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Hooper off as Shots Buckle

Dean Hooper was sent off for an X-rated tackle as Aldershot Town slipped to their second successive defeat at Aylesbury United on Saturday.

Terry Brown's miserable week was completed on Saturday after his Aldershot side slumped to a second successive defeat after a moment of sheer madness from full back Dean Hooper.

Hooper was given his marching orders late in the first half for stamping on Aylesbury's Daniel Gordon after the home side's defender had put in a strong challenge on Nick Roddis.

What happened after that is not entirely clear with players rushing in from all angles to get involved but Aylesbury's Tony Houghton was sent for an early bath with Hooper, and the handbags were then put aside, for a brief moment at least.

Brown, who up until that time had seen nothing but a dominant display from his team, spoke like all good managers do in defence of their players after such incidents: "We lost a key player.

"All my players and the supporters around the incident said that Dean was hard done by. I will have to look at that. If there is video evidence, I will look at it, and we will appeal if necessary.

"If the discipline proves to be from our side, he will certainly be fined a minimum of a week's wages."

On that note, Hooper may well be hoping his manager is unable to obtain a copy, if there is one, of the video evidence.

No matter what happened after the initial incident, the fact remains that Hooper went in with clear intent and his actions clearly changed a game which he, more than anybody, had been dominating.

Moments later, Karl Ready left the pitch with a damaged hip and he was unable to return for the second half but despite the two changes in personnel, Brown's side would have been looking to continue their first half performance that had seen Roscoe D'Sane hit the woodwork and the outstanding Paul Buckle firing just wide.

With Anthony Charles coming into the defence for Ready, Brown was forced to make changes with Dominic Sterling playing on the right hand side of a three-man central defence and fit-again Buckle filling in at right wing back.

However, Sterling looked uncomfortable throughout and Aylesbury began to expose a weakened Shots defence.

They were rewarded for the their bright start when Joe Baker finished from close range in the 54th minute after a fortunate deflection fell into his path from a quickly taken free kick which was not properly defended.

This should have served as a wake up call for Brown's men but instead they continued to look nervy at the back and just three minutes later Chris Bangura reacted quickly to a dropping ball in the six-yard box which Sterling failed to clear. The resulting overhead kick gently looped past Nicky Bull and after all their pressure in the first half, the Shots now found themselves 2-0 down to a dominant Aylesbury side.

Brown then brought on Jamie Taylor and the manager was instantly rewarded when the young striker linked up superbly with D'Sane to finish coolly past Adam Wheeler in the Aylesbury goal.

Lee Holsgrove then switched to the back to replace Sterling and Buckle was allowed to move back into the middle where he and Roddis outplayed their opponents with pace and strength.

D'Sane and Taylor continued to look lively up front and it was more a question of when the equaliser would come rather than if.

The answer to that was in the 75th minute when D'Sane fired a 25-yard shot against the bar, only for Paul Moody, who himself had been relatively quiet all game, to hit home from the rebound.

From here it looked as if there was only ever going to be one winner but just when it looked like the home side would be content to play for a point, Holsgrove brought down Gordon in the box and Craig Maskell, who had been outstanding for Aylesbury throughout, fired home the spot-kink, much to the disgust of the travelling fans given his excellent scoring record in the past against the Shots.

D'Sane and Moody both came close with late efforts but it wasn't enough on a day when very little fell into place for Brown's men.

Fortunately though, it was the same story for leaders St Albans at Bedford, so it's as you were at the top of the table.

In fairness, the Shots should have, and deserved to take something from this game, but Brown was left to reflect on two games in four days that his players have missed out on, and his disappointment was clear to see.

"It's two games that we could have won," said Brown. "I still can't believe that we have lost these two games. It's desperation in the dressing room at the moment."

When asked about the penalty, Brown replied: "I didn't think it was a penalty. I thought the guy looked for it - and fair play to him - he got it. We've had dubious penalties this year so I'm not complaining about the officials. We lost the game because we conceded three goals and that's not really the officials' fault.

SHOTS: Bull, Hooper, Chewins, Ready (A.Charles 45), Cousins, Sterling (Taylor 60), Roddis, Buckle (Gell 77), Moody, D'Sane, Holsgrove.

Subs not used: Parker, Nutter.

l Aldershot Town will play Lewes in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup this Saturday after the Ryman division one high-fliers beat Jewson Wessex Leaguers Eastleigh 4-2 after extra time in a second round replay last Wednesday night.

l If Brown's men need any inspiration, perhaps Simon Pullen, Martin Kuhl and the youth team can give them tips.

The Shots youngsters beat their Sussex counterparts 5-0 in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night and now entertain Colchester United in the first round proper.


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
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