice. We deserved this, and there was even time for Andy to try an outrageous 45-yard howitzer of a lob that was not far off.
The Met will feel they gained a good point while we thought we had lost two points. The injuries cost us and I am not sure that we deployed our substitutes to our best advantage. The game was played in very good spirit bar two minor incidents involving the main suspect (no photo fit required there). First a tackle from Roger French had a Met Police defender writhing and rolling but before Roger could apply his new skills, and after the usual verbal pleasantries, the defender made a miraculous recovery. The other incident was when the same serial offender offered to give the Met Police keeper a manicure with his studs in a 50-50 in the box.
The clubhouse buffet was sumptuous as ever with Pam Shoebridge and Jane Martin serving up many copious treats. I thought it wise to show some restraint after eight chicken drumsticks, two sausages, a cheese roll and an egg mayonnaise sandwich (and surprised Pam by returning a ninth chicken drumstick to the kitchen). But she was not as surprised as Nick Waller who was told that drinking twenty-six pints in two Saturday sessions was not good enough for the England rugby hospitality box sponsored by Roger French’s employer.
Man of the match: Ian Coles, who did more than most to obstruct the Met Police.
Man of the match: Ian Coles