Shots suffer late Rovers heartbreak againBy Jon Couch
December 27, 2012
DEJECTED Dean Holdsworth was left with a frustrating sense of deja-vu after his Aldershot Town side were cruelly denied by a late Bristol Rovers equaliser for the second time this season.
Holdsworth's side were left ruing their luck back in September when a wicked deflection helped Rovers clinch a 2-2 draw at the Memorial Ground.
And it was an exact replica at the EBB Stadium on a rain-lashed Boxing Day when Elliott Richards' 87th-minute ricocheted effort left Shots keeper Jamie Young wrong footed and earned bottom club Rovers a point they barely deserved after Michael Hector and then Craig Reid had earlier put the Shots in the driving seat.
"It is difficult to take right now, I am really disappointed and angry about it," Holdsworth said. "A deflection in the last four minutes of the match is not what we needed. I thought we played some good stuff but lacked a bit of quality in the final third. We did enough to win the match overall though.
"We played with a lot of momentum and tempo amidst very difficult conditions for the players and created some good chances. There were areas where I thought we could also do better too."
Despite being boosted by the returns of Anthony Tonkin, Troy Brown and Peter Vincenti, the Shots struggled to get out of first gear in the opening exchanges with the heavy conditions clearly taking their toll.
With just three points separating the sides in the lower reaches of the table there was a few nerves evident too, but the Shots soon stepped it up a gear with Hector blazing the first real chance over the bar after fellow loanee Dani Lopez had headed Tonkin's free-kick neatly into his path and Danny Hylton having a shot saved on the line by keeper Sam Walker.
But on 33 minutes the Shots finally got the breakthrough. A neat passing exchange found Lopez in space, he laid the ball back to Hector, who curled an excellent effort past a helpless Walker.
Sadly for Holdsworth though, the Shots couldn't build on their advantage and on 54 minutes they paid the price. Tom Eaves, playing in his final game on a loan spell from Bolton, got the wrong side of Aaron Morris, forcing the stand-in right-back to pull him down. Referee Collins didn't hesitate in awarding the penalty and David Clarkson sent Young the wrong way from the spot.
Holdsworth's response was to throw on Reid and Adam Mekki for Hylton and Kieron Cadogan and it wasn't long before the change paid dividends.
With 15 minutes left, big defender Sonny Bradley, still up from a set piece, was tripped inside the area by Tom Parkes, referee Collins pointed to the spot again and Reid did the rest, putting the Shots in front with his ninth goal of the season.
But just when that looked like being enough to clinch the points, another cruel twist to the tale was to emerge. Substitute Richards proved the hero for new boss Ward, scuffing a shot which bobbled past a hapless Young to heap more frustration on the home fans.
SHOTS: Young, Morris, Bradley, Hector, Tonkin, Cadogan, (Mekki 71) Rose, Brown, Vincenti, Hylton (Reid 71) Lopez. Subs not used: Morris G, Bergqvist, Madjo, Roberts, Webbe.
Att: 2,862 (480).