We're all in this together, vows Shots skipper HerdBy Jon Couch
February 21, 2013
CAPTAIN Ben Herd reckons it is up to the Aldershot Town players to dig the club out of the relegation mire - regardless of who takes over from axed boss Dean Holdsworth this week.
The Shots followed up Saturday's battling 1-1 draw at high-flying Cheltenham Town with a 1-0 home victory over Torquay United on Tuesday night, before Holdsworth was surprisingly given his marching orders by the frustrated club board on Wednesday afternoon.
Victory not only lifted the Shots out of the bottom two and up to 20th in the League Two table, but it also helped suck their visitors into the relegation battle alongside them with 13 crucial matches left to play.
But whoever is charged with ultimately leading the club to Football League survival, Herd believes the players will continue to carry out their own personal responsibility in showing full commitment to the cause.
"You can't underestimate what a big three points that is [against Toquay], it's huge, but it means nothing if we go and throw it all away on Saturday," Herd said after Tuesday night's game and before the manager's fate was sealed.
"The emphasis has got to be on us now to win games. We can't be unlucky anymore or start feeling sorry for ourselves, time is running out.
"We are in a relegation battle, you have to stand up and be counted and make things happen. It's about what we do over these next 13 games, every one of them is massive, starting with Saturday.
"It's like staring into the abyss. No-one wants to go down, no-one wants it on their CV, no-one wants to do it to the football club, so we'll keep fighting together.
"It's going to be difficult and they'll be a few bumps along the way, but we'll get there.
"Fans can knock us for ability or anything else, but they'll be hard pressed to find fault in our commitment to the club."
With so much at stake perhaps a rather drab and tension-filled match was inevitable, but in truth Holdsworth's men were good value for their first win in seven, sealed by Troy Brown's brave close-range header seven minutes from time.
“It was the probably the biggest goal of the season so far,” said man-of-the-match Danny Rose.
“We piled on a lot of pressure in the second half and it got to the point where we felt 'is this goal going to come?'.
“Thankfully, though, through Troy's desire at the back post, we got it - it was a huge relief.
“It was a game we knew we had to win given our position and of course the fact they’ve been on a worse run than us of late, so we needed to make the most of it."
And on his assessment of what turned out to by his last match in charge of the Shots after a rollercoaster 16-month reign, Holdsworth, who surprised everyone by leaving out star pair Danny Hylton and Peter Vincenti, added: “I'm delighted for the lads, they’ve put a massive shift in and defended magnificently again with 10 men, it’s a fantastic clean sheet.
“One team came here to win the game tonight and one team came here not to get beat, and I think that showed in the systems. At times tonight this was the best link-up play we had shown all season.
“We’ve had to be patient, but on another day we could have had more goals.”
Holdsworth was also full of praise for his troops on Saturday after earning a well-deserved point at promotion-chasing Cheltenham.
The battling Shots were well worthy of their first-half lead through Rose’s 23rd-minute opener, but after Paul Benson equalised for the high-flying Robins - followed swiftly by the sending off of left-back Anthony Tonkin for two bookable offences on former Shots winger Jermaine McGlashan - they were forced to dig deep and cling on for a share of the spoils.
“Part of me is disappointed that we didn't get three points but overall as the match panned out and the fact that we played the last 17 minutes with 10 men, we have to be content,” Holdsworth said. “We have to be happy with a point.
“We showed character and resilience in difficult circumstances. It was a big test."