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Cup tie awaits Boro's six-shooters

Molesey 0
Farnborough Town 6

FA Cup Qualifying Round

Farnborough Town overcame a depleted Molesey side at Walton Road on Saturday in what could have easily been a potential banana skin for Graham Westely's team, thanks to a superb hat-trick from the recalled Rocky Baptiste.

Hopes of a repeat of their 1991 FA Cup run are still strong and the £20,000 cash reward for the Cherrywood Road side will have done them no harm at all either.

Awaiting them now in the first round proper are Unibond premier division strugglers Harrogate Town, with the manager admitting his first job will be to get the video collection out in an effort to learn some of the tricks and traits of the Yorkshire side.

"They say it's good to be drawn at home," said Westley. "I know absolutely nothing about them to be honest so I have got three weeks to get to the bottom of them."

Despite the 6-0 scoreline, Ryman League division one (south) side Molesey showed some bright moments early on in their performance and to their credit looked the hungrier side in the early stages of the contest.

Tony Pennock was without doubt the busier of the two keepers in the opening minutes, and the Boro stopper had to be at his very best to keep out Danny Wright in the eighth minute after the Molesey midfielder tried his luck from long range. Then, just moments later, Pennock was called into action when he held a sweetly struck shot from Sam Lampard as the home side made their intentions more than clear to Westley's men.

However, it was Boro who took the lead in the 12th minute when Baptiste broke into the area to meet Justin Gregory's cross after the full-back had beaten Danny Moore for pace.

To their credit, Molesey came straight back and Pennock was again called into action when he was on hand to make a brilliant save from Wright's shot and then Ryan Pacey forced his effort just over the bar from the resulting corner.

For all their pressure and fighting spirit though, it was pretty much game over in the 27th minute thanks once again to some more good work from Gregory down the left-hand side. His cross somehow eluded the Molesey defence and rolled comfortably into the path of the on-rushing Chris Piper, who fired home, much to the dismay of the home support.

If the first goal had seemed to inspire Molesey, the second seemed to have more of the opposite effect and Boro now started to play with real confidence and class as they played around the home side's defence, with Christian Lee and Baptiste always looking a handful up front for the visitors.

In the second half, Boro simply picked up where they had left off in the first and on 53 minutes the tie really was all over when Baptiste made it 3-0.

The former Hayes striker met Garry Butterworth's deep cross with his back almost to goal and despite keeper Edgar Pestane making his presence felt around the Boro man, he was soon picking the ball out of his net for a third time.

Boro now were simply all over Molesey, and when Lee combined superbly with Piper in the box, the ball was laid back for Danny Carroll, only for the mid-fielder to fire over the bar when scoring would have seemed the easier option.

Moments later, Carroll found himself in the thick of the action once again when he was booked, rather harshly, for a late challenge on Pacey and in the 63rd minute the home fans at last thought they had something to shout about when Dean Granville beat Pennock from close range, only to turn and see the linesman's flag raised on the right hand side.

Westley made changes with Darren Annon coming on for the impressive Nathan Bunce, Lenny Piper for the tireless Steve Watson and Holloway for the attacking Carroll.

Lenny Piper then made it 1-1 with a disallowed effort of his own in the 74th minute but Boro seemed intent on adding to Molesey's woes and when Holloway was given enough time to stop and boil an egg just outside the box, he made no mistake with his low drive which beat Pestana more for direction than pace to make it 4-0, a score which to the delight of the Boro faithful with radios to hand was by now a carbon copy of rivals Aldershot's mauling at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge.

Butterworth then gave Molesey another chance to try and make amends for their lacklustre defending in the 81st minute but it appeared that the Walton Road side by now couldn't really be bothered and the former Rusden & Diamonds man hit home from almost exactly the same spot from where Holloway had done just moments before.

Lenny Piper has staked a claim for the goal via a deflection and the club are currently reviewing video evidence.

But whoever did get the final touch, it was high-fives all round for Westley and his coach Graham Pearce.

Not to be outdone, it was left for Baptiste to claim the match ball when he fired home his third in injury time to keep alive Boro hopes of a cup run to bring back some of the old smiles of 1991.

A delighted Westley said: "Every game has got to be won. A lot of people would have expected us to win this one easily — and they are right in thinking that way — but it doesn't give you a divine right to simply win the game.

"In these type of games, fitness plays a part in the early stages and that was evident in the way that they came out and had a go at us. However, once we had weathered that we showed some real quality in our play.

"We transpired a lot of work from the training ground last week. Christian Lee was superb and should have got the goal he deserved while Rocky could have had five or six."

BORO: Pennock, Gregory, Bunce (sub Annon 63mins), Laker, Watson (L.Piper 74), Lee, C.Piper, Carroll (Holloway 65), Butterworth, Baptiste, Rodwell. Not used: Osborn, Green.

l A Farnborough Town XI entertain Ash United in the second round of the Aldershot Senior Cup tomorrow night (Wednesday, ko 7.45pm).


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