Frustration at the Lane as FA Cup battle ends in a stalemate

Simon Johnson scuffs a chance wide in the second half against Farnborough
Simon Johnson scuffs a chance wide in the second half against Farnborough

Eastbourne Borough and Farnborough will do it all again on Tuesday night as they played out a goalless draw in the FA Cup second preliminary round at Priory Lane on Saturday.

It was a day where chances were created but a combination of some decent saves and wayward finishing means Borough face a stern test in Farnborough.

The opposition were solid enough on the day and they showed they will be a real threat on their own turf.

Widdrington’s men may have missed their best chance to progress and claim the £4,500 prize money but they are still in and fighting and will have to show a more clinical side to their game if they are to progress.

Borough opened the match in lively fashion. Darren Lok never once let the defence settle while Simon Johnson linked well with Chris Shephard.

It was the Johnson - Shephard combination that so nearly fashioned the first goal.

Johnson nipped ahead of the defence, his clever back heel found Shephard but his curling left-footed effort from 25 yards just didn’t dip in time and flew over the bar.

On 10 minutes Gary Hart was fouled by Farnborough’s clumsy defender Adam Doyle. Shephard’s quick freekick found Johnson and his cross along the six-yard box was somehow scooped over the bar for a corner as Lok waited to pounce.

Borough were the better side but Farnborough were no slouches and carried a threat.

On 22 minutes Adam Doyle rose the highest as a corner was swung in from the right but his header was directed just off target.

Once again good build up play from Borough resulted in a 20 yard effort from Johnson that was turned around the post from Kevin Scriven.

The corner was never cleared and Matt Aldred, at the far post clipped the ball back into the danger zone and Lok’s flicked header flashed just wide.

The best chance fell in the final minute of the first half. Once again Johnson found space between the defence and the midfield.

His slide-rule pass was perfectly weighted and Lok’s low angled effort was heading for the bottom corner until the faintest of finger-tipped saves from Scriven diverted the ball wide.

Had that gone in, it could have added a completely different complexion to the game.

Borough were not as fluid after the break but they still created the best of the scoring opportunities. On 55 minutes Scriven was once again at his best to push Johnson’s fierce effort over the bar.

Anxiety crept into Borough’s play as their passing and touch was less assured than the first half. Frankie Raymond looked shakey at left back while skipper Ollie Rowe, making just his second appearance of the season, was not the usual calm, reassuring presence we have seen from him in the past.

Johnson had a glorious chance but scuffed it badly wide on 68 minutes with just the keeper to beat before Farnborough’s best opportunity of the match.

David Tarpey was given the freedom of Priory Lane as he burst through the defence. He was one-on-one with Craig Ross who blocked his effort extremely well with his feet.

The visitors were in the ascendancy and Borough boss Tommy Widdrington made two changes in an attempt wrestle back the initiative. On came James Stinson for Matt Aldred and shortly after, Elliot Levy replaced the hard working Lok.

Borough worked hard until the final whistle, they even had the ball in the net when Hart thought he had beaten the offside trap, but the linesman had flagged and the referee brought play back for an earlier foul.

Borough wasted the freekick and many fans left feeling the team wasted a golden chance of progression.

Eastbourne Borough: Ross, Tallack, Rowe, Simpemba, Raymond, Hart, Gorman, Aldred (Stinson 75), Shephard, Johnson, Lok (Levy 78).

Subs not used: Worrell, Cole, Garrod

Booked: Gorman, Aldred

Farnborough: Scriven, Huggins, Alfred-Bosch-Corbella, James-Lewis (Jones 45), Inns, Doyle, Bennett, Laidler, Tarpey, Connolly, Donnelly.

Subs: Berry, McGarry, Treacher, Hope, Sinclair-Smith, Guaratto

Booked: Laidler, Jones

MoM: Darren Lok - a defenders nightmare, he worked so hard and did everything but score

Referee: Mr R Atkin

Attendance: 560

See Friday’s Herald for FA Cup match report