New boys help 10 man Boro’ stay on the Trophy Trail.

Keeper, Marek Rodak and defender, Gradi Milenge, both made significant contributions in a tough match at York Road which saw Boro’ dig deep to earn a well deserved draw having been harshly reduced to 10 men just before the break while leading from an early Theophanous goal.

It was good to see two young Boro’ mascots, Harvey Matheson and Caleb McGowan, warming up with the players ahead of leading their team out.

The home side got the game underway under a blue sky, accompanied by a strong bitingly cold and swirling wind.

The surface, well sanded in places, looked better than earlier reports suggested, but had already started to cut up
after the warm up.

Starting at a good pace, Boro’ clearly meant business and got a left side corner when a Harry Grant effort was deflected. The ball came over into a crowded area where Louie Theophanous duly thumped it home giving Putnins no chance with just 4 minutes on the clock. Maidenhead United 0-1 Farnborough.

This early set back galvanised the Magpies into action and Adam Brice headed a dangerous looking cross from Danny Green over for a corner. The corner wasn’t cleared and went through to the left side, but the incoming cross was capably dealt with by Rodak. The keeper was soon in action again, gathering another good, low ball in the 6 yard box.

Boro’ came close to a second when Phil Page beat two defenders before cutting in from the left and rounding the keeper. Sadly, this gave him a very narrow angle and his shot went into the side netting.

The home side were soon back on the attack and Foot headed away a corner from the left before Milenge made a good tackle to thwart Clifton at the expense of another corner.

Next, Culley, in defensive mode deflected an effort from Green over the bar.

Rodak was busy again around the half hour mark, first he gathered a header from Clifton before stopping a snappy effort following a corner and finally, finger tipping away an effort from Hippolyte for yet another corner.

Page shot narrowly wide from 20 yards following good play by Grant and then things started to go against Boro’, Darryl Siaw appeared to do no more than go shoulder to shoulder with Azeez as they both ran along the touchline, but Referee, Alan Young showed a yellow card to the Boro’ defender. Harsh, 34th minute.

The home side continued to press and Pritchard tried a long shot which was too high before crossing well only for a flying header from Hutchinson to flash narrowly wide.

Siaw and Clifton(?) were tussling for the ball near the touchline when Siaw clearly played the ball into touch without making any contact with his opponent. However, the Maidenhead player tumbled over his outstretched leg and went to ground. To the astonishment of most who saw what happened, Mr Young, who couldn’t possibly have had much of a view, brandished a 2nd Yellow and then a Red to dismiss Siaw. If the 1st card was harsh, this was shocking.

Another poor decision soon followed when a player from each side appeared to kick the ball simultaneously on the edge of the Boro’ area. The Magpie’s player went down and a free kick was given. Fortunately, the danger came to nothing when the free kick sailed well over.

Half Time: Maidenhead United 0-1 Farnborough

A keenly contested first half which saw the home side enjoy the lion’s share of possession and some good defending by Boro’ with Rodak making a number of important saves.

The wind played it’s part, making control difficult and Mr Young had a stinker. Overall, Boro’ deserved their slender lead, but would clearly be up against it in the 2nd half with a man short.

The 2nd period got away at 4:03 with Boro’ forced in to a tactical substitution replacing Louie Theophanous with CJ Fearn.

As expected, with an extra man and the wind behind them, Maidenhead were mounting wave after wave of attacks and Boro’, forced into a 4:4:1 formation with Culley as the lone striker, had their backs to the wall.

Mr Young continued to brandish cards with Treacher and Nisbet added to his growing list. Again, both decisions seemed harsh.

Rodak made a good punch from a left cross then saved well when Clifton had a go from the edge of the box.

Magpies made a double substitution replacing Hippolyte and Pritchard with Tarpey and Tison-Lascaris on 66 minutes before Boro’ replaced the injured Treacher with Jones, 2 minutes later.

Marek Rodak made a series of good saves including a double save following another good cross and a deflected effort from Tarpey before Jones made a good block to avert further danger.

Despite their efforts, Boro’ finally conceded an equaliser, though not without a further twist from Mr Young. Having awarded the home side a free kick just inside their own half, the Official failed to spot that in his haste, Upward struck a moving ball. Played out to the left wing the cross was met by Tison-Lascaris, who made no mistake on 73 minutes. Maidenhead United 1-1 Farnborough.

With 15 minutes left, Maidenhead made their final sub with Behzadi coming on for Azeez and five minutes later, Boro’ replaced Page with Arnau (Xapi).

The introduction of the versatile Xapi, who went upfield to support Culley, seemed to inject some adrenalin into a Boro’ side who must have been feeling the effect of being a man down.

However, to the dismay of the travelling Boro’ faithful, with just 4 minutes of the 90 to go, it was ex Cherrywood favourite, Dave Tarpey, who put the home side ahead from close in on 86 minutes. Maidenhead United 2-1 Farnborough.

After Mr Young added Lloyd Foot to his list of cautions, Boro’ surged forward again and forced a corner on the right. Over came the ball into a crowded box and to the sheer joy of players and fans, Adam Brice, hammered home the equaliser two minutes before the 90. Maidenhead United 2-2 Farnborough.

The atmosphere was electric with both sides going all out for a winner in the remaining time plus 4 added minutes. CJ Fearn was injured in a tackle on 91 minutes, but able to continue.

Finally, phew!! Mr Young blew his whistle to end the match.

But, not before he had claimed another scalp when booking Duncan Culley. The offence, who knows? presumably, Mr Young decided he kicked the ball away having been pulled up for off-side.

There was no gesture of annoyance and he didn’t simply kick the ball away, but calmly sent it along the ground to the home keeper, who would clearly take the free kick.

Well done, Mr Young. Too many bad decisions, but at least you remained consistent to the end.

Full Time: Maidenhead United 2-2 Farnborough

A typical cup tie and a great team performance from Boro’ having been reduced to ten men for the final 10 minutes of the first half and the whole of the second.

One thing remains, let’s get rid of the nightmare of losing replays and finish this one off on Monday night.

Finally, has Bennett really gone? – again.

Match Report by Tony Duff.

Next up for Farnborough: Monday 11 Janaury (KO 7:45pm), Maidenhead United (home).

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