Boro got their first win in 4 as they overcame their opponents from Isthmian League South East to go through to the First Round Proper of the 2020-21 FA Trophy. Heavy rain before the game meant the pitch was heavy and whilst Boro went into a seemingly comfortable 2-0 lead shortly after half time, their opponents rallied, firstly to pull a goal back and then to try and force an equaliser.
Vilcu and Djamas were kept in the line up after the midweek game at Hornchurch, with Ismail given a start also.
Boro lined up: Miles, Olufemi, Vilcu, Mitchell, Michael O’Donoghue, Djamas, Sambu, Ismail, Aresti, Jamie O’Donoghue, Bawling. Subs: Leblond, Bessadi, Rosero, Bitsindou, Akindayini
Much of the initial play was in midfield with neither side able to get on top. In the first quarter there was only one real effort on goal, a Faversham shot curled wide after 10 minutes, as defences played solidly and the heavy pitch made it tough for attacks to have any real tempo or pace.
Around the half hour Boro began to get an edge. First Aresti made space at the edge of the box but his shot was blocked, then a couple of corners in quick succession gave Jamie a chance which went wide.
Faversham’s greatest threat in this period came from any set piece or, especially, throw in Boro gave away in their own half. Chambers, the Faversham number 8, showed that anywhere within 40 yards of goal, he was willing to put the ball right into the danger area. Vilcu, Mitchell and Miles had to be watchful and determined to ensure no real chances were given up.
And it was from one such passage, a long throw that Boro defended, that we broke 10 minutes before half time. The ball was well worked to Bawling whose cross was blocked for a corner. The corner from the right was half cleared, a follow up shot blocked to the edge of the box where Vilcu lurked to guide the ball with his instep inside the keepers left hand post. It was a measured finish and with the number of bodies still in the area from the corner meant the keeper saw it late and was unable to react.
Shortly before half time Jamie was replaced by Rosero, and without further incident the half came to a close.
The edge Boro had taken into half time continued after the break. As in the first half there was little to trouble either keeper early on until Tosin broke down the right on 50 minutes. He did well to burst past a defender and pull the ball back to Sambu. Sambu was challenged but Bawling was waiting centrally and fired through a defender’s legs into the keeper’s right hand corner to double Boro’s advantage.
As the half progressed Faversham were unable to mount any real pressure, and the odd chance came Boro’s way, the closest being on the hour from a wide free kick swung in by MO’D that Mitchell just failed to reach as the ball was collected by the keeper
And then in the last quarter of the game the momentum changed. Boro were still defending corners and long throws but Faversham started having more joy in making Miles work.
First he brought off a diving save to his left after Faversham broke from an attacking Boro free kick. and a few minutes later was in the action again as he narrowed the angle for an attacker played in on the left hand side of the penalty area. From the corner this save gave away Faversham scored. Vilcu headed the initial ball away but, much like Boro’s first, it was picked up centrally at the edge of the area by half time substitute Hagan, who shot in.
So, with 15 minutes to go Boro needed to retake the initiative. Subs were brought on for both sides, Bitsindou for Aresti, and Akindayini for Rosero late on for Boro, as the game opened up a little more. MO’D had a shot blocked after approach work from Sambu and bawling, and Miles handling was assured as he collected a dangerous low cross as attackers lurked . He had to be alert again as he punched away another long throw and Boro should have put the game away as 3 minutes of added time were signalled. Sambu had the ball in the box in the inside left channel and when a square ball to Akindayini looked the best option shot straight at the keeper.
But Boro were not made to pay for this. The action ended as Boro cleared yet another long throw with the Faversham keeper having gone up into the penalty area.
All in all, Boro defended well, and largely took their best chances that came along, albeit they were at a premium for both sides for long periods.
What will happen with the next round remains to be seen as England enters a 4 week lockdown and rules governing non-elite sport are yet to be finalised. The draw is due to be published at 1pm on Monday 2nd November.
Meanwhile, before lockdown begins on Thursday Boro are in action again:
Next Match: Wednesday 4th November, Kingstonian v Haringey Borough, Isthmian League Premier, 19.45, King George’s Field, Tolworth, KT6 7NA