3 April 2007.
Aldershot Town (a)
ON THE ROAD:
THE VIEWS OF JIM TUCKER
Tuesday 3rd April 2007
ALDERSHOT TOWN 3 EXETER CITY 2
This is one of my easiest trips, Aldershot being barely 40 minutes from Maidenhead by car.
It's just a shame that we always seem to play there in the winter. This season, even after two postponements, and a re-arranged date in April, it was extremely cold, if dry.
There were about 250 of the City faithful behind the goal and in pretty good heart, all things considered.
Aldershot had just lost their manager, in sad circumstances, but their recent home was good, while our away record of late speaks for itself. But we had at last won on the road the previous Saturday, at Altrincham, so kept the same starting eleven, Adam Stansfield and Richard Logan leading the attack, with Jon Challinor on the right. The City kicked off, playing towards us on the East terrace, in a good atmosphere. This is by no means a local derby, but it feels like one, mainly due to it being a long- standing fixture between the only ex-Third Division South clubs presently in the Conference.
Right from the off we had the play in their half, looking from the third or fourth minute as though we might get a goal. Stansfield had a shot blocked, then was caught offside when threatening, and Challinor shot wide. But, inside 10 minutes, the goal came, and what a peach it was! Jonny C fed Stansfield down the right channel, Adam beat the keeper sweetly but ran close to the bye line.
Quick as a flash he spotted Lee Elam and hit a perfect ball across the goal, past the retreating defenders, and the winger ran in to joyfully hit the ball up into the empty net, sending players and fans alike into raptures. But as so often these days, the tap was turned off more or less immediately, and we retreated to let the home side dominate.
Paul Jones suddenly hit an astonishingly shaky spell, dropped two corners in a row, with the second being scrambled home for an equaliser. And within moments he was off, red-carded for an offence which your correspondent simply couldn't see from the far end. Maybe it was handball outside the area, as an opposing forward ran through, or perhaps he brought him down. Ricey came on, with Logan the sacrifice, but surprisingly so did Danny Seaborne to centre-half. Presumably Rob Edwards had picked up some kind of injury, which might have affected Jones, but anyway we were down to ten men, and the record of no red cards all season was gone - although in the forty-first game it's still a run to be proud of. We gradually got back on our feet again, and despite being a man short the lads were not afraid to go forward.
From an Elam corner a couple of blocked shots give rise to slightly desperate hand-ball shouts, Billy Jones who had by now seen yellow for a heavy tackle - curled a free kick, and Bertie Cozic had a shot at goal but without enough power.
So as the half ended, with copious stoppage time added, it was 1-1. The second half was clearly going to be a long 45 minutes, but we could not have held out for a shorter period.
Straight from the kick off a horrendous misjudgement by Seaborne who had impressed me a lot at Grays earlier in the season- saw him leave the ball only for it to go straight to an Aldershot forward, who beat Rice easily.
And it was three when the linesman in front of us, who had played Ernie Wise to the referee's Eric Morecambe all evening, completely missed a clear offside, and gift wrapped the Shots a goal. Still as I always say about flag-wavers, "If you don't watch the play, you can't give the man offside".
Within a couple of minutes the ten men had got it back to 3-2, Seaborne heading home. from one of several well taken corner kicks by Steve Tully.
He went on to make considerable amends for his earlier gaffe, playing a full part in shutting out any further home goals. It was 10-all when a home player was deservedly dismissed for hacking down ex-Shot Jon Challinor, but it was too late to make any real difference.
Stansfield ran and chased all evening, so did the other front-runners, but there was throughout a strong element of chasing shadows. Only Jon C really supported the front-runners by providing a link between the defence and attack. There was plenty of spirit on display, but the delivery was patchy. And so it ended 3-2 to Aldershot, always the possibility of an equaliser, without getting really close to one. Since we entered non-league we have lost every game at the Rec, so to have scored first was progress! But this was another very disappointing performance, especially after such a lively and successful start.
You can fault the conditions, possibly, the officials certainly, but in the final analysis we weren't good enough to get a result against mid-table opposition.
Aldershot Town 3 Exeter City 2.
3 April 2007.
Aldershot: Bull (Wells 46), Smith, Charles, Day, Barnard, Williams, Molesley, Newman, Soares (Scott 78), John Grant, Dixon.
Subs Not Used: Hudson, Winfield, Beckford.
Sent Off: Scott (80).
Goals: Day 22, Dixon 46, 63.
Exeter: Paul Jones, Tully, Edwards (Seaborne 27), Todd, Billy Jones, Challinor, Cozic, Gill, Elam (Mackie 58), Logan (Rice 28), Stansfield.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Phillips.
Sent Off: Paul Jones (25).
Booked: Billy Jones.
Goals: Elam 8, Seaborne 65.
Referee G Lewis (Cambridgeshire).