Sunday 18th December 2016
By Patrice Mongelard
Roger’s team edges it over the other Roger’s team by the odd goal in seven
If you held a referendum among the Farnborough players it would tell you that the Beckenhan Cricket and Tennis Club in Foxgrove Road is one of our favourite away venues, and more so around this time of year when you can expect evidence of the Christmas spirit, and I do not mean just our annual Christmas jumper show (more on that later). Our games against Wellcome are high scoring affairs – the corresponding fixture in three previous seasons had yielded scores of 3-4, 5-4 and 1-6 from the Farnborough lens. The playing surface was as ever very good, the mist did its best to approximate a wintry scene but in fact it was mild and still. We shared our playlist in the changing rooms. Mick O’Flynn puts as much thought into the musical side of the operation as he does in team tactics, substitutions and piercings.
Patrice Mongelard, Colin Mant, Ian Coles, Phil Anthony;
Mick O’Flynn, Sinisa Gracanin, Jim St John, Simon Thomas;
Kypros Michael, Andy Faulks.
Substitutes: Ian Shoebridge, Colin Brazier, Pete Harvey, and later on Roger French.
Supporters: Kathleen, Freya and Thea Anthony (who assured me they had got a Christmas present for Grouchy); Ian Lyons.
Strategist, DJ, with one man of the match vote, and new midfield domino: Mick O’Flynn.
Another with one man of the match vote, in credit to the tune of £75: Ian Lyons.
Wellcome had many faces we recognised but there were absent friends too. We heard that their dreadlocked forward Roger was missing, having had to attend to his ailing elderly parents in Jamaica. It was clear the Wellcome team held their Roger in high regard, and all wished him and his parents well. I wished the circumstances were different but I was glad not to face him.
We still got a shock at the start of the game. We were 1-0 down after two minutes. Patrice Mongelard was turned on the left of our defence and the low cross into our six-yard box was spilled by Paul Parsons. The loose ball was tucked away despite a despairing Farnborough tackle from Colin Mant. Wellcome could have added to their score but hit the bar with the goal seemingly at their mercy. We got what we deserved – we had not started well and we struggled to string three or four passes together.
We drew level with a quick break about ten minutes later. One moment we were defending a corner and the next Simon Thomas was moving to ball to Kypros Michael who dinked the ball past his marker, nipped round him and carried on well into the box before shooting hard and low. I will be the first to put my hands up and say that I thought Kypros had put the ball wide, (he has form; you can’t blame me for that lack of faith) but in fact – and he asked me to make that clear in the match report (for his missus), his shot was so powerful that it had burst the net. Anyway to their credit, Wellcome made no fuss as the referee pointed to the centre circle. Five minutes later from another break Andy Faulks crossed the ball into the box to the far post where we had three players waiting, Kypros, the Quiffed one and Jumbo. Guess who got their head to the ball to give us the lead.
Midway through the half (of forty minutes) Simon Thomas, Kypros Michael and Patrice Mongelard made way for Colin Brazier, Ian Shoebridge and Pete Harvey. Pete’s introduction paid dividends in no time as he produced another superb lob from distance to give us a two-goal cushion. Wellcome were certainly not out of it – we would need a fourth goal, we sensed, but it was Welcome who finished the half with hope.
We did not start the second half well. In fact a shadow was cast. Roger French had appeared about five minutes before half-time, having travelled a long way from his son Thomas’s game (which he left at half-time) in a splendid elf outfit and Santa red gilet. Despite this, bonhomie was in short supply indeed as Mick O’Flynn failed to put Roger on straight away at the start of the half. Two minutes into the half team player Phil Anthony made way for Roger. The next quarter of an hour was not our finest. Wellcome got back in the game after a player ghosted into the box to produce a crisp finish to meet a low cross. The player was Colin Brazier. 3-2 became 3-3 from a sweet left-footed shot from the edge of the box. The game could have swung either way at that point. We made more changes - Kypros Michael and Patrice Mongelard came back on for Andy Faulks and Sinisa Gracanin. We slowly turned things round - and the scoring chances started to return (though not just for us). Pete Harvey will know he should have done better when put clean through by Ian Shoebridge. Wellcome will no doubt rue the shot that crashed against the bar and rebounded kindly for us with two of their forwards loitering with intent.
We restored our lead a quarter of an hour from the end thanks to Kypros Michael who had two bites of the cherry. First he broke through down the left, rounded the keeper but the angle was too tight as he rolled the ball on a parallel course to the goal line to the other wing where Simon Thomas was lurking. Simon controlled the ball, looked up and lifted it superbly for Kypros unmarked, with time to control the ball, before he could finally finish the job. The final five to ten minutes were keenly contested with half chances falling to both teams but in the end Santa gave the present of a win to Farnborough.
This was a competitive game played in excellent spirit. Wellcome lived up to their name with an endless supply of food. There was a vast array of sandwiches, samosas, bhajis, pakoras, pizza, mini pork pies and Cornish pasties, even chocolate cake – which we could not finish despite Roger French’s best efforts. Wellcome player/host Danny Webber kept plying us with food (his son Sean having played for Farnborough in the past). If only Buffet Grinch Nick Waller had been there – by all accounts he was training hard for his return – twenty-five pints in two days, all that drink on an empty stomach is, of course, not good for you.
There were some crackers among the Christmas jumpers on show. To name but a few, Colin Brazier had his Val Doonican number; Ian Coles had the one with the carrot sticking out (looking less taut than in previous years I felt ); Pete Harvey’s Tesco Value Xmas Jumper caught Kypros Michael’s eye – he is getting one for his mother-in-law. Talking of crackers – a lady from the tennis club spanked Colin Mant twice in the bar, after he jingled her bell, but she left before a queue formed.
Man of the match: Jim St John (Jumbo) for a towering performance in midfield who can be reassured that the intimate photograph of himself he circulated on the Team WhatsApp earlier this week had no influence whatsoever on the voting.
Man of the match: Jim St John