Sunday 20th January 2019
By Patrice Mongelard
Disgruntlement abounds as Farnborough brought back to earth by Glendale
This game is usually waterlogged or frozen off. When it is on, we know it will be a hard game against quality opponents. Today it was played and many Farnborough players will be wishing it had not. Our first defeat since 30 September (also a 3-2 reverse) came after a sequence of twelve wins and one draw. It proved too much for many of the fourteen Farnborough players who were there today. The mood after the game was not good. Numbers had reduced from sixteen overnight with our water and first aid bag carrier, Colin Mant, the latest to drop out as we were making our way to the ground.
The weather was as good as it gets for football in winter – dry, no wind, early frost dissipated by pale sunshine, pitch not as claggy as last week (even though we were about one hundred yards from last week’s pitch which Kypros Michael likened to a clay pit – one day they will find Homo Kypros in there – a Stone Age footballer that missed a lot of chances). Facilities were good – the groundsman, a Crystal Palace fan was a bit morose, but the changing room was spacious, the showers good and there was a splendid catering van selling a range of hot baguettes, toasted sandwiches and hot beverages at the Croydon Post Office Sports Ground in Warlingham. Parking was relatively easy once in the grounds of the complex.
Michael Hills, Ian Lyons, Patrice Mongelard;
Waine Hetherington, Chisa Mkala, Simon Thomas, Gordon Thompson, Obi Ugwumba;
Jay Hardy, Kypros Michael.
Substitutes: Phil Anthony, Peter Harvey, Ian Shoebridge.
Supporter: Ian Coles.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard.
I suppose I must tell you about the football. Glendale were as careful with the ball as we could be and had some technical players on show and some robust defenders quick in the tackle. It took us a while to get into the game. By then we were 2-0 down. Their first goal after less than ten minutes came from arguably their most dangerous attacker who fired in from twenty yards away on the right wing. We cannot be sure if it was a cross or a shot. Either way, by the time Matt Angelo adjusted his feet to get to the ball it had crossed the line. The referee - a Glendale player I think - could not have seen the ball cross the line but Matt Angelo was honest about it. It came out of the sun but as Matt himself observed the ball kept on the ground. Ten minutes later we went further behind from a superbly taken left foot free kick that went into the top corner despite Matt’s maximum dive. These two shots on our goal were, I think, the only two Glendale attempts on our goal in that half. I am not sure they even registered a corner.
What can I say about events at the other end? We created so many chances. A universal rule of football, at whatever level, must be that if you do not take your chances you get punished. In the course of the first half we had six or seven dangerous corners. Ian Lyons nearly got to one such on the stroke of half-time. Glendale cleared off the line more than once, and their keeper was certainly the busier guardian. There were decent shots from Waine Hetherington, Chisa Mkala, Gordon Thompson, Jay Hardy and two or three glaring misses from Kypros Michael, one from under the bar on the goal line, and another from a yard out (Kyp called the latter his Andy Carroll moment but I think Andy hit the bar). All of this added to our frustration. Chisa Mkala finally pulled one back, from a Jay Hardy assist, on the half-hour just before Phil Anthony, Peter Harvey and Ian Shoebridge came on for Kypros Michael, Patrice Mongelard and Obi Ugwumba.
The second half was arguably more even. Glendale put us under more pressure but the more abundant chances and misses were still ours. Ian Lyons, Gordon Thompson and Simon Thomas made way for the return of Patrice Mongelard, Kypros Michael and Obi Ugwumba on the hour. In one case this did not help the team – Patrice Mongelard missed a clearance which set up a Glendale forward for their third goal. With fifteen minutes to go I had had enough, including, in particular, of being told what to do. “Go wide, come in, play it short, be strong, clear it, play it first time, get your head round the game, watch the line, go up, go toes, get goal side, drop off, I thought I had a full game on the match sheet”. At the age of sixty-one I did not need this. So, I took myself off for a second time and brought Gordon Thompson back to give us much-needed attacking impetus. My part in the third Glendale goal and a couple of missed interventions were clear signs that the time may be coming to call it a day.
I hope Kypros does not feel the same way. He was despondent, put an apology on the group WhatsApp and declared himself injured for next week. He might not be the only one missing next week. There were a few walking wounded after the game – body and pride. The most serious case is probably Peter Harvey, recipient of a scissor kick to the ankle that left him sore and cross (you would be if you had suffered two fractures in the past). Peter limped off for the last five minutes or so and Simon Thomas was back on to help us find an equaliser, but to no avail. We just ran out of time and Glendale had the tenacity and physicality to preserve their lead.
With ten minutes left Kypros Michael was instrumental in our second goal as he enabled Chisa Mkala to get his second of the game by squaring the ball across the six-yard box. That time he took the right option which is not always the case. But most of us would probably shoot when we get as close to the goal as Kypros did. And of course, all footballers know that you have got to be there to miss them.
We all held our breath in the final moments as Obi Ugwumba shaped to take a free kick twenty-five yards out in a central position. We were all hoping for an Obi Special and nearly got it as the ball fizzed about two inches above the postage stamp.
I did not fancy a wake and I had to get back (as did Ian Shoebridge for his mum Pam) so I gave the post-match buffet a miss. Thoughtfully Lionel, who had the incredible nerve to note that my touchline coat was too ample for him, put a photo of two trays of rather splendid sandwiches on the group WhatsApp. I am surprised anyone found the appetite.
Man of the match – four players did well in today’s people’s vote – with Gordon Thompson just edged out by Chisa Mkala. These two most direct midfielders garnered eleven out of fourteen votes cast today, and rightly so.
Man of the match: Chisa Mkala