Aldershot Town suffered another 1-0 defeat in their visit to Southport at the weekend
Consistent only in their inconsistency, Aldershot Town have quickly settled into a reassuringly familiar on-field routine.
Less than a month after teetering on the edge of extinction, the Shots are now concerned with more parochial, but nonetheless pressing matters – that of coaxing regular strong performances from young but undoubtedly talented players.
Even with the thrilling victory over Woking fresh in their minds , Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Southport was still more reminiscent of the Aldershot Town side which had played so frustratingly and fitfully, and lost by the same scoreline, at Salisbury seven days before.
With organisation, tenacity and a dash of quality in attack, Southport were more than a match for a Shots side which manager Andy Scott described as “toothless up front”, and in the end the hosts were worthy of Osayamen Osawe's 27th-minute winner.
“My worry is now that we’re becoming a home team,” Scott said.
“We weren’t good enough [in the] first half. We didn’t have the energy, we gave the ball away.
"You’ve got to come to these places and roll your sleeves up, do the hard work.
“It shouldn’t matter whether you’re home or away. You should fight for your lives, every game.
"It’s easy to do it at home, but it’s still 11 versus 11, it’s a pitch that’s got grass on it, with the same size goals. You just get on with it.”
Ultimately, the hosts had the game’s outstanding player, former Blackburn Rovers striker Osawe, and his pace and skill reminded Aldershot Town of what they were missing in the starkest possible fashion.
It was a first half of great endeavour but few genuine chances for either side.
Osawe served early notice of his intentions with a fifth-minute shot into the side netting but, for all of Aldershot Town’s pleasing passing, they failed to unduly trouble Southport goalkeeper Danny Hurst.
With both teams forcing a succession of fruitless corners, Hurst’s best work of the opening 45 minutes came with a smart save from Martin Rowlands’ 22-yard drive.
In the space of two minutes though, the Sandgrounders forced the two best opportunities of the game.
On 26 minutes, Milligan’s deep corner flew through the six-yard box and found Danny Hattersley in space at the far post, but from virtually on the goal line his header somehow hit the crossbar.
It mattered not, as Fitzpatrick’s angled cross soon allowed Osawe to find space in the box and loop a deft header over Glenn Morris into the far corner of the net.
Brett Williams forced a fumbled save by Hurst just before the break, and the Shots were a resurgent force in the second half but, just when they wanted to increase the pressure, it was Southport who looked most likely to score the next goal.
Milligan’s swirling cross, aided by a gusty wind, hit the post, and that man Osawe nearly out-sprinted the entire Shots defence to claim a ball which only just bounced through to Morris.
Later, Aaron Chalmers’ free kick grazed the top of the crossbar and, in response, the visitors' attempts at a grandstand finish barely mustered a chance worthy of the name.
Teething problems amongst this fledgling Aldershot Town team were perhaps inevitable, but Scott must find a cure for their travel sickness before summer holidays fade into distant memory.
ATFC: Morris; Oastler, Goodman, Webster, Barker; Rowlands, Stanley, Oyeleke (Wickham 71); Molesley (C Brown 71), Paterson (Maloney), B Williams. Subs not used: L Williams, Roberts
Att.: 1012 inc 90 away.