Aldershot Town held their own in a battling 0-0 draw in front of the BT Sport cameras at Kidderminster Harriers
Thrust back into the national spotlight, and restoring indomitable pride to their performance in the face of adversity, a goalless draw at high-flying Kidderminster Harriers felt more like a victory for Aldershot Town.
After the pallid defeat at Welling, Andy Scott’s side overcame both injury crisis and strong opposition to grind out a fifth Skrill Premier clean sheet of the season in front of the BT Sport television cameras on Friday night (September 27).
While the game was not exactly a prime-time thriller, it did at least confirm the spirit which has underpinned Shots resurgence on and off the pitch.
Shorn of Joe Oastler and Glenn Morris through injury, and with several other walking wounded having to play through the pain, loanee goalkeeper Nick Pope - who arrived from Charlton Athletic just 24 hours earlier - made an impressively confident debut as the Shots defended superbly.
“I thought there were some outstanding performances tonight,” agreed Scott.
“Nick didn’t really have many saves to make, other than from long distance.
"It was a hard-won point but if you had given us a point before the game we probably would have taken it.
“We went down the route of ignorance, really, trying to ignore all of the players who said they were struggling with injury," joked the manager.
"There were three or four who could quite easily have not played, but we said ‘if you can walk you’re OK’.”
It did not show, as the Shots rediscovered the fight, resolve and dash of quality which had deserted them just three days previously, and were even the side to settle quickest.
Kidderminster were sloppy in possession and Nathan Vaughan appeared the more nervous goalkeeper, scrambling to save Goodman’s header and then spilling Lewis Young’s low cross.
Martin Rowlands bent a free kick inches wide and, in response, Michael Gash hit a 25-yard curling shot over the bar.
Gash and Anthony Malbon were dangerous for the hosts but defences were always just about on top.
Periodically it was an end-to-end affair, although attacking endeavour never quite produced the expected clear-cut chances.
Goodman shot over with a flashing drive on the turn and, on 43 minutes, Jordan Roberts was perhaps a tad fortunate to escape censure for his challenge as Lee Vaughan shaped to shoot in the penalty area.
By comparison the second half faded slightly, but still both sides enjoyed periods of pressure which could have proved decisive.
The introduction of Kyle Storer and Amari Morgan-Smith galvanised Harriers, yet it was Aldershot Town who should have scored in a 63rd-minute goalmouth melee.
Once again a driving force in midfield, Mark Molesley created a chance for himself, and Roberts saw the rebound, smashed goalwards from a tight angle, punched off the line by Vaughan. Stanley then measured a shot towards the bottom corner but that too was blocked.
It was Kidderminster, though, who finished in the ascendancy. An injury-time corner caused chaos at the far post, as the Shots defended desperately, but the referee’s final whistle halted their grandstand finish in its tracks.
It was a whistle which ended the first quarter of the season, and allowed Aldershot time to reflect on a whirlwind two months which has seen them take great strides towards a bright future.
ATFC: Pope; Oyeleke, Webster, Goodman, Barker; Molesley, Stanley, Rowlands; Young (Paterson 66), B Williams, Roberts. Subs: Wickham, Douglas, L Williams, Gibbs.
Att.: 2,049 (including 147 away).