Farnborough FC battled back from two goals down to stop the rot of four straight defeats
What a difference 48 hours makes in football. On Boxing Day, boss Spencer Day threatened to wield the axe to his under-performing Farnborough troops following a derby day disaster at Basingstoke.
But, two days later it seems all was forgiven after his Boro battlers produced a rousing second-half display to earn a precious home point against Havant & Waterlooville and stop the rot of four straight Skrill South defeats.
In response to the 4-0 thumping by Basingstoke, furious Day rung in the changes by bringing in goalkeeper Dan Lincoln and forward Jack Jeffrey on loan from Reading, while recalling centre-back Nathan Koo-Boothe and winger Tyrone Berry from their dual registrations at Eastbourne Town.
Late first-half strikes from Dennis Oli and Sahr Kabba threatened to send the manager home empty-handed again until a timely fightback, culminating in goals from Scott Donnelly and Josh Huggins, ensured a share of the spoils.
“I thought we at least deserved a draw,” Day said. “We were much better for the first 40 minutes but then we’ve gifted them both goals – an absolute Christmas present.
“But credit to us, we were home at last after five away games on the spin and we've shown the fans that we are a good side.
“Things are going against us and when the keeper is making save after save – two of which world class – you begin to think the bad run will continue.
"But we’ve got the point, we deserved it, and in many respects we’re disappointed that we didn’t go on to win the game.
“If you’d have said to me 48 hours ago that we’d get a point against such a strong side like Havant, while putting on a massively improved performance with a scratch side of 17-year-olds, then I would have bitten your hand off.”
Although Boro enjoyed the better of the first-half possession it was Havant who showed first – Scott Jones coming within a whisker of opening the scoring with an effort which cannoned off the underside of the crossbar to safety.
The Hawks did not have to wait long, however, before edging in front. Boro failed to clear a 40th-minute corner and former striker Oli bundled home the loose ball.
Five minutes later, on the stroke of half time, they doubled their lead when another Havant corner prompted another goalmouth scramble and Kabba got the final touch.
Day admitted at the time he was the “angriest he’d ever been at the break”, but his Boro side finally gave him some festive cheer on 67 minutes when good work from Dan Bennett released Donnelly, who squeezed an effort inside the post.
And 13 minutes later the comeback was complete when Lincoln’s long free kick into the box was nodded on by Alan Inns and finished expertly by defensive partner Josh Huggins from the edge of the box for his fifth goal of the season.
Captain Inns proved Farnborough’s saviour late on with a brilliant tackle to deny Kabba and ensure his side grabbed a deserved share of the spoils.
Boro’s New Year’s Day revenge mission over Basingstoke at Paddy Power Park is followed by a tricky trip to Boreham Wood on Saturday (January 4).
Talks to bring former Newport County midfielder Jake Thompson to the club continue, while Day is hoping to re-shuffle his pack with another two loan additions in the next fortnight.
FARNBOROUGH: Lincoln, Huggins, Treacher, Donnelly, Inns, Koo-Boothe, Bennett, Laidler, Page, Jeffrey (Tarpey 62), Berry. Subs: Hammond, Fearn, Williams, Monan.
Ref: Carl Fitch. Att: 388.