Match Report - Salisbury FC v Farnborough FC
Copyright Roger Elliott
Salisbury FC 3 Farnborough FC 2
Evo-stik South Premier South
Tuesday, 12 September 2019
By Alec Hayter
Once more, it seems necessary to remind those who stayed away from last night's game that after a poor result, as happened on Saturday, the next game is invariably better, and the absentees missed out. There was more positive action in the first 10 minutes of this game than had occurred in the whole of Saturday’s match, and that continued throughout the 90+, but after that initial 10 minutes, the Whites fell behind to the visitors’ first serious attack. Midway through the first half they went further behind, and those who feared the worst would have been forgiven for doubting the fighting qualities of their favourites. The result of a tremendous effort was what looks on paper to be a narrow 3-2 victory, but was actually much more comprehensive than the scoreline suggests. The team's hunger returned.
On 9 minutes Tom Whelan slipped a delightful ball to Chris Shephard whose progress was halted by Farnborough keeper Liam Beach, and shortly afterwards it was Shephard's turn to provide Dan Fitchett with a chance which was unluckily deflected over the top. A further few seconds passed before Shephard’s corner reached Whelan whose right foot effort went just past, and it seemed only a matter of time before a goal arrived.
A goal did arrive, but unfortunately at the wrong end, as for virtually the first time that Farnborough made any impression at all, Louis McGrory was easily beaten on the outside by Reggie Young, who fired the opener across Jake Hallett.
The Whites reacted with Fitchett again being unlucky on 15 minutes and then two minutes later the visitors’ keeper was relieved when Shephard's effort went straight at him. Again, it seemed a question of time before Salisbury got back on terms, but again, it was Boro who profited from a Harry Cooksley free-kick which Hallett did well to put onto the post only to see Perry Coles follow-up and make it 2-0.
The Whites again responded, this time in the best possible way, when four minutes before the interval, Luke Hopper charged down a clearance and strode forward before tucking a right foot shot past the keeper, to start a feeling of well-being before the break. On the stroke of half-time Salisbury could have been on terms when Jack Sparkes sent a deep cross in from the left and Fitchett volleyed over the top. However, any "goal" would have been ruled out for offside, and in a last effort before the break, Hopper blotted his copybook when missing in front of goal.
Luke Hopper gets an important goal at an important time.- Copyright Roger Elliott
After the interval, it seemed likely that with continued high-intensity play the Whites would succeed, especially as the visitors had not done a "Kings Langley" and shut up shop, although there was some obvious slow motion from their keeper at times. That was not allowed to get in the way however and 10 minutes into the second period, Salisbury were back on terms as a result of intensive pressure in the Boro area which saw Darren Mullings plunder a close-range finish from Lewis Benson's corner.
Right place, right time as Darren Mullings scores.- Copyright Roger Elliott
On 62 minutes Benson sent in a raking cross to the far post where Sparkes should really have finished the job with a volley from close in, and within seconds, Sparkes was marauding once more and brought down in the box, causing vociferous appeals for a spot kick. Referee Alex James waved away the appeals and, possibly in an attempt to make clear that it was in his opinion (the one that counts!) an obviously correct decision, firmly pointed to the corner flag instead of the spot. From my viewpoint, it looked an obvious and easy penalty award, but of course, the referee was much closer, although some supporters behind the goal at his distance would also probably have disagreed with him. Whatever, it remained 2-2, and that caused the Whites to exert even more pressure.
Oh no it wasn't - Oh yes it was!- Copyright Roger Elliott
The following minute saw Whelan's right foot shot whistle past the post, and on 75 minutes Chris Shephard put his finish at a relieved goalkeeper. Shortly after Dan Fitchett threaded delightful through ball to Sparkes, who tried to round the keeper unsuccessfully whereas maybe he should have let fly, and then, with nine minutes remaining, Hopper got in a similar position, only to be denied by Beach.
As the sands of time ran out a short Shephard free-kick gave Benson a chance to repeat his Wimborne medicine, but this time the ball went just off target, and shortly after the referee had corrected Salisbury’s having 12 players on the pitch at once, Mullings came to the rescue with a late, late winner two minutes into time added. It's hardly worth a description because it was what is becoming a typical goal from both Mullings and Aaron Dawson - scored from all of 3 yards! They all count however, and three points is always a very valuable three points.
Darren Mullings looking expectant of a celebration - or a birth? - Copyright Roger Elliott
Provided the elements allow, a difficult trip to Devon follows on Saturday when we visit Tiverton Town, who are normally very difficult to beat on their own pitch, that pitch often playing a large part in the outcome because of its proximity to the river.
Already, contingency plans are in place and travelling fans would be well advised to keep an eye out on the Tiverton website and on social media before setting out to the game to avoid an unnecessary journey. If the game goes ahead, however, it's another case of making it like a home match, please
Salisbury FC: Hallett, McGrory (Hopper 38), Sommerton, Whelan, Wheeler, Partridge, Benson, Mullings, Fitchett, Shephard (Downing 90+5), Sparkes.
Subs not used: Dawson, Herbert, Young.
Farnborough FC: Beach, Chambers, Owens (Oakley 45), Leggett, Hylton-Bartley, Musungu, Cooksley (Cumberbatch, 68), Charles-Smith, Coles (Fernandez 79), Young.
Subs not used: Halsey, Fearn.
Attendance: 424 Referee: A James (Bournemouth)
Luke Hopper gets an important goal at an important time."