Shots lost 2-1 at home to non-league minnows in FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay
Fuming Andy Scott lambasted his Aldershot Town flops after they crashed to an embarrassing 2-1 FA Cup defeat at the hands of underdogs Shortwood United.
Woeful Shots were booed off by large sections of the ESS Stadium after they were put to the sword by the Calor League (South & West) minnows – a team 65 places below them in the non-league pyramid.
Boss Scott admitted his side were fortunate to escape with a 1-1 draw in the initial tie at Meadowbank on Saturday, describing his team’s performance as “disgraceful and embarrassing”.
So, imagine his reaction to an even worse display in Tuesday night's replay which saw the Shots totally outplayed and out-fought having taken a 16th-minute lead through Matt Paterson.
Two goals in the space of four minutes at the start of the second half from Duncan Culley and Adam Mann sparked Aldershot’s downfall and earned the Gloucestershire village side a lucrative home tie with League One Port Vale in a fortnight's time. It was no less than they deserved.
For Scott, however, the embarrassment of succumbing to the biggest cup shock of the round to the lowest-ranked side is something he needs to address ahead of Saturday's crucial trip to fellow league strugglers Chester.
And the boss, who signed a new three-year contract extension just last week, was not pulling any punches in his post-match inquest, citing complacency and even player unrest as two major factors.
“The fact is that over the two games they were the better side and they wanted it more than us,” moaned Scott, who kept his side locked in the dressing room for 45 minutes after the final whistle.
“We had too many individuals wanting to play their own game rather than stick to the game plan and that’s what happens, you become unstuck.
"They were two horrendous goals to concede with players that didn’t really want to play where they were playing and that's an issue for us now.
“These players have got to take a long hard look at themselves if they want a career in this game because that showed me that they haven’t got the right attitude at times.
“We've gone from being a cohesive, disciplined, organised group to being one now who thinks they can play their own game when they want to, and that doesn’t wash with me, it isn’t going to happen.
"This needs to be a turning point in our season where that can't be accepted anymore.
“In these last two games we’ve taken liberties. We’re all in it together, we’ve let ourselves down and we’ve let the club down.
"We had a great opportunity to play Port Vale here and earn the club a nice bit of money. We’ve thrown that away.”
It was hard to believe that such words would be muttered after the Shots had made such a bright start in the replay.
Brett Williams looped a close-range effort over the bar and Jaydon Gibbs had an effort ruled out for offside before Paterson struck, firing past keeper Tom King from 12 yards after Gibbs bravely won a 50/50 challenge with James Coates.
But just when the Shots should have kicked on it was the visitors making headway and it was they who came closest to scoring before the break – Sam Avery's stooping header dropping just the wrong side of the crossbar from Jake Parrott's free kick.
Sensing a vulnerability about the hosts and the restless locals, Shortwood came out for the second half five minutes earlier than Aldershot – and they certainly caught them on the hop.
Indeed, seven minutes into the restart, James Baldwin burst into the box and as he cut inside Manny Oyeleke, the ball struck the hand of the stand-in right-back.
Referee Rob Whitton pointed straight to the spot and Culley stepped up to send debutant Luke Williams – in for Glenn Morris, who is out for six weeks with a leg injury – the wrong way from the spot.
If the home crowd went quiet then, they were stunned into silence three minutes later when Shortwood struck again.
Culley rode two challenges on a surge down the right, he sprayed the ball centrally to Mann who gained a couple of yards from Jake Goodman before burying a shot from 20 yards beyond Williams and into the corner of the net, sending the small batch of travelling fans in the South Stand into delirium.
Shots piled forward in a desperate search for an equaliser but only had a misdirected Williams header to show for their efforts, while Avery came within a whisker of putting the tie to bed for Shortwood with a free header which fizzed narrowly wide.
But as the sound of jeers echoed around the ESS Stadium, chairman Shahid Azeem called for calm, insisting the result should act as a reality check.
He added: “We can’t take anything away from Shortwood, they deserved to win over the two legs, but this has to act as a reality check for us. We have to remember that this club is just out of administration and went to Grimsby on the first game of the season with only six players signed.
“The only remit for Andy and the team this season is to avoid relegation, anything else was always going to be a bonus.
"You are always going to get ups and downs, it’s how you deal with the bad days. We need to focus, galvanise and battle on.”
ALDERSHOT: L Williams, Oyeleke, Roberts, Barker, Goodman, Stanley, Rowlands, Paterson, Gibbs (Mekki 56), Young, B Williams. Subs: Wickham, Webbe, Douglas, Grosvenor, Stojsavljevic.
Ref: Rob Whitton. Att: 1,233.