GRAHAM Westley's motivational skills, in encouraging fighting team spirit, was the jewel in his crown, or so we all thought.

But the players he left behind at Farnborough Town proved at Telford on Saturday, that they have plenty of that in the tank anyway, in fact showing a togetherness that Westley would have been proud of.

While Westley is licking his wounds at a heavy FA Trophy defeat at Tamworth on Saturday, leaving him to concentrate solely on his relegation dogfight at Stevenage, the new-look Farnborough surged into the last 16 of the Trophy for only the second time in their history with a mightily impressive display.

And their reward is a fifth-round home tie with Halifax Town to be played on February 22.

Stand-in boss Graham Benstead may have had to juggle the side somewhat to cater for the losses of five key players, but he did so effectively, and it was good old-fashioned team spirit and commitment to the cause which came up trumps in the end.

Lenny Piper was simply outstanding. The Westley outcast ran the show from his preferred central midfield position, capping an energetic display with two lovely Lenny-like goals, while the other scorer Rocky Baptiste celebrated his crucial second half strike with a popular message to Farnborough supporters: "I'm here to stay".

The same, unfortunately, couldn't be said for midfield man Danny Carroll, whose last game for the club before taking Westley up in a get-out clause in his contract, lasted just eight minutes before he was stretchered off with a foot injury following an accidental challenge by Grant Brown.

But even after that blow and the 51st minute loss of Chris Piper, who was sent off for a second bookable offence, Boro rallied round to victory courtesy of acts of individual bravery.

Darren Annon and Christian Lee at the back threw themselves at everything, Ken Charlery ended up at right back while substitute Gary Patterson ran his socks off despite his recent lack of first team action.

It was a display to behold, and one that delighted the on-looking Benstead. He said: "It's been a bit of an upheaval all week really, I only knew I was taking training and today's game on Wednesday.

"The lads have made my job easy, they have been brilliant and I'm really proud of them. Now Graham's gone there are one or two players out to prove a point to the new manager that they are good enough to play for this club."

For the opening 25 minutes, however, Boro looked like up a patched-up side and drained by the events of the last two weeks.

Passes rarely connected, heads dropped at times and three-time Trophy winners Telford took full advantage when Mark Foran headed home Kevin Davies' free-kick at the far post.

The loss of Carroll affected Boro, although his replacement Joff Vansittart caused problems with his strength up front while Baptiste switched to the left side.

Chances came and went for Telford but suddenly Boro started to re-discover their confidence and began to play - Lenny Piper in particular.

After twice going close, Piper levelled the scores on 36 minutes with a mis-hit volley which bobbled through a crowded box and went in past keeper Paul Edwards via Baptiste's dummy.

Baptiste and Dean Green could have put Boro in front before the break, but it didn't take long for Benstead's men to put that right at the start of the second half - 90 seconds in fact.

A strong run from midfield by Vansittart ended with the perfect threaded ball to the on-rushing Lenny Piper, who slotted the ball past Edwards into the corner of the net.

Chris Piper's dismissal three minutes later for a second lunge on Martin Barlow, almost undid all of their hard work, but Boro soon re-organised and looked lethal on the counter, while also having to frantically defend their lines at times.

The killer third came on 66 minutes when Piper dispossessed Brown and ran at the Telford defence. Vansittart and Baptiste peeled off either side, Piper fed Baptiste in the right channel and the free-scoring striker nonchalantly slotted the ball into the far corner.

Telford pressed late on and set up a tense finale when Barlow smashed home an unstoppable first time shot from 25 yards with eight minutes left.

Desperate defending followed, while Tony Pennock proved himself the Boro hero once again with a string of crucial blocks.

The relief and joy at the final whistle said it all. The club is bigger than Graham Westley after all - there's life in the old dog yet!

BORO: Pennock; C Piper, Annon, Taggart, Lee, L Piper, Green (sub Patterson 65mins), Carroll (Vansittart 11), Butterworth, Charlery, Baptiste (Potter 90). Not used: Bunce, Osborn.

Ref: P Canadine. Att: 928.