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Boro ready to bring out survival party hats

Farnborough are on the cusp of safety after an impressive home victory on Tuesday night - but their achievement was watched by a record low crowd

Don Blandford

Spread the word far and wide – there’s a survival party about to get into full swing at Farnborough FC and everyone is invited.

Despite the all-too-familiar off-field dramas and uncertainty which have ravaged the club in recent years, this is a season that looks set to end on a high for Boro with Spencer Day's men now just one more positive result away from securing their Conference South status for next season, against all the odds.

Sadly, though, while the balloons are blown up and the vol-au-vents prepared, there still appears to be a lack of party-goers embracing the spirit.

While six goals and a wealth of goalmouth drama provided the entertainment in their 4-2 win over Bishop's Stortford, only very few were there to enjoy it with a paltry 191 supporters clicking through the turnstiles, representing Farnborough’s lowest league gate for many a year.

Naturally, there are consequences to having to survive on such low turnouts, and this match was no different as Day was forced to piece together a side from just 14 players – only 12 being fully fit.

But this young and hungry Boro pulled out all the stops and subjected Stortford to a first defeat in five with an enterprising attacking display that brought goals in each half and much praise from their proud manager.

'Cracking game'

“We were superb,” Day said. “Our tempo was good and the only criticism was that it should have been four or five at half time.

"The gulf in class between the two sides was extreme yet still we gave away two very soft goals to give us a few unnecessary moments.

“When you look at the players we had out, it was a real positive and I think we entertained the, sadly, low crowd here and we got the three points we badly needed.

“We’ve had some very good away performances recently but not put on a good show for our home fans this last month, so I’m delighted that those who did turn up saw a cracking game and some excellent attacking football.

“I think one more win will do it, and let’s get the job done as soon as possible so we can relax a little and try and entertain in the last few games.”

Despite missing injured trio JJ Hooper, Darryl Siaw and Harry Lee, Day’s patched-up troops flew out of the blocks and had the Bishops on the ropes early.

Both Matt Ball and Dan Bennett saw efforts scrambled clear from the goal line before Phil Page had a goal disallowed after Adam Doyle flattened keeper Joe Wright in an aerial challenge. And that was just the opening three minutes.

Boro were by far the more inventive and they got their just reward with a rare stroke of luck on 24 minutes – Ball swinging in a free kick from the right, Wright fumbling a routine catch straight at the feet of an unmarked Josh Huggins six yards out and the Boro wing-back could not miss.

Nerves jangling

The home side continued to pile forward with Page twice blazing efforts high and wide, while an off-balance Bennett skied a golden opportunity over the bar from just 10 yards out with the goal at his mercy.

But after Ball and Page also squandered further opportunities to double the advantage, they finally found the route to goal three minutes before the break. Battling Ball dispossessed Sam Cutler in the centre circle, going clean through on goal before unselfishly laying off to hand Page the easiest of tap-ins.

It was much the same story after the break with Page and the most advanced Huggins both going close.

But Farnborough’s vulnerability at the back was soon exposed again eight minutes into the restart when, having missed from a close-range header, Reece Prestledge crossed for Brian Woodall to pull the Bishops back into the game.

Any nerves were soon eased on the hour when Boro restored their two-goal advantage – Doyle drew a foul from Prestledge 20 yards out and the excellent Ball curled the resulting free kick over the wall and into the top corner.

Still, however, the visitors refused to lie down and home nerves started jangling again on 75 minutes when Cliff Akurang powerfully headed Matt Johnson's corner home.

But back came Boro again and straight from the kick-off it was 4-2 – excellent work from Page in swivelling in the box and setting up Huggins for his second of the night and seventh of the season to send the die-hards home happy.

FARNBOROUGH: Fitzsimons, Huggins, Treacher, Fearn, Inns, Doyle, Bennett (Berry 85), Ball, Page (French 90), Colmer, Bosch. Subs: Bamba.

 
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