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Shots crash out of Trophy

WHEN manager's say: "Now we can concentrate on the league," it's often construed as defeatist or an easy way out.

WHEN manager's say: "Now we can concentrate on the league," it's often construed as defeatist or an easy way out.

But who could blame Shots boss Terry Brown for muttering those very same comments after the his side were bombed out of the FA Trophy on Saturday at the very first hurdle.

Brown was left to explain a disappointing performance, which saw a moral victory for the Doc Martens League against their Ryman League counterparts.

But the fact that Brown's side remain on top of the table as the league campaign reaches its mid-way point is good enough reason as any to bring that old cliché into effect.

One thing is for sure though, the Shots are going to have to find another gear if their dream of reaching the Conference, and possibly getting sweet revenge on Worcester, is to be realised.

With the likes of Purfleet, St Albans and Sutton all coming up this month, a performance like this may not be enough, and Brown is well aware that a sack full of Christmas treats is required in order to make up for this Trophy capitulation.

He said: "I was disappointed with our second half performance. I thought we created enough chances in this game to have scored two or three goals and yet I come out with the abiding memory that their keeper hasn't had to make a save.

"I thought in the first half we had movement up front, we got in behind them and created all sorts of problems. But we lacked a cutting edge today, we lacked somebody with the self-belief to turn the game and put their head in where it hurt.

"The forwards were poor in the second half. I played three up front to cause them problems and stop their main threat which was their wing backs coming forward, which it did in the first half. But you are not going to win games missing the chances we had. The amount of times where we had open goals, leant back and blasted them over the bar, was bordering on the embarrassing.

"I thought it was a good game of football though. We are both good sides and it was an entertaining, open game. We defended well, the midfields matched up but I was disappointed with our forwards in the second half."

With injuries once again cursing the luckless Brown, the Shots were forced to pick from a team which didn't include striker Paul Moody, who seems to be suffering from the ‘Andy Pearce three-month flu bug,' Dean Hooper, who undergoes consultancy and a possible scan on his injured ankle this week, and goalkeeper Nikki Bull, who failed to recover from the hip injury sustained during Tuesday night's 2-1 victory over Kingstonian.

This gave the opportunity for Richard Hurst to continue in goal and Richard Gell to operate down the right flank.

On surveillance of the Doc Martens leaders, Brown opted for a three-pronged attack, with livewire Roscoe D'sane and Lee Charles joined by 17-year-old whizzkid Michael Harper.

Yes, for long periods this did limit the forward forays of the Worcester wing backs, but it also, at times, left the hosts one man to the good in the midfield battle.

And Brown probably didn't bank on winger Adam Wilde producing the kind of heroics which has City fans purring at present.

In Wilde — a recent £7,500 signing from Cambridge City - Worcester have a man capable of leading an assault into the Conference, and he terrorised the likes of Gell and Jason Cousins all afternoon in a performance capped by the winning goal on 38 minutes.

Receiving a long ball over the top from fellow new signing David Holmes, Wilde outpaced Cousins down the left channel and nonchalantly dinked the ball over the advancing Hurst into the far corner of the net.

Prior to that though, the Shots had more than matched their hosts with some enterprising football, which created numerous chances.

Lee Charles had three opportunities to break the deadlock — two of them forcing keeper Danny McDonnell into reaction saves, while Pat Lyons saved Dominic Sterling's header on the goal-line.

Cousins then powered over a clear-cut chance when D'sane floated the resulting clearance back into the box.

Sadly though, there wasn't much else for Aldershot to write home about. Worcester were possibly flattered by their half time advantage but this was far from one-way traffic.

Hurst was twice forced into acrobatics to deny Carl Heeley and Wilde, while Sterling and Anthony Charles were also made to frantically clear their lines in dangerous positions.

For some reason the Shots simply stopped after the break, allowing their hosts, and Wilde in particular, to dictate the game for long periods.

Brown was right, the forwards did stop working and even the introduction of Jamie Taylor for Harper and big Martin Kuhl late on couldn't salvage a replay.

Jason Chewins fired Aldershot's best chance over the bar on 67 minutes, just after Anthony Charles almost capped a good performance with a fine goal — a fierce volley from 30 yards which just clipped the wrong side of the post.

Despite this, the Shots were still leading a charmed life at times. Hurst flapped twice in the space of a minute as Jon Holloway and then sub John Snape missed the target with set-piece headers, before Hurst redeemed himself with a fine stop to deny Holmes late on.

It wasn't to be for the Shots as the 650-plus fans, who made the two-and-a-half hour trip west returned disappointed.

But then, as the boss reassures us, there is always the league...

SHOTS: Hurst; Gell (sub Cooper 85mins), Chewins, Sterling, Cousins, A Charles (Kuhl 85), Roddis, L Charles, Harper (Taylor 61), D'sane, Buckle. Not used: Holsgrove, Sowden.

Ref: P.N Gibbs. Att: 1,562.

l Saturday's defeat has now heaped more importance on Tuesday night's encounter as the Shots play their first game in the defence of the Hampshire Senior Cup (ko 7.45pm).

A strong Shots side take on Jewson Wessex side Bournemouth Poppies in a match which was switched to the Rec by the visitors.

Brown said: "I've told the boys that the Hampshire Senior Cup is very important to us. We are left in two competitions now and this is our second priority now.

"I want the boys to bounce back with a good performance, whoever is playing."

Paul Moody is expected to get a run-out if he recovers from his flu bug.

l Worcester City were later handed a home draw against Newport County in round three.


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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