Non-League Football: Taylor's design revives threadbare Farnborough

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The Independent Online
LIKE Frank Clark at Nottingham Forest, Alan Taylor had a tough act to follow when he took over as manager of Farnborough Town last summer. Following relegation from the GM Vauxhall Conference to the Beazer Homes League, the much-respected Ted Pearce retired after 23 years in charge of the Hampshire club. After seven years as No 2 to Pearce, Taylor stepped up to take on the challenge of guiding Farnborough back to the top level of the non-League game.

Despite inheriting the financial handicap that prevented Pearce from strengthening the team last season, Taylor is doing a grand job so far. After an outstanding performance on Monday that earned a 3-1 win at one of their title rivals, Sittingbourne, Farnborough lead the Beazer Premier Division by a three-point margin from Cheltenham, with Sittingbourne a further point behind in third place.

Despite Monday's constant downpour in Kent, Farnborough delivered some high-quality football as they outclassed the wealthy home side. They hit the woodwork three times before goals from Jamie Horton, Trevor Senior and Chris Boothe secured a decisive lead, which was not threatened by Sittingbourne's late consolation goal.

'It was a good game and a great result,' Taylor said. 'Whereas Sittingbourne, who in some ways are a full-time club, can spend big money on new players if they need to, our financial problems prevent us doing the same. We have kept a settled side - because we can't afford to buy anyone.'

Taylor, who spent nine years as youth-team coach at Fulham before joining Farnborough, has signed some good players without spending any money. One is Boothe, a 25-year-old forward with skill and confidence, who was discovered playing for Hanwell, of the Spartan League. His partner up front is the 33-year-old Trevor Senior, the former Reading striker who has played for three teams - Weymouth, Dorchester and now Farnborough - since leaving Woking in the summer.

'For us, Trevor's experience is invaluable,' said Taylor, whose side entertain Aldershot Town in the fourth round of the Hampshire Senior Cup tomorrow at what is sure to be a packed John Roberts Ground.