Aldershot Town breezed into the third round of the FA Trophy with a comfortable 4-1 win over Worcester City
Quietly building the momentum of a five-game unbeaten run, Aldershot Town eased into the FA Trophy third round with another comeback victory.
Taking their goal tally during that run of matches to 17, the Shots overcame a lively but largely toothless Worcester City and will now host another Skrill North side, Guiseley AFC, in the last 16 on January 11.
Illuminated by a stunning individual strike from Manny Oyeleke and capped by Brett Williams’ 14th and 15th goals of the season, Andy Scott’s team were ultimately good value for a win which perhaps should have been even more emphatic.
“We could have scored a few more,” admitted Scott. “They scored with their first shot on target and we had a sticky spell for 10 minutes, but I’m really pleased that we’re scoring goals and looking confident again.
"We’re making other teams defend constantly, and they end up buckling. Worcester couldn’t cope with the tempo of our play.”
Yet it was the Dragons who initially threatened an upset, but never truly took full advantage of some pacy counter-attacking opportunities.
Early Shots pressure came to nothing as Worcester delivered a 12th-minute sucker punch, Ethan Moore muscling through the defence and shooting impressively across keeper Jonathan Henly at the end of a neat move involving Ellis Deeney and Danny Glover.
That briefly gave the visitors confidence, and the Shots’ defence was less than its assured self, but as soon as Craig Stanley’s perfect pass in behind City’s back four allowed Aiden O’Brien to poach an equaliser, there was little doubt as to the ultimate victors.
Oyeleke’s goal on its own warranted their progress. Pouncing on a loose ball in midfield, his strength and athleticism took him on a slaloming run past several challenges before a deft finish rolled the ball underneath Jose Veiga.
As Shots restricted Worcester to long-range efforts and half-chances, the hosts asserted their superiority and the tie was effectively won on 66 minutes.
Barker’s deep corner found Adam Webster rising highest and when Veiga could only parry his header, Williams did just enough to touch the ball over the line from a yard out.
Had Jaydon Gibbs not made a superb, timely recovery tackle to rob Moore in the act of shooting, the final quarter may have been slightly more of a rollercoaster.
Instead, buoyed by the return from injury of substitute Mark Molesley, Aldershot Town surged across the finishing line.
Another substitute set up Williams’ second on 86 minutes, as Paterson was set free by Stanley to hit an angled shot which Veiga could only push out into the striker’s path.
Molesley could have extended the lead with a curling shot which was deflected narrowly wide, but this was an undeniably professional and impressive performance - the perfect antithesis to previous struggles against Shortwood and Weston-super-Mare.
It would be ill-advised for Shots fans to start dreaming of Wembley just yet, but with several of the competition’s favourites already knocked out, the footballing and financial incentives are already obvious for a club which has had precious little to cheer in 2013.
ATFC: Henly, Gibbs, Webster, Goodman, Barker; Young (Molesley 72), Oyeleke, Stanley, Roberts (Mekki 84); B Williams, O’Brien (Paterson 78). Subs not used: Tonkin, L Williams.