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Eastleigh 2 Farnborough 2 – Farnborough win 4-1 on penalties
The first of the Hampshire Football Association's many cup finals of this season was played at the Silverlake Stadium, Eastleigh on 29th March 2022. The match was sponsored by the BSA Regal Group with Eastleigh taking on Farnborough in the Saturday Senior Cup. Eastleigh had previously played in last season's final without success.
Before kick-off a minute's silence was observed in memory of Robin Osborne the Hampshire Football Association's President who passed away last week.
Eastleigh fielded a side mainly comprised of up and coming youngsters whilst Farnborough had a more experienced side which probably tipped the scales in the end. There was not much action for the first quarter of an hour as both sides weighed each other up and then Farnborough turned up the pressure with both wing backs, Terrell Egbri and Selem Saied, dominating the flanks and pumping balls into the box, on one occasion forcing five consecutive corners in about three minutes. Despite the pressure they only came close once when Mark Nisbet forced a flying save from 'keeper Ross Flitney.
Another chance fell to Farnborough's Michael Fernandes in about the 20th minute, but he shot wide when well placed.
Despite the pressure, Eastleigh defended well and nearly took the lead when a breakaway from their own box saw Cameron Munn run almost the length of the pitch and was fouled on the edge of the opposition box. Sam Smart took the kick and forced the Farnborough 'keeper, Dante Baptiste into a good save tipping the ball wide.
Farnborough took the lead in the 23rd minute when Saied lashed home the ball at the second attempt through a melee of players. They were not able to increase their lead however and in the 41st minute Eastleigh's Sam Smart jinxed his way into the box and forced a save from Baptiste and a minute or two later he repeated the move but the 'keeper had an easier save on this occasion.
The second half followed the pattern of the first with Farnborough the side looking to score but a change of tactics from the flank crosses to a more direct ball over the Eastleigh defence well used by Mitch Brundle and Fernandes, did not work so well and Eastleigh defenders were not unduly stretched.
Their breakthrough came when Eastleigh unfortunately lost the ball in their own half and Fernandes slotted it through to Mitch Parker to tap home. Two-nil up and it looked as if Farnborough were on their way to being cup winners but the Eastleigh youngsters struck back to turn the last ten minutes into a an exciting end.
They were back into the game in the 79th minute when substitute Lyle Simpson was brought down in the box and he gave Baptiste no chance with a well taken penalty. Two minutes later Eastleigh were back on even terms when Tom Bragg rose over the defence to head home a free kick.
Both sides then went for the win but time ran out and the dreaded penalty shoot-out was brought into force. The shoot-out was staged at the far end of the ground which was closed to spectators thus not giving either side an advantage. Both sides scored with their first kicks but unfortunately, Eastleigh failed with their next two giving Farnborough a win of 4-1 and the cup.
The Player of the Match Award was given to Tom Bragg of Eastleigh F.C.
Eastleigh FC: Ross Flitney (C), Jack Torniainen (66′), Cade Dyer, Jack Mann (73′), Tom Bragg, Brendan Willson, Sam Smart (66′), Rhys Taylor, Dan Smith, Seung-Woo Yang and Cameron Munn.
Subs: Taylor Edwards, Jamie-Jay Burgess (66′), Issac Ebejer (73′), Lyle Simpson (66′) and Charlie Philpott.
Farnborough FC: Dante Baptiste, Rob Howard, Louie Paget, Adam Martin, Mitch Brundle, Mark Nisbet (72′), Selim Saied (63′), Terrell Egbri, Mich Parker, Paul Hodges (C) and Michael Fernandes (87′).
Subs: Jack Turner, Youel Emmanuel (63′), Sam Deering, George Butler (72′) and Elliot Buchanon (87′).
The Referee was Peter Lowe (Portsmouth) and he was assisted by Sean Jenkins (Southampton) and Andy Dunn (Portsmouth), the Reserve Official was Alex James (Bournemouth).