Back-to-back wins against Tonbridge Angels and Chelmsford have left Spencer Day "delighted" with his Boro players
Gathering storm clouds and menacing bolts of lightning are sights which, sadly, have been all too familiar at Farnborough FC in recent years.
After a summer of boardroom turmoil, Cherrywood Road can count itself lucky just to be hosting football matches this season – let alone a resurgent team who have crept almost unnoticed into the Skrill South top 10 with quiet ambitions of a play-off push.
It is fair to say that Boro supremo Spencer Day has heard enough gloomy forecasts to last him a lifetime this year, but not even the monsoon-like conditions – so severe that they delayed the start of the second half against Chelmsford by 10 minutes at Paddy Power Park on Tuesday night – could cloud over the brighter skies appearing ahead.
Shorn of the likes of influential trio Steve Laidler, Adam Doyle and Alfred Bosch, Day was forced to dig deep into his limited resources and reshuffle his pack, bringing in untried new recruit Aaron Akuruka – a former Crystal Palace and Yeovil youngster – for a first start at right back.
Yet still his side came up trumps and thanks to a moment of pure quality from Scott Donnelly – in front of his former boss at Aldershot Town, Dean Holdsworth – and a calamitous own goal from Daniel Webb, Boro rallied to a 2-0 victory.
'Kept our focus'
“This dressing room never fails to shock me,” a delighted Day said.
“When you consider who we were missing today, that was one of our best ever results, against a very good Chelmsford side who are going very well at the moment.
“I was delighted with our discipline, our workrate and our desire and I thought we thoroughly deserved to win.
“The rain was unbelievable, I've never seen anything like it. We were a bit concerned at half time but there was never really any doubt with the pitch and once the rain died down the game was never really in doubt.
“It was just important that we kept our focus and we earned that second goal by showing the more attacking endeavour in very difficult conditions.”
Unsurprisingly, Boro’s best football came in the 35 or so minutes before the downpour with Donnelly pulling all the strings in midfield and carving out chances for Phil Page and Dave Tarpey, both of whom just missed the target.
But the one moment of magic came on 31 minutes when Page was impeded out wide out on the left and Donnelly stepped up to bend his free kick over keeper Carl Pentney and into the top far corner of the net for his sixth goal of the season.
Thankfully, the worst of the conditions relented somewhat during the half-time break, but the concern of lightning forced referee Wayne Porter to delay the start of the second half until 9pm.
First away win
Naturally, the conditions played havoc with the flow of the game with mistakes being made on both sides, and in truth it was Chelmsford who settled the better with centre-back Mark Haines heading just over and Leon Redwood firing a shot just off target.
But Farnborough always posed the biggest threat going forward and it was that pressure which forced Chelmsford into conceding the all-important second goal on 72 minutes.
A long ball forward by Akuruka caused a slip from Webb and sent Elvis Hammond clear on goal. His shot from 12 yards was kept out by the legs of Pentney and Webb inexplicably sliced his attempted clearance into the empty net.
Tarpey could, and should, have wrapped it up three minutes from time, somehow spooning an effort over the top from Page’s fine cross, but Boro’s work was already done.
Victory capped a perfect week for Day’s men, who battled out their first away win of the season on Saturday with a 3-1 success at Tonbridge Angels.
Hammond put Boro in front on 18 minutes with a sumptuous chip over keeper Clark Masters before Donnelly doubled the lead on 44 minutes with a fine long-range strike.
Ex-Boro target Nathaniel Pinney still had time to head a goal back for the hosts on the stroke of half time, but after they twice hit the woodwork and had a Dan Bennett goal disallowed, Donnelly made sure of the points from the penalty spot after Page was impeded.
Day’s men have been rewarded for their efforts with a Saturday off this weekend, although they go again at home to Bath City next Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).