Boro’s Essex hoodoo continues.
Once again Boro’ returned from Essex without a win which also means their away League record now goes back much further than most of us wish to remember.
The game, played on a pitch which the hosts currently share with Aveley did not boast the best of surfaces, but would no doubt have been better had the area not suffered with so much heavy rain in the last couple of weeks.
The match, which contrary to the scoreline was fairly even throughout, hinged on two decisions which were to prove pivotal.
Boro’ who had a number of new faces in the line-up, including a goalkeeper, started brightly enough and Freddie Grant had the first real chance when through one on one with the Grays keeper who stood upwell and blocked his effort when a goal had looked likely.
The home side also had an early chance but somehow Fortnam-Tomlinson blasted his effort high and wide of the target.
Following a period where the two sides were evenly matched, Dumaka engineered a chance, but Minter did well to block and the danger was cleared.
Boro’ took the lead when Krans was put through by Wright and finished well after 18 minutes. Grays Athletic 0-1 Farnborough.
Dumaka shot wide for Grays on the left and Krans was too high with an effort from distance.
The home side drew level when Fortnam-Tomlinson broke clear and with Boro’ looking for an off-side flag; rounded Minter and slid the ball home on 25 minutes. Grays Athletic 1-1 Farnborough.
Dumaka was well off target from a good way out, then Tommy Wright looked certain to put Boro’ back in front when he cut in from the left and rounded the keeper, but somehow, Lamar Johnson managed to dive and reach round Wright’s legs to reclaim the ball.
Five minutes before the interval Jenkinson’s free kick was deflected skywards off the Gray’s wall and finally cleared.
The first significant defining moment occurred just a minute before half time when Gallagher and Fortnam-Tomlinson both converged on the ball near the half way line.
It was certainly a hard challenge with neither player holding back, but from the view I had of the incident it looked a fair tackle.
Referee, Crowhurst clearly saw things differently and showed Gallagher a straight red. He could have been influenced by the reaction of the Gray’s player, who, although he made a fairly quick recovery, had initially stayed down and made a bit of a meal of things. Many similar situations might have warranted a yellow at most.
The half ended after two minutes added time with the score remaining at 1-1.
HALF TIME: Grays Athletic 1-1 Farnborough
The home side started the second period clearly looking to put Boro’s ten men under early pressure and Minter was forced into a save low down near his right post.
Not long afterwards Grant relieved pressure by heading back to Minter who appeared surprised (possibly due to a lack of familiarity) and eventually scrambled the ball out for a corner.
Following a “handbags” session at a set piece, Carlos and Oyenuga were spoken to by the Referee.
MacDonald was shown yellow on 55 minutes and Boro’ made their first change replacing Jeacock with Usman Adeniji.
Despite being a man down Boro’ were standing up pretty well and after Minter had saved a low effort from Fortnam-Tomlinson, a Boro’ counter attack saw a Tommy Wright effort turned out for a corner by the home keeper. Wright then went close with a header from the corner kick.
Hard-working striker, Tommy Wright in action for Farnborough
With 20 minutes left Boro’ were once again the victims of a dubious decision.
John Oyenuga made what looked to be a perfectly good tackle some six or seven yards wide of the goal and near to the by-line.
There wasn’t even an appeal from Gray’s players, but Mr Crowhurst pointed to the spot.
Minter saved Fortnum-Tomlinson’s kick but Carlos was first to react and netted the loose ball on 70 minutes. Grays Athletic 2-1 Farnborough.
Grays made a change before the re-start when replacing Carlos with Davidson.
Boro’ continued to push forward and Freddie Grant went down in the box, but any contact was minimal and nothing was given.
Grays made two further changes within a short space of time, Dumaka making way for Addai, before Little replaced Roman Michael-Percil.
With a couple of minutes of the ninety remaining, Minter saved well from Davidson, but the young substitute was not denied for long and a minute later he cracked home a shot from outside the area into Minters’s bottom left corner on 89 minutes. Grays Athletic 3-1 Farnborough.
Boro’ kept trying throughout the three added minutes, but the score remained unchanged.
FULL TIME: Grays Athletic 3-1 Farnborough.
A game which saw Boro’, despite playing the second half a man down, more than equal the home side who sit much higher in the table.
There is no doubt that but for two contentious decisions the result, which rather flattered the hosts, could well have been different.
Match Report by Tony Duff.
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