How we use Cookies

It's sink or swim time for Shots

Aldershot Town edged out of the relegation places on goal difference after an entertaining draw with Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday night

Chris Whiteoak
Adam Mekki wheels away after drawing Aldershot Town level against Forest Green

One point gained rather than two lost was Andy Scott’s overall assessment of this latest home humdinger.

On the face of it, a share of four goals in eight mad second-half minutes against the division’s big spenders was perhaps a measure of how far his patched-up squad have come.

But proud or not, the Shots boss knows he is fast running out of time for sentimentality. The business end of the season is suddenly upon us and Aldershot Town are still smack bang in the middle of a relegation dogfight.

Hyde, Dartford, Lincoln, Tamworth and Chester make up Aldershot’s next five fixtures. With all five still in the mix, it’s time to sink or swim.

And to add to Scott's problems he may have to do it without one of his shining lights this season. Midfield dynamo Mark Molesley suffered what appears to be a nasty calf injury during the Trophy horror show at Havant last week and could be out for the rest of the campaign.

It doesn't rain but it pours – quite literally.

Thankfully for Scott, he saw enough against at a damp ESS Stadium on Tuesday night (February 18) to suggest that his side still have the stomach for a fight. Going behind to James Norwood’s 56th-minute, they showed spirit in abundance to turn the tables and lead through goals from Adam Mekki and Bradley Bubb, only for wily Lee Hughes to restore parity with a typically predatory strike.

Quite rightly, it left the boss suitably pleased, but certainly not in the mood for getting carried away.

“It’s a point gained without a doubt,” Scott surmised. “Every game is a big game now but the ones around you are the biggest because they are six-pointers. We can’t look too far ahead, if we take our eye off the ball we lose focus. We’ve got 16 games left, we’re out of the bottom four again and have the bottom teams all to play so it’s in our hands.

“We do though need bodies back quickly as we are down on numbers and it’s really not a good time for that.

“Moles took a whack on his calf against Havant and the prognosis is not good. It could keep him out until the end of the season, which is obviously a huge blow for us. He could, though, be back within a month, we’ll see.”

With Molesley and Adam Webster (hamstring) out, Scott handed rare starts to Mekki and Matt Paterson – his first since November 16 – in an 4-2-3-1 formation, although all it did really was to nullify the visitors’ threat and ensure a cagey opening half.

Paterson went closest for the Shots with a weak effort easily claimed by keeper Sam Russell, but once he added to Scott’s woes by going off with a dead leg on 37 minutes, his replacement Tristan Plummer offered hope, fizzing a dangerous low cross from the right which just evaded the on-rushing Bubb.

But after knocking on the door at the start of the second half, Forest Green delivered the first blow. Hughes floated over a delicious out-swinging cross from the left and Norwood nipped in to slot the ball past Glen Morris.

Suddenly the game had burst into life – not least the fired-up Shots. First, Brett Williams found the marauding Mekki with a pass from the right and the young winger capped rifled a stinging 20-yard effort which flew past Russell into the corner.

Then, two minutes later the Shots were in front. Jaydon Gibbs was again involved down the right, his centre finding Bubb in the box and the striker stabbed the ball home for his first home league goal.

Again, though, celebrations were short-lived. Two minutes later, a ball into the box was deflected off the unfortunate Chris Barker straight into the path of Hughes, who jinked his way to the byline and slotted the ball past Morris from an impossible angle.

Both sides had chances to clinch victory with Gibbs and Plummer causing panic in the Rovers defence with crosses from the right, while Norwood missed a golden chance to wrap up the points, somehow blazing an effort over the top from eight yards with the goal at his mercy.

A relieved Scott added: “Our passing was poor, especially in the first half and we looked a little ring rusty. But you have to appreciate the pitch was very heavy and it showed that we haven’t able to train as much as we’d like.

“We know we can improve, but going a goal down against a good side like Forest Green on a heavy pitch, you’ve got to take the positives from it and we can go to Hyde on Saturday and Dartford on Tuesday and give it a good go.”

Aldershot: Morris, Gibbs, Barker (Tonkin 84), Oastler, Partington, Stanley, Taiwo, Mekki (Scott 77), Williams, Paterson (Plummer 37), Bubb. Subs: Rowlands, L Williams.

Ref: Declan Ford. Att: 1,407 (68).

 

Latest Football News

Journalists

Pete Bryant
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Laura Nightingale
Yateley Reporter
Natalie Garland
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Fergus McEwan
Community & Schools Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
Full newsroom contact details
Tell us what's happening in your area