Beaming Spencer Day poured praise on his Farnborough young guns after celebrating a cracking Easter by sealing the one win required to maintain their Skrill South status.
With only 13 fit and available players to choose from – at an average age of just 20 – Day helped his resilient side over the line with a 3-0 victory over rivals Maidenhead United in front of their dwindling, yet ever-passionate home following on Saturday (April 19).
In doing so, it took the pressure right off Easter Monday’s final away game of the season at play-off chasing Bath City which, although it resulted in a 4-2 defeat, still gave Day plenty of encouragement.
Second-half goals from new Boro starlet Fraser Colmer, Josh Huggins and JJ Hooper put the seal on Boro’s biggest win since November 2 on Saturday, to take the club to the safety net of 49 points while heaping more misery on the struggling Magpies.
But although mightily relieved to be able to start preparations for another Step 2 season next term, Day insisted he never doubted that the core of youngsters he had begged for, borrowed and stolen over the past few weeks would lead the club to safety.
“I was never seriously concerned but that doesn’t take away the achievement of these young men,” Day said.
“Personally, I think we’re way too good to be hovering in and around the bottom three, but yes of course it’s always a relief to finally get over the line.
"Now we can start putting plans in place for next season.
“It’s not exactly been a phenomenal season from a playing point of view but it does matter when you put things into perspective and all credit goes to these youngsters and loanees who have helped steady the ship and done a job for me.
"This squad of players, in my time here, has never been more dedicated to doing what we as coaches want them to do and they’ve been a joy to work with.
“We have a number of players running on empty and a number that probably shouldn’t have been playing.
"We’re absolutely bare bones, only two subs, and incredibly young still so I’m proud of all their efforts.”
Three goals in an impressive final quarter saw off Johnson Hippolyte’s Magpies – and it was former Maidenhead player Colmer who set the platform for victory, putting the home side ahead against the run of play on 68 minutes from an excellent run down the right and cut-back by captain Huggins.
It was no surprise when they doubled their lead on 81 minutes as an unmarked Huggins converted Hooper’s cross.
And the job was complete just three minutes later when substitute Hooper, still struggling with a calf strain, slotted home the killer third from Matt Ball’s pass.
Victory ensured that Day could forgive his leg-weary side for failing to cross a bridge too far at Twerton Park on Monday after his patched-up Boro – consisting of only 13 players – came away from their final away game of the season at Bath City empty-handed despite a gallant effort.
The manager is expecting to have captain Alan Inns and Doyle available for the end-of-season party at Cherrywood Road on Saturday when Eastbourne Borough are the visitors for the final match of the campaign.