Sandhurst Town 2-4 Farnborough FC
Spencer Day has warned some of his more seasoned trailists that they need to step up to the plate as they prepare for the visit of Oxford United this Saturday.
The Boro chief fielded his strongest possible squad to take on Sandhurst Town at the weekend but needed two goals in the last five minutes to finish off the gallant Step 6 side.
Now, they must crank it up a few more notches at Cherrywood Road this Saturday when Michael Appleton takes charge of League Two Oxford for the first time in what is be their first major test of the summer.
Day ran the rule over a total of 25 players at Bottom Meadow on Saturday, including free agents, youngsters and four foreign trailists from Europe and South America.
Despite a typically-laboured display at the weekend most are likely to get a second chance against the U’s, but Day insists that now is the time to step up their game if they want to earn a deal.
“It’s just about giving people a chance and putting minutes in the legs at this stage,” he said. “There were a couple of positives and it's given me another opportunity to cull the squad. We did in the first week and we will do again.
“It’s not that I'm massively unhappy, I'm just disappointed in the first week that players who have good CV's aren't showing me much yet, performance wise. It’s not their attitude I’m disappointed with, that's been fantastic, it’s the level of performance from CV’d players who I’d expect a bit more from.
“But it’s the first week of pre-season and we won't be getting carried away. If we lose five, six, seven-nil to Oxford we won’t be getting carried away, similarly if we turn it on and get a draw we won't either.”
Of those likely to get another chance is ex-Everton midfielder Sam Kelly and former Nike Academy and Reading winger Josh Webb.
Young Aldershot defender Joe Gater, on loan at Fleet last season, showed glimpses of his promise at the back, as did goalkeeper Dylan Barnes, just released by Barnet, and Geoff Mitchell, although the ex-Hayes & Yeading man was probably more impressive when employed as a striker in the second half.
Returning Matt Ball put Day's side in front with a 23rd-minute strike which was deflected past keeper Billy Wilson, but the battling Fizzers hit back and turned the tables with two goals before the break.
First, Dollard Zola slotted in from close range after Boro failed to clear their lines from a corner, then strike partner Ayden Richards scored the best goal of the game, skipping past three Farnborough challenges on the edge of the box before firing past Barnes from a tight angle.
Another stroke of luck saw Boro restore parity ten minutes into the re-start - Webb's attempted cross from the left deflected past his own keeper, Sam Freeman, at his near post by Kayode Contee, but their quest for a winner were consistently foiled by Freeman, who pulled off two fine saves to deny Gater and new signing Joe Taylor.
Eventually, a freak own goal from Sandhurst's David Shutt, chipping the ball over the head of Freeman from the right-back position gifted Farnborough the lead before Ball made sure with a thunderous fourth from 20 yards late on.
Saturday’s visit of what's expected to be a strong Oxford United side kicks off at 2pm and is the start of a unique double-header at Paddy Power Park as Reading Ladies host Watford with kick-off at 6.30pm.