Billy Bricknell’s ninth league goal of the season was enough to give Fleet’s play-off challenge fresh impetus as his 69th-minute strike reversed his side’s recent fortunes and saw them leapfrog Sutton to go third in the Skrill South table.
It was Fleet’s fifth win at Farnborough (and their predecessor Farnborough Town) in succession and puts to rest a troubling post-Christmas period.
Steve Brown made one change to his side, Ben May getting the nod ahead of Michael Thalassitis, and his players sought to get forward from the start as they had at Havant. In the opening minutes, Aiden Palmer’s cross was helped onto Michael West but the Fleet midfielder sent it wide.
The home side stepped up a gear after that and Adam Doyle struck an effort wide from a good position, while Phil Page did the same minutes later as both sides struggled to test the goalkeepers.
However, Fleet finally warmed Dan Lincoln’s hands on 21 minutes when Bricknell spun and fired low from Anthony Cook’s pass, but the Farnborough keeper got a glove to it. And on 32 minutes, Lincoln again got in the way of Cook’s speculative effort, while Daryl McMahon’s 30-yard effort was easily gathered.
At the other end, Dan Bennett was again off target for the home side after being played through by Doyle as Farnborough looked to finish the half on top. Five minutes before the break, Alan Inns headed Page’s corner over the bar but that was as close as either side came before half-time in a match that gave little entertainment value on a very bobbly pitch.
Both sets of fans were soon crying out for a finish of any kind as half chances came and went in the second half. Cook’s run and shot was headed clear by Doyle and Bricknell had a shot diverted inside the penalty area. Meanwhile, Bennett and former Fleet striker Moses Ashikodi kept the visiting defence in work and Tyrone Berry blasted an effort over the bar as the home side kept pressing for an opening.
Brown made his first change on 68 minutes, Alex Osborn replacing West, and the Fleet broke the deadlock a minute later. A cross into Bricknell saw the top scorer twist and snap off a clinical strike away from Lincoln and into the corner of the net – much to the relief of his teammates.
Naturally stung into action, Farnborough carried the attack to the Fleet and it was a backs-to-the-wall final period as the yellow shirts were committed forward. Page again went close, his shot blocked by Paul Lorraine while Inns and substitute Jack Jeffrey weren’t far off with headers but, typical of the game, the home side lacked a cutting edge when it mattered most and with Michael Corcoran on, the Fleet dug in to carry off the three points.
TEAM: Edwards, Sessegon (Howe 79), Palmer, McMahon, Lorraine, Sankofa, West (Osborn 68), Rance, May, Bricknell (Corcoran 84), Cook. Subs not used: Hall, Thalassitis.