A FOOTIE TEAM came close to causing a shock upset after the manager decided to field a team of fans and club staff in a county cup tie.
Farnborough FC currently ply their trade in the National League South which is the sixth tier of English football.
The club who are aiming to win promotion to the National League opted to sacrifice their chances in this season’s Hampshire Cup by playing only five first team players.
The rest of the squad were made up of a variety of individuals including the club’s media officer and around a dozen fans including the full bench of five.
However, the side got off to a dream start and took a two-goal lead over their lower league opposition Folland Sports who play in the Wessex Football League Division One.
As the team trudged off for half time with their lead, manager Spencer Day opted to make some changes and give a couple of other fans their dream opportunity to represent the club.
Press Officer Dom Lloyd and attacker Michael Folivi were replaced by two more Farnborough fans which allowed Folland to draw level at 2-2.
A Farnborough fan got their dream moment as lifelong supporter Paul Hartnoll notched his first goal for the club after being on the pitch for just two minutes in front of 261 supporters at the Saunders Transport Community Stadium.
Despite this valiant effort, the visitors scored two goals late on to win the match and progress into the third round.
Hartnoll, from Aldershot shared pictures of him scoring to Facebook the following day with the caption: “What a night and great experience, thank you to everyone who came down to watch.”
A video shared on social media explained how the team selection came about with an allegation that manager Spencer Day isn’t a fan of the Hampshire Cup.
The video was published earlier this month with the caption: “This non-league story is absolutely mental.”
It begins with a staff member of FanHub reviewing the Farnborough team sheet as he says: “Alright, in all honesty I’m surprised no ones talking about this.
“Farnborough had a county cup game against the local side and their manager absolutely hates the county cup, so what he decided to do was let five fans play, their press officer and just gave some minutes to players that needed it.
“That entire bench is fans, and what’s even better, they went 2-0 up.
“Then they took some of the players off and lost 4-3 but that is some effort for a group of mainly fans to beat another non league side, well be to 2-0 up against another non league side.
“That is an absolutely class effort and what an experience for them.”
The video has been liked by over 1,000 social media users and received dozens of comments.
One TikTok user wrote: “One of the million reasons non league is better than anything else.”
Another said: “Wheeyy up the Boro.”
Luke Hillary said: “I’m the 9.”
Farnborough’s next fixture will see them host another team in a cup competition, this time it’s in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup against Weston-Super-Mare on Saturday.