Sunday 25th November 2018
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough overwhelm Old Tamponians with monster second period
I am sure I was not the only one watching the precipitation all week with a tinge of trepidation. Thankfully, the John Roan Playing Fields in Kidbrooke Park Road, home of today’s opponents, Old Tamponians Super Vets, coped with the flow. Memories of last season’s late 4-3 defeat in the corresponding fixture were fresh in our minds as we sought to assemble a squad for the game.
Our numbers dwindled to twelve on the day. We think this week’s Orpington Bus Depot fire was too much for Mark Friend, and we might never know what did for Obi Ugwumba. More importantly, we had been unable to find a goalkeeper. Sadly, a bereavement in the family deprived us of Matt Angelo. We approached a whole team of goalkeepers: Gary ‘Fingers’ Fentiman, Chris Jablonski, Dave Salako, Toby Manchip, Adam Roome, Steve Palmer, Paul Parsons, Matt Wright, Jim St John, Chisa’s mate number 1 and Chisa’s mate number 2 – all to no avail. So, in the end Patrice Mongelard did the job (without proper gloves, and without protection – more on that later).
Colin Mant, Michael Hills, Phil Anthony;
Sinisa Gracanin, Waine Hetherington, Chisa Mkala, Simon Thomas, Gordon Thompson;
Peter Harvey, Jay Hardy.
Substitute: Mick O’Flynn.
Supporters: Steve and Sarah Hills.
Director of Football: Mick O’Flynn.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard.
Both periods of the game were quite memorable. I never touched the ball in the first fifteen minutes as Farnborough lay siege to the Old Tamps goal. We attacked and they defended and very well too – in numbers, in compact formation, with intelligence and not a little muscle. I think we forced three corners in the first five minutes and a number of half chances went begging, headers mostly. The other ersatz keeper on the pitch, Roy, in the Old Tamps goal, scorer of their winner in their 4-3 victory last year, caught the eye with a flying save to deny Peter Harvey.
Then against the run of play, on the quarter hour, with virtually their first incursion into our box Old Tamps drew first blood after some sloppy Farnborough defending. The agricultural Farnborough defending continued for the Old Tamps second and third goals. I had gardening gloves – apt I thought for the way things were turning out. Michael Hills felt he was at fault for, and assisted, two of the goals and his usual poise and finesse turned into a simmering frustration. The whole of the team was similarly affected. Harsh words were said, fingers pointed, eyes rolled, tutting and bad language heard – all music to our opponents who must have believed it was Christmas come early – to have less of the play, having to defend for long periods, and be three goals to the good from three chances. In the midst of this turmoil Mick O’Flynn came on for Phil Anthony on the half hour. I accused my players of giving me no protection (which at least one player, pervert, took as a reference to his sexual preference).
When we thought we pulled one back after a smart free kick move the Old Tamps linesman did his job and the deficit remained three goals. Old Tamps were happy to soak the pressure, concede free kicks and corners and rely on their ability to cut out the telling pass, read the game, and narrow angles of penetration. They were putting up quite a fight in the midfield too where our more expressive and creative players were massed to supply Peter Harvey and Jay Hardy who were not finding it easy.
There was not much love to be felt at half-time.
The pattern of the first half resumed, now with greater urgency having to be tempered with diminishing patience. Chances came and went again. An acrobatic bicycle kick with his back to goal from our strawberry blonde dynamo, Jay Hardy, was easy on the eye but had lost the bearings of the goalposts. We almost gave away a fourth goal but that was ruled out for handball after a bit more confusion in our box. That apart (if you are willing to gloss over a poor pass from the Farnborough goalkeeper out of his defence which was intercepted but thankfully without consequence) the traffic was one-way but time was ebbing away.
It was still 3-0 to Old Tamps when Phil Anthony came back on and Colin Mant went to run the line on the hour. From there Manty had a prime seat as Michael Hills saw red after some perceived rough treatment and went to shake the Old Tamps player involved, warmly by the throat. Thankfully older and wiser heads, including peacemaker Manty - who knows many of the Old Tamps players (and even works with some of them) - were on the scene quickly to restore order and the goodwill that there has always been between the two teams over many years of playing each other. A stray elbow in the Adam’s apple for Waine Hetherington from the same Old Tamps player, not long after, was unhelpful but deemed accidental.
The last fifteen to twenty minutes of the game were packed with incident and for us with serendipity too. On seventy-five minutes Jay Hardy cushioned a pass in Chisa “Mo” Mkala’s path just inside the box in a central position and Chisa’s powerful shot was finally too much for the Old Tamps keeper. Five minutes later we had our first penalty as Old Tamps threw bodies and limbs in the way, on the line and in front of their goal. Peter Harvey slotted his twentieth goal of the season beyond the keeper. Peter repeated the dose five minutes later with his second successful penalty. With five minutes to go, the Farnborough pressure was building. Waine Hetherington and Gordon Thompson had one on one moments at close range that they would normally put away with their eyes closed but still we could not break through. With the referee looking at his watch we made a final assault through the heart of the Old Tamps defence with Waine Hetherington threading a killer ball for Jay Hardy to power home off the keeper. There was barely time to restart the game.
This week we experienced proper showers.
The atmosphere in the bar was friendly as we munched on sandwiches, chips and sausages and swapped banter with Old Tamps. Michael Hills was voted Old Tamps Man of the Match (joke), assisted them with condiments, and stroked a pussy.
I can only hope that the return game at Farnborough in two weeks is just as memorable, and that we have a proper keeper for it.
Man of the match – Gordon Thompson – edging ahead of five other players, including three other midfielders, who also garnered votes.
Man of the match: Gordon Thompson