Boro’ narrowly beaten at Westleigh Park.
Another tough away game for Boro’ facing 4th placed Havant & Waterlooville without their suspended ex Boro’ favourite, Nic Ciardini, missing the first of his recent seven match ban.
The Hawks will be keen to make amends for two recent defeats and a draw, while Boro’ will be looking to build and improve on the positives from last weeks narrow defeat at Sutton.
CJ Fearn came in for his ninth League start of the season | © Martyn White Sports Photography
The game began in lively fashion on a heavily sanded pitch, which, from the start, was clearly going to be difficult. In the worst areas, there was no bounce and ball control virtually impossible, making it something of a lottery for both sides.
The home side were first to create a chance when Ben Swallow received the ball on the right, but his shot was way too high.
The Hawks were starting to find some rhythm and Darryl Siaw did well to take the ball off JJ Hooper and clear.
Another neat move left full back Dan Strugnell with a clear shot 10 yards out, but his effort flew over the bar.
A Donnelly free kick was played short to Stock, but his shot was deflected for a goal kick. Donnelly then had a go from the edge of the area, but shot wide.
In a rare Boro’ attack Page received a good pass on the left and from the cross Foot tried his luck from distance, but was well over the target.
Harry Grant was booked for a foul on Stock and the Hawks’ midfielder also went in the book for his rather petulant retaliation.
The home side continued attacking and Harris headed over before Wright swung at a corner and missed
the ball which was cleared.
Then in a quick break Phil Page burst through on goal only for the Hawks’ skipper, Ryan Young to save at his feet.
Boro’ were soon on the defensive again with Marek Rodák prominent. First he tipped a cross from Swallow out for a corner, then punched the inswinging kick well clear.
After Hooper shot wide of the upright, the keeper made a good diving save from Wright, before the lively Swallow cut in from the right, but screwed his shot wide.
Boro’ had defended stoically for most of the half, but with barely three minutes left, fate dealt them another unkind blow.
Ben Swallow, by far the Hawks’ most dangerous player, jinked into the box and shot from 15 yards. The ball kept low and appeared to be heading into a group of players, when it took a wicked deflection off the boot of Matt Jones which changed it’s direction completely and flew into the net with Rodák stranded after 42 miuntes. Havant & Waterlooville 1-0 Farnborough.
The remaining time plus 2 added minutes expired without further incident with the score remaining 1 – 0.
Half Time: Havant & Waterlooville 1-0 Farnborough
A half which saw the home side enjoy the majority of possession and restricted Boro’ to attempting to hit them on the break.
Boro’s defence held up pretty well and Rodák made several telling saves, but despite their goal enjoying a good slice of fortune, the home side wasted enough chances to have put the game beyond Boro’s reach.
Michael Richens gets the ball away from The Hawks’ Josh Huggins | © Martyn White Sports Photography
The second half started at 4:01pm – Boro’ having replaced Skipper Lloyd Foot with Reece Beckles.
The Hawks continued where they left off in the first half, on the attack. Wright shot over when well placed and had another effort well saved by Rodák.
Then following a free kick on the left, Hooper also found Rodák equal to the challenge with the keeper making another good save.
Around the 58th minute, Adam Brice clearly chested down a ball just outside the area, but with the home support baying “hand ball”, Mr Serrano clearly felt obliged to appease them and gave a free kick. Brice was understandably upset, but simply earned himself a yellow card for his reaction, or something he said.
A poor decision as Brice played the ball with his chest and had his arms behind him. This was supported by several Havant & Waterlooville officials seated around me, including the announcer.
This incident appeared to sting Boro’ into redoubling their efforts. A good move down the left saw Louie Theophanous inches short of the final cross.
Jamie Hand was booked for a foul just outside the area, before another Boro’ attack saw Young finger tip a shot from Michael Richens round for a corner.
Boro’ made a second sub replacing CJ Fearn with Gus Sow after 72 minutes.
Following another good save by Rodák, from Ben Wright, Boro’ had another flurry of attacks which saw Theophanous caught just offside, Young palmed away a good cross from Beckles, then Page was marginally short of another good cross from the left, before another run forced Young to save at his feet.
Goalkeeper Marek Rodák pulled off a string of saves to keep the scoreline down | © Martyn White Sports Photography
At the other end Rodák punched clear off the head of Harris, then in the 82nd minute Havant replaced Scott Donnelly with Perry Ryan.
Just after Page tried a shot from distance which went wide, Jamie Hand clashed with Ben Wright. The burly Hawks centre forward made a meal of it, going to ground and appearing to gesture that he had been struck by an arm, or elbow. Mr Serrano showed Hand a second Yellow followed by a Red. Wright’s theatrical efforts obviously worked.
Hawks almost immediately made another substitution, replacing arguably their best player, Ben Swallow with Bradley Bubb.
Boro’ kept trying and Beckles almost got through before he was finally relieved of the ball.
Bubb had just a few minutes to show some of his trickery which, though pleasing the home fans, came to nothing.
Hawks were content to play out time plus the three added minutes, by playing keep ball in the corner wherever possible and there was no further score.
Full Time: Havant & Waterlooville 1-0 Farnborough
It was never going to be an easy task to take anything from the game, but Boro’ defended stoutly, tried to hit them on the break and were unfortunate to concede the only goal to a vicious deflection.
It won’t be any easier when table topping Boreham Wood visit on Monday, but perhaps we can take some comfort from the fact that they were well beaten today by Whitehawk.
Match Report by Tony Duff.
Next up for Farnborough – Monday 9 February (KO 7:45pm), Boreham Wood (home).
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