Sunday 30th October 2016
By Patrice Mongelard
50th birthday boy Pete Harvey gets Farnborough out of a sticky situation
Horological imbecile Andy Faulks arrived at the ground at 10:13 for a 10:15 kick-off – and that is even with the clocks going back one hour overnight. On another day it would not have mattered but today he had the kit and there was another team waiting to use the changing room. We were steaming. Moreover, we could not be sure if he had washed it. On the way to the ground my thoughts had turned to cleaning as I wondered if the heavy morning mist was a mystic sign that all the Orpington followers of Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website – GOOP – had taken her advice about steam cleaning.
Talking of La Paltrow – not many people will know that former partner Chris Martin’s great great grandfather, William Willett, had something to do with the clocks changing. He had introduced the idea of British Summer Time also known as Daylight Saving Time. We have now passed from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time. There is a memorial sundial dedicated to William Willett in Petts Wood.
Patrice Mongelard, Steve Blanchard, Colin Mant, Phil Anthony;
Ian Shoebridge, Sinisa Gracanin, Simon Thomas, Nick Waller;
Pete Harvey, Andy Faulks.
Substitutes: Ian Coles, Ian Lyons, Roger French.
Supporters: Thomas French, Isabelle French, Sue Doidge.
Strategist with special instructions for full backs: Mick O’Flynn.
Referee: Jim St John – aka Jumbo (which meant no dissent from anyone).
Lads of the Village had much longer than we did to warm up. They had their kit in good time. Some might think this explains why they started so much better. The truth is they surprised us with the quality and energy of their play. We were all over the place in the first quarter of an hour, slow to the second ball and struggling to keep the ball. They took the game by the scruff of the neck and we had a job containing them. I don’t know why but it is always a shock when older players perform so well – I think the eye tells the brain to not expect it. It did not help that Steve Blanchard had to go off after only five minutes but Ian Coles replaced him. Steve was out for the rest of the game but he was to get a taste of management later from the touch line.
We had a job containing the Lads midfield star who won most of the headers and had a hammer of a left foot that sprayed passes and crosses to willing runners, and even more concerning for us, would shoot for fun from thirty to forty yards – twice he brought out of Paul Parsons’ knees what could best be described as five-a-side saves. Trouble was that we let the thunderbolts come, and the Lads scored their first after a bullet of a left foot was diverted past Paul Parsons who did well to get hands to it. Thankfully we were level within five minutes when Pete Harvey was interfered with in the box as he put his body between the Lads keeper and the ball. Pete generously allowed Andy Faulks to tuck the penalty away.
Deservedly the Lads pulled ahead again after we failed to clear the ball out of our defence and a low shot from the edge of our box trickled past Paul Parsons to nestle in the bottom corner. Before the half hour we were level again after Colin Mant made the most of an assist from Pete Harvey to swing his left foot at the ball and the goalbound shot was lifted over the keeper via a defender’s limb. Manty, suddenly more prolific than when he used to impersonate a forward, had his second of the season. The dubious goals committee made a half-hearted and vain attempt to deprive him of the strike in the bar later.
We had got back in the game and the introduction of Ian Lyons on the half hour for Phil Anthony added more weight and savoir-faire to our defence. Ian Shoebridge was beginning to make his presence felt whilst Sinisa Gracanin was holding his own in midfield and Andy Faulks and Pete Harvey were giving the Lads defence more to think about. 2-2 at half time was a fair reflection of the game.
Both teams continued to match each other for most of the second half. It was clear however that we were stretching the Lads defence more with Pete Harvey on the left and Simon Thomas on the right. There was a historical moment midway through the second half when Andy Faulks had a bottle of water poured over his head after a challenge left him dazed. That was probably as much water as he has had on his head since his baptism.
On the hour Patrice Mongelard made way for Roger French (a late arrival after son Thomas’s cup game, in which Roger was prepared to score an own goal to avoid extra time. Luckily, at least for him, they won 2-1 in normal time). Roger will have been disappointed with his initial touches but afterwards helped us keep the Lads out in his usual robust manner. Another change on the hour was the withdrawal of Buffet Big Boy Nick Waller to make way for Phil’s Anthony’s return.
In a late comment on social media after the match Andy Faulks claimed that it had been his intention all along to turn up late, allowing the Lads to wear themselves out in the long warm up, and setting us for a late finish. So maybe he is smarter than we think. We might not have started the game well but we certainly finished it on top. With about fifteen minutes left Pete Harvey broke through on the left, advanced deep into the Lads’ box and crossed low for Andy Faulks to finish athletically at the far post to give us the lead for the first time in the game. This was Andy’s second of the game and his fifth of the season. Lads of the Village have cause to fear Andy – he bagged five goals against them almost exactly a year ago on 1 November.
With ten minutes left Ian Shoebridge beat two players in the corridor of uncertainty only to be brought down by a third. Referee Jim St John gave us the free kick which Pete Harvey curled expertly round the wall for a low finish inside the post. At 4-2 we were not going to be denied. Patrice Mongelard was brought back on in an inspired move by stand-in manager Steve Blanchard, after Mick O’Flynn had left the stage. Patrice replaced Simon Thomas who had taken a knock and who was probably dizzy from a surfeit of dribbles and step-overs deep in the Lads’ box. Thespian Simon was reportedly appearing on stage tonight and mum Sue Doidge spirited him away before the curtain rose on the buffet.
Val produced another splendid buffet. I caught the tail end of it but Val kindly found some extra rolls, cheese, ham and Branston pickle for me, much to the envy of my team mates. As I left the ground there were no signs of the special herbal steam treatment Gwyneth recommended but there was something distinctly herbal in the Catford air. However, I was already quite relaxed after our fourth consecutive win. Credit to our opponents though, they had given us quite a game.
Man of the match: Pete Harvey – I hope you have him in your Fantasy Football Team – one goal and three assists.
Man of the match: Pete Harvey