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Boro lose their way

A disappointing last 20 minutes saw Farnborough Town relinquish their 1-0 lead over Scarborough on Saturday - and they were somewhat fortunate to gain a 1-1 draw.

TO say this was two points dropped would be the understatment of the season so far.

One-nil up and seemingly in control, Boro chief Graham Westley could almost start planning tonight's trip to Barnet in the knowledge his side had recorded a moral-boosting three points.

But worringly, his players had not read the script.

Even though the season is just nine games old, the AIMITA Stadium is not the happiest place to be at the moment. Another poor crowd of just 629 was testament to that.

Boro are now the joint lowest scorers in the Conference and just two points and four places off the bottom of the table. A repeat of last season's fine 3-0 victory at Underhill is desperately needed tonight in a bid to start putting things right.

For 70 minutes, Boro controlled Saturday's match and should have followed up Jim Rodwell's first goal for the club with more goals - much like they did in the corresponding fixture last season when they won 4-2.

But as time ticked by, they simply lost their way and allowed Scarborough to dictate - and that will come of huge concern to Westley and his backroom team.

Scarborough are not the league's draw specialists for nothing. The Seasiders have now drawn five of the eight Conference matches so far this season and judging by the way they celebrated a share of the spoils following Bimbo Fatokun's late equaliser, it's a label they're starting to enjoy.

But while boss Russell Slade was cheering a daylight robbery and the simplest goal his team will score all season, Westley was left pondering one that got away.

The Boro rearguard were caught on the hop from a routine throw-in 20 yards out on the right, leaving substitute David Pounder with all the time in the world to cross for Belgian striker Fatokun to head home his third goal in two starts with similar ease.

Westley's injury problems forced more changes to the starting line-up, but he still had a couple of shocks up his sleeve.

Striker-cum-defender Christian Lee slotted in alongside Rodwell at the back for the second game running, and was superb, although their was no place in the side once again for Lenny Piper and Tony Taggart.

The biggest surprise of them all, however, was the exclusion of Chris Piper - the man who netted a hat-trick in that victory over the Seasiders last season and arguably Boro's most consistent player of the season so far.

Dean Green, who netted a fine treble in a hastily-arranged friendly with an Army XI on Wednesday, got the nod on the right hand side, while transfer-listed Rocky Baptiste, who bagged a brace in a 7-1 victory, was given the opportunity to prove himself alongside Ken Charlery up front.

And for a while it worked a treat as Boro took control.

Their superiority brought a number of chances with Steve Watson grazing the top of the crossbar with a fine volley with the outside of his boot and Darren Annon bringing a fine save out of Seasiders' keeper Andy Wood.

Garry Butterworth also came close when firing a shot just high and wide from a well-worked free kick with Gary Holloway.

Baptiste added to Westley's injury woes, which now include the loss of Leroy Griffiths for a fortnight, by staggering off with a rib injury. Chris Piper was introduced to the fold, while Green joined the front line.

But that didn't disrupt Boro and with the half time whistle just seconds away, Boro finally made their superiority count. Butterworth floated over a corner from the left and Rodwell rose highest to head home his first Boro goal into the top corner.

Scarborough showed precious little in the first half but did test Boro keeper Tony Pennock with a Keith Scott header and Oliver Brassart shot from 25 yards which skidded dangerously off the turf.

But when their defence tightened up after the break, they looked a more complete side.

Slowly but surely, gaps began to appear in an ailing Boro midfield and Boro keeper Tony Pennock, a relative by-stander in the opening 45 minutes, was brought into play more regularly.

First he turned round a Fatokun effort at the near post before comfortably parrying a Nick Henry shot.

Westley responded by bringing on Lenny Piper - a decision which bought the biggest cheer of the afternoon from Boro fans - but not even he could make a difference.

So when Fatokun pounced unmarked to bring the scores level with ten minutes to go, it was no real surprise. The goal sent Seasiders fans behind the goal into delirium, while the Boro bench hung their heads.

Boro's response was creditable with Lenny and Chris Piper going close, but it couldn't save the game petering out into a tame draw.

The good news for Westley tonight, however, is that Barry Laker and Justin Gregory may return for the trip to Underhill, and that could mean Lee switching to his usual striker role.

BORO: Pennock; Warner, Watson, Lee, Green (sub L Piper 75mins), Charlery, Butterworth (Taggart 82), Holloway, Baptiste (C Piper 35), Annon, Rodwell. Not used: Osborn, Carroll.

Ref: Lee Probert. Att: 629.

l Boro reserves have brought forward their Capital League fixture against Harrow Borough to Wednesday October 2 (ko 7.45pm). The next game is on September 25 when they travel to Havant & Waterloovile.

The club would also like to point out that season tickets are vaild for first team games only and admission for reserve team games is £3 adults and £2 concessions.


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
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