Farnborough 2 – 1 Hartley Wintney
This was the first competitive game of the season for the new look Farnborough side and they were pushed all the way by Hartley Wintney in a pulsating cup tie that was only settled very late on when Ebenezer Isiakpona was put clear by Jamie McDonalds excellent through ball and he kept his cool to slot the ball home from 12 yards. McDonald also had a hand in the opening Farnborough goal when his corner was cleared to Ben Coverdale who headed the ball back in to the danger area where Lennox Phillips applied the finishing touch heading past the Hartley Wintney keeper.
The first half saw Farnborough on top and creating many chances with some neat build up play and excellent crosses into the box. Phillips was proving a real pain for the visitors defence as his pace and power got him into some dangerous positions but he either failed to find the target or was thwarted by some excellent goal keeping.
Luke Bersey saw a lot of the ball and got some good crosses in and Sam De St Croix was also getting forward from right back and went on a mazy dribble beating three players before being crowded out.
Hartley Wintney battled hard in defence and were finding it hard to get anything going in an attacking sense with their first shot coming on 32 minutes when Aaron Richardson shot wide from 25 yards.
The second half started brightly for Farnborough when Courtney Fearn created space for a shot that beat the keeper but clipped the crossbar. However, after this Hartley Wintney took control of the game with Luke Neller taking control in midfield and Farnborough were pushed back defending deep. Some increased pressure led to a rash challenge 20 yards out and Neller took the free kick with a great effort heading for the top corner but Samuel Bersey got across to make a fine save. From the resulting corner Connor Caris made a great run to power a header into the back of the net to bring the scores level.
Substitutes were made by both sides and the game became stretched with both sides looking capable of sealing the win and avoiding extra time. Isiakpona got clear but his shot was saved and Phillips shot across the keeper but wide of the post. Another Hartley Wintney free kick right on the edge of the area was dealt with and with the game heading for an extra 30 minutes Isiakpona popped up to send Boro through.
Every sympathy must go to Hartley Wintney who contributed to a great cup tie and probably deserved the extra thirty minutes but with some crisper finishing the game could have been over by half time.
Sadly, there was a serious looking injury to a Hartley Wintney defender Paul Roche and everyone from Farnborough FC wishes him a speedy recovery.
‘Boro: Bersey s, De St Croix, Di Felice, Sinclair-Smith, Dart, Myers (C), Bersey L (Costello (74), Coverdale (Isiakpona 67), Phillips (Kaldjob 86), Fearn, McDonald.
Unused Subs: Atkins, Scanella
Hartley Wintney: Latter, Roche, Corbett, Floyd (C), Badley, Spence, Neller, Caris, Cockram, Taylor, Richardson.
Subs: Partlow, Hutt, McKay, Exton, Peter
Referee: Andy Moisey