Aldershot Town moved out of the bottom four for the first time this season with a six-goal thrashing of Tamworth
Who needs turkey when there’s a nice rack of Lamb on the Christmas menu? Aldershot Town enjoyed the perfect festive feast on Saturday (December 21) and in the process moved out of the bottom four for the first time this season.
It was a case of Season’s Beatings for Andy Scott's men, who delightfully men served up a seasonal stuffing to claim a biggest league win since October 2000.
Four second-half goals swept aside the ten man of Tamworth in the driving rain – a task made all the more difficult for the visitors with the second-half sending off of defender Wayne Thomas for his cynical challenge on the excellent Mark Molesley, who exited on a stretcher and straight into an ambulance, although thankfully the Shots star escaped with a deep cut to his shin.
In truth, the game was long gone before Thomas’ 62nd-minute dismissal with Manny Oyeleke’s 11th-minute opener and a gorgeous 20-yard strike from Molesley putting the Shots in firm control.
And the stage was set for top scorer Brett Williams to add a second-half double with further goals from strike partner Aiden O'Brien and the industrious Jordan Roberts completing the rout.
Scott said: “It was a really good way to finally get out of the bottom four. Everyone knows about the ten points we had deducted, and it’s kept us where we are but it'll be nice to look at the table over Christmas and not see us in a relegation place.
“When the weather is like it is, wonder how the players will react. We like to play football and the conditions weren’t ideal but we played some good stuff and were always on the front foot. We worked so hard and got our reward.”
Seeking a third straight home league win, the Shots didn’t have long to wait to make their mark when the dynamic Oyeleke celebrated the extension of his loan from Brentford with the opener.
From Craig Stanley’s corner, Williams’ little touch and a failure of the Tamworth defence to clear allowed the midfield ace to fire through a forest of legs and in, off a heavy deflection.
Tamworth almost hit straight back, Jordan Keane thrashing his shot against Jonny Henly’s crossbar but in Molesley – making his first start from a two-month injury lay-off – the Shots possesses a player that can kill a game with a moment of magic.
He produced just that on 33 minutes, weaving towards the box and after skipping two challenges he finally saw sight of goal – bending a beauty into the bottom corner.
Arsenal and England full-back Kieran Gibbs was lending his support to brother Jaydon from the stands – even he wouldn’t have fancied his chances of containing the wing-wizard on this form.
Thomas, however, eventually found a way of stopping the former AFC Bournemouth man - by scything him down. A penalty and second yellow card followed – when it really could have been a straight red – and Molesley was carted off to hospital. “It was a horrendous tackle,” Scott said afterwards, while opposite number Dale Belford refused to defend his man.
Williams did his injured friend a service by slamming home the resulting spot-kick for 3-0 and then the floodgates opened.
O’Brien – who also extended his loan spell from Millwall this week, until January 19 – was next to show, stooping low at the near post to glance in Chris Barker’s corner for his fourth goal in as many games.
The ten men were sinking in the downpour, no answer to the slick Shots who are often irresistible on their excellent surface. While Scott’s men were licking their lips at the prospect of 25 more minutes, the Tamworth players just wanted to be on the coach home.
Williams, in particular, wanted more. He thumped home the fifth – and his 17th of the season – on 73 minutes, with an excellent turn on the edge of the box and a finish which had too much power for Cameron Belford – and goal number 17 in all competitions shows his class.
And it was left to Roberts to wrap up the perfect present for the vast majority of the 1,598 – O’Brien’s header from Gibbs’ centre parried by Belford and the homegrown star bundling the ball home.
Six of the best and 23 goals in six matches – a happy Christmas indeed!
ALDERSHOT: Henly, Gibbs, Oastler, Webster, Barker, Molesley (Young 61) Stanley, Oyeleke (Rowlands 84) Roberts, O’Brien (Paterson 78) B Williams. Subs not used: Goodman, L Williams.