Today we hosted our not too distant neighbours from just down the M3 Eastleigh FC. Not far on the map, but the gap in financial terms and in our respective League positions (Eastleigh 2nd/Boro’ 15th) is much greater. A though one for Boro who seek to add another Home win for February.

Teams:- Farnborough: Scriven, Huggins, Treacher, Bosch (Cole 89), Inns (C), Ball, Bennett, Laidler, Sykes (French 57), Nurse and Page.

Subs not used: Siaw, Fearn and Bowers.

Eastleigh: Flitney, Spence, Green, Collins, Beckwith (C), Todd, Connolly (Odubade 62), Strevens, Wright (McAllister 62), Reason and Fleetwood (Southam 79).

Subs not used:- Noice (G/K) and Dillon

Referee: Adrian Quelch, Assistants: Daniel Jacecko and Stephen Bates.

Yellow cards: Scriven for Boro’ and Reason for Eastleigh

Following a minutes applause in memory of long time Borough Fan, Bob Williams, who lost a long battle with cancer on 14th February, the game got underway at 3.02

The visitors kicked off playing towards the PRE end and were the first to make an attempt on goal when Jai Reason tried a long speculative shot which was comfortably dealt with by Scriven. Borough were soon to show down the left and the resulting corner was punched clear by Flitney and Bennett, picking up the ball on the right, weaved his way across to the edge of the area only to take a heavy touch and see the ball run away to safety.

After a period largely dominated by defenders on both sides, Eastleigh saw a headed effort following a free kick go tamely wide of the mark. A further attack was well cleared by Ollie Treacher and after a corner was only partly cleared, Page had had a strong shot blocked. Eastleigh broke quickly and with a goal looking likely Scriven rushed out of the area and fouled the attacker in clearing the danger. After consulting with his assistant, presumably to discuss whether the keeper was the last line of defence, Mr Quelch showed Scriven a yellow card. The free kick rebounded from the defensive wall. Inns then did well to dispossess Wright and clear up field where a Nurse cross was well met by Sykes only for his effort to be deflected for a corner which came to nothing.

The visitors renewed their attack down the right flank and a through ball found Strevens who looked to be a good two yards off side, however, no flag was raised allowing him to cross the ball which was bundled in at the far post by Wright. 0 – 1 and a very unkind roll of the die found Boro’ unfairly in arrears.

Following a good save by Scriven at the feet of Reason, the home side enjoyed a period of pressure which saw them force three corners in quick succession, but none could be converted into an equaliser. At the other end Strevens beat the off side trap and lobbed the ball over Scriven only to see it bounce wide.

Just before the break Eastleigh had a penalty shout waived away, but seconds later, Wright threw himself to the deck in a way which would not have disgraced Tom Daley and a penalty was awarded. An altogether dreadful decision which did nothing for the Referee or his assistant apart from enrage Boro’ Fans, Players and Management. It was a while before the penalty was taken and Scriven made a good save diving to his left to deny Reason what would have been his 9th goal of the season. Poetic justice.

The last couple of minutes saw the half draw to a close with a further flurry of odd decisions which saw the visitors awarded some very dubious corner kicks. Spencer approached the officials as they left the pitch, but was waived away by Mr Quelch who, with his assistants, stayed on the pitch until they were the only ones left before entering the tunnel. It was probably just as well the break came at this point to allow all parties a chance to calm things down. 

HALF TIME: Boro 0-1 Eastleigh

The second period kicked off a little after 4.00 p.m. and after the emotions of the first 45 minutes both sides began in a rather tentative manner. Ten minutes in, a promising Eastleigh attack was foiled firstly by Treacher, then Scriven did well to block a follow up attempt.

Boro’ made their first substitution on 57 minutes, bringing on recent signing Connor French to replace George Sykes who appeared to have sustained a knock.

Nurse made a good diagonal run which saw him approaching the left hand corner, but he received no support and eventually was outnumbered and the move broke down.

Eastleigh made a double substitution in the 62nd minute, replacing Wright with McAllister and Connolly with Yemi Odubade. Connolly, who had a quiet game on his return to Paddy Power Park, did appear to have added some bulk since signing for Eastleigh. The remaining 20 or so minutes saw both sides have their moments without adding to the score line.

The visitors best efforts came when fullback Michael Green joined the attack and his low shot was well saved by Scriven at full stretch and cleared by Bosch. Sub, Odubade, hit a 25 yard screamer which went narrowly wide of the far upright. A Boro’ free kick after a foul on Nurse, saw Dan Bennett’s kick deflected for a corner which was cleared for another, but Boro’ were unable to push home the advantage.

‘Boro midfielders Matt Ball and Dan Bennett stand over a second half free kick.

Eastleigh made their final substitution in the 79th minute with Southam replacing Fleetwood and with both sides looking to attack Boro’ made a further change in the 89th minute, replacing Alfie Bosch with Ade Cole.

Despite throwing everyone forward in the four minutes added time, Boro’ were not able to force an equaliser.

Final Score: Boro’ NIL – Eastleigh 1.

An altogether frustrating afternoon for Borough fans and players alike. No lack of effort from the home side who enjoyed a fair bit of possession, but, unfortunately too often gave the ball away when in promising positions. There was a degree of shyness in front of goal which meant there were few direct attempts to test the visitors keeper. Eastleigh were a big, physical side and took full advantage of the added height in their defence. In the end the game was decided on some poor decisions by the officials. I know we have to accept the rough and the smooth in these situations, but surely, the rub of the green will come our way before much longer.

Match Report by Tony Duff.

Att: 358

After the game, a disappointed but proud ‘Boro boss Spencer Day told BBC Surrey:

“Really proud of the effort, I thought it was a really tough game. Two sides going at it hammer and tongs on a really difficult bobbly pitch and there was nothing it in. Absolutely nothing in it over the course of the game. We felt everything went against us, particularly in the first half, decision wise.

“I’m really proud of the effort we put in but unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough, except no one will have been too surprised if it finished up a draw and disappointed we haven’t quite done enough in the second half but there was nothing in the game. A lot of credit to us for that, we do realise we have got to start getting points but we’ve given what a side I think will win the League – absolute quality throughout them – we’ve limited them to very little and we just didn’t have that final spark just to work the keeper much in the second half.

“We got ourselves into some good areas and very, very disappointed because I said, I think in both games, we’ve done ourselves an awful lot of credit but the fact of it is that we haven’t got any points and you’ve got to give credit to Eastleigh for grinding out results on a difficult pitch.”

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