AS far as pre-season exercises go, this was as good as it gets.

A hard, competitive game packed with fast, free-flowing football, plenty of passion and a lively atmosphere to match.

Results generally mean very little at this stage of the season, but try telling that to Aldershot supporters who saw their side record their first ever derby victory at the AIMITA Stadium with a dogged and determined display.

John Nutter's 87th minute winner not only put the seal on what can be described as an ‘unlikely' victory, but it also gave Shots fans further cause for optimism in what promises to be an exciting season ahead.

While boss Terry Brown admitted his side were somewhat fortunate to walk away from the AIMITA with victory in hand, Aldershot's never-say-die attitude and defensive organisation in containing one of the Conference's most potent strike forces, was deservedly applauded and was worth something in itself.

For Farnborough, this was a setback but not a disaster. Despite the result, they actually put on their best display of the pre-season so far and showed more than enough to suggest that Westley's dreams of at least a Conference play-off spot this season, are far from pie in the sky.

But for a bit of composure and sharpness in front of goal, the result would have been different, and in youngsters Chris Piper — voted Thomson Local Man-of-the-Match, and Tony Taggart, they boasted the two liveliest players on the field.

Typically, it was 100mph stuff right from the whistle and the football didn't disappoint either, making for an entertaining encounter enjoyed by the 1,035 fans.

And just like any other derby, controversy wasn't far coming — six minutes in fact.

Boro striker Christian Lee was in the thick of it, being demanded to be substituted by referee John Singh after a rather innocuous-looking late challenge on Shots keeper Nikki Bull.

The next blow, however, ca me the visitors' way when top scorer Roscoe D'sane limped out of the action with only 20 minutes gone after pulling up with a hamstring injury. He was later to be followed into the changing rooms by Dean Hooper just after the break, who looked in pain suffering the effects of a back injury and a calf strain.

Boro just shaded the early exchanges possession-wise, but Aldershot's counter-attacking tendencies always threatened to pose problems, and so it proved, much to Brown's delight.

A move just off the training ground saw Hooper release substitute Lee Charles down the right, he evaded the challenge of Justin Gregory before playing the marauding Hooper back in close to the by-line. Hooper, in full flow, then whipped in an inch-perfect cross to the back stick and Jason Chewins, who had eluded the attentions of marker Dean Green, had the easy task of nodding, unmarked, past Tony Pennock.

Indeed Chewins almost converted a near identical move just five minutes later when he pulled free from his marker yet again and came within inches of connecting to Hooper's dangerous low centre.

But Boro hit back and twice called Bull into action in saving efforts from Baptiste and Lenny Piper, while the brilliant Jason Cousins was forced into making a superb last-ditch tackle to stop Taggart executing a shot on goal.

The Shots made three changes at the break but it was Farnborough who took charge from there, with Chris Piper and Taggart pulling the strings.

Piper smashed a rasping 25-yard drive just wide of Gareth Howells' goal (another half-time substitute), while Taggart presented substitute Ken Charlery with a golden opportunity with a left-wing cross which the new signing could only steer tamely into Howells' arms with the goal gaping.

Richard Gell then became the second Shots player to clear off the line after Dominic Sterling, this time from a Barry Laker header — and it became clear that a goal had to come, which it did 60 seconds later.

Micky Warner broke clear down the right, his centre was heavy deflected by Chewins and nodded on dangerously by Lenny Piper, and at the second attempt, Green was on hand to rifle home into the roof of the net from close range.

Many thought then, Brown included, that Boro would go on and take the honours, but the resilience shown by Cousins, Sterling and Anthony Charles in the Shots back-line always gave them a chance.

Once Howells saved brilliantly to deny Lenny Piper from close range, it was clear that time was running out for the home side.

Brown's introduction of Nutter for Cochrane gave the Shots more width and suddenly gaps began to form in the usually solid Boro midfield line.

This then proved the perfect foil for the Shots to launch one last effort - arguably their first of the second period - and it paid dividends.

Gell, latching onto a forward pass from Chewins, superbly released Nutter down the left. His teasing low centre was blocked but the ball came back to him on the by-line, and after his first effort was saved by the legs of Pennock, his follow-up attempt managed to squeeze in at the near post to the delight of Shots fans behind the goal.

Despite that though, Brown is still only ‘relatively happy' with events thus far, while Westley is having to work on lessons learnt from two successive pre-season defeats.

Naturally though, the Boro chief was left baffled as to how that was the case, joking: "Someone call the police, we've got burglars to look for."

He added: "I thought we dominated the game for long period, played some good football and created several chances through Lenny, Ken and Barry. I think if we'd have put just one of them away at 1-1 then it could have been a rout.

"Pre-season games are not about results but individual performances and building a team unit. I'm confident it was there today and that we can learn from this. On another day, we would have won the game convincingly."

The last word deservedly went to Brown, who, despite watching his team record this morale-boosting victory, still demanded more from his men.

He commented: "Fair play to Farnborough. They were stronger than us in midfield and dictated a lot of the game.

"But I thought it was a great, great work-out for us, we maintained possession well and always looked stronger on the break, playing more direct and positive than them. There is still a lot to do, however, I'm not getting carried away by beating Farnborough.

"There's masses to work to be done, we're not quick enough in shutting down, we're not aggressive enough in midfield areas and we are not keeping enough possession."

BORO: Pennock 6; Warner 6 (sub Annon 79), Gregory 7, C Piper 9, Annon 6 (O'Shea 60, 6), Laker 7, Watson 7, L Piper 7, Lee (Baptiste 9, 6, Charlery 57, 6), Green 7, Taggart 8. Subs not used: Gwillem, Ellis.

SHOTS: Bull 7 (sub Howells 45, 8); Hooper 7 (Cochrane 50, Nutter 74, 7), Chewins 7, Sterling 8, Cousins 9, A Charles 8, Carroll 6 (Gell 45, 7), Holsgrove 6, Baird 6, D'sane 6 (L Charles 21, 6), Cochrane 6 (Buckle 45, 6). Not used: Kleboe.

Farnborough Town are back at home on Sunday afternoon when a first team from Nationwide League division three side Leyton Orient make the trip to the AIMITA Stadium (ko 3pm).

Aldershot were due to board the coach to the West Country for their summer tour on Thursday. As the News went to press, the Shots were travelling to Gillingham, Friday sees them make the trip to Saltash Town, before the tour ends on Saturday with an exciting match-up with Doc Martens Leaguers Tiverton Town.

Then, of course, Premiership giants Chelsea are the visitors to the Rec on Monday night (ko 7.45pm).