Page swoops late to boost Farnborough six-hittersBy Jon Couch
March 08, 2012
STRIKER Phillip Page struck his second match winner in the space of four days to take Boro to the brink of guaranteed survival.
Page struck a close-range winner in the 106th minute of a long, drawn-out contest which was delayed for 19 minutes due to an injury to referee Iain Crouch.
His match clincher followed up his 57th-minute penalty in the excellent 1-0 away win over Eastleigh at the fortress Silverlakes Stadium on Saturday and extended Boro’s winning run to six matches.
In stark contrast to December when they were languishing in the relegation zone, Spencer Day's men have moved into the top ten of league table, just one point of seventh-placed rivals Basingstoke Town.
But with a possible five-point deduction looming for financial irregularities, Day accepts his side may need one or two more wins to ensure their Blue Square South status for next season.
Aside from Page’s late intervention, Day also pointed to the sending off of Eastbourne’s Carl Rook for a reckless two-footed lunge on Nic Ciardini and then a superb diving save from goalkeeper Craig Bradshaw in denying Sports’ sub Ellis Remy as pivotal moments in a bizarre, if not always inspiring, 119-minute encounter.
“It was a strange game,” Day surmised. “I thought we were poor and I wasn't happy at all at half-time. We got a bit of luck with a penalty shout, but I don’t think there were any complaints with the sending off.
“Once that’s happened I think it was just a question of whether we would find that bit of quality to win the game which thankfully, in the last five minutes, we did.
“But this is the business end of the season now, it’s all about getting results. To go and record six straight wins is a fantastic achievement.”
Up until Rook’s 48th-minute dismissal there was little between the sides, although both had their moments.
Page had the ball in the net from Dan Bennett’s corner on 18 minutes, but his close-range effort was ruled out for an infringement.
And at the other end, Boro got a stroke of luck when Stuart Anderson's attempted cross appeared to strike the hand of Orlando Jeffrey, but referee Crouch waved play on.
Crouch's day game to a premature end when he had to limp off on 63 minutes, with matchday supervisor Alex Street volunterering to run the line – but only after he had to rush home to get his kit.
A man to the good, Boro regained the impetus after the enforced restart, but failed to break down an Eastbourne side who seemed content on killing more time at every given opportunity.
Bennett somehow headed over from almost underneath the crossbar before Doug Bergqvist – back on a renewed loan spell from Aldershot until the end of the season – had a header cleared off the line by Simon Jackson.
Bradshaw’s exquisite save to deny Remi ten yards out, after Jeffrey and Miles Smith had fallen over each other, looked like earning Boro a point until, with three minutes left, Page secured all three, rifling home from close range after Mitchell Walker palmed Bennett's cross-shot into his path.
The one down side to Day's week was the loss of influential midfielder Ashley Winn, whose troubled thigh/knee problem, aggravated at Eastleigh on Saturday, is likely to keep him out for the rest of the season.
The good news, however, is that former fans’ favourite Steve Laidler made a timely second debut on Tuesday night after coming on as a second-half substitute and can act as a like-for-like replacement.
“Ashley’s got an injury we just can’t get to the bottom of, it just keeps flaring up,” Day said. "Now we can get it checked out. Steve's arrival couldn’t have been timed better."
Next up for Boro is the small matter of a trip to title-chasing Dartford tomorrow, but Day insists the pressure is now off his men.
“Confidence is high but there is realism also. If we play like we did today we’ll get our bums kicked. They have some quality players, but we want to keep our run going so they’ll have to play well to beat us.”
BORO: Bradshaw, Smith (Webb 104), Treacher, Jeffrey, Bergqvist, Bygrave, Bennett, Moody (Laidler 58), Charles, Ciardini (Ferguson 96), Page. Not used: Orlu, Tocarczyk.
Ref: I Crouch. Att: 400.