Sunday 18th February 2007
Avery strange thing occurred, almost as uncommon as the Arsenal coaching staff actually seeing a foul by one of their players, the Vets had 16 players turn up for a game! The team captain left Farnborough with the advice ringing in his ears “make sure everyone gets a game so you can charge them a match fee”.
The game started at its normal pedestrian pace, with most of the play confined to a very small area in midfield. The FOBG midfield generals began to dictate the game, spraying passes to the overlapping full backs, it’s just a shame that they continually failed to deliver the killing crosses to our ever hungry forward line. In fact the divots they caused in the pitch generally travelled further than the ball.
The first half wended its weary way towards conclusion with the play and possession shared evenly between the 2 ageing teams. It was then that the second strange thing occurred, FOBG went in at the break 2-1 ahead thanks to two fantastic strikes, one just beyond the reach of their keeper and a second that squirmed under his body. Could it be that the Vets were actually destined for a victory?!
The second half started with the many subs being used on a rotation basis. In fact the three spectators were almost killed in the crush of volunteers to leave the pitch to rest their many pulls and strains. The disruption caused by the mass stampede to leave the field of play for a quick fag inevitably caused mayhem in the back line of the ever tiring old men from Farnborough. As a result we quickly found ourselves two goals down. Heads began to drop and tiring limps became more painful, tempers began to fray etc etc.
Between retrieving the ball from the stream that ran behind the goal our goalkeeper pulled off a string of geriatric saves that just about kept us in the game. A goal on the break pulled the score back to a single goal deficit.
As the game progressed towards its later stages both the play and the old bodies on display became stretched. Two late goals by the opposition put a very unfair, and I have to say unjustified score in the record books.
All was not lost as the showers were hot and the beer very satisfactory.
Roll on next Sunday when the Met Police Vets team comes to town.
N.B. The actual names and ages of the players have been omitted for fear of prosecution.
The usual dropouts from the published newsletter but as we started with 17 we actually managed to turn up at Kidbrooke with at least 3 substitutes (numbers vary as does the final score according to different sources). The line-up from kick-off was Toby Manchip in goal with a back four of Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard, Stewart Savage and Kevin Wolstencroft, midfield Chris Bourlet, Chris Ponulak, Pat Mongelard and Paul Storkey and upfront Roger French with Toby Harlow. The team over recent weeks has acquired a number of new faces in Norman "Geordie" Kane, Mark James and Keith Warman who all started on the sidelines together with Trevor Stewart returning after a 3 month injury.
The game kicked off with Toby Harlow playing up front to give Geordie time to finish his fag before entering the fray as Toby''s replacement after 5 minutes. The game in the first half was a pretty evenly balanced affair but then we did have the advantage of an extra man on pitch plus all the subs. This didn''t stop Avery Hill from taking the lead and indeed having a further goal ruled out for offside. Fortunately we were playing on my lucky pitch and we had in Geordie somebody who could hold the ball up and lay it off just where I wanted it. The ball was played down the wing to me and I actually cut inside to beat one of the Avery Hill defenders to play a one - two with Geordie and belt the return into the top corner despite the keeper flinging himself across the goal and getting a hand to it. Truth was the keeper almost made a good save and the ball eventually trickled over the line but as I said this was my lucky pitch. Even more good fortune followed as Geordie played an excellent pass into the box for me to shoot goalwards with such power that the keeper was unable to stop the ball going right through him - well something like that anyway that put us in the lead for a change and I am not sure if that was the score at half-time or not. A number of substitutions took place to allow everybody to get a game and Stewart Savage got in a number of good tackles.
The second half saw us flagging and continue with the rolling substitutions. Toby M in goal made some blinding saves and got a bit tired poor lamb. Avery Hill, despite being short of a player continued to press forward and scored 4 maybe 5 more goals and in return Geordie pulled one back for us. All in all it was a better team performance from the Farnborough Vets but we probably suffered from changing the team too many times - it seems that you just can''t win either way - who would be a manager? Not sure of the final score but I know we lost.