Boro’ cling on for a point in Battle at the Bottom

This was a truly dismal display from two sides well and truly engaged in the relegation dog fight. Even the brief appearance of a watery sun did little to cheer the meagre crown of 218 stalwarts, some of whom had made the lengthy trip from Norfolk.

The game started a minute before 3:00pm with Boro’ playing towards the PRE and in less than a minute the Market gave the home side a wake up call when Jordan Patrick somehow managed to head over from no more than two yards.

His blushes were saved when it was realised that an off side flag had been raised.

The visitors had much the better of the opening 15 minutes, were better organised, passed the ball well, were a good yard quicker than the home side and created a number of chances.

Following the close call in the first minute, Adam Mills received a good through ball on the left, but skewed his shot wide.

On 12 minutes, Aaron Bufton just tipped a right cross out for a corner which produced another decent chance which went begging.

Boro’ livened up a bit and Perry Ryan’s long ball was flicked on by Vastsuk, but keeper Daniel Gay was able to gather the ball. Sadly a lone striker without close support will all too often see his efforts come to nothing.

The home side did mount a couple of attacks involving Nicholas Brown and young Ryan Zidyana, which looked promising but failed to produce anything.

Brown then had a speculative shot deflected for a corner, which again caused no real problem for the visiting defence.

Despite having been dominated for most of the half, it was Boro’ who took the lead on 26 minutes. Bogdan Vastsuk had worked his way into the area on the left, but seemed to have left it late for either a shot or a cross when Keiran Morphew made an awkward tackle which took the Boro’ player down. Referee, Hollier immediately signalled a penalty.

This led to an unseemly squabble between Vastsuk and Perry Ryan both of whom seemed determined to take the kick. Skipper CJ Fearn appeared lost when he was involved and finally Vastsuk placed the ball and prepared to take the penalty.

Whether or not the squabble affected him, who knows, but Daniel Gay dived to his right and parried the shot. Fortunately, for all concerned Vastsuk seized on the rebound and struck it firmly into the net after 24 minutes. Farnborough 1-0 Needham Market.

One expects such antics in the playground, but there is no place for such scenes at this level. Surely the penalty taker should be decided in the dressing room?

Vastsuk had an opportunity to double Boro’s lead just after the half hour when he ran clear and on towards the goal. He was clearly shoved in the back by Oliver Fenn, which caused him to stumble and the ball ran away from him.

He did well to regain his balance, but the momentary break in his movement gave Daniel Gay the chance to make up ground and claim the ball.

A clear goal scoring opportunity was denied and though Fenn was booked, both he and his side could be said to have got away with it. It was by no means Fenn’s first foul.

Unsurprisingly, five minutes later, Fenn was at it again with a foul 30 yards out which led to a Boro’ free kick being hit well over by Tom Broadbent. No second yellow and Fenn remained on the park. No Justice.

The remainder of the half saw Boro’ with a couple of chances when first Zidyana met a cross but hit a weak shot which gave Gay no problem, then, when the visitors failed to clear, the ball ran to Nicholas Brown and his shot was on target and drew a good diving save from Danny Gay at the expense of a corner.

HALF TIME: Farnborough 1-0 Needham Market

The visitors largely dominated the opening 45 minutes, enjoying the majority of possession, but rode their luck after Boro’ took the lead and pressed for a while.

On another day they could well have reached the interval a man down.

The second half began at 4:00pm with Market pressing hard to get back on terms. Morphew’s 30 yard free kick flew well over before Bufton punched clear another free kick then cleared the follow up attempt.

Boro’ briefly rallied and a good break involving Vastsuk and Collins looked to be going somewhere before Collins lost possession and the danger was cleared.

The visitors made a change on 60 minutes with Oliver Mann replacing Michael Brothers who looked to have taken a knock.

Minutes later, Boro’ indulged in some sloppy defensive play in their own half which ended with CJ losing possession and the visitors mounting a speedy counter attack.

They moved down the right side cutting through a retreating Boro’ defence with full back, Oliver Brown combining well with Jordan Patrick before putting the latter clear to gratefully smash the ball home from about 10 yards for a good equaliser on 65 minutes. Farnborough 1-1 Needham Market.

Needham Market made a second substitution on 68 minutes with Sam Newson replacing Adam Mills.

Boro’ had a couple of chances when firstly, a quick throw put Nicholas Brown away but his shot lacked power. Barton then shot from 40 yards, but it was always going wide.

The visitors went close in pursuit of their fourth consecutive win, when sub Newson then Jay Davies both hit good shots which were just too high.

Both sides made changes in the 83rd minute – Market’s final sub seeing Kemal Izzet replace Jay Davies and for Boro’ Nicholas Brown made way for Josh Francis.

The visitors had the edge for the remaining time and three added minutes though Tom Broadbent did make room for a shot in added time which flew much too high, before Joe Whight struck a 35 yard free kick narrowly wide of Bufton’s left post.

FULL TIME: Farnborough 1-1 Needham Market

A game in which Boro’ were largely the architects of their own downfall with far too many unforced errors giving possession to the visitors and failure to capitalise on the few chances they managed to create.

On balance, the visitors were entitled to wonder how they had failed to continue their recent good run and claim a fourth successive win.

Boro’ however, were rather flattered to cling on for their first draw of the campaign and a precious point.

Match Report by Tony Duff.

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