Aldershot Town's seven is far from magnificentBy Dan Cooper
October 22, 2012
UNDER-FIRE Aldershot Town boss Dean Holdsworth says his players need to stand up and be counted after slumping to a club record seventh successive defeat at the hands of Rotherham.
The Millers made the trip to EBB Stadium without an away win this season but despite going for broke in naming a new attacking line up, Holdsworth could only look on as his side put in another below-par performance which was greeted by a chorus of boos from the long-suffering home fans.
In fairness, the Shots more than held their own in a lively opening half-hour, but after Lee Frecklington’s 38th-minute opener the visitors dominated and would have racked up an even bigger margin of victory but for a series of fine saves from keeper Jamie Young.
As a result, the Shots remain second from bottom in the League Two table, just two points clear of basement boys Barnet, who claimed their first victory of the season on Friday night, led by new assistant boss Edgar Davids.
And after conducting another post-match inquest, fed-up Holdsworth called on his players to take responsibility for their individual contributions, starting with the trip to Southend United on Tuesday night.
"We've had some harsh words in the dressing room, unfortunately.” Holdsworth admitted.
"I've questioned their ability, their character, I've questioned if they're going to stand toe-to-toe with each other. You can't have shrinking violets in the team at the moment.
"Up until the first goal I felt we were in the game, I thought we were causing them problems. We were playing with a good tempo - but the first goal, as it's been of late, has been the real big blow for us.
"We came up against a very strong direct side with good players and we didn't react, and the character has been questioned.”
FA Cup draw
Holdsworth banished his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation by reverting to an attacking 4-3-3 with Michael Rankine handed his first start in 11 matches to flank the front line alongisde Danny Hylton and seven-goal top scorer Craig Reid.
But it was Rotherham who enjoyed the better start and charismatic boss Steve Evans, back from a six-match touchline ban, thought his side had taken an early lead when striker Daniel Nardiello found the net, only for the assistant referee to correctly rule out the effort for offside.
Hylton then when close for the Shots while only some last-ditch Rotherham defending denied Rankine a clear run at goal.
It was the visitors, however, who drew first blood eight minutes before the break when Ben Pringle's cross was only cleared as far as Frecklington - making his debut on loan from Peterborough - who sent a fine half volley past Young from the edge of the area.
Indeed, the Shots had Josh Payne to thank for preventing a second goal just before the break after he acrobatically cleared a Kari Arnason header off the line.
The visitors were not to be denied for long, however, and deservedly doubled their lead 10 minutes after the interval when Troy Brown brought down midfield man Frecklington and Bob Harris stepped up to fire the resulting freekick expertly past Young.
Holdsworth responded by replacing Payne and Alex Rodman with Peter Vincenti and Adam Mekki in a desperate attempt to salvage a result, but it made little difference as the visitors wrapped up victory with a third goal - Alex Revell slotting home after Young could only parry Lionel Ainsworth’s initial effort.
Meanwhile, Shots have been drawn at home to non-league Hendon in the first round of the FA Cup.
The north London side are currently 21st in the Ryman Premier Division and progressed to the first round after beating Corby Town 2-1 on Saturday.
The Shots have actually played Hendon before at this stage of the cup. In 1970, two goals from Jack Howarth earned them a 2-0 success in front of 4,050 spectators in north London. They went on to play Liverpool in the third round.