Sunday 17th May 2015
By Patrice Mongelard
Lloyds profit as Farnborough fizzle out
And so it ends on a glorious sunny Sunday morning – 37 games later since it began on 31 August, to give us symmetrical figures for the season of P37, W15, D7, L15, GF93 and GA93. The manner of today’s defeat was worrying but that had to do also with our opponents who fully deserved their victory, and who probably left thinking, rightly, that they should have banked more goals. We were missing a few, including Roger French who was putting family first finally, but he had ordered the pizzas for today and his parting instructions to co-manager Patrice Mongelard were, in order of priority, to make sure there was no pizza left and that we won the game. Despite our best efforts we failed on both counts.
Pre-match planning was discombobulated by news that Andy Faulks picked up an injury playing yesterday and would arrive late, possibly to not play. This gave us a bare twelve – almost as many as our fans.
Patrice Mongelard, Ian Coles, Dave Green, Phil Anthony;
Sinisa Gracanin, Chris Bourlet, Obi Ugwumba, Waine Hetherington;
Colin Mant, Nick Waller.
Substitutes: Andy Faulks and Andrew Washington.
Supporters: The three Graces - Freya, Kathleen and Thea Anthony, Colin Brazier, mascot Caesar, Rebecca Coles, George Kleanthous, Jane “I’m going to miss this” Martin, and Obi Ugwumba Jr.
We all sensed there was something not quite right from the beginning – a lack of penetration and incision and a failure to hold up play and find a team mate with the right pass. Lloyds had not one but two target men and they could rely on midfielders to support them in numbers. There was passivity and a lack of urgency and movement in our play – and that included Andy Faulks who appeared ten minutes into the game, ambled up to the pitch, watched a bit of the game before shuffling back down to his car to get his bag, and eventually getting changed.
Unsurprisingly the early chances fell to Lloyds and had they been more clinical in front of goal they would have opened their account much sooner. The base of the post and Gary’s reflexes saved us, until about the 20th minute, when a quick break led by the handful of a forward Lloyds had, teed up a team mate at the far post to squeeze the ball in from a tight angle. Lloyds could have edged further ahead but for a good block by Patrice Mongelard, and a saving header by Dave Green, when our goal was at Lloyds' mercy.
Yet we managed to claw our way back into the game ten minutes later after a robust incursion in the Lloyds box by Obi Ugwumba saw the ball fall kindly for Nick Waller who applied a scissor kick while lying on the ground, or maybe he just fell over at the point of contact with the ball, to wrong foot the Lloyds keeper - with his right foot. Nick’s relief was that of a man who had just been to the bank to pay off his overdraft – yes this was his third goal of the season at the right end, to neutralise his three own goals. There was not much else for us to show in the rest of the half, bar a couple of very ambitious shots from distance from Obi Ugwumba.
Andy Faulks and Andrew Washington came on at half time for Chris Bourlet and Phil Anthony. Andrew had made history by being the first Farnborough Senior Vet to warm up in Revo sunglasses (he’d always wanted good quality sunglasses he told me) and he made the most of the sunshine whilst running the line in the first half. Now he was on to run down the line, and we made two other positional changes to accommodate him. The introduction of Andy Faulks – one goal shy of thirty for the season gave us some hope but that did not last long. Lloyds were even better in the second half and caused us more problems, particularly as we were not tracking back in the same numbers as they were breaking through from midfield and from the back. Things looked bleak when they regained the lead with a goal that was not too dissimilar from their first – a quick break down the right, a ball to the far post finished by an energetic midfielder who had escaped all Farnborough's defenders.
Our tempers frayed, but the frustration was directed at us. In fact there was only one bad tackle in the whole game when Sinisa Gracanin was felled from behind after he’d raced clear of his marker. The referee (who had come over with Lloyds) gave us the free kick, of course. Indeed he had an excellent game with more whistle action than we are used to, all very fair and we all agreed it had been a good game to referee. I do not think the absence of any Farnborough players contributed to this. In the midst of our difficulties came a moment of pure class as Waine Hetherington beat two players in a central position from twenty yards out to place an unstoppable left foot shot in the top corner with fifteen minutes to go. There was still time for a winner and Andy Faulks came close twice with balls that were neither crosses nor shots and therein lay the problem.
Phil Anthony came back for the last ten minutes or so for Nick Waller. Lloyds were still threatening our goal and got their reward five minutes or so from the end when a shot from the right, taken early from twenty-five yards, surprised Gary Fentiman at his near post to creep into the net. There was no time for us to get back in the black and Lloyds had a deserved victory for playing more collectively, with more hunger, and a sharper cutting edge.
The après-match was enlivened by the arrival of fourteen large thin crust pizzas (or 140 slices) from an outlet in Orpington which travelled via the M25, or so it seemed as it was twenty-five minutes late. Good thing Roger French was not there – no not because it meant more pizza for everyone – that was just a bonus. He has had fast food delivery issues this season. Buffet Eminence Nick Waller kept saying he did not like pizza, I think, as I could not make out what he was saying every time as his mouth was full. I was disappointed that Caesar did not have any pizza, fancy a Roman not liking pizza. Incidentally I think today was the first time we lost a game with Caesar there, who came and saw us fail to conquer. Despite the glorious weather and the abundance of food and cold beer, the mood was a bit subdued due to the absence of familiar faces. There was an end-of-school-year feel to the atmosphere as – “see you at summer training, see you next season perhaps, another year maybe, depends on the Mrs, fitness permitting, got to lose some weight, we need new players, we need new managers” – could be heard. I made the last bit up.
Colin Mant made mathematically certain of the Dot Cotton award by taking the kit home yet again, and everything else.
Man of the match: a threesome - golden touch Waine Hetherington, golden tush Sinisa Gracanin and golden tumble Dave Green.
Man of the match: Waine Hetherington, Sinisa Gracanin