The grin on Terry Brown's face just about says it all at the moment, as Aldershot Town completed a league and cup double on Thursday night despite a spirited display from Bashley at St Mary's Stadium.

The 2-1 victory, thanks largely to the goals from the boot of Aaron McLean, makes 2003 a year to remember for fans of this revitalised football club. However, in a contest where you would first of all congratulate the victors, the New Forest outfit deserved more than just a firm handshake for their efforts as Brown's brigade of league football stars had their feathers ruffled throughout a stuttering performance.

In a way you can't blame the Shots for feeling a bit low-key for their final ninety minutes of what seems to have been a never-ending campaign. The championship exploits of the last few months would have taken their toll on any set of players.

And despite the obvious recognition and prestige of this trophy, Brown's side couldn't afford to look in the direction of Southampton until the final nail, and a record number of Ryman points, had been hammered into the coffin at Purfleet last week.

Indeed, during the post-match press conference, Brown identified a period of rest after the sparkle of champagne had died down for his players as a reason for his side's sluggish display in the opening 45 minutes.

"We have had a period of time off since we won the championship," claimed the Shots boss. "I think looking at the first half performance they have been celebrating too hard. Bur we need a kick up the backside to get us going and in the end I felt that we could have won the game a lot more easily."

True, the Shots did create more chances and but for a couple of glaring misses by McLean — who still managed to pick up the Man of the Match award from England striker James Beattie — the final score-line might have had a slightly more expected look to it.

But in truth, the Shots complacency could have cost them dearly and in the end a one-goal deficit was about par for the course in this one.

Last year, Stafford Browne's hat-trick against Havant & Waterlooville gave the Rec side a 3-1 victory after coming from behind and in this year's quest for silverware, the same pattern was being painted as early as the 10th minute when Bashley went ahead courtesy of Craig Anstey's splendid effort.

When Jason Cousins failed to adequately clear a rather hopeful ball into the box from Bashley, Anstey - who was waiting expectantly just outside the area - tried his luck with a right-footed volley that made its way through a congestion of bodies before whistling past Nikki Bull in the Shots goal.

The goal proved that Bashley were not just there for the complimentary drinks and for the next ten minutes they continued to be the better side.

Craig Davis very nearly made it two just a minute after Anstey's strike with a cross come shot before Cousins tried his luck with a 35-yard free-kick in the 20th minute, which fell kindly into the hands of Mike Hookway.

The equaliser came just four minutes later when McLean managed to break free from the shackles of Bashley's Matt Jones.

The 19-year old looked odds on to go for goal himself but instead opted to lay the ball off to the on-rushing Roscoe D'sane who had company alongside him in the shape of Nick Roddis.

D'sane though, fired his effort against the out-stretched body of Hookway but with the ball loose in the box the predatory McLean pounced to make it honours even and from here it would appear that the Shots would sink their opponents without trace.

It was at this point that things started to get a bit juicy in the stands.

The Shots fans, who travelled in their magnificent numbers yet again, were happy to make themselves heard before several altercations with stewards and police led to a number of fans being ejected from the ground.

The problems seemed to arise after a group of Shots supporters went against the club's wishes for them to remain seated.

But, no matter how strict or ridiculous the rules and regulations of the club may have been, the bottom line remains that there would have been only one winner in the argument - which in the end there was. You could see both sides of the coin though, as the Bashley fans that decided to use their legs were not told to sit down in any kind of hurry.

Back to the game itself, Anstey had a good opportunity to put Bashley back in front in the 26th minute when he broke into the box - only to fire high and wide after doing the hard work.

Then, Jason Chewins saw his 30-yarder well saved by the impressive Hookway as the Shots looked to build on McLean's strike but after that the half simply fizzled out as the aggravation in the stands continued to disrupt proceedings.

In the second 45, Brown's side appeared to come out firing with a few more cylinders switched on but Bashley could easily have taken the lead again in the 55th minute when a rare mistake by the otherwise-excellent Dominic Sterling allowed Richard Gillespie an opening, however his shot lacked the necessary power as Bull gathered with ease.

The eventual winner came in the 69th minute when McLean slotted home in close range after meeting D'Sane's cross that came from just outside the six-yard box.

After that, there were a few headaches for Brown to deal with and the fact that only two substitutions were made was possibly a sign that the manager did not want to rock the boat in the closing stages.

However, in the end, two goals proved to be enough, even though McLean should have taken the matchball home right at the death as his point-blank effort was stopped on the line by Jones.

By now, the nonsense in the stands had died down and both sets of suppporters - who had done the final the fantastic credit it was due - applauded each others efforts as Saints' 23-goal hitman Beattie presented the players with their relative accolades.

A happy but passive Brown added after the match: "Fair play to Bashley, I thought that they passed the ball about and looked a very good side. We hadn't had the opportunity to watch them to be fair and they had one or two players who would easily grace the Ryman Premier, if not the Conference.

"It wouldn't be us if we didn't take it right to the wire but Bashley must take a lot of credit. They didn't just hit the ball long, they got it down and played some decent football and I just hope that it was a good game to watch."

So that's that then. It's surely now time for the manager and the fans to take their long overdue break and relax in time for next season's campaign with the big boys, just don't get too relaxed, the action starts again in three months time — frightening, isn't it?

SHOTS: Bull 7; Hooper 8, Chewins 7, Cousins 6, Sterling 8, Holsgrove 7 (Perkins 71), Roddis 7 (Hammond 60 7), L.Charles 5, McLean 8, D'Sane 7, Buckle 7. Subs not used: Browne, Nutter, Howells.

BASHLEY: Hookway 8; Jones 8, Wilson 7 (Kevin James 77), Connolly 8, Matt Jones 8, Cook 7, Gee 8, Davis 7, Paul Sales 9, Gillespie 8, Craig Anstey 8. Subs not used: Gibbons, Wakefield, Quarke, Sturmey.

Att: 4,092. Ref: Kevin Haines.