'Mission Snowball' a success for Aldershot TownBy Graham Brookland
January 21, 2013
“MISSION Snowball” was accomplished as Aldershot Town returned from a snow-swept Bootham Crescent with a valuable scoreless draw in a match that few expected to be played.
A pitch inspection due to be held last Friday morning was seemingly a formality at York City's ground, with the verdict expected to add to the lengthy list of postponements up and down the country due to the extreme weather conditions.
But when boss Dean Holdsworth was informed that the pitch had been passed fit for play he had to go into overdrive to ensure that his players could travel north.
With the team unable to travel by coach due to the treacherous conditions, alternative arrangements had to be made and quickly.
Holdsworth, who himself took seven-and-a-half hours to get to north Yorkshire, said, “We had players stuck in Swindon, south London and Potters Bar and we had to be organised. Some couldn’t get their vehicles out of their drive.
"We spoke to the Football League because I felt to make our players travel was dangerous but they insisted that we had to make the effort. We had no choice.
“All the players had to make their own way by train and we stayed in Leeds overnight.
"I felt it was very dangerous but once we had arrived we wanted the game on after working so hard to get up there.
"It has been an incredible experience and we had a team talk and called it 'Mission Snowball'. It felt like we had been through a mission already”.
Indeed there were further complications on Saturday morning when referee Trevor Kettle informed the home club that he was unhappy with some areas of the pitch. Credit to the York City ground staff and volunteers though, who worked tirelessly to ensure that it was game on.
Aldershot were unchanged for the match itself and started well, controlling the majority of the first half as the players adapted to the conditions well.
Kieron Cadogan, fresh from signing a new contract, tested Minstermen keeper Michael Ingham in the early stages.
The former Crystal Palace man also guided a header just wide from a Peter Vincenti centre as the visitors had the upper hand.
York finished the first half strongly though with Michael Potts forcing Jamie Young into action just before the break with a fiery 20-yard strike before Chris Smith headed just wide from the resultant corner.
Chances were at a premium after the break. Potts tested Young again from distance while Craig Reid hit Aldershot’s best opportunity just over the bar from the edge of the 18-yard box with a sweetly struck effort with his left foot.
The visitors rarely looked threatened though with a solid backline unit alongside Michael Hector and Danny Rose in front who were particularly effective.
It was a deserved point as boss Holdsworth stated afterwards: “There is a lot of good team spirit here and we came through so much to ensure this match was played. The only thing missing from Mission Snowball was that goal because we were the better side.
"We looked comfortable and gave a good account of ourselves. Full credit to York for getting the game on.
"Our only concern was not the state of the pitch but having to get our players to the match.
"Their manager wanted it on and once we were there so did we and the referee Trevor Kettle made the right call and the pitch stood up to it really well.”
“I also commend those 120 supporters who managed to get to the game. It was a magnificent effort and we are forever grateful to them and thank them for their support. On and off the pitch we showed that there is great character at this club."
Captain Ben Herd was one of the players who had to make his way by train. He added: “When we got the call that the match was on it was like Trains, Planes and Automobiles. We managed to eventually get on the train. One stop down the line the horn froze and then at Biggleswade the freight train in front of us broke down. It took six-and-a-half hours in the end.
“A clean sheet and a point is not a bad weekend considering the logistics of getting to the match. You had to be careful on the pitch but we could have nicked it and are becoming hard to beat”.
ALDERSHOT: Young, Herd, Tonkin, Brown, Vincenti, Bradley, Hector, Cadogan (A Morris 90) Rose, Reid (Risser 88), Lopez (Rankine 76). Not used: G Morris, McNamee, Mekki, Cooksley.
Att: 2,757 (inc 120 from Aldershot).