Sunday 11th September 2016
By Patrice Mongelard
Forgiven one shows Senior Vets the true way
This week we were down to a baker’s dozen after a few withdrawals, some at short notice, and a successful late search for a chosen one to bear the cross of goalkeeping for us. The weather was brilliant; dry, sunny, with a total absence of wind (if you exclude Des Lindsay’s schoolboy antics in the changing room). It was a scorcher, and the football was not bad either with the opposition playing their part. Meryl, somewhat incongruously, allocated us the pitch nearest to hot showers today. A bit of semaphore with the linesman’s flags from Colin Brazier had brought referee Mick Gearing to the right place to be re-united with his shorts. He was obviously wearing something else to get to the ground.
Colin Brazier, Kypros Michael and occasional saviour Dave Salako were having their first outing this season. Co-Manager Roger French was missing for the first half hour, having gone to see son Thomas play for Orpington Rovers, and the neutral observer could be forgiven for thinking we played our best football when Roger was not there (or when Colin was - editor's privilege!).
Steve Blanchard, Colin Brazier, Ian Coles, Patrice Mongelard;
Sinisa Gracanin, Kypros Michael, Simon Thomas, Obi Ugwumba;
Pete Harvey, Des Lindsay.
Referee: Mick Gearing.
Substitutes: Roger French, Mick O’Flynn.
Supporters: Thomas French, Louie Dwight, Obi Ugwumba Jr (also linesman).
We took the lead after barely five minutes with a flowing passing move involving five or six players. Simon Thomas and Des Lindsay combined on the right before Des put an exquisite low cross to the far post for Pete Harvey to finish with aplomb. The talking and the passing were good and we caused a lot of problems for the CUACO defence. Occasionally the excitement would be too much and shots from distance (two from Patrice Mongelard in a short space of time) were met with groans. Kypros Michael was combining well with Pete Harvey as was Des Lindsay. We forced several corners without increasing our advantage. On the quarter hour Des Lindsay made the run into space behind the CUACO defence to receive a through ball from Patrice Mongelard and showed great composure to lift the ball high over the CUACO keeper to double our lead. Kypros Michael had two good opportunities after astute balls from Pete Harvey to further increase our lead but could not find the finish the passes deserved. CUACO had steadied their ship and began to push back – earning a few corners which we defended well. On the half hour Des Lindsay had been replaced by Mick O’Flynn to shorten our game on the right to good effect, combining well with Simon Thomas. Kypros was looking for the spectacular with half volleys from deep crosses from Patrice Mongelard and Simon Thomas which caught the eye but did not trouble the CUACO net.
Roger French replaced Colin Brazier at half time. CUACO started the second half with much spirit and made a mockery of the scoreline. We had lost cohesion and were hanging on for a bit before we could restore dominance. Our midfield quartet was struggling to cover the vast pitch especially when we lost the ball and Sinisa Gracanin was having to put in quite a shift. Simon Thomas had taken a knock – which could have been serious – as he is getting married on Tuesday, and whilst hobbling down the aisle might seem an apt metaphor depending on your view of marriage – we were relieved, as was the CUACO defender responsible, to see that no permanent harm had been done. I will have more for you on marriage later – in particular polygamy Mormon-style.
Midway through the second half a CUACO player got injured – quite accidentally when he fell awkwardly to the ground after an aerial challenge – and had to go off with what looked like a broken nose. This was sad but it did not sour the atmosphere as no malice had been involved. Both teams got on with it and in reality there was hardly a bad tackle in the whole game on a hot day.
On the hour Patrice Mongelard made way for Des Lindsay who had been watching the clock on the touchline. Des was blessed with a second goal not long after when he outmuscled the keeper to make the most of a pass from Pete Harvey. That third goal steadied our nerves and we were more expressive and composed after that. There was however, no composure in evidence as Simon Thomas produced a poor finish from five yards out – perhaps preoccupied by the contents of the best man’s speech on Tuesday (brothers can be cruel - sample: “Simon and I have been through a lot together and it is good to see so many of you here today”). Roger French replaced himself with Colin Brazier for the last twenty-five minutes. We had the game management to keep our first clean sheet of the season, especially when Patrice Mongelard returned for the last ten minutes to replace Mick O’Flynn whose calves had lasted the usual fifty-five minutes. Kypros rounded the CUACO keeper twice I think in the closing moments but could not find the right part of the net from tight angles.
It was good this week to see several of the opposition back in our clubhouse to discover the joys of cheddar cheese sandwiches (and Buffet Tickler Nick Waller was not there). I even gave three of them a lift back to Orpington rail station. I felt for them, having to cope with rail travel on the Orpington line on a Sunday, something which could make a 3-0 defeat bearable.
Two other sights in our clubhouse which I would like to share with you were (i) Des Lindsay and Des Fallon greeting each other like long lost friends – a Des double dose if you like; and (ii) Louie Dwight, Thomas French and Daisy Thomas perched on stools at the bar in a most grown-up fashion listening to some imaginary talk from a religious leader about the perils of alcohol.
We also received news of an eventful and prematurely abandoned game played by our Young Vets against an outfit from Bromley which had necessitated hasty exits from the changing room (and to think Roger French was not involved).
Man of the match: Des Lindsay, the forgiven one, partly because of his star performance today, and also because, miraculously, he paid his match subs and part of his annual subs. Perhaps he would have preferred mink-lined handcuffs, but will have to do with the adoration of his team mates instead. Des revealed that he was a Mormon and he thought he could have four wives. I wonder what the Mormons preach regarding kit washing. Next time referee Mick Gearing books Des he’ll be able to say he booked a Mormon. More seriously someone needs to tell Des it is not a good idea to have several mothers-in-law. I wonder if we’ll get mother-in-law jokes on Tuesday. I hope so. And another thing Des – all that stuff about Joyce McKinney is not true.
Man of the match: Des Lindsay