Despite falling to a 4-2 defeat against a Lewes side which showed plenty of grit and determination, ‘Boro boss Spencer Day will have taken much from his side’s latest pre-season showing.
Strikes from Dan Bennett and Phil Page seemed to have put the hosts in a comfortable position as they went into the interval with a 2-1 lead but an energetic second half showing from Simon Wormull’s men saw them register three unanswered goals to take the spoils.
Day, set for a first full-season in charge at the Rushmoor, was pleased with what he saw in the first 45 minutes but was disappointed with the final scoreline.
“We started off with a really high tempo and took the game to them, which is exactly what we were looking to do,” he said.
“Steve Laidler and Marcus Moody gave us plenty of energy in the middle with Phil Page and Dave Tarpey lively up top so we were confident that we’d put in a good show.
“To throw it away like we did in the second half is frustrating, especially after we talked about ball retention and composure during the break. It is still 10 days to the Dover game, though, and that’s plenty of time to prepare and grow as a group.”
‘Boro headed into the clash against the Ryman Premier League team after impressing against Chertsey Town on Saturday and were keen to build on their performance against the club Day had left to take up the top job at Farnborough.
Dan Bennett gave them the start they were looking for, and deserved, when he beat Kieron Thorpe in the visiting goal with a sweet left footed strike from just outside the penalty area and the lead should have been doubled not long after when Dave Tarpey should have done better when put in by trialist Jordan Carter.
The Yellows, having plenty of joy on the counter, where dealt a sucker punch when Rooks captain Chris Breach brought Lewes level just after the half hour mark, banging home a close ranger header from a Wormull corner. The Lewes manager, a former ‘Boro favourite, put in a controlled spell on the left hand side and showed his maturity and experience in guiding his young charges, who will be strong contenders for promotion to the Blue Square South next term.
Parity was only short lived when after Lee Cooper felled Moody, referee Matt Eva did not hesitate to award the spot kick. Page put it away, but only after seeing his effort parried by an unfortunate Thorpe back into the net after he managed to get a firm hand to the initial strike.
‘Boro ended the half strongly and should have had more, Bennett with the best chance, and they were left to rue those opportunities as the men from the Dripping Pan turned up the heat after the interval.
A brace from Max Howell and one from substitute Aaron Hopkinson were all clinically dispatched to leave ‘Boro with much to work on before tomorrow night’s engagement with a Brighton & Hove Albion XI.
Jordan Merriman and Jean-Michel Solbas both impressed in their 20 minute cameos as Day took the chance to experiment, with Miles Smith also putting in a good showing after replacing the injured Adam Bygrave late in the opening half. Bygrave is expected to be fit in time for Saturday’s trip to St. Neots, where ‘Boro will complete their preparations ahead of the league opener at Dover on the 18th.
“We’ll go away and get the players rested and fit in readiness for what will be another tough game tomorrow night against Brighton,” commented Day in his final thoughts.
“Adam took a slight knock so we took him off as a pre-caution and we’ll also see where Alan Inns is in terms availability. His wife gave birth on Saturday so obviously that takes importance – we’re all naturally delighted for him.”
‘Boro: 1- Joe White, 2- Bradley Duke, 3- Olly Treacher, 4- Alfred Bosch, 5- Adam Bygrave, 6- Steve Laidler (c), 7- Dan Bennett, 8- Marcus Moody, 9- Phil Page, 10- Jordan Carter, 11- Dave Tarpey
Subs: 12- Jean-Michel Solbas, 14- Jordan Merriman, 15- Miles Smith, 16- Brad Fraser, 17- Jamie Norris (GK)