Sunday 5th February 2017
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough Youngster Makes it a Tough Day for the Senior Vets
The heavy rains this week had cast a doubt on whether this game would be played. In the end the refurbished pitch held up but the outcome of the game has cast a doubt over the whole of the Senior Vets team, itself now in much need of refurbishment.
SANCO had the bare eleven though I counted twelve players and the word was that if they had not drafted in two under-age players there would not have been a game. One was 24 reportedly the son of one of their players and the other – according to the best Farnborough guesses, was about 29. It was possible in that case to have Farnborough guesses because the player in question was Bobby Moulson, ex-Farnborough First-teamer, who went on to have a dazzler of a game. We would have struggled against ten players today.
Patrice Mongelard, Colin Mant, Steve Blanchard, Phil Anthony;
Obi Ugwumba, Simon Thomas, Paul Tanton, Ian Shoebridge;
Andy Faulks, Pete Harvey.
Substitutes: Nick Waller, Sinisa Gracanin, Ian Coles, Kypros Michael.
Supporters: Kathleen, Freya and Thea Anthony and dog Caesar, Tony Harvey, Jim and Jack St John, and (linesman) Obi Ugwumba (Jr).
Strategist and DJ: Mick O’Flynn.
The “keep it tight” bit of the team talk was defenestrated within two minutes of the start when we fell behind to a Moulson goal. We responded fairly quickly with a Obi Ugwumba header which came back off the base of the post from a Paul Tanton free kick. Within the opening ten to fifteen minutes Michael looked our most likely scorer – a piledriver of a right foot shot went narrowly wide and the SANCO keeper plucked another of Michael’s shots from the top corner. I do not really recall other goal threats from us in that half. At the other end Moulson had added another goal after a fine control and solo run. A third SANCO goal came before the half-hour from a cross from the right of our defence and a player who had drifted into the box from the right wing. 3-0 was well deserved – such had been the poverty of our display. We were on Easter Island, a yard behind in thought, disjointed, listless and it felt like we were a player short. SANCO wanted it more.
On the half-hour we made four changes as Patrice Mongelard, Colin Mant, Obi Ugwumba and Paul Tanton made way for Nick Waller, Sinisa Gracanin, Kypros Michael and Ian Coles. Sinisa Gracanin would have been on from the start but had to make an emergency dash to the clubhouse – by then it was probably safe to use the toilets again (whoever was in there shortly before 10:30 probably needs medical assistance – that is all I would say). Slowly we began to play more of a part in the game, and we felt that if we could only get one goal back we would sort ourselves out.
Andy Faulks had had enough and removed himself from the game at the interval and Paul Tanton was back on sooner than anticipated. The “keep it tight” bit of the half-time inquest was a joke within five minutes of the restart. SANCO exploited the vast acres on the left of our defence to register their fourth. Five minutes later the same area yielded their fifth. Tony Harvey arrived soon after and the look of incredulity on his face was priceless as he was apprised of the score but to his great credit – his first words were “Come on Farnborough”.
By then a tanned Jim St John had removed young Jack from the scene. There are things that young children should not see. Jim was surprised at how wet the ground was. This was a fair observation from a man who had just completed his third holiday of this year, and I am reliably informed, with the prospect of Dubai in four weeks. He’ll qualify for non-dom status at this rate.
On the hour we made more changes as Patrice Mongelard, Colin Mant and Obi Ugwumba came back on for Phil Anthony, Steve Blanchard and Ian Shoebridge. We switched to a back three, and pushed our secret weapon Nick Waller into the front line. We scored two quick goals. First Pete Harvey drove determinedly into the box despite the attentions of defenders to make the most of a Kypros Michael assist. Then Pete Harvey again was the architect when his cut-back hit a Sanco defender’s foot and went in.
5-2 seemed respectable and we went looking for more but Moulson got his hat-trick and then created another goal before Kyp Michael finished off a Pete Harvey pass to end the scoring. We had nearly drawn the second half.
It was difficult in a game like this to keep emotions in check and there was the nagging feeling that at least two of the opposition players on the pitch were thirty or more years younger than the oldest Farnborough player. Most players shook hands at the end except for the surly SANCO forward who had a great game and scored two goals. I saw him leave the clubhouse without a word to anyone. You would not want to come across him when he loses a game.
Words were said in our team between Michael and Simon. However, after last week I should explain, to reassure concerned readers of our match reports, that in spite of the way the game unfolded, Colin Mant was an oasis of calm; a deep reservoir of consideration, tact and diplomacy; a haven of courtesy; a paragon of sportsmanship, the epitome of fair play.
Shoebridge Catering Solutions delivered hot dogs, sausage rolls, samosas, onion bhajis, cheddar chunks much to the delight of Buffet Biffa Nick Waller who was involved in a face-off with the Shoebridge dog Pip for the last cheddar chunk. I can still hear that pitiful whelp as the Biffa jaws snuffed Pip’s hopes.
I normally have a clean joke for the Anthony sisters to share with their school mates the next day but today all I could think of was that the whole Farnborough Senior Vets had been a joke.
In the clubhouse we bumped into a Farnborough Legend – Des Fallon (three decades of experience as a Farnborough team manager ) - who uttered these wise words “ Management is the Art of Tough Decisions” – and it seems we have a few of those to make for our next game.
Farnborough Man of the match: Ian Coles.
Star of the game: Bobby Moulson.
Man of the match: Ian Coles