Boro’ battle well to earn a valuable point.
They might still be looking for their first win of 2015, but, despite being hit by two more injuries which forced changes to what was looking much more like a side that could win, Boro’ dug in well to salvage a point.
With absences and injuries already affecting selection, the starting eleven included Dillon Barnes, Amadeu Arnau, (Xapi) and CJ Fearn. The bench had just four subs which included new man, Roman Michael-Percil and young Freddie Grant.
Boro’ got the game under way attacking the Moor Road End and were the first to threaten when Adam Brice made a good run out of defence down the left and played a neat one-two with Louie Theophanous before the ball was forced out for a throw.
A low cross from Michael Richens was safely gathered by Walker to prevent danger.
When the visitors went on the counter attack, Banton was fortunate to get a shooting opportunity when a Treacher clearance from Kabamba ricocheted into his path, but his effort went wide of the post.
At this point, Boro’ were looking the more confident side and enjoying good possession. A cross from Theophanous on the right saw Walker just beat Beckles to the ball.
When Ollie Treacher was fouled just inside the Boro’ half, the quickly taked kick led to a through ball which saw Beckles through on goal. It was looking good until the flag was raised for off-side.
However, the quick number 11, Beckles, was not long denied. Having won the ball near to the right touchline he weaved his way into the box and despite efforts to pull him back, he kept his balance to strike the ball firmly past Walker from a narrow angle after 20 minutes. Farnborough 1-0 Hemel Hempstead Town.
Two minutes later, it was almost two when Theophanous and Grant combined well leaving the latter one on one with Walker who saved well at his feet.
When Hemel Hempstead countered, King crossed from the right and Barnes was only able to parry the ball which was then cleared for a left side corner. The kick came through to Harriott on the right of the box and hit a low shot towards the goal.
Barnes dived and appeared to have grasped the ball, but somehow let it squirm under his body allowing Potton to prod home the equaliser from close in after 27 minutes. Farnborough 1-1 Hemel Hempstead Town.
Boro’ were soon back on the attack and Grant put Theophanous through, but Walker got down to save by his near post.
At the other end a Treacher clearance crashed into Hawkins and looped goalwards where Barnes caught it just under the bar.
Referee, Ian Fissenden lectured Harriott at length before booking him for a foul in midfield. The free kick led to a good cross from Louie Theophanous which Walker fielded safely.
CJ put a shot from Hemel Hempstead skipper, Jordan Parkes out for a corner, then with just three minutes, or so, left of the half, the visitors nicked a second goal against the run of play. Barnes came for a cross and Hawkins beat him to it to head home from a few feet out after 42 minutes. Farnborough 1-2 Hemel Hempstead Town.
Shortly before the half time whistle, Diarra fouled Richens near the half way line and both players fell to the ground after an apparent clash of heads. Both players received treatment on the pitch, but while Diarra returned, Richens had clearly got the worst of it and spent the remaining time being attended by a paramedic.
Half Time: Farnborough 1-2 Hemel Hempstead Town
A half which saw Boro’ playing with some confidence and while the visitors showed flashes of good play, they were rather fortunate to go in a goal to the good.
The second period commenced at 4:05pm and not surprisingly, Michael Richens was replaced by Roman Michael-Percil making his debut.
Xapi went down following a clash while clearing a Hemel Hempstead attack on the edge of the area. He received treatment at the edge of the pitch, but it was soon clear that he would take no further part.
So, barely three minutes into the half, Boro’ replaced Xapi with Freddie Grant, while Hemel Hempstead brought on Ed Asafu-Adjayi for David King on 48 minutes.
Having lost two influential players within minutes, Boro’ were forced to re-group once again and fans no doubt feared the worst.
However, both the players introduced soon showed what they were made of and made significant contributions to the team effort.
Michael-Percil made a good run at speed deep into the visitors half before releasing the ball which was threaded through to the left where Phil Page unleashed a shot which proved too good for Walker and produced an equaliser for Boro’ after 56 minutes. Farnborough 2-2 Hemel Hempstead Town.
With little over half an hour to go, Hemel replaced Kabamba with Denis Oli.
Treacher was booked, rather harshly, for a foul in midfield, then Beckles made another speedy run, but his cross just evaded everyone in the area. Next the tricky number eleven managed a shot but Walker saved comfortably.
The visitors made their final change on 66 minutes with Banton making way for Mo Sharif.
Boro’ spent the remaining time giving their all in an attempt to claim the three points, with Hemel Hempstead being largely restricted to counter attacks.
Theophanous neatly headed on for Page whose shot went narrowly past the post. Roman Michael-Percil was proving a real handful and Lee was booked for a foul on the young debutante.
Boro’ made their final substitution on 73 minutes replacing Treacher with Matt Jones.
With 15 minutes left Page unleashed a fierce shot with his left foot which Walker did well to tip over for a corner.
Hemel Hempstead had two efforts in their rare counter attacks, with Oli heading over and Harriott shooting wide.
Harry Grant appeared to get a hand, or arm, in the face as Ryan Newman won the ball, but play was waved on.
Five added minutes were played (though no announcement was made) and Hemel Hempstead gave home fans a couple of scares at the death.
Barnes saved well from Harriott, while Diarra headed over.
FULL TIME: Farnborough 2-2 Hemel Hempstead Town
Given the recent run of results, I think most Boro’ fans would have taken a point from the start. As things turned out, without the loss of two players of the calibre of Richens and Xapi, who knows what may have happened.
There was no influx of new players, no household name on show and no sign, as hinted, of the ‘marmite man’, yet.
However, the team showed spirit and had the better of our visitors for most of the match.
Let’s hope we can patch up eleven fit players for the tricky trip to Bath on Tuesday and carry on the fight for survival which was shown today. Well done lads.
Match Report by Tony Duff.
Next up for Farnborough – Tuesday 17 February (KO 7:45pm), Bath City (away).
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