Sunday 2nd October 2016
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough lose battle of the Deanos as the curse endures
Footballers (and football fans) are superstitious creatures. We look for signs, portents, omens,miracles; we attach significance to random things; we see causation where there is mere association; we see things that are not there, and miss those that are. For instance,Farnborough Senior Vets believe that they cannot beat teams that have a Deano playing for them. Fact. Well, today we decided to have a Deano of our own, to see if an ancient curse could be lifted. Alas the other team had a Deano of their own. So from today’s result you can infer a universal law of football – namely that we need two Deanos, in other words footballers like to hope too and so often in football, it is the hope that hurts.
Enough gloom and doom. We had a fantastic game of football between two teams who played hard but fair, and with a lot of quality on show. The scoreline might have been a tad harsh to the neutral observer, but it was good to play this game, and in the manner that it was, after past events. Depleted by injuries we drew on a few others to make up the numbers – Simon Harvey, an old Farnborough hand turned out, as did Dean Murphy from our younger Vets. Most welcome of all, speaking for myself after last week’s traumatic experience, was the presence of Paul Parsons our goalkeeper designate for the season, making his first appearance. I speak for the whole team when I say how reassured we were by his assured performance, despite the result.
There was a pure comedy gold before the game when hard of hearing Mick O’Flynn misunderstood a call from Roger French. This led to wildly contrasting emotions when Mick thought he had heard that Roger French was coming down when in fact all Roger was doing was to pass on the news another younger Vet Jon Redman was on his way. Another moment, depending on your point of view, was when Dean Murphy announced how tiring HE had found
the recent birth of his son after a protracted labour. Mrs Murphy’s feelings were not reported, but we wish her and the baby all the best.
On a beautiful Sunday morning on a massive pitch where the gradient matters, we lost the toss, and started as follows (kicking downhill).
Patrice Mongelard, Steve Blanchard, Ian Coles, Colin Mant;
Sinisa Gracanin, Dean Murphy, Simon Harvey, Obi Ugwumba;
Pete Harvey, George Kleanthous.
Substitutes: Colin Brazier, Des Lindsay, Jon Redman.
Supporters: Max Harvey, Obi Ugwumba Jr (also linesman).
Strategist (with one man of the match vote to cast (for now): Mick O’Flynn.
It was an evenly contested first half. I am truthful when I say that Paul Parsons did not have a save to make although Belvedere forced three or four corners, and we needed to be vigilant all over the pitch. More of the game was played in their half but clear scoring opportunities were few and far between as defences were generally on top. Pete Harvey tested the keeper with a couple of long rangers. Our purple patch came in the last fifteen minutes of the half. By then we had made three changes with Dean Murphy, Pete Harvey and Patrice Mongelard making way for Jon Redman, Des Lindsay and Colin Brazier. Jon Redman in particular had an immediate impact on the game creating arguably the best scoring opportunity of the match with a dash into the Belvedere box and an exquisite cross for an unmarked George Kleanthous two yards out, who could not apply the right contact and the glancing header flashed wide.
Moments later Jon made a saving tackle in our own box which prevented a certain goal. He was at it again before the half was over with a sinuous run and powerful shot which the very good Belvedere keeper tipped round the post acrobatically. Before the half was done Sinisa Gracanin (twice) and Obi Ugwumba had powerful shots blocked and just over the bar.
We knew that the second half would bring more pressure from Belvedere because they had the slope. Without stating the obvious, it not only makes it easier for them to come down but it is harder for us to go up. The second half was barely five minutes old when Belvedere had a corner. They threw a few of their big units into the box and the ball made contact with one of them, it was not clean but it was enough to bundle the ball over the line off a post. We had a mountain to climb. Five minutes later things got harder when a knock on the knee forced Simon Harvey to end his involvement and our Deano was back on.
We made further changes on the hour with Pete Harvey and Patrice Mongelard coming on for George Kleanthous and Steve Blanchard. Steve was not off for long as he was to replace Colin Brazier for the last fifteen minutes. We pressed hard for an equaliser. Pete Harvey drew a point-blank save from the Belvedere keeper and then had a free-kick that flashed inches wide of the post, and of Jon Redman’s boot simultaneously. That was the last of our scoring opportunities. We were undone in a set-piece situation again in the 90th minute. A headed clearance fell to an unmarked Belvedere player with a lethal left foot on the edge of our box and he was able to take his time and measure a shot that was too good for our keeper as the ball flew into the top corner. This was harsh but this is what happens when one team misses chances and another takes them. Apart from that we have no complaints. There were many good things in today’s game from our point of view.
A number of us went into the cosy adjoining bar and our hosts produced sausages, roast potatoes and a tray of sandwiches. We had a bit of help with the food from a young brother and sister associated with the opposition but that was fine as Buffet Magician Nick Waller was not there to make food disappear.
Next week we are playing the fourth of a sequence of six away games, up against Inter Vyagra Super Vets at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, one of my favourite games, to play in and report. However, dear Reader you could be disappointed, or maybe not, as a heavy breathing Pete Harvey has already offered prematurely to write next week’s match report. It will be hard for him so I must warn you not to expect the usual subtlety and good taste that I bring to reports of this particular game.
Man of the match: Steve Blanchard – an old-school defender who gave a master class.
Man of the match: Steve Blanchard