Despite turning in another impressive performance on the road, Farnborough Town could not take the three points for which their attacking play merited on Saturday as they were held to a goal-less draw away at Gravesend & Northfleet.
Graham Westley's side put their home demons behind them for a day as they travelled to Stonebridge Road in deepest Kent to face last seasons Ryman premier divisions champions, who sit just one place above them in the league table.
Boro started the game with a flat back four, which to the suprise of many did not include the ever-dependable Jim Rodwell. There were rumours around the ground that Rodwell had been involved in a bust-up with Westley over the club's training regime. However, Westley made no comment.
After last weeks disappointing home defeat to Nuneaton, Boro seemed intent on grabbing the initiative early on as Lenny Piper and Tony Taggart — both making a welcome return to the starting line-up — linked up well as the home side struggled to contain Boro's smooth flow of play.
As early as the seventh minute, Lenny Piper, latching onto a cross from his brother Chris, should have perhaps put Boro in front but his sweetly struck shot was directed just over the bar from 12 yards out.
This then set the tempo for Boro's early dominance. A lot of creativity, but no real end product. Chris Piper and Taggart both then went close with efforts from outside the box but the biggest test for Paul Wilkerson in the Gravesend goal came in the 20th minute when he turned a fierce Taggart free-kick around the post for corner.
Frustratingly for Westley, Boro's attacking play was soon nullified and Gravesend started to take control of the game.
Former Aldershot player Mark Bentley was ever impressive in the middle of the park while John Nutter, a current Shots player on loan from Terry Brown's side, caused Boro problems down the left hand side with his energy and rather precise left foot.
However, to their credit Boro stood firm and despite Jamie Coyle and Bentley going close, the half fizzled out without a goal but the game did find a bit of bite as Danny Carroll was booked in the 43rd minute for a late challenge on Matt Lee as tempers began to flare.
If the first half had begun brightly, the second was rather more subdued and although Lenny Piper fired just wide in the 54th minute, it was Gravesend who started to take control of the game. None more so than in midfield where Bentley and Coyle were making their presence felt and in the 60th minute Craig Wilkins found himself clean through after another surging run from Bentley, only to see his shot superbly parried away by the outstanding Tony Pennock.
Gary Holloway, who himself had been one of Boro's better players in the first half, was harshly booked in the 63rd minute when he clipped Gravesend's Jimmy Jackson and then Justin Gregory rather inevitably found his way into the book just minutes later when he brought down Hamid Barr.
Rocky Baptiste then replaced Carroll in the 70th minute, a decision which raised a few eyebrows considering the home side were at this stage dominating the game and the Boro forwards had for long periods had pretty much nothing to do.
A minute later, Jimmy Jackson then hit the bar when he should have done better and when Annon replaced Taggart in the 75th minute, it seemed as though Westley would be more than satisfied to walk away with a point.
However, the earlier substition of Baptiste was now raising eyebrows again as Boro played out a frantic last ten minutes and Gravesend all of a sudden seemed to lose all confidence in their play.
On 81 minutes the former Hayes man hit straight at Wilkerson and did the same moments later - when perhaps a square pass to the unmarked Charlery would have been a better option. Chris Piper then had a low drive cleared in the six-yard box that had seemingly beaten Wilkerson and brother Lenny saw his 25-yard effort turned over the bar in the 90th minute. Another chance then fell to Baptise in injury time but for all their late enterprise Boro were left with just the one point rather than the three that perhaps they deserved, as much for perseverance as anything else.
Westley said afterwards: "The goalkeeper performed miracles for them and made some very good saves and while your performing like that your always going to get your results and your going to get your wins. Some of those are going to go in on a different day so I was very pleased with the performance. I thought it was the best that we had played for a long time.
"It's been a difficult couple of weeks for us and there has been a lot going on behind the scenes. I feel like we have moved a big step forward today."
Boro: Pennock; Warner, Gregory, Bunce, Laker, L.Piper, Taggart (Annon 75), C.piper, Carroll (Baptiste 69), Charlery, Holloway. Not used: Lee, Osborn, Butterworth. Att:1070