Sunday 22nd March 2015
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough slump deepens
The return of several players who were absent on Mother’s Day prompted some discussion earlier in the week between the four members of the FOBG Senior Vets Philosophical Society about gynocracy and androcracy. This exclusive coterie has four members: Roger “Descartes” French, Mick “Onan” O’Flynn, Colin “Kant” Mant and Patrice “Plato” Mongelard. In case you are wondering – it is Descartes because of all the red and yellow cards Roger keeps accumulating; Onan (not really a philosopher) represents a way of life which Mick O’Flynn champions; Plato, no - not a juvenile buffet reference, but because it has five letters and three of these come from Patrice’s first name, and three from his surname, and 3+3=5 is a key tenet in Greek philosophy. One of these explanations is fanciful – guess which one. As for Kant I cannot go there as the guardian of good taste among the FOBG Senior Vets. We were left in a philosophical mood today. This was a third consecutive defeat, and like last Sunday this was a rueful game so nearly won. Roger French and Patrice Mongelard – the big beasts of the Farnborough technical area, were back in charge after last week’s failed managerial experiment, but their position is now precarious.
The day was overcast, a bit breezy but it felt good to be back on our home pitch after a seemingly interminable run of games played elsewhere. We had forgotten how much there was to do for home games, in the clubhouse and elsewhere, handling various sets of keys, moving goal posts etc. But we did not mind. It was a labour of love.
Mick O’Flynn, Patrice Mongelard, Ian Coles, Colin Brazier;
Colin Mant, Sinisa Gracanin, Obi Ugwumba, Ian Shoebridge;
Andy Faulks, George Kleanthous.
Substitutes: Roger French, Nick Waller, Des Lindsay.
Supporters: Rebecca Coles, Jo Colyer, Thomas and Isabelle French, Rob Lipscomb, Toby Manchip, Jane Martin, Vicky Tanner, and Obi Ugwumba Jr.
We beat Glendale 2-1 at their place on 25 January – so we knew today would be a tight affair with the quality they have. Moreover, we were missing our second top goal scorer Waine Hetherington – who warned several of us last night at the Dog & Duck in RH1 5QU (landlady, Donna Hetherington), not to lose this game. There is no ducking it we will now be in Waine’s doghouse.
When referee Mick Gearing got the game started we were quicker out of the blocks, showing more hunger, cohesion and attacking intent than our opponents, who themselves did enough to show their quality – in particular with “Bingo” or “Deano” up front, quick, sharp, skilful. We had “Compo” though in our attack and it was he (Andy Faulks) who opened the scoring about ten minutes in when an enormous clearance from Gary Fentiman dropped behind the Glendale defence, was controlled by Andy who advanced into the box before tucking the ball away with his left foot. This was no more than we deserved at that point. We were dominant and the inter-passing in midfield in particular was crisp and purposeful, with neat back heels from Mick O’Flynn and Sinisa Gracanin delighting the home crowd, and we created space more than once for twenty-five and thirty-yard shots that tested the Glendale keeper from Ian Shoebridge and Sinisa Gracanin. Michael was having his usual effective muscular game. Full backs Colin Brazier and Mick O’Flynn were thrusting forward eagerly and still attending to their duties at the back. It was a purple patch, and as often happens we created chances that we spurned – George Kleanthous will be ruminating all week on his opportunities in that half, like some Greek philosopher.
Our lead lasted only about ten minutes as a long ball over the top had been anticipated by Bingo and his number came up as he got to it first, took Gary out of the equation, and rolled the ball into the empty net to level the score (legs eleven?). I cannot recall another Glendale opportunity of note in the first half. We made changes on the half hour with Des Lindsay, Roger French and Nick Waller coming on for Patrice Mongelard, Ian Shoebridge and Colin Mant. We lost a bit of momentum but were still looking the more likely to score. Mick O’Flynn could not see the half out as a recurrent calf injury caused him to trundle off and Patrice Mongelard was back in the fray, after having barely had time to warm up in what Mick had earlier described as the Des Lindsay range of sportswear for the discerning gentleman.
The half-time oranges were greeted along with the welcome sight of Rob Lipscomb, out for several months with injury. Rob may one day get back in the side. I do not think his presence jinxed us although students of coincidence will point out that he was last at Farnborough on 14 September, when we suffered a third consecutive defeat at the start of the season.
The second half was more eventful. Glendale made some half-time changes which worked for them and they put us on the back foot. We took a while to get going but by then were 2-1 down as we failed to cope with a Glendale corner where bar and post were struck before the ball went in off the biggest player on the pitch who was left standing on our goal line (with we assume the linesman, our man, having his view obscured). It was a deserved lead, however, feeding off the malaise we are experiencing in defending set pieces, as we had cause to regret again later. Roger French went off injured after having flickered for fifteen minutes of the second half – and Ian Shoebridge came back on to give us a clear threat down the left, composure on the ball, and running power and we started to ask more questions of the Glendale defence.
Des Lindsay was posing a threat of his own down our right and the chances and misses started to come. Our equaliser came with the run of play after George Kleanthous hooked the ball over his shoulder towards goal – we think it was a cunningly disguised cross-cum-shot to the far post where Andy Faulks came on cue to apply the climax. Any hopes we had of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat were snuffed out as Glendale regained the lead from another set piece as the Easter Island curse struck again and only Glendale players had the power of motion as a wave of them drifted beyond our defensive line and the ball was poked home from a yard out. What the/our linesman, Roger French, was doing at that point will remain one of life’s mysteries.
With ten minutes left we were treated to the sight of Gary Fentiman going right up into the Glendale box for a Farnborough corner. Worse was to come as with five minutes left Andy Faulks was played in on the right after a classy back heel from Des Lindsay, took aim and fired low with power, only to see the ball hit the base of the post as it flashed by. There was just time for Colin Mant to bring down a big Glendale unit with hollow legs. It was a case of so near and yet so far – and that was it – Glendale did to us what we did to them two months ago.
The mood in the dressing room was subdued but without recrimination. Not even the unexpected presence of Toby Manchip could cheer us up though he did his best with tales of his foot having been bitten by a lion while he was searching for pampas grass in the suburbs of Orpington. Nick Waller was possibly the least downhearted among us as he had not scored a third consecutive O.G., the bar having stopped his header while he “defended” a Glendale corner. It seemed harsh to remind the Buffet Poursuivant that he could claim an assist for the Glendale goal that ensued, as he munched contentedly on a sausage from the wonderful spread which Pam Shoebridge and Jane Martin served up. I was rebuked by Colin Brazier for the unfairness of six chicken drumsticks on my large buffet plate but I ate them all, and more.
Man of the match: Sini Gracanin, who speaks the language of football fluently, though many could not understand him.
Man of the match: Sini Gracanin