Sunday 12th March 2017
By Patrice Mongelard
Wry Smiles in Reigate as Toothless Farnborough Score Four Times
You do not need to be a genius to work out that if you turn up for an away game on a massive pitch with only eleven players things are going to be difficult. If, on top of that, you do not have your two most potent strikers with you (39 out of our 76 goals scored to date this season and countless assists for many of the rest) then you are truly asking for it. And yet the story of today’s game was more nuanced.
As we assembled in the Reigate Priory Cricket Club car park – those of us who could find the place first time, we knew we were in for a tough game. There was even less doubt of that when news came that Andy Faulks would not be joining us after all as he was in the Princess Royal Hospital A&E sobering up, and having a head injury seen to, after a mysterious contretemps last night. There was no doubt at all when we saw the Reigate players – vast numbers of them looking as if they were taking part in a Grecian 2000 commercial.
Before the game the referee took the trouble to come and talk to us in our cosy dressing room so that there would be no trouble during the game. He explained his personal style and reminded us that there were families and children on the premises (junior football, tennis and ladies lacrosse were in full flow). All the while Dire Straits was blaring out in the opposition dressing room.
The Farnborough brothers in arms were:
Phil Anthony, Steve Blanchard, Ian Coles, Patrice Mongelard;
Sinisa Gracanin, Colin Mant, Mick O’Flynn, Obi Ugwumba;
George Kleanthous, Simon Thomas.
Substitutes: One or two would have been nice!
Supporters: Obi Ugwumba (Jr),
Strategist and DJ: Mick O’Flynn.
You will not find your match reporter mentioned by name again in this report. A concerned reader who himself was mentioned four times in last week’s match report (one more than you know who) objected to the insidious personality cult being imposed on others. Anyway, never mind that, what about the game I hear you say.
As the game got underway trepidation gave way to surprise and then hope. We found we were holding our own. In fact we took the lead after about ten minutes. Sinisa Gracanin ambushed a Reigate midfielder, fed the ball to George Kleanthous who then played Simon Thomas in for a cool finish. Our lead did not last long though. We were overrun down the left of our defence, where someone who will remain nameless played today, and Dave Salako was beaten from close range. Five minutes later we had the temerity to regain the lead – this time it was Colin Mant unveiling another moment of rare subtlety with a deft cushioned header in the six yard box to play Simon Thomas in on goal. Simon teased us all by aiming for the far post from where the ball rebounded into the net.
Once again our lead did not last long – the nameless one had a coming together with a muscular Reigate forward in the box and the ensuing penalty restored parity between the two teams. Yes, you have guessed it, we took the lead for the third time in the game – with good interplay between George Kleanthous and Simon Thomas, quick feet and a body swerve from Simon, and once again he used the base of the post on the way into the net. That was as sharp a hat trick as you are likely to see. It gave us a 3-2 lead at half time – a fair reward for all the hard work we had done. And we could have been further ahead if George Kleanthous had made the most of his one on one at the end of the half. The Reigate defence was playing a high line on a monster of a pitch and there was room behind them if we could find the right pass. There had been one or two tense internal moments as the rest of the team adapted to Obi Ugwumba’s zonal midfield style – a Continental analytical insight which was later shared with us by our most technical player, Sinisa Gracanin.
We should have gone home at half-time. We did not. Instead we let in five goals in what felt like not a lot of time. The Reigate equaliser was a great strike from thirty yards which swerved and dipped. Reigate could make changes at half-time and later in the second half whereas we could not. The neutral observer would have sensed that tiredness was catching up with us, and heads dropped as the Reigate goals mounted, and we could not capitalise on the few chances we created (another one on one for George Kleanthous).
Readers of previous reports of matches between the two sides on show today will not be surprised to hear that there was a tipping point in the game with the introduction of the Reigate Express. The goals came quickly once he got involved and Reigate also enjoyed the luxury of a superb long range shot from a very youthful-looking right back which lobbed our keeper. We steadied the ship a little when we switched to playing the nameless one as a holding midfielder but the damage was done. We had the consolation of the final goal - a fizzer from Obi Ugwumba as we capitalised on one of several free kicks we won on the edge of the Reigate box. The nameless one dismissed a shoddy claim from Simon Thomas that the ball had taken a nick off him on the way in.
There was an eventful shower for the nameless one, left in dire straits, fully lathered up, as the water cut out, much to the amusement of his so-called team mates. Eight of us made our way to the bar where sandwiches were being freshly made in front of our eyes – cheese, ham and pickle, with no Buffet Wallah Nick Waller to share them with. A big screen was showing highlights of the Arsenal - Lincoln game. I wanted the Arsenal - Bayern highlights. A swift cold can of Fosters – out of money left behind the bar (by Cruise King Blanchard I think rather than hat-trick hero though I may be wrong), and it was time to find the one-way system out of Reigate on a damp afternoon. It was by no means one-way traffic on the pitch but the result was the right one. And yet I think we were not too disheartened. We had played as a team and we had all put in quite a shift against a good side. Some even said they enjoyed the game. That’s the spirit.
Man of the match: Simon Thomas with 10 out of 11 votes cast, and who would have been forgiven for voting for himself today, if he could.
Man of the match: Simon Thomas