Boro’ fall prey to ‘Hawks’ on National Non League Day.

Firstly, congratulations to Matt Ball for scooping the Vanarama South player of the month award for August.

With a crowd of 621, by far their best of the season, a flag waving guard of honour to welcome the teams and officials, a bouncy castle for our younger fans and ice creams for all ages, there was a definite party atmosphere at Paddy Power Park for the visit of Hampshire rivals, Havant & Waterlooville.

Boro’ got the game underway playing towards the PRE and facing no fewer than four ex players in the visitors starting line-up. As if that wasn’t enough, there was another ex player and a pre season trialist on the bench.

Both sides started at a good pace without posing too many problems for their opponents. The home side appeared rather uneasy on the ball and made rather too many passing errors in the early stages, possibly due to having two new players in the team (Matt Bevans and Pat O’Connor) who had not yet settled in the squad, plus Adam Brice making only his third start. It was a poor clearance by Brice which gave the visitors their first chance after 13 minutes, but fortunately, the long range effort was far too high.

When Ciardini went to ground following a challenge from Rodgers, Referee, John O’Brien gave a free kick just outside the area. Scott Donnelly‘s kick took a wicked deflection off the Boro’ wall which wrong footed Grainger who was moving to his right and could only watch the ball fly into the opposite corner. Boro’ 0 – Hawks 1, 16 minutes.

This set back did little for the home side, but gave the visitors a boost which saw them launch a sustained attack on the Boro’ goal. It came as no surprise when just 5 minutes later, Bubb was first to react when Grainger could only parry a Huggins shot and tucked away a second goal. Boro’ 0 – Hawks 2, 21 minutes.

Charlie Grainger saved well from Connell and then Huggins was booked for a challenge on the Boro’ keeper. Boro’ pushed on in an effort to reduce the arrears and when Page was fouled by Stock just outside the area, Matt Ball’s curling free kick was a fraction too high for those waiting in the box and went out for a goal kick.

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Vanarama’s Conference South Player of the Month Matt Ball whips in a free kick

The hard working Page saw his attempt from distance narrowly miss the post. With nothing really going right for the home side, it was no surprise when they made a double substitution after 38 minutes, replacing Brice and Tumwa with Okenabirhie and Webb respectively.

The double change saw Boro’ start to put together some rather more promising attacks which the visitors were far from fussy in the way the defended, leading to a booking for Harris for a foul on Page.Bevans got on the end of Ball’s free kick, but his header went just wide. Boro’ kept pushing forward for the remainder of the half which included 3 minutes of added time and Pat O’Connor had an effort tipped out for a corner by Ryan Young.

Half Time: Farnborough 0-2 Havant & Waterlooville

Despite Boro’ not playing as well as in recent games, the scoreline rather flattered the visitors, who themselves had not really shone and owed their lead to one outrageous piece of luck and the quick reactions of Bradley Bubb.

The second half got underway at 4.06 with the visitors pushing forward and just 5 minutes in it was effectively game over when again, Bubb took advantage of a somewhat static Boro’ defence to side foot home his 2nd of the game and Havant’s third. Boro’ 0 – Hawks 3, 50 minutes.

Ciardini and Bennett both received treatment after a clash in mid field. While Ciardini recovered to continue, Bennett, who had not done much more than continually adjust his shorts, limped off to be replaced by newcomer Andrew Montugu on 58 minutes.

Just two minutes later, the Hawks made a double substitution, replacing Nic Ciardini and Bradley Bubb with JJ Hooper and Daniel Blanchett. Hooper was soon in action when he deflected a shot from Matt Ball for a corner. The visitors completed their subs on 62 minutes when Ben Swallow replaced Alan Connell.

Boro’ enjoyed a resurgence over the next 15 minutes which saw Page meet a cross from Montugu with a stooping header which flew just wide of the post.
A good pass from Matt Ball to Bevans on the right saw the latters cross into the box fall agonisingly out of reach for the incoming Montugu at the far post and Josh Webb’s attempt from outside the box was sadly too high.

With just 6 minutes of normal time remaining, Hooper was allowed far too much time and space and duly took advantage to score arguably the best goal of the game from 25 yards. Grainger did well to get a hand to it, but couldn’t keep it out. Boro’ 0 – Hawks 4, 84 minutes.

Boro’ almost got a consolation goal with 5 minutes left when Dutton hooked the ball away and claims from several Boro’ players that the ball had crossed the line where waved away.

A minute into stoppage time Hooper reminded home fans of his quick reactions and deadly finishing by scoring his 2nd and the final goal of the game to make the result 0-5.

Full Time: Farnborough 0-5 Havant & Waterlooville

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Many thanks to all 621 supporters who turned up!

Not a good afternoon for Boro’ who were too often slow to react at both ends of the pitch and lacked cohesion and direction. There were some reasonable
performances from which fans could take some comfort, notably from Ollie Treacher and Phil Page, both of whom never stopped running.

Matt Ball and Paul Rodgers were both tireless in their efforts to make things happen and all three subs, Okenabirhie, Webb and the promising Montugu could not be faulted for their contributions. Hopefully, once we can achieve a settled side, we can again grow in confidence and produce performances such as we saw in the previous three games. Let’s regroup and move on starting with Maidenhead on Tuesday.

Match Report by Tony Duff.

Next up for Farnborough – Tuesday 9 September (KO 7.45pm), Maidenhead United (away).


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