Happy hunting ground turns sour for BoroBy Jon Couch
August 30, 2012
Salisbury City 1-0 Farnborough
SPENCER DAY’S last visit to the Raymond McEnvill Stadium was a memorable occasion. It was November 19, 2011 and Day was taking charge of Farnborough for the first time, looking to arrest an alarming slide of eight defeats from nine matches.
Incredibly, against all odds, he did just that, leading his men to a shock 3-1 victory which ultimately heralded the start of the run that saved the club from almost certain relegation.
Eight months on, however, and the return to Wiltshire couldn’t have resulted in a bigger contrast of emotions for the Boro chief.
Just as his side looked like securing a hard-earned point with a battling display, up popped Salisbury’s Dan Fitchett to head home an undeserved 91st-minute winner to inflict a first defeat of the season on Day’s troops.
“A draw would have been a fair result and I just feel very disappointed for everyone in the dressing room,” Day said.
“We’ve worked really hard, we’ve frustrated them and given as good as we've got. They’ve only got behind us once all game but we switched off in the 90th minute and we’ve paid the ultimate penalty.
“It wasn’t a fantastic game but give us credit, we’ve come away to a side that’s had a great start to the season and we've got a lot of injuries and knocks and should have got a point.”
Day’s Boro were forced to defend in numbers early on but seemed to grow in confidence as the half progressed.
Medi Abalimba forced keeper Willem Puddy into a crucial stop with a rasping 25-yard drive before captain Alan Inns thought he’d scored with a header off the underside of the crossbar from Abalimba’s corner only for the effort to be ruled out by referee Mark Pottage for an infringement.
Salisbury, too, had their chances with Brian Dutton heading wide from Stuart Sinclair’s corner while Fitchett somehow missed the target from 15 yards when clean through.
Substitute Nic Ciardini came within a whisker of finding the far corner with a fizzing effort across the face of goal with two minutes remaining, and it was to prove vital when, it the first minute of stoppage time, City player-boss Darrell Clarke was allowed time to cross from deep out on the right and Fitchett beat Inns to the jump and planted his header into the far bottom corner.
It completed a frustrating weekend for Day, whose side were left to rue a number of missed chances in a 1-1 draw with Dorchester on Saturday.
This was ultimately a tale of two near-identical free-kick goals in the space of seven first-half minutes – Phil Page equalising Elliott Ward’s 30th-minute effort against the run of play with an equally fine curling set-piece around the wall and into the corner of the net.
Ciardini and Bennett both had glorious chance to steal the points for Boro, even after Abalimba was sent off for a second bookable offence ten minutes from time.
It’s back at Cherrywood Road for Boro on Saturday when they host to Bromley (ko 3pm).
BORO: Bradshaw, Bygrave, Treacher, Bosch, Inns, Abalimba (Huggins 75), Bennett, Laidler, Magdzinski (Ciardini 54), Moody, Page (Clarke 79). Subs: Smith, Steinke.
Ref: M Pottage. Att: 776.