Hylton hero and villain as Shots earn Boro tieBy Graham Brookland
January 07, 2013
THE first FA Cup third round tie at the EBB Stadium for 26 years saw another piece of history created on the Aldershot Town bandwagon.
Although a 3-1 victory against fellow League 2 opponents Rotherham United cannot be classed as a giant-killing in the scheme of things, this was a vital success for Dean Holdsworth’s men against a team with realistic expectations of automatic promotion, earning a fourth round tie at high-flying Championship side Middlesbrough in the process.
Importantly too, the performance was a total transformation to the heavy October home defeat against the Millers which, at the time, confirmed a club record seventh successive defeat in all competitions.
Shots have progressed quietly over the past few weeks and have only lost three of the 15 matches played since those dark days.
Holdsworth will be pleasantly pleased that he also outwitted his fiery Glaswegian counterpart Steve Evans in the Rotherham dug-out.
He surprised many by starting the match with Danny Hylton playing a lone central striking role with an excellent supporting cast behind him and it certainly paid dividends.
The former youth product netted his first hat-trick in a Shots shirt only for it to be spoilt late on when he was dismissed after an altercation with Jason Taylor which referee Gavin Ward deemed a straight red card offence.
It will be a harsh lesson for the in-form striker who will have to sit out the fourth round through suspension. The dismissal evened up matters after Kari Arnason had also taken an early walk on 82 minutes for two cautionable offences within three minutes.
Aldershot, with captain Ben Herd back in the starting line-up after a three-match ban, had to ride an early bombardment that saw Daniel Nardiello’s close range header cannon off the bar. Indeed it all suggested a long afternoon lay ahead.
However Hylton had other ideas, and why not? The Londoner had already netted a brace in each of the previous two rounds and also is guaranteed a place at the Wembley final after winning the Player of the Round competition for his second round performance.
He set the tone of what lay ahead on six minutes, latching onto a near delivery from the right from former Millers loanee Kieron Cadogan.
The winger, enjoying his best performance in a Shots shirt, looked comfortable throughout on the right flank and Hylton managed to shrug off the attentions of Arnason on the edge of the six-yard box before firing the ball home past Andy Warrington in the visiting goal to give the EBB Stadium a welcome lift.
Midway through the first half and the partnership proved effective again. This time it was Cadogan’s free kick from the left side that was met by Hylton who guided the ball home powerfully with his head from close range.
Evans was extremely animated on the touchline by this stage, frustrated at being outwitted and forced to change his own formation. He did himself no favours.
He was, however, allowed the luxury of making a double substitution at the interval including the introduction of striker Adam Morgan, who arrived on loan from Liverpool earlier in the week and has first-team experience with Brendan Rodgers’ side this season.
Despite their possession, Evans’ men were unable to earn the lifeline they needed and it was Hylton who extended the lead just past the hour with a cool finish past Warrington after latching onto Cadogan’s through ball down the centre.
Evans protested vigorously believing that the move should have been halted for offside but referee Ward was having none of it.
The lifeline did occur on 71 minutes when skipper Herd was deemed to have handled the ball inside the penalty area. Lee Frecklington converted the spot kick although Jamie Young came close to making a stunning stop but was unable to prevent the ball from going over the line.
Rotherham started to look capable of producing a late rally. Kayode Odejaia headed just over the bar before Young made an outstanding fingertip save from Frecklington late on.
Holdsworth was understandably delighted after the match and told the News & Mail: “We have created a bit more history for the club with this achievement and we deserved this victory.
“This was a hard game. They are a powerful side and started well. We took our chances when we needed to and it was vital and gave us the boost that we needed.
“It will be a learning curve for Danny and it [the sending off] is disappointing but I don’t want that to overshadow the squad achievement because they gave everything they could in this match.
“It is a magnificent result for the club and the fans who were magnificent. We have all earned this. It means the world to everybody."
SHOTS: Young, Herd, Brown, Bradley, Tonkin, Rose, Hector, Morris, Cadogan (Mekki 83) Vincenti, Hylton. Subs: G Morris, Bergqvist, Sinclair, Roberts, Rankine, Reid.
Referee: Gavin Ward. Att: 2,992 (512 visiting).