Sunday 28th February 2016
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough go marching in
We were back on neutral but familiar ground at the Beckenham Cricket Club in Foxgrove Road for this one – our first visit there since another famous one-time resident of this road, at number 24, passed away in January. The place had been extensively refurbished and was now more wine bar (not Waine bar) than traditional sports clubhouse, with laminate flooring, leather chairs, oak-effect tables and a new menu (more on that later). In an attempt to sprinkle some stardust of our own, we were trying out a new formation after what Roger French called a mass debate with Mick O’Flynn on Friday morning. The question was - were the management just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, or would they succeed in inserting defensive DNA from Patrice Mongelard and Colin Mant into the midfield? Our offensive DNA was modified late with the withdrawal of Andy Faulks and Peter Harvey came forward after yet another blank fixture for our Young Vets. According to social media, Andy was not in the right frame of mind after missing five one on ones yesterday – otherwise he would have won his game 5-4.
Phil Anthony, Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard, Roger French;
Simon Thomas, Patrice Mongelard, Stephane Anelli, Colin Mant, Waine Hetherington;
Substitutes: George Kleanthous, Rob Lipscomb, Kypros Michael, Mark Harrington.
Supporters: Isabelle & Thomas French, Hannah Kleanthous.
Referee Mick Gearing got the game going under clear, bright but cold conditions on the more compact of the two BCC pitches, closest to the tennis courts. We quickly had the bulk of possession and a solid defensive platform to build on with Patrice Mongelard patrolling the space in front of (and some say even behind) the back four. We thought we had taken the lead quite early after an incisive move from the left by Stephane Anelli saw him block and divert a Santos defensive clearance into their net from close range. But the goal was ruled out for offside and we made no fuss. Quite against the run of play Santos took the lead after about ten minutes – making the most of the opportunity arising from a defensive mix-up involving a penitent Gary Fentiman. It did not take long for Farnborough to strike back. After a neat passing move on the right Phil Anthony found himself in a very advanced position ideally placed to swing a cross over to the far post where it was quiffed in by Simon Thomas. The use of the word quiff as a verb is entirely appropriate on this occasion I assure you – though Simon did not have the best quiff on show today. His double in the Santos team did – like Simon, tall, bearded, long-limbed, exuberantly quiffed, and with the same Thespian demeanour but less languid. He had a very good game, the Simon double did, and finished up playing the role of a goalkeeper.
After about twenty minutes Patrice Mongelard decided to produce one of his speciality corners with his right boot. It is still a mystery how the Santos keeper just managed to divert the ball which was arrowing into the top corner at the far post. But he had no chance a few minutes later when Waine Hetherington picked a loose ball in midfield advanced and let fly from thirty yards (if my yardage is correct – I have been unfairly accused of inflating my measurements whilst reducing that of my team mates). We did not pull further ahead as we were hoping at that point. We had some half chances and at times got in each other’s way (as Pete Harvey did with Colin Mant) on the edge of the box.
We made four changes on the half hour with George Kleanthous, Rob Lipscomb, Kypros Michael and Mark Harrington coming on for Waine Hetherington, Stephane Anelli, Pete Harvey and Colin Mant. This was Mark’s debut and he had a tidy game particularly in the second half when he made a number of timely interventions in defence. We continued to press the Santos defence and Kypros Michael nearly broke through on the left more than once. At the other end Gary Fentiman did not really have much to do except to watch over the long goal kicks that could travel quite a long way on this pitch. Six foot three inches came in handy more than once and there was even a hairy moment when some felt the ball had crept in over his head but he had just tipped it over. 2-1 at half-time was the right scoreline – we had done well to come from behind. Talking of which, Pete Harvey requested that special mention be made that after years of trying he finally had a free kick awarded in his favour by Mick Gearing after being taken roughly – you’ve guessed it, from behind.
The second half was to the neutral a little one-directional in that the flow of the game was mainly towards the Santos goal with the occasional dangerous break from Santos. In truth we missed many chances in that half. These increased in number from the hour when we restored Pete Harvey, Waine Hetherington, Stephane Anelli and Colin Mant to the play for the departing Roger French, Simon Thomas, Patrice Mongelard and Phil Anthony. Rob Lipscomb found himself at left back showing his versatility and team spirit. He had his usual tangle, but this time was attacked by the Santos kit bags as he shaped to take a throw-in but we quickly stepped in to separate Rob from the bags. Less funny though were the chances we kept missing and the saves being pulled by the ersatz Santos keeper. Pete Harvey and George Kleanthous failed to hit the target with headers from good positions. Kypros Michael and Waine Hetherington had shots that they will feel they should have done better with.
We were rewarded though when Pete Harvey bamboozled the Santos defence down their left, got behind them and crossed low and invitingly for Waine Hetherington whose control and shot were crisp and unerring. At 3-1 we could breathe a bit easier but Santos were not out of it. Gary Fentiman dived bravely at the foot a quick Santos midfielder who had burst into our box. With about ten minutes left we were awarded an undisputed penalty which Waine Hetherington claimed but did not convert. That was almost the last act of the first Santos keeper who went off injured and was replaced by the Simon Thomas lookalike for the final minutes. The height of the new keeper came in useful as he thwarted Pete Harvey from close range for a final time.
In the clubhouse (or maybe it should be brasserie) Roger French, who complained about not having enough inches, in last week’s match report, surprised us with a new smart phone which came with an activity monitor which he was wearing on his wrist. He told us that the read out on his phone was showing a minute of activity for the morning, so clearly this was not a device for monitoring brain activity. Phil Anthony stopped playing with his salted nuts for a moment to take a photo of Amanda and four other ladies from the tennis club enjoying a cup of organic fair trade coffee from a sustainable source on a Nicaraguan commune.
Buffet Apocalypse Nick Waller was absent, just as well as a large tray of hand-cut artisan white and brown sandwiches with a range of succulent fillings nestled around a bed of crisp crudités, did not last long. Gone were the traditional rustic chips, sausages and buttered slices of old – the end of an era but is it progress – discuss. The new modern menu did, however, deliver a chocolate tray-bake with a hint of ginger and chocolate icing studded with identical bijou fudge cubes. Roger French, despite his fitbit, wolfed a slice down, barely pausing to acknowledge a question from famished-looking son Thomas. Ian Coles followed suit, only to make Roger feel better, before Waine Hetherington passed the tray over to the delighted Santos team. Their keeper showed a good pair of hands as he caught hold of it, just like when he saved Waine’s penalty, although I thought he could have withheld the information, imparted to Waine, that he was not really a keeper.
Man of the match: Waine Hetherington who bought a jug as if he had scored a hat-trick, and who was now over the moon to have scored one more goal than George Kleanthous. That is one bet he (Palace fan) has with George (West Ham fan) that is going well for him.
Man of the match: Waine Hetherington