What a difference a week makes in football. It’s hard to believe that just seven days ago, from this very source, Farnborough boss Spencer Day hailed his new batch of young bravehearts, insisting he couldn’t be happier after a promising pre-season campaign.
Now, after a deserved 2-0 opening-day defeat to Boreham Wood on Saturday, followed by a disappointing 3-2 home reverse by Weston-Super-Mare just 48 hours later, the boss is already starting the feel the heat – and is not afraid to make changes!
Goals from front pair Joe Taylor and Phil Page helped turn an early deficit into a half-time lead – only for Boro to then throw away the points with a combination of two glorious chances going begging and a double helping of kamikaze defending.
With such a youthful and new-look squad – and limited funds in which to strengthen – it’s perhaps no surprise to the more sympathetic of the Boro faithful that these learning curves will be experienced, especially so early on in the campaign.
But Day is taking no prisoners and has issued a stark warning to his players – in particular the under-performing senior members of the ranks – that improvements must be made ahead of Saturday’s visit of St Albans City. “There are a number of players in there who, not down to a lack of effort, are looking like they are not good enough for the step up and I’m not afraid to make changes,” Day raved after Monday night’s defeat by Weston.
“Pre-season is over. It’s all well and good looking half decent in the friendlies, but this is the Conference South and with all due respect to Weston we’ve got a lot harder tests to come. It’s been a complete turnaround in the space of a week.
“If you concede goals like we did for their second then you are not going to win football games, simple as that. It was pathetic defending.
“We have some senior players playing poorly at the moment. We weren’t sharp enough, we didn’t pass the ball properly and there wasn’t enough physicality about us. It’s just not good enough and it now turns Saturday’s game into a huge game.”
In all fairness to Boro, their inability to close down Dayle Grubb for his winner six minutes from time was unjustly punished by a sublime 25-yard finish which beat Charlie Grainger all ends up.
Up until that point, Boro were, arguably, the more likely of the two sides to steal the points after Matt Ball had blazed a good effort woefully high and wide when Josh Webb was in a better position to coolly slot home.
It was one of those days – a fact which wouldn’t have escaped Day as early as the eighth minute when, against the run of play, Grubb worked his way to the right hand by-line and cut back for Jamie Lucas to tap home from close range.
Credit to Boro though, they stuck to the guns and got a deserved equaliser with the best move of the match on 33 minutes. Ball sprayed wide to Olly Treacher down the left, his first time cross was played in behind the Weston defence and Taylor nipped in to steer the ball beyond the stranded Luke Purnell.
Then, eight minutes later, the comeback was complete – Ball again hanging a free-kick from deep on the right hand touchline and got in front of a flapping Purnell to glance his header into an empty net.
Page almost doubled the advantage with a blistering effort just over from 20 yards, but Boro’s inexperience at the back was woefully exposed seven minutes into the restart when Grubb’s free-kick from the right was glanced home at the far post by an unmarked Jake Harris to set up the sucker punch finale.
In contrast, it was Boro’s inability to start matches which proved their undoing at Boreham Wood on Saturday, although it took a Goal of the Season contender from ex-Aldershot man Graeme Montogmery, after just 62 seconds, to break their resistence – a stunning effort from all over 30 yards into the top left hand corner, giving Grainger no chance.
Wood then hit the woodwork before netting a deserved second on 14 minutes when Lee Angol latched onto Ben Nunn’s pass to fire home.
Ball and Paul Rodgers both tested keeper James Russell with efforts but, in truth, Day’s men never looked like recovering to put early points on the board.
BORO (v Weston): Grainer; Rodgers, Tumwa (Bennett 63), Fearn, Siaw, Ferrell, Webb, Ball, Page (Thompson 80), Taylor (Okenabirhie 62), Treacher. Subs: Pearse, Shaw.
Ref: I Rathbone. Att: 276.