My Shots 'Don good', insists satisfied HoldsworthBy Jon Couch
November 20, 2012
DEAN HOLDSWORTH refused to berate referee Geoff Eltringham for the decision which cost his improved Aldershot Town a much-needed and deserved victory at Kingsmeadow against AFC Wimbledon.
The Shots were left furious after Mr Eltringham failed to spot goalkeeper Jamie Young clearly being impeded as he came to claim Stacy Long's direct free kick 13 minutes from time, which ultimately nestled into the roof of the net.
It was hard luck on Holdsworth's Shots, who turned on the style in the first half and never really looked like surrendering Dani Lopez's first goal in English football.
As it was, the result was enough to ensure the Shots climbed off the bottom of the Football League, at the expense of Wycombe, and gave Holdsworth plenty of room for encouragement that the climb could ascend yet further to higher reaches.
But despite his obvious disappointment not to have claimed all three points and end a run of just one win in 11 games, Holdsworth was in good spirits and refused to heap any blame on the officials.
"I'm disappointed for the players because I thought they were outstanding," the Shots boss said afterwards. "We've played really well for long spells in that game and created some very good chances.
"We planned for a high-tempo performance and we got the reward for it in the first half. It was one of the best first-half displays we have had for a long time.
"In every game you know you are going to have a spell where you are going to have to sustain pressure, especially away from home, but I thought we looked comfortable, I really did.
"It's a good point but we deserved more. If we carry on playing like that then I'll be very happy."
As for the Wimbledon equaliser, Holdsworth added: "I think it was a foul, I thought Jamie was impeded. But the referee was there to make a decision but we haven't got it.
"I thought there were four or five things out there which could have gone our way but I'm not going to stand here, after a fantastic performance like that, and blame anybody.
"My players don't need me moaning about the referee after a performance like that, they need me to reflect on what's important, and that's their performance."
Lopez, making his first start for the Shots - and indeed in England – having joined on loan from Stevenage last week, looked a threat throughout alongside Danny Hylton up front and it was not long before the Shots were making their presence felt, cheered on by 500 visiting fans in the East Stand.
Indeed, this seemed to bear all the hallmarks of last season's encounter back in January where a determined Shots display and a hard-fought 2-1 win helped transform a six-game winless streak into a club record six straight victories.
Former Shot Curtis Osano gave Holdsworth an early scare, heading onto the crossbar from Long's in-swinging corner, but that was about all AFC Wimbledon could muster and it was the Shots who looked the most threatening.
Both Hylton and Peter Vincenti headed good chances over before Hylton put Lopez through on goal, only for his effort to find the side-netting.
But with half time fast approaching, the Shots finally found the breakthrough. Captain Ben Herd floated a free kick into the heart of the box, another ex-Shot, Will Antwi, completely messed up his clearance and Lopez pounced to rifle the ball past veteran keeper Neil Sullivan from 10 yards.
Wimbledon came out with renewed vigour after the break and they soon had the Shots on the back foot. Byron Harrison's cross-cum-shot rattled off the top of the bar, Aldershot failed to clear and the ball fell to Jake Reeves, whose driven effort from the edge of the area cannoned off Sonny Bradley and inches over the bar.
Six minutes later, Reeves again troubled the Shots goal with a stinging drive which flew just wide of Young's goal.
Then disaster struck as Herd was harshly adjudged to have impeded the marauding Harrison down the left hand side.
Long placed the free kick 20 yards out from wide out on the flank and curled an effort straight into the net beyond a packed penalty area with a helpless Young laying strewn inside the net, his face in disbelief.
If anything, it was Aldershot who looked like claiming the winner in a frantic final 10 minutes with Vincenti firing a 25-yard free kick wide and substitute Michael Rankine coming close with a flicked header from Herd's free kick just drifting wide.
But the Dons held on for a point which they were clearly proud of, but Holdsworth, a playing legend in the blue and yellow of Wimbledon in a glittering career, must have been left wondering what might have been.
ALDERSHOT: Young, Herd, Tonkin, Brown, Bradley, Morris, Rose, Vincenti, Cadogan, Hylton, Lopez (Rankine 90). Subs: Payne, Sinclair, Mekki, Donnelly, Seidi, G Morris.
Ref: G Eltringham. Att: 4,321 (500).