Graham Westley has every right to look at the table of the Nationwide Conference with far more respectability this week after seeing his side pull off an unexpected win at Underhill against Barnet on Tuesday night.
I say unexpected, not because Boro were going there not expecting to win, but because Dean Green's volleyed winner in injury time was just about the last thing anybody would have anticipated after Junior Agogo had drawn level for the home side on 85 minutes.
Green's strike came at the death of a frantic game, played with good pace and skill from both sides. But if your money was going to be on anyone to hit a late winner, you would have been a brave man to bet against Barnet.
Despite playing with ten men for 75 minutes, Barnet seemed to grow in confidence as the game wore on. In fact it was a similar scenario to the fixture between the two sides at the AIMITA Stadium last season when Boro recovered from losing Gary Patterson early on — only this time, to go on and win the game.
However, on this occasion, it was Boro who got out of the blocks first, playing down the distinctive Underhill slope and finding their feet with neat passing and good movement.
After Ken Charlery had failed to get onto the end of a Tony Taggart cross on five minutes, Boro were well in control and seemed to be enjoying their football on a pitch which despite it's considerable slope, bore more resemblance to a cricket outfield than a football pitch on a dull Autumn night.
Boro's early dominance continued and their pressure was to pay off on 15 minutes. A hopeful ball into the box from the right hand side from Jim Rodwell was adjudged to have been handled by Barnet's Lee Gledhill, resulting in a penalty for Boro.
If the penalty decision had seemed harsh, then Gledhill's dismissal moments later was even tougher for the Barnet faithful to take as they believed a Boro player had also handled in the box.
Charlery stepped up to eventually take the spot kick but his effort was well saved by Lee Harrison in the Barnet goal. However, Green was on hand to smash the rebound home from five yards out to give Boro the advantage they had earned, if not for the slightly fortunate penalty decision but rather for their all-round play in the early stages.
By now temperatures were rising on the pitch aswell as in the stands but Boro, to their credit, were keeping their cool with Gary Holloway switching to the right hand side of mid-field and the ever impressive Taggart creating havoc down the left. They were now in control and making their numerical advantage count.
For Barnet, there were moments of brilliance from Mark Gower in the middle of the park but Rodwell and Darren Annon coped with whatever was thrown at them.
Charlery then got himself needlessly booked for kicking the ball away after a decision had gone against him but soon Boro were back on the attack after his header had been cleared off the line by Ismail Yakubu. His clearance, however, fell into the path of the on rushing Taggart who drilled a 25-yard shot towards goal, only to see it steered away via Mark Arber's head for a corner.
After a good period of pressure by Boro, they then took their foot off the pedal for the remaining minutes of the half as Barnet went in search of an equaliser.
Gower played a neat one-two with Agogo before putting Yakubu through down the left hand side, but his cross was headed over by the on-rushing striker. However, 1-0 at half time seemed a fair reflection of the game and Boro would have been kicking themselves had they conceded a goal in the dying minutes.
The second half was a different story though and Barnet came out looking like they wanted the game rather than just looking like they wanted to take part in it.
Gower was again pulling the strings and despite Green coming close on two occasions — where his efforts were directed just over the bar — Barnet were looking like they had the one player advantage.
Westley was forced to make the changes from here and after Charlery was lucky to stay on the pitch after a late challenge on Arber, he was replaced by the impressive Lenny Piper. Credit must go to the boss for relieving his man while he still had a chance.
Then, with fifteen minutes to go Westley reverted to a five man midfield with Danny Carroll coming on for Holloway and Piper dropping back.
Boro's one goal advanatge always looked slim and Barnet's constant pressure resulted in Agogo's stunning strike to bring the scores level after Rodwell, who himself had until that moment enjoyed a faultless night, headed into the path of the tall striker who turned and shot from 25 yards past the helpless Tony Pennock.
Boro then looked nervy as Barnet went for the win but Green, the tireless worker throughout, chipped in with his volley to seal the victory and push Boro up to 15th in the table and just three points off fifth place.
Lowly Leigh RMI are the visitors to the Aimita Stadium on Saturday (ko 3pm) when Westley will be hoping his season really starts.
Boro: Penock, Warner, Rodwell, Annon, Gregory, Holloway (Carroll 76), Watson, Butterworth, Taggart (C.Piper 80), Charlery (L.Piper 55), Green.
Not used: Bunce, Osborn.