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Hot Shots back on the right road

Aldershot Town chose the perfect time to put in their best away performance of the season, easing their relegation fears with a 4-1 thrashing of Alfreton on Tuesday night

Manny Oyeleke was among the goals as Aldershot Town rallied to a fine 4-1 win at Alfreton on Tuesday night

Andy Scott hailed his side’s amazing victory as one of their best performances of the season, yet even this thrashing of play-off chasing Alfreton Town was not enough to lift the Shots out of the relegation zone.

Aldershot Town scored four goals in just over an hour – and could have had more – after managing only 14 in their previous 20 away games

Hereford United’s own surprise victory, at Welling United, kept the Shots in the bottom four, but after a hugely encouraging performance at Luton Town on Saturday, this win finally suggests they have both the quality and the desire to stay in the Skrill Premier.

“I think it was probably one of the best displays of the season,” enthused Scott.

“If we had scored six goals, I don’t think anybody would have complained.

"It wasn’t just the quality of our play on the ball, there was a real belief around the group. You couldn’t fault anyone.

“The standards that we set at Luton were important, so they realise that they can play that way and match it with the best.

"Psychologically, this win, and scoring four goals away from home, has blown it all apart – people will look at this result and think ‘how have they done that?’.”

This, though, was not just about attacking prowess - Shots showed great defensive resolve, and found Glenn Morris in fine form, to withstand a second-half onslaught from the Derbyshire side.

Two set-piece goals in the opening 15 minutes established a stranglehold on the game which they never relinquished. Darran Kempson missed with a free header from four yards in just the fifth minute, and Alfreton were left to rue their profligacy.

Lining up behind his own wall, goalkeeper Worsnop left a gap at his right-hand post which Martin Rowlands found with a perfectly drilled, 18-yard free kick.

Just five minutes later, and after the pair had already served notice of their intentions at the previous corner, Mekki’s near-post delivery invited Mark Phillips to glance a header into the net.

Virtually shooting on sight, and playing with pace and verve, it was Aldershot Town who looked like the play-off challengers, even as Alfreton Town responded well to adversity.

Morris tipped Josh Law’s whipped free kick over the bar and the hosts were a massively resurgent force after the break as the game descended into glorious chaos.

Meadows had already hit the bar with a swerving shot when, on 56 minutes, they began their comeback. Law’s cross was stabbed into the net by the strangely subdued John Akinde but, crucially, their joy was short-lived.

Within seconds, Mekki’s shot was parried, and Molesley challenged in the act of putting in the rebound, leaving Manny Oyeleke to stroke the loose ball into the net.

Attack was clearly the best form of defence for both sides as they swapped chances at will. Morris was at his best to keep out Meadows’ close-range header, while Molesley hit the post with a curling drive.

Soon, though, he managed to calm frayed nerves. Breaking down the left on 67 minutes, he weaved his way into the penalty area and hit a shot in off the underside of the crossbar.

Stanley should have further increased the lead, blazing the ball over the bar from 12 yards, but substitute Shaun Harrad ensured that Alfreton remained in contention until the final 10 minutes.

Eventually, they ran out of steam and the Shots were able to secure victory with relative ease.

They remain in a perilous position at the bottom of the table but, in four short days on the road, Aldershot Town have rekindled the fire in their bellies and hope in their hearts.

Scott now will be taking those hopes on the long road to Macclesfield Town on Saturday before the Shots prepare for the Easter double header with Salisbury City (Good Friday) and Woking (Easter Monday) which will ultimately decide their fate. 

Shots: Morris; Butler, Phillips, Oastler, Roberts; Rowlands (Bubb 87), Oyeleke, Stanley, Molesley; Mekki, Scott. Subs: L Williams, Cornick, Gerrard. Att: 620.

 
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