Clinical Cureton and Coles strikes fire Farnborough to Promotion!

Farnborough secured Promotion from the Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central with an inspired 2-0 victory over third placed finishers Barton Rovers in Bank Holiday Monday’s Play-Off Final.

A nervy first hour saw chances come and go for both teams. First, Tom Smith headed over the bar for the visitors from inside the box after a free-kick from the left by Smith.

Farnborough turned defence into attack after Pearce mopped up with a clearance from a Smith free-kick and Ciardini, Cureton and Donnelly combined with the latter crossing to Pearce whose strike was blocked by Close.

Barton Rovers mounted an attack down the left through Hartley and Emmerson crucially took the ball away from Calcutt to cut out the through ball. Hall then recycled the ball and his cross was weakly headed away by Oyenuga and left for Smith to volley a left-footed shot wide.

Donnelly picked up the ball inside the Barton Rovers half and was knocked off the ball by Close for which the Referee played an advantage and Coles played Cureton just outside the box who ignored the overlapping run of Oyenuga and his shot was saved by Forster.

A long Howie throw-in from the right was flicked towards his own goal by Pearce to Watson who controlled the ball and was first to the rebound after Huggins made a block but his final effort from close range flew off-target.

Donnelly was first to Gentle’s headed clearance on the edge of the Barton Rovers box and Coles impressively set the ball back to Cureton who opted to pass across to the advancing Oyenuga in the box and his cross back across goal was narrowly missed by Coles. A superb team move which deserved a goal.

From a Donnelly corner which wasn’t fully cleared by the Barton Rovers defence, Smith unintentionally cushioned a header to Ciardini whose off-balance volley from inside the box sailed wide.

Close played a great ball down the heart of the Farnborough defence, with Calcutt moving Huggins out-of-position, to Hartley who was through on goal but second-favourite, Oyenuga caught up and made a perfect tackle to stop the Barton Rovers winger in his tracks.

A Hall clearance from inside his half caught out the home defence, with Calcutt latching on and Oualah well out of his box but the Barton Rovers striker was held up and Farnborough players bombarded back as chance to shoot disappeared.

But from the same move, a deep Hall cross came out to Calcutt who exchanged passes with Charlie Smith and his low cross was met by Close who couldn’t connect fully with his scuffed shot rolling wide.

After Donnelly was fouled by Gentle – who received the first booking of the game – the Farnborough midfielder floated a shot wide from the resulting free-kick.

In the 37th minute, who else would it be but Jamie Cureton to break the deadlock. Coles nicked the ball off Smith and played a superb ball in behind the Barton Rovers defence to Jamie Cureton who held off Gentle before firing through Forster’s legs and into the net. Farnborough 1-0 Barton Rovers.

Class is permanent.

Barton Rovers immediately went in search of an equaliser and Tom Smith’s clearance was controlled in the box by Watson who got away from Huggins but the Farnborough defender charged his initial shot down before the tame rebound was comfortable for Oualah.

Late in the First Half, Farnborough were on the ropes as Barton Rovers attacked Hall’s first-time cross from the right was met by Calcutt who headed back across goal where Huggins headed the ball out and Hartley set Sinclair on the edge of the box who drove a low shot wide.

HALF TIME: Farnborough 1-0 Barton Rovers

A minute into the Second Half, the lively Coles broke into the Barton Rovers box from a Pearce through ball and his shot from a tight angle was saved by Forster’s legs.

A short while later, Cureton had the ball in the back of the Barton Rovers net but the flag was up for offside.

A Pearce free-kick from the left was fumbled by Forster and the rebound fell to Cureton but he was flagged offside once again.

Just after the hour mark, a lovely flowing move involving Coles, Huggins and Cureton saw the latter hook a volley over the bar after a quick cross from the right.

A Charlie Smith free-kick from the left into the Farnborough box was headed behind by Pearce who was contesting with Tom Smith.

Osano made a crucial block inside the box to deny former Farnborough striker, Michael Malcolm from pulling a goal back.

Farnborough supporters breathed a sigh of relief in the 67th minute when the ever-persevering Perry Coles latched onto a perfect Donnelly through ball and cooly finished infront of the PRE Stand with his 23rd goal of the Season. Farnborough 2-0 Barton Rovers.

Malcolm then teed up fellow substitute Bailey with a header outside the box and the latters dipping volley rose over Oualah’s bar.

A Ciardini shot from outside the box flew off-target and a supporter in the PRE Stand bravely got his head to the ball and was rewarded with cheers from the crowd!

A Cureton volley from inside the box dropped the wrong side of the crossbar after the veteran striker cleverly lifted the ball over Close.

It should have been three when Ciardini drove from inside his own half into the Barton Rovers box, shrugging off Close and the ball came out to Donnelly who tricked two players by faking to shoot but lashed the resulting shot wide when he had more time than he thought.

From an Oyenuga clearance up the pitch, Coles won a flick-on and Cureton won the ball and slotted in his strike-partner who was tackled by Tom Smith and from the loose ball, Cureton was denied by a strong Forster save and Charlie Smith cleared the danger.

At the other end, Charlie Smith played a short corner to Knight whose cross was headed over the bar by the unmarked Calcutt.

The only disappointment for Farnborough was that Oyenuga was clattered by two Barton Rovers players and was forced off with a nasty-looking leg injury. Jack Barton was his replacement deep into injury time.

FULL TIME: Farnborough 2-0 Barton Rovers

In-front of a Season-high Attendance of 1084, Spencer Day’s Farnborough sealed an immediate return to Step Three of the National League System at the first time of asking.

Match Sponsor, Michael Usher Wills & Estate Planning with MOTM, Josh Huggins


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