Sunday 16th April 2017
By Patrice Mongelard
No Easter eggs for Farnborough in Eynsford
There is a view of the world that sees Easter as an apology for a religious crime. We have a few apologies to make ourselves today. First an apology to Jordan Glen who read into my comment in last week’s match report about the locked club gates, a failure on my part to acknowledge the efforts of many, including in particular Jordan who do a lot at the club that is unseen. After a late night on duty at the club Jordan had made the 5.5 mile trip to the club to open up (but local boy Paul Tanton had got there first). An apology is due too from Andy Faulks (but I am not sure we are going to get one) for failing to turn up today. It is all the management’s fault seemingly, as Andy had emitted brain waves in the Chislehurst area to tell us he was unavailable. I suppose I ought to apologise for giving away the free kick which led to the only goal of the game. But you will get no apology for our football today. We gave a good account of ourselves and were unlucky not to get the rub of one or two refereeing decisions.
The morning was gloriously sunny, less so later, but the Eynsford Bowl looked in great shape, lush and smaller than when we last played on it. One of the goals had moved in three yards and the geometric requirements of football had entailed adjustments to the width as well. It was still a beast of a pitch with its unique gradient. We were informed that Riverside were now the only team in the village, though it looked like some of the now defunct Eynsford side did not have to wander very far to get a game.
We were expecting to have only twelve players for this game with Mick O’Flynn having difficulty in the groin area. That we had twelve was thanks to Ian Lyons dragging his mate David Thompson along. We played the last ten minutes of the match with only ten players on the pitch, including a hobbling Des Lindsay, whilst the populous Riverside squad could refresh players at will.
Colin Brazier, Ian Coles, Ian Lyons, Colin Mant;
Sinisa Gracanin, Patrice Mongelard, Ian Shoebridge, Simon Thomas;
Peter Harvey, Des Lindsay.
Substitutes: David Thompson.
Supporters: Mick O’Flynn, Daisy Thomas and granny Sue Doidge.
Before the game the referee took the trouble to visit our changing room to explain the latest FA rulings on the application of the offside rule – which was appreciated. This was a cagey game and it was obvious early doors that there would not be many goals in it. We played against the slope in the first half and as expected we had to withstand pressure, with our back four resolute, but there was little penetration from either side. Both teams were compact, (in our case with excellent covering runs from Ian Shoebridge and Simon Thomas), got numbers behind the ball and if truth be told there were not many chances created in the first half hour at both ends. Both keepers, in particular Dave Salako, despite the absence of the motivational Mrs Salako, were vigilant, and an even contest, with controlled football from both teams, ensued in front of a biggish crowd of Eynsford supporters and substitutes on the grassy kop.
We made one change on the half-hour when Patrice Mongelard was replaced as the holding midfielder by David Thompson. Five minutes later we thought we had taken the lead from one of the several corners we forced. Ian Lyons had powered the ball into the net from close range but the referee disallowed it because, in his better view, five foot nine Colin Mant had invaded the body space of the six foot two keeper, and deprived him of oxygen. The biggest threat to our goal as the first half drew to a close was from Patrice Mongelard as linesman (who was rightly reminded by the referee to keep up with play).
At half-time we were satisfied with our display and felt that the slope would give us an edge in the second half. I think in truth we had reckoned without the benefit of fresh legs and Riverside arguably had more of the play than might have been expected in the opening exchanges. We came closest to scoring though as Peter Harvey bustled his way into the box on the left, was clean through but then accidentally fell well inside the box. He had, from my biased view thirty yards away, been hacked from behind but the referee took the view that Peter had had an accident. For a moment Peter’s prostrate and motionless frame brought to mind the horror of the ankle fracture he suffered at the same ground a few seasons ago. We were all relieved to see Peter back on his feet, even if a little unsteadily from his accident. Riverside forced a number of corners including one that saw levitation at its finest from a Riverside attacker on the back of Colin Brazier, which the referee with his better view (than the Farnborough linesman) ruled to be OK.
On the hour Patrice Mongelard replaced Ian Lyons though it was not long before Ian was back on for Colin Brazier and Colin himself was back on when David Thompson limped off with hamstring trouble. He was joined on the sidelines by Simon Thomas, a victim of cramp. Colin Mant had a good attempt on goal, redirecting a pinpoint free kick from Peter Harvey after Sinisa Gracanin had been interfered with brusquely.
From another Riverside corner Patrice Mongelard blocked a shot in the box, followed the ball out and accidentally hacked down a Riverside player on the edge of our box. The resulting free kick was hit superbly, beating Dave Salako’s dive and nestling into the net off the post. That was with about ten minutes left. We chased the game. Peter Harvey put in on a plate for an arriving Ian Shoebridge in the centre of the six-yard box, with all the trimmings, but Ian’s connection with the ball was not true and the opportunity for what would have been a well-deserved equaliser went. That was the last meaningful moment of the game.
In the changing room Dave Salako was persuaded to lose his Dot Cotton cherry by taking the kit home, whilst Des Lindsay paid his subs for the second week running. Whether he will be running next weekend is a doubt. If he does not play we will miss his sartorial élan even though he left the shades in the Mercedes automobile. He moved well on the superb buffet which our hosts laid on in the Five Bells public house. It was a shame the Buffet Bunny, Nick Waller, was not there. He has fond memories of this establishment where the fuller figure is appreciated by some of the patrons. Roast potatoes, coronation chicken/egg mayonnaise and coleslaw sandwiches, pork pies with Branston pickle, scotch eggs, and – as noted by Peter Harvey, sausages which were not only cooked but had been wrapped in a generous slice of bacon. This was a movable feast indeed on Easter Sunday and we had not had to move very far for it. How much of it I could move myself was constrained by the prospect of a roast dinner at home and a decent vintage from the Bordeaux region. I could not even stretch to the chocolate corn flake and mini Easter eggs cup cake, a very nice touch from our hospitable opponents.
Man of the match: Ian Shoebridge whose mum Pam is seventy-seven on Tuesday 18 April (and deserves a treat – Shoey take note) and to whom all the Senior Vets send their best wishes. Long may she continue to feed us and Shoey.
Man of the match: Ian Shoebridge