FOOTBALL fans made the exodus from Farnborough on Saturday morning hoping to see the town’s club pull off one of the greatest shocks in sporting history.
The long wait was finally over for around 6,000 hopeful Boro fans as they made their way to north London.
But the dream result for the Boro fans was not to be as Graham Westley's brave team went down 5-1 to the Gunners.
The town had buzzed with excitement since the FA Cup fourth round draw matched Farnborough with Arsenal.
A real David and Goliath tie aroused the interest of the nation and suddenly thousands of Farnborough supporters were eager to be a part of it.
The ticket allocation had been snapped up within hours — despite the club’s usual attendance being around 600 — and sales of merchandise, both official and otherwise, were unprecedented.
By mid-morning the town’s main train station was transformed into a mass of red and white as fans stretched along the platform waiting for train services which had been reduced to one an hour due to long-arranged engineering works.
They passed the time by singing songs and barracking the occasional Arsenal fan who dared to show his colours.
Many fans decided to opt for the more reliable supporters’ coach service and a fleet of smiling faces left the Cherrywood Road ground in good time for the 3pm kick-off.
By noon the streets around the famous Highbury stadium were beginning to fill with expectant Boro supporters making the most of this memorable day out.
Opposing fans mingled together in the pubs near the ground and the good-natured banter suggested that neither side expected anything else than an Arsenal win.
As kick-off approached the stadium's Clock End gradually filled with Boro supporters soaking up the atmosphere.
Numerous media commentators had criticised the club for switching the match to Arsenal, arguing that the game was over as a contest when they gave up home advantage.
Thoughts of a romantic tie at the tiny AIMITA Stadium were long forgotten as the teams ran out in front of more than 35,000 roaring fans.
In the 19 minutes before Arsenal scored their first goal, the dream of a miraculous victory remained intact. When Farnborough were reduced to ten men all hopes of success were extinguished.
The biggest cheer of the day greeted Rocky Baptiste's goal and the Farnborough faithful celebrated as if they had won the Cup. It was the highlight of a memorable day for the non-league club.