Luca Scatola’s Match Report from Farnborough’s home meeting with Dulwich Hamlet in The Vanarama National League South.
This was Farnborough’s first home match in The National League South in seven years, and the team had their work cut out for them. Facing Dulwich Hamlet was going to be no easy feat, they are an established National League South side, finishing tenth last year.
Another challenge that the players faced was the extreme heat at the Easy As HGV Stadium, with highs of 37 degrees, so plenty of water breaks were to be expected.
Farnborough started very well, applying fierce pressure from the front which made it hard for the visitors to get the ball out of their own half. A great chance arose when Jack Turner picked up the ball and played it out wide to Jordan Norville-Williams, who took a brilliant touch and played it to the feet of Ricky Holmes. The experienced winger looked up and found Michael Fernandes who ran at goal and took a long shot, aiming for the bottom left corner and dragged it just wide.
On the twenty-minute mark Farnborough’s hard work paid off as they were awarded with a penalty. It was a moment of madness from the Dulwich Hamlet keeper Charlie Grainger, as Kevin Lokko of all people found himself in the opposition’s box with the ball at his feet. He was one-on-one with Grainger and hit it low and hard, forcing a brilliant save from the keeper. However, he could only parry it to Tony Lee and Grainger brought him down in a desperate attempt to regain the ball, and a penalty was awarded.
There was only one man to take it, new striker Tony Lee earned the penalty so he stepped up. The Referee blew his whistle and Lee took a deep breath, ran up and absolutely smashed the ball down the middle. Brilliant way to open his account for the club, and Boro led 1-0 after 22 minutes.
The goal was followed by a water break, and the game quietened down from there until half time.
HALF TIME: Farnborough 1 Dulwich Hamlet 1
Five minutes into the second half Lee had another huge chance, after Young picked up the ball and played a beautiful pass into him. Lee was one-on-one with Grainger and took it early aiming for the far post. The shot was powerful but a good height for the keeper who could parry it away in superb fashion.
With half an hour to go, Lee played the ball from the wing into Holmes, who made a run from the midfield into the box. Holmes brought it down well and adjusted himself so that he could pull the trigger. Unfortunately, he caught the shot wrong, and rolled it straight into the gloves of Grainger.
Farnborough were keeping the tempo up, with players such as Fernandes and Kenny Davis pressing relentlessly, which was no easy job in the sweltering heat.
However, Dulwich Hamlet had their chance late on, in the 87th minute substitute Danny Mills, who had already scored against Farnborough in pre-season, was twisting and turning in the Farnborough box and fired a shot towards the bottom right-hand corner. The Stadium fell silent, as for a second the crow thought Mills had netted it. However, Turner got down incredibly to make the save and held onto the ball. The crowd reacted like Farnborough had scored a goal. What a save!
The Referee indicated there would be five minutes of stoppage time and after the five minutes the fans in the P.R.E were celebrating. Surely, they had won it. However, the final whistle didn’t sound, and suddenly Farnborough found themselves defending a Dulwich Hamlet attack. Nana Owusu was in the box trying to get past substitute Jack Ball when he did a step over and attempted to run past him. Ball couldn’t deal with the sudden bust of pace and brought the winger down in the box. Penalty to Dulwich Hamlet.
It was Frankie Raymond to step up, and to the fans dismay he slotted it into the bottom left corner. 1-1.
This was the last action of the game, the second he scored the Referee blew the final whistle. Farnborough deserved more than the single point, the team played brilliantly throughout and were the better of the two sides on the day. However, it just wasn’t their day, with the Referee letting the game run well past the extra five minutes he indicated.
With a point on the board this is still a good result. Now the team look forward to playing Taunton Town on Tuesday to hopefully add to it.
FULL TIME: Farnborough 1 Dulwich Hamlet 1