Terry Brown claimed his side were "lucky" to be back at the top of the table after scraping a 1-0 win against Hayes on Tuesday night, in Aldershot Town's 600th competitive league game at the Rec.
And it was certainly not difficult to argue with him on that point. Despite carving out several opportunities for themselves throughout against a tough and resolute Hayes side, the Shots passing and creativity, in midfield in particular, left a lot to be desired.
"I'm definitely not satisfied with the performance," said Brown. "I sound like a whinging old devil going on but the fans here saw the game and Hayes were the better side in the second half and we were lucky to come away with a 1-0 win.
"Obviously before the game I would have given anything to have won, but I actually thought that Hayes deserved something out of it and were very unlucky on the night.
"It's not really for me to moan about the boys and about the performance, it's for me to get it right."
However, Brown did identify a struggling midfield as one clear reason for citing a moan, saying: "The midfield area gives me a great deal of concern at the moment. We're not solid enough and we are not creative enough either. They work hard but that's not good enough. We need to be imposing our game more on people and we are not doing that"
In the early stages Hayes were imposing their game on the Shots though, and with the pace of Michael Currie up front and the neat touch of Kevin Warner, the visitors were the ones to get out of the blocks first as Brown's men struggled to keep possession.
In the fourth minute, Yiadom Yeboah's corner was fumbled by Nikki Bull in the Shots goal — a pattern which was strangely repeated throughout the night's play —and Warner was on hand to head the ball against the bar when he should have perhaps done better.
Minutes later, Currie latched on to another Bull error after Peter Holsgrove —the younger brother of Shots midfielder Lee and accompanied in the Hayes side by the oldest of the three, Paul — drove in a superb free-kick which the keeper could not handle. However, Currie fired his shot high and wide and it was another early let-off for the home side.
The Shots didn't even get a sniff of any real possession until the 16th minute when a Hooper cross was met firmly by Paul Moody in the six-yard box only for Bertrand Bossu in the Hayes goal to parry his header and Mark Molesley then cleared from the area.
The breakthrough — which was exactly what this game was crying out for — came in the 25th minute when Moody was brought down just outside the area. From the resulting free-kick, popular full-back Jason Chewins struck a left-foot shot which found it's way — rather fortuitously via a deflection — inside the left-hand post to make it 1-0 to the Shots.
Hayes then battled back, as they had done for most of the night, and despite losing Jamie Jarvis to what looked like a serious injury in the 36th minute, they still finished the half the stronger when Bull again failed to collect a cross from the left-hand side, only for Currie to see his header cleared off the line by Chewins.
Richard Gell replaced Hooper after the break due to the former Peterborough player picking up a slight knock midway through the first half but Hayes continued to dominate possession.
D'Sane did manage to find the back of the net in 60th minute but his celebration was cut short as he was adjudged to have strayed off-side after picking up Holsgrove's deflected long-range effort.
Young Michael Harper came on for Moody minutes later and Jason Cousins replaced Anthony Charles. But Hayes were still keeping the ball and playing around Brown's men in the middle of the park.
Dean Clark saw his sweetly struck effort held by Bull on 76 minutes and even though Harper came close for the Shots in the 81st minute with a right-foot shot inside the box, you always felt that if there was to be another goal it would come from the visitors.
Those thoughts very nearly materialised just two minutes later when Bull was beaten all ends up by Molesey's 25-yard drive. However, much to the disappointment of the travelling support, his drive rebounded off the post and Brown's side just managed to hang on for the win.
SHOTS: Bull; Hooper (sub Gell 45), Chewins, Ready, Sterling, A.Charles (Cousins 68), Lee, Holsgrove, Moody (Harper 62), D'Sane, Buckle, Not used: Taylor, Hurst. Att:1,774.